The percentage of women in top jobs at the biggest architecture firms has doubled over the past five years, but women still only occupy one out of five key roles. The AIANY Women in Architecture Committee, in collaboration with Maya Sharfi from Build Yourself Workshop, are offering a two-part program on how to advance to a firm’s senior leadership role. Part One, the Path to Principal panel, will feature four accomplished women leaders offering their insights and guidance to emerging women architects. Join us as we explore their journeys to the senior level, including how they negotiated and defined their roles and how they navigated firm culture and existing leadership dynamics. Part Two, the Promoted to Principal Method Workshop in December, will feature Sharfi as the facilitator.
Jennifer Graham, Hon. DFA, FIIDA, LEED AP, Principal, Perkins & Will
Mindy No, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Perkins Eastman
Annya Ramirez-Jimenez, AIA, Director, Marvel
Sara Rubenstein, AIA, Principal, Henning Larsen
Vivian Lee, FAIA, LEED AP, Design Director, Gensler
About the Speakers:
Jennifer Graham has delivered multiple award-winning, high-profile projects for over 30 years. Her success comes from her special approach to project management that builds mentorship into the process. She creates and upholds a supportive, positive, and empathetic work environment for her teams. She received an honorary doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) in May, her alma mater. As a bold champion for DEI, social purpose and sustainability, Graham brings these issues to the forefront in her client work and community service. In 2009, she founded LMNOP NYC, Inc., an organization that offered networking and affordable continuing education credits to designers. Following LMNOP’s acquisition by IIDA NY, she currently serves as IIDA NY’s Vice President of Action and 2021 Catalyst Chair. Native to Barbados, the influence of Graham’s beloved family and the values they shared are evident in everything she does; from ultimately fulfilling her father’s own dream of working in architecture and following his dedication to serve; to epitomizing the resolve and relentless pursuit of knowledge passed on through her grandmother. Her character and record demonstrate her advocacy and commitment to both the design and global communities.
With over 25 years of professional expertise, Mindy No is an innovative architect, senior designer, and project manager. Over the years, she has cultivated an impressive portfolio of diverse, high-profile, and award-winning academic and civic projects, designing everything from performing arts centers and museums to academic buildings and libraries. With extensive experience directing projects both large and small, as well as designing, planning, detailing, and coordinating projects in the public and private sectors, she is acutely aware of the importance of maintaining design integrity throughout the lifespan of a project. In addition, No firmly believes in supporting and encouraging emerging young talent; outside of work, she serves on the Board of Directors for The ACE Mentor Program of Greater NY and acts as Co-Chair of the DOE Career & Technical Education (CTE) Engineering and Architecture Commission.
Annya Ramirez-Jimenez is a Director at Marvel, a multi-disciplinary firm with offices in New York City, San Juan, PR & Richmond, VA. She oversees the architecture staff of the firm. As a passionate advocate for equity, her career focuses in building a more equitable city that balances its resources to serve all residents. She leads works at multiple scales, from the design and development of Rockaway Village in Queens; to various civic projects in the Bronx including the Bronx Arts Museum Renovation & the Orchard Beach Pavilion. Ramirez-Jimenez is from Puerto Rico, and attended the University of Puerto Rico School of Architecture, then settled in New York City after obtaining a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University GSAPP in 2006. She serves on the board of directors for the Clemente, a Puerto Rican/Latinx cultural space in the Lower East Side, and the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation, which promotes women contributions in the design and construction industry. Ramirez-Jimenez is also a member of the AIANY Honors Committee.
Sara Rubenstein is a Principal and the Country Market Director for Henning Larsen North America. She joined the firm soon after the opening of its New York office, and quickly gained the support of the leadership in setting up and managing the States-side business. Working with two Danish design partners, Rubenstein has grown the office from 9-person loss leader to a 45-person operation with $3M EBIT on $10M revenue in her first two years at the helm. Rubenstein is an architect with 16 years of experience including operations roles at two previous firms. Known for her calm demeanor, she is adept at hiring, forming high-functioning teams, and motivating staff through periods of growth. She has expertise in stakeholder negotiation, contracts, fee proposals, and the regulatory challenges of interstate and international professional practice. Rubenstein is licensed to practice architecture in the State of New York and ten other states. She holds a Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture, a Bachelor of Arts in the History and Theory of Architecture from Columbia University, and an ARCT in Piano Performance with Distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto). Rubenstein lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young children.
Vivian Lee is an accomplished architect of more than 30 years, translating design excellence to communities around the world. As Design Director at Gensler, she leads creative vision with aesthetically balanced, practical solutions that drive sustainability and human-centric spaces across commercial, residential, education, and cultural projects. With her career success, Lee’s passion for design is seen in her work, and in her mentorship of students and emerging architects. She is Co-Chair of the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee, through which she develops programs and events to promote design and professional development, helping advance women to leadership roles. Beyond her contribution to the AIANY Board of Directors, Lee is a frequent panelist at industry events, speaking on her work, the current climate, and what is to come. In 2021-2022, she participated as a juror for the AIA National Latrobe Prize, a grant awarded for research in significant advances to the architecture profession. From her early life in Taiwan and Paraguay to her professional practice in the U.S., China, and Italy, Lee’s experiences are a boundless collection of cultures, histories, and consciousness. Her exemplary design portfolio awarded her elevation to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows and her project achievements are models in the built environment.
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AIANY Women in Architecture Committee