Tuesday / August 17, 2021 / 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Intentional Change: Women in Architecture and How the Industry Can Be More Supportive


Perceptions regarding gender, gender roles, and gender identity have shaped the practice of architecture in ways that have resulted in bias, discrimination, and policies with negative outcomes for women — and the industry as a whole. 

In this Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee-led panel discussion, our panelists will explore how these issues have impacted them, share their strategies for how to overcome them, and offer suggestions to promote change.  

Register for the Zoom Webinar here. 



  • EDI Committee host: Roderic Walton, AIA, NCARB, NOMA, Moody Nolan
  • Moderator Sheila F. Cahnman, FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP: For over 39 years, Sheila has devoted her career to planning innovation, designing healthcare facilities for over 60 medical centers world-wide. She was previously Managing Principal of HLM Design, Healthcare Practice Leader for HOK Chicago, and National Healthcare Leader for AECOM. In 2014, Sheila founded JumpGarden Consulting, a WBE-certified practice, that specializes in healthcare facility planning and programming and has teamed with over 30 architecture and consulting firms to date. She is a prolific writer and lecturer on healthcare design and has taught at six universities. Sheila is an AIA Fellow, Fellow and Board Regent for the American College of Healthcare Architects, and a former President of Chicago Women in Architecture. 
  • Celestia Carson, AIA, LEED AP: Celestia is a Principal at VCBO Architecture in Salt Lake City, Utah. She specializes in architecture that enhances life: education, recreation, and healthcare facilities. She is particularly committed to higher education and has worked on numerous campuses in the State of Utah. Outside of the office, Celestia serves as the president and founder of the local organization Women in Architecture, SLC; a group committed to bolstering the number of women in the field of architecture through advocacy, mentorship, and community. Additionally, she is currently Chair of the Utah State Licensing Board and serves as the Chair for the NCARB Diversity Collaborative Taskforce. 
  • Pallavi Puranik, AIA, LEED GA, WELL AP: Pallavi is a licensed Project Architect at CGS in the District of Columbia with 12 years of experience in architecture and planning with a focus on education projects, mainly K-12. She also has experience in commercial interiors and senior living. Pallavi is passionate about creating sustainable buildings that have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of occupants. She is interested in practice-based research and applying lessons learned to create better environments for occupants of the buildings she designs. Pallavi is also interested in research about how we do our best work and using that to push the architecture practice to be more flexible and inclusive for all types of employees.  
  • Rada Doytcheva, PhD, FAIA, MBA, LEED AP: Rada is Founding Principal and Head of Design at RADA Architects in Chicago. She leads the firm on a mission of creating "Better Lives, by Design," translating to doing what is right, socially responsible, and sustainable. Rada's architectural work is known for innovative concepts in civic/public, higher education, healthcare, and workplace environments. Her life journey has given her the opportunity to be an "international" architect with work spanning over Europe, North America, and Asia. Recognized as one of the Crain's 2020 and 2021 Notable Women in Construction and Design, Rada is a known advocate for empowerment of women and minority architects. 

Register for the Zoom Webinar here. 

Hosted By

AIA Chicago's EDI Committee

Learning Units

1.5 LU

Member Price


Non Member Price