Unlocking Potential: AIA Women’s Leadership Summit 2024

by Amy Kalar, AIA, NOMA, AIA Minnesota President

The gender gap in architecture in Minnesota and nationally remains both persistent and concerning. Research shows that the percentages of women studying architecture, becoming licensed, and joining AIA are growing, but women still lag behind men in participation in our profession at all levels.

Key to narrowing this gap is supporting the leadership development of women by addressing their specific challenges and fostering a strong sense of community. Equally crucial are systemic changes aimed at identifying and rectifying disparities in pay, enhancing support for licensure pursuits, and minimizing bias within our profession.

The AIA Women’s Leadership Summit is not just a conference; it is a cornerstone of empowerment and growth. It brings together architects, designers, educators, and emerging professionals from across the country to engage in meaningful dialogue, share experiences, and foster mentorship. At its core, the summit is dedicated to addressing the unique challenges faced by women in architecture while celebrating their achievements and contributions to the field. I have attended two different WLS Conferences – and each experience was unique, yet similar; I was able to find inspiration, connection, and growth in unexpected ways and left each conference refreshed, renewed, and excited for the future of women – and people of all genders – in our profession.  

So why should you attend? 

Inspiring Keynotes and Workshops: Renowned keynote speakers and industry leaders will impart their knowledge and insights, offering perspectives on leadership, innovation, and navigating career paths in architecture. Interactive workshops will provide practical skills and strategies for personal and professional development.

Networking Opportunities: Networking can be a strategic activity in career advancement, and the summit provides ample opportunities to connect with peers, mentors, and potential collaborators. Whether during structured sessions or informal gatherings, attendees can forge valuable relationships that extend beyond the event.

Career Advancement: For women aiming to elevate their careers, the summit offers concrete strategies for advancing in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Discussions on leadership styles, negotiation tactics, and overcoming barriers will equip attendees with the tools needed to thrive.

Community and Support: Building a supportive community is crucial for professional growth. The summit cultivates an inclusive environment where attendees can share challenges, successes, and strategies for fostering greater diversity and inclusion within architectural practices.

Attending the AIA Women’s Leadership Summit 2024 in Chicago is not just an investment in one’s career but a commitment to shaping the future of architecture. It is a platform where knowledge meets inspiration, and where connections are forged that can propel careers to new heights. Whether you are a seasoned professional or an emerging talent, this summit promises to equip you with the tools, insights, and networks necessary to thrive in today’s evolving architectural landscape. Together, let’s build a more inclusive and empowered future for all architects.

View the July 2024 edition of Matrix.