Hosted by the WIA Committee of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Charlotte chapter, this event is an empowering opportunity for women in the architecture and engineering industry (A/E) to network, engage in meaningful conversations and celebrate their professional contributions.
One of the driving forces behind the inspiring event was Chelsea Hansen, Assoc. AIA, CPL Architectural Designer and the 2022-2023 Co-Chair for AIA Charlotte’s WIA Committee. Hansen passionately expressed her perspective, saying, “We must prioritize uplifting women, celebrating our resilience and acknowledging the pivotal role we play in shaping the A/E landscape.”
This year’s theme, “An Equitable and Inclusive Future,” was intentionally chosen to strike a balance between celebrating women in architecture’s progress and recognizing the ongoing journey toward embracing diversity within the industry. The event was underscored by the hashtag “#AreYouIn?”, which aimed to foster a sense of unity and collective effort.
An impressive panel of experts graced the occasion, including Kimberly Dowdell, AIA, NOMAC, the 2023 AIA National President-elect; Sekou Cooke, Director of the Master of Urban Design program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Melanie Reddrick, AIA, NCIDQ, LEED AP, Community Studio principal at Little’s Charlotte office; and Dr. Dawn E. Chanland, an award-winning professor at Queens University of Charlotte who served as moderator.
The discussions touched upon a variety of subjects, including the imperative need to make the architectural field more inclusive and financially accessible to a diverse range of aspiring professionals.
Hansen, who participated in this insightful dialogue with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), highlighted, “Architecture demands more than just passion and talent; it necessitates access to finances, potentially creating barriers for those from less privileged backgrounds.”
The Women in Architecture Mimosa Breakfast was a resounding success, drawing more than 280 attendees and generating more than $30,000 in fundraising revenue for the Women in Architecture and AIA Charlotte scholarship programs, as well as the WIA Committee and the AIA Charlotte chapter. CPL’s support as a Silver Level Sponsor was instrumental in achieving these goals.
Rachel Nilson, AIA, NCARB, and CPL’s Vice President in attendance, affirmed, “We take pride in backing initiatives that promote unity, drive meaningful change and strive to cultivate an industry where diversity is the norm, inclusivity prevails over exclusivity and systemic change stands as the ultimate objective.”