Five Latina Professionals Gather for the AIA New Jersey World Architecture Day and Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

October 4, 2023

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L-R: Angie, Delly, Stacey, Lauren, Grace and Gloria. Photo property of Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA

Five Latina Professionals Gather for the AIA New Jersey World Architecture Day and Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

On Monday, October 2, 2023, World Architecture Day, the AIA New Jersey Equity in Architecture Committee hosted an event at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Hillier College of Architecture And Design. The Hillier College and AIA NJ were also joint sponsors. The program was developed and moderated by the AIA NJ EDI committee chair and Past President, Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA. The two-hour panel presentation entitled, “Equitable Practice Management & Licensure Best Practices from Immigrant Professionals,” gave each of the panelists a chance to share their stories and advice on education, immigration, licensure and practice.  



The panelists, Graciela Carrillo, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C; Gloria Kloter, AIA, NCARB, CODIA; Delly Yaker, AIA, NCARB; Angelica Arent, AIA, NCARB; and Libertad Lauren Harris, Assoc. AIA, CSI-EP, CDT, WELL AP, GGP, each have different nationalities including Mexican, Dominican, Venezuelan, Spanish, and Colombian, but have found unifying cultural traditions in their histories. They all possess the same commitment to facilitating equity on the path to licensure in the US. The individual presentations covered involvement in “Mentoring Matters,” Arquitina, CREW NJ, writing books, Women and Equity in Architecture Committees, Foreign Architects Community, AIA Strategic Council and Associates Committee, the Immigrant Architect Coalition Podcast, and more.  


Next, the panel fielded questions from the audience covering everything from motherhood to licensure, professional practice and community service. Of particular interest was the idea of utilizing AIA resources to identify and support external organizations that may be better equipped to attract a niche minority audience. 

Moderator Kliesch spoke of her interest as Equity Committee Chair to continue to work to amplify the message of our underrepresented communities to the general population.  “Events such as this one are often perceived to be intended for an audience of the same demographic as the speakers when the reality could not be further from the truth. While the program is certainly inspiring to other immigrants or those of Latin descent, and we are thrilled to have so many in the audience today to benefit from the lessons learned, the truth is that the way to build equity and advance diversity in the profession is for our mainstream members to show up, demonstrate care and interest, speak up and be agents of change,” according to Kliesch. 

The program closed with a book signing for the three books that the panelists have authored or been featured in.  During the time, the panelists really took the time to meet attendees, answer personal questions, and exchange contact information like the true mentors they are.  

Watch our YouTube Channel for the release of the premier of this event and additional AIA NJ content, including this outstanding playlist on Increasing Equity in the African-American Experience developed by Libertad Lauren Harris. 



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