In March, I had the pleasure of attending the AIA Women in Architecture Celebration in Cleveland. The event, “We Are Here: Madame Architect for Visibility, Retention, and Change,” challenged attendees to find ways to encourage young women to consider careers in architecture, provide supportive resources, and promote gender equity while celebrating women who have made their mark in the field.
As an Eileen Gray level event sponsor, I was excited that the event drew over 150 attendees, the largest number for a WIA event. I invited a few of my team members; Mike George (Business Development) and Kate Thompson (Project Coordinator/Art Director) and guest Jim Cirillo, founder of JIMIUM Group and JimJim’s Reinvention Revolution Podcast.
Top left to right: Julia Gamolina, Aya Shlachter, Nancy Lindrose, Jim Cirillo, Mike George, Kate Thompson.
Photo credits: Kate Thompson
Megan November, the new owner of Rustbelt Reclamation, was a gracious host with a fantastic story. The offices and workshop where her company is harvesting and repurposing lumber into beautiful custom furniture made an inspiring backdrop for the event.
The featured speaker was Julia Gamolina, the founder and editor of Madame Architect, a website celebrating women in architecture from different generations, countries, and corners of the industry. Julia states that her ultimate goal for Madame Architect is that everyone who is looking at the site can find encouragement and guidance for their pursuits and empathy and understanding for the pursuits of others. She revealed that Madame Architect has grown into much more than an editorial platform and serves as a resource, a community, and a collective voice to let the world know, loud and clear, that #WeAreHere.
During her presentation, Julia reflected on her interviews with women in architecture, noting that there are plenty of women doing great work but that many of them aren’t receiving the recognition they deserve for their contributions. She spoke of the lack of training and mentorship available to female professionals starting their careers and pointed out that mentors don’t have to be women but need to be champions for the advancement of women in male-dominated professions.
Events of this caliber make me proud that I am a member and my company, MG Shlachter, an Annual Chapter Sponsor of the AIA Cleveland! I look forward to becoming more involved in supporting and mentoring young women aspiring to enter the exciting field of architecture.