September 18, 2023
Epstein’s Laura Rebbe, associate director of architecture, had the opportunity to attend the 2023 American Institute of Architects Women’s Leadership Summit (WLS) in Boston, Massachusetts Sept 13 & 14. This event was founded 2009 with a small group of around 100 women in the field of architecture, and has swelled to 900 participants and a waiting list capped at 250!
The Summit supports and empowers women on their leadership journeys and breaks down the barriers that get in their way. Keynote speakers addressed equity in design and in the workplace, and featured two boundary-breaking designers: Aurora James, founder of luxury fashion brand Brother Vellies and the impactful Fifteen Percent Pledge; and Melodie Yashar, vice president of design and performance at ICON, a construction technology company focused on large-scale additive manufacturing for Earth in space. Yes, you read that right, IN SPACE! ICON is developing techniques for constructing habitats on Mars and on the Moon, with applications for sustainable affordable housing right here on Earth.
The real power of this summit, however, is the networking opportunity. Laura connected with women practicing around the globe, from Boston to Singapore, and in all levels of the profession (from intern to CEO), and in various aspects of the built community (architects, engineers and even manufacturing representatives). She also had the opportunity to have breakfast with Emily Grandstaff-Rice, 2023 AIA president.
On that note, the AIA achieved a milestone recently, with women elected as the 2023, 2024, and 2025 AIA presidents! In addition, the current presidents of the AIA, the American Planning Association (APA), the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), and the Construction Management Association of America are all women.
Mark your calendars. The WLS will be in Chicago in 2024!