2019 Women's Leadership Summit: Reframe, Rethink, Refresh


AIA National with AIA Minnesota

AIA Women's Leadership Summit (WLS) is one of the only gatherings where women architects and designers are surrounded by other women in a professional setting. That creates a candid, comfortable environment where women can contribute unique perspectives and facilitate conversations about challenges within the industry: Gaining respect on a construction site, negotiating, managing remote teams, getting promoted, and many others.

The first WLS began as a grassroots effort to bring together women principals of architecture firms, women in leadership positions, and women architects moving into leadership roles across the country for a‌n intense two-day summit focusing on leadership and design. Today, the summit spans a diverse spread of career stages and seeks to support all women in the profession.

Summit goals:

  • raise the profile of women in the profession
  • explore new paths to leadership
  • create a learning environment that supports the needs of multiple career stages in one event
  • provide a space for women architects to learn from one another


Thursday, September 12, 2019

10am–3:45pm Pre-summit check-in

11am–5:30pm Pre-summit tours (optional)

6:30–8pm Welcome reception

8pm Dinner on your own

Friday, September 13, 2017

6am–7am Wellness sessions/ Active learning options (optional)

5:30am–6pm Summit check-in

7:30–8:45am Networking breakfast

9:00–11:45am Welcome + opening general session: REFRAME.

12:00–1pm Lunch

1:00–3:15pm Interactive workshops and education sessions: RETHINK

3:30–5:00pm Day 1 closing general session: RE-ENVISION

5:30–7pm Firm Happy Hours

7:30pm Dine arounds

Select from a curated list of dining options all within walking distance of firm happy hours.

Saturday, September 14, 2017

6–7am Wellness sessions/ Active learning options (optional)

7:30–8:45am Networking breakfast

9:00–11:45am Day 2 opening general session: RECLAIM.

10:00am–12:30pm Interactive workshops and education sessions: REALIGN.

12:45–2:00pm Lunch + closing general session: REGROUP.

Optional post-summit events

2:00–3:00pm Mimosas and music: a post-event champagne toast and unwind.

3:00-6:00pm Post-summit tours


Registration will open in late April.

Firms who wish to send their staff and also provide unique support for the event should consider the newly launched luminary program >


On the main stage

Debbie Millman

Master of Ceremony

Named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, and “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Debbie Millman is also an author, educator, curator and host of the podcast Design Matters.

Design Matters is about how some of the world’s most creative people design the arc of their lives, and Debbie has interviewed guests including Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell, Marina Abramovic, Steven Pinker, Shepard Fairey, Laurie Anderson, Barbara Kruger, Amanda Palmer, Alain de Botton, Brene Brown, Hamilton Director Thomas Kail, and many, many more.

Priya Parker


Priya Parker’s bold approach to gatherings redefines the ways people connect, learn, and develop relationships. The founder of boutique advisory firm Thrive Labs, she helps activists, elected officials, corporate executives, educators, and philanthropists create transformative, unforgettable gatherings that allow them to step back from their daily routine, rediscover their motivations, and develop strategies for innovation.

Toshiko Mori, FAIA


Toshiko Mori, FAIA is the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where she was chair of the Department of Architecture from 2002 to 2008, and the principal of Toshiko Mori Architect PLLC.

Her firm’s recent work includes master plans for the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch and the Buffalo Botanical Gardens; Thread, a cultural center and artists’ residences in Senegal; and Fass School and Teachers’ Residence in Senegal. Their design for the Brown University Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs opens this spring. Their projects have been internationally exhibited, including at the 2012, 2014 and 2018 Venice Architecture Biennales, the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial and the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen. Architectural Digest listed her amongst their biennial AD100 in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. She recently received the 2018 Maine in America Award and the 2019 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, and will receive the OMI Arts Leadership Award in 2019.

More speakers to be announced.


Thank you to the 2019 supporters of the Women's Leadership Summit. Your commitment to investing in diverse leadership is invaluable.

Platinum sponsors:


Wold Architects and Engineers

Gold sponsors:


RSP Architects


Silver sponsors:

Cuningham Group

Bronze sponsors:

Andersen Corporation


Firm luminaries:

Cannon Design

Become a university or firm luminary >

Illuminate equity in your workplace or university. Send your employees to WLS for an inspiring and educational experience that translates to the success of firms, universities, and the industry as a whole.

Become a corporate sponsor >

As more women pursue careers in architecture and design, their contributions shape the future of the industry. Join AIA as we support experienced and emerging women leaders.

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