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1.5 LU

The series “Advocacy and Agency in Architecture” will explore how current modalities of architectural education and practice have the potential for architects to act as advocates and agents for change within the field and in the greater community. We will collectively discuss how we can elevate the voices of marginalized communities, how we can be a voice for just and fair working conditions, and how a new generation of architects can develop a voice to speak on behalf of others and for themselves.

In this second event of a three-event series, “Organizational models – Acceleration in Practice,” firms will share their organizational models—how these benefit the various stakeholders and work culture and how they are reflected in the mission and values of the firm and their work—and explore new models in pursuit of advocacy and agency. The discussion will touch on topics such as:

  • What are different organizational models and their associated pros and cons?
  • How does a firm’s organizational model correlate to its stated mission and values, and how can it translate into the work a firm does?
  • How can an organizational model benefit the various stakeholders in the short and long term, looking at business, growth, and culture?
  • What are the key decision-making tools to adapt an organizational model when looking to start a business, grow a business, or plan for business succession?
  • Given the recent mass talent flight (also referred to as the Great Resignation) relating to the COVID-19 pandemic but also to industry-wide issues, along with ongoing unionization efforts in our industry, are existing organizational models obsolete or missing fundamental components?

We aim for participants to walk away with inspiring examples of how others are changing the landscape of practice and how they may integrate these ideas into their own firms.

Diana Ostberg, COO, Saam Architecture
Victoria Cerami, CEO Emeritus Cerami Associates (AV Engineering), Current founder NextCube and Angel Investor
Paul Sanderson, AIA, Vice President, Director of New York Operations, EPSTEIN
Danile DeBoo, Northeast Region Higher Education Sector Leader, DLR Group

Melissa Marsh, Executive Director and Founder, PLASTARC

About the Speakers:
Diana Ostberg serves as Vice President and COO at Saam Architecture in Boston, a firm of 25 architects and interior designers gaining national recognition for its progressive HR policies and workplace culture. Diana leads the firm’s operations while also managing complex design and construction projects. With over 18 years in the industry, Diana, a registered architect, has a wide-ranging portfolio of projects spanning public and private clients. In addition, she is a mother of four and an active member of her community.

Victoria Cerami served as Chief Executive Officer of Cerami & Associates, Inc., from August 1987 until June 2022. Cerami’s clients are world class developers, end users, architects, and consulting engineers in the built environment. As CEO, Victoria focused her time on building and cultivating client relationships, and guiding the staff to be technical experts and thought leaders that provide hands-on client and project management through firm-wide initiatives that are focused on mentorship, recruitment, and professional development.  Victoria is now pursuing roles in angel investment and founding her own social enterprise start up.

Paul Sanderson joined Epstein in 2008, bringing his experience in a wide range of project types from across the USA and Europe. He’s working to grow Epstein’s New York City office with contributions to the built environment that delight inhabitants and surpass client’s expectations. Sanderson is experienced in all phases of projects, from design through the preparation of construction documents and construction administration.

Danile DeBoo has 25 years of experience in planning, programming, and designing progressive educational spaces. She specializes in creating holistic environments for students and faculty. Based in New York, she leads a team of designers serving higher education clients in multiple states. DeBoo holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Architecture from Pratt Institute. She actively participates in professional organizations such as SCUP, AIA, and the Lean Construction Institute. DeBoo also promotes Lean principles as a former co-chair of the Lean Construction Institute NYC Chapter.

Melissa Marsh is Founder and Executive Director of PLASTARC, a social research, workplace innovation, and real estate strategy consultancy. Her work leverages the tools of social science and business strategy to help organizations make more data-driven and people-centric real estate decisions. Marsh combines quantitative and qualitative social science research with architectural expertise to shift the metrics associated with the workplace from square feet and inches to occupant satisfaction and performance. This holistic approach enables PLASTARC to recommend evidence-based interventions that make the built environment more people-centric and responsive, promoting both individual wellness and business success.

COVID-19 vaccinations and face masks are strongly encouraged for all visitors. Read our full Health and Safety Protocol here

Organized by
AIANY Social Science & Architecture Committee
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