This six-month program from April 2024 – September 2024 for women in architecture is designed to help them achieve executive-level, equity-based positions within the built environment.

We’re tapping industry executives with firm management expertise as well as developers, bankers, lawyers and accountants as guest lecturers and speakers. Last year saw two participants elevate their careers to principal – will you be next?

Content will cover topics like

  • professional services practice management,
  • building business relationships through trust,
  • enhancing leadership skills,
  • negotiating fair and equitable compensations packages and quarterly performance reviews,
  • learning how firms run financially and build shareholder value,
  • and so much more.

Cost to be a part of the Ladders to Leadership program is free. The classes will be held twice per month in-person, in the Chicago area.

Special thanks go to the Driehaus Foundation, AIA Illinois and members of the Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation board for sponsoring this program


  • An architect who is a woman, or identifies as a woman, with a minimum of 10 years of experience or a minimum of 4 years running a project team
  • Must be seeking a senior level position or starting their own firm within the field of architecture in the near future (3-5 years)
  • Must show current leadership ability either through project work (management or design) or professional organizations
  • Must be a licensed architect


Applications to the 2024 Ladders to Leadership Cohort are now closed. Consider applying next year.

Please reach out with any questions or concerns to director@cwa.foundation