Atlanta women gather for BWA Brunch


In the last year, I have organized two events for Black Women in Architecture in the DC area. This idea of gathering, sharing our stories, and supporting each other. The idea is being replicated by other women around the US. Below is a post about the Atlanta event held in October.

NOMAtlanta’s Women In Architecture Brunch

atl-bwa-table-setting By Stephanie R. Harris, Architect
October 31, 2016

NOMAtlanta’s Board Secretary Stephanie R. Harris (myself) hosted the first women’s brunch at Macgregor Associates Architects in Atlanta, with featured presenters Zena Howard and Devanne Pena.

The inspiration for the brunch came sometime ago when I met several of the Atlanta minority female architects at a going-away party. I was completely shocked that I had never met any of them prior and was amazed that there were 5 of us there at the table. Long after the party was over we were still chatting and decide we should do this again! Thus we have the brunch!
The event drew guest architects, interior designers and emerging professionals throughout the Atlanta area, in which they were able to networking and learn about optimizing their career growth.

While the ladies enjoyed a delicious catered brunch, Zena presented a passionate presentation on her architectural experience, which included the over 8 year span she spent working on the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She described her efforts on the design of the building and the thought process in which the building emulates the plight and the progress of African Americans. Her biggest lessoned learned from the project she told us was to “Focus on the work that you do with good people and with good client’s”.


One of the best moments for me occurred directly after Zena’s presentation, when all of the 18 ladies dressed in their daytime chic to perfection, gathered in the lobby of the Macgregor’s office to take group photo, the photo is truly breath-taking!

The event continued with a fantastic revealing career experience discussion with Devanne. She expressed to the group in length how challenging it was to get licensed but how wonderful it was to find out upon completing her registration that she was one of only three registered African American architects in the city of Austin. She offered up great study advice and techniques to the emerging ladies in attendance.

Open discussions followed next with the attending ladies speaking candidly about their current issues with licensure, mentorship and the search for work, to which many other ladies offered up their best advice from their past experiences. At this point so much was discussed that it showed how much more continued communication is needed to assure that each lady can reach their professional career goal desires.

The most important thing that I shared with ladies was, that we should never speak negatively about another minority woman, even if you don’t truly like the person. We only represent a very small percentage with the architecture profession and we must show solidarity amongst ourselves and give that other woman that professional courtesy, to which the group agreed.
Much more talking and networking carried on but we formally ended with a standing group toast to US!

One Response to “Atlanta women gather for BWA Brunch”

  1. this is great Katherine!

    Are you considering planning one to coincide with the AIA Womens Leadership Summit in September 2017 in DC?


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