CWA and CWAF Honor Margaret Zirkel Young, Alicia Ponce, and Tiara Hughes for their critical role in Advancing and Championing Women in ArchitectureFebruary 12, 2023
The Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation (CWAF) has recently celebrated the graduation of its inaugural Ladders to Leadership Program, a unique six-month intensive educational series for up-and-coming female leaders in the architecture industry.
Designed for mid-career, licensed women architects on the path to becoming equity owners, principals and C-suite leaders, 15-women were selected in January 2023, to participate in the program at no cost to them through a discerning application process. The program is underwritten by individual donations and sponsors including: The Driehaus Foundation, the Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and CWAF board members. Twelve half-day sessions featured senior level executive guest speakers of architecture practices and architecture firm-adjacent businesses such as law firms, accounting firms, banks, insurance, and public relations firms on the topics of business development, negotiations, financial health assessments, risk management, operations structures, HR practices, and ownership and shareholder structures. The program also included a meeting with the leadership of the Obama Foundation Center and a tour of the job site.
“CWA’s continuing purpose is to support women throughout their careers,” says Jackie Loewe, CWAF 2023 Ladders to Leadership Curator and Moderator and Founding Partner at Sheridan Park Consulting, “This program enables these women to tap directly into executive level architects and other industry-adjacent professionals to learn from their journeys and dig into vital leadership-building topics.”
The graduating 2023 cohort includes: Sheri Andrews of Valerio Dewalt Train, Sara Beardsley of SCB, Yuki Gottschaldt of STG Design, Laurie Hoffman of Buffalo Grove Park District, Chauncey Kingsbury of HED, Maggie Krieger of FGM Architects, Dallas Martin of CannonDesign, Monika Miller of SmithGroup, JinHwa Paradowicz of Perkins Eastman, Elizabeth Schneider of Goettsch Partners, Jane Sloss of WJW Architects, Anne Strane of Holabird & Root, Chey Taylor of SMNG Architects, Erica Ulin of The Collaborative, Inc, and Catherine Van Leer of HED.
To conclude the program, each participant utilized their learned content to prepare and present a pitch of their professional “Ladder to Leadership” three-to-five-year career plan to a panel of industry experts for constructive critique. Plans are already underway to offer the Ladders to Leadership program in 2024.