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Senior women giving each other a high five
4/2/24, 6:30pm - 8pm
Center for Architecture
1.5 LU / 1.5 HSW

The number of women in the professions of AEC and real-estate development has been growing. What strengths can women’s perspectives bring to these fields? If we look more specifically at professions focusing on design for aging, do women bring a level of interest and care to the topic that helps improve the quality of life for an aging population?

This panel gathers perspectives from women in design, real-estate development, and resident services to focus on industries surrounding senior living and care environments. We hope to understand more about how women’s life experiences may have contributed to their choice of profession and how they practice—whether it be project management, the design process, ownership, or operations—to provide better living environments for their clients.

Join us to learn future design and service trends and strategies for incorporating universal design and inclusive design in your work. Attendees will discover their own strengths and gain a deeper understanding about what it means to positively impact design for aging. All are encouraged to find opportunities for making New York City a better city for aging in place.

Darcy Connors, Executive Director, SAGEServes
Valerie A. Mutterperl, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Perkins Eastman
Gail Ressler, Owner, Gail Ressler Interior Design
Susan H. Wright, RA, CPHC, LEED AP, VP for Design and Construction, Selfhelp Realty Group

Chia-Yi Huang, AIA, LEED AP,
Member, AIANY Design for Aging Committee

About the Speakers:
Darcy Connors is the Executive Director of SAGEServes, where she leads SAGE’s flagship community services and resident services programs including care management, LGBTQ-friendly housing, behavioral health, outreach programs, and SAGE Center programming. Prior to joining SAGE, Connors was an innovative and compassionate Nursing Home Administrator. In that capacity, she created ground-breaking recovery and value-based models focused on patient experience and satisfaction in their post-acute care. She opened the first new Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility in Central Florida from blueprints to full occupancy. She was recognized as a 2016 Florida Leader by the Florida Health Care Association for her contributions to Florida’s long-term care industry. Connors holds an MHSA from the University of Central Florida with a focus on elder care and a Bachelor of Science with dual majors in Political Science and History from Florida State University.

Valerie Mutterperl is a Principal at Perkins Eastman. Since joining Perkins Eastman, Mutterperl has been involved in a variety of projects across the spectrum of senior design including affordable housing, nursing, assisted living, and independent living, either as stand-alone projects or as part of a Life Plan community. The projects have ranged in their phases of design and construction including feasibility studies, new construction, and addition/renovation. She is particularly drawn to projects where the design is in direct support of the client mission and the end user’s needs. Coupled with her passion for design, Mutterperl has a keen interest in sustainability and the built environment. She seeks to create high quality projects that are good neighbors, healthy buildings, and do not harm the environment.

Gail Ressler is the founder and owner of Gail Ressler Interior Design (grID), a Brooklyn-based, full-service interior design consultancy founded in 2003. Specializing in “Design for Well­-Being,” she integrates Universal Design principles into residential, community­-based, and healthcare interiors. She has been a guest speaker at the Aging in America Conference, The New York Public Library, The New School for Design, and Pratt Institute. Before founding grID, she designed corporate and healthcare interiors for major architecture and interior design firms in New York, London, and Singapore. Ressler served in volunteer leadership positions with the NY Chapter of Architecture for Humanity, serving as Director of Outreach and Advocacy and Team Leader for the chapter’s participation in the Biloxi Rebuild project. Currently, Gail is a member of the AIANY Design for Aging Committee, where she co-led the Amsterdam Houses project team and participated in the “Booming Boroughs” design charrette.

Susan H. Wright is the VP for Design and Construction at Selfhelp Realty Group (SRG), the development arm of non-profit social services provider Selfhelp Community Services. Wright oversees new construction and rehabilitation of Selfhelp’s housing and community facility portfolio which consists of seventeen residential buildings with 1500+ affordable housing rentals for seniors. On-site social services are provided to residents and amenity spaces are programmed to promote social cohesion and reduce isolation. Wright worked for over 30 years in private practice as an architect prior to joining Selfhelp in 2020. Throughout her career she has been active in advocacy and volunteer efforts. She recently completed qualifications as a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) and looks forward to the planned renovation of one of Selfhelp’s oldest and largest residences to meet Passive House certification, an enhancement that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vastly improve resident comfort.

Chia-Yi Huang has been an active member of the AIANY Design for Aging Committee for several years. In 2017, she spearheaded the Committee’s initiative to create a multilingual version of the Aging In Place Guide for Building Owners that was created for the NYC Department for the Aging in 2016. She expanded the reach of the Guide so that it can benefit more New Yorkers. She also reached out to design advocates and practitioners in other countries, connecting the Committee’s efforts to experts involved in initiatives in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines and Japan. Huang served as a panelist of AIA+ARCHITECT session: Global Approaches to Age Friendly Design in AIA Conference on Architecture. She also joined Bodies Intersect Buildings, a School of Apocalypse working group that explores the ways in which architecture and built environment shape our physical, social and emotional bodies and behaviors.

Organized by
AIANY Design for Aging Committee; AIANY Women in Architecture Committee
Senior women giving each other a high five
4/2/24, 6:30pm - 8pm
Center for Architecture
Group 6 Created with Sketch.


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