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There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?


by Lilian Asperin-Clyman 


Each one of our Jurors has a story to tell about an experience that took them to that place just outside of his or her comfort zone.  That’s why they are perfect to collaborate as Jurors for the EQxD Hackathon. They share a passion for working on “firsts” and not being afraid to find the path (or the support network) to move from idea to realization.  Our selection of Jurors is diverse by design, thereby representing a collective and multivalent discussion informed by gender, cultural background, role in the AEC industry, and years of experience.

Obiekwe “Obi” Okolo: AIAS Vice President (2015), Musician, Designer, Millennial

The unique experience of living in Lagos, Nigeria during childhood shaped Obi’s perspective and passion for doing good for the world. To gain greater understanding about design, he studied at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA), where he received a degree in Interior Architecture.  Concurrent with his studies, Obi immersed himself within the community of fellow students and served as Chapter President of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) for two concurrent years.  It was during that time that his began working on aid-based design – a way to blend humanitarian efforts and entrepreneurship. When you get to know Obi better, you learn about his love for listening to and playing music.  So, of course, we have asked him to review our Hackathon playlist!  

“Now more than ever we must be conscious of the things we do and the way we do them. We can’t be afraid to ask challenging questions about the direction of Architecture. As our profession rapidly changes and evolves, it is crucial that we have leaders in place who are not afraid to ask those questions. Powerful women and men who don’t mind rocking the boat a bit if it means a brighter future for architecture and architecture students alike. That's how we achieve equity, ­ constant discomfort and self-reflection." – Obi Okolo


Curtis Rodgers: BASCS President, Hacker, Field Solutions Manager, Gen X

Curtis has assembled a series of experiences and educational background which culminates in what he does as a member of McCarthy Building Companies today.  As a student at Texas State University in San Marcos, he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Technology.  Curtis changed his direction with time in the field, originally as a Construction Engineer for Kiewit then moving to San Francisco to join PlanGrid’s Operations team.  With such a unique blend of skill sets and first-hand experience in construction, Curtis has been focusing on how to bring value through efficiency.  To achieve this, he crafted the differentiating role Field Solutions Manager with current employer, McCarthy Building Companies.  When he is not in problem-solving mode, he likes to shoot sporting clays or go mountain biking with his girlfriend.

“User interface design, enterprise technology, and robotics have matured to the point that many AEC challenges are now addressable. Those who understand both the problems that need to be solved and the technologies available will thrive, as they improve the quality of life and problem solving capacity of our incredibly hard working AEC community.” – Curtis Rodgers

Melinda Rosenberg: WRNS Studio Partner, Architect, Director of Human Resources, Boomer

Melinda has always been curious about understanding and shaping culture. She arrived at WRNS in 2005 and helped open their doors, ushering in the vibrant, creative, diverse and hard-working ethos that has helped WRNS become the nationally recognized design firm it is today.  WRNS is truly about its people, and Melinda has recruited and helped retain the best. Since day one, they’ve attracted an incredibly talented group of designers and professionals who are committed to good design, social and environmental stewardship and critical discourse.  With no shortage of parties and social outings, Melinda knows how to balance the culture of hard work with play.

“The opportunity to be involved in the work, growth and culture of WRNS since its launch has been hugely rewarding. We are a very different Studio than we were at year 1, when we started with 5 folks and have grown to 75.  “Building” a studio is not too different from what I enjoy most – being a tourist in my own city. The energy and staff in the Studio has always kept me driven to keep exploring, evolving and improving.  This is a great time for Architects and the Bay Area, I’m so proud to be a part of it.” –Melinda Rosenberg

EQxD Hackathon in ATLAIANTA!

From Silicon Valley to Atlanta, we are excited to bring this energizing, innovative and fun learning opportunity to AIA National Convention. What is a Hackathon? To find out, join us for this special pre-convention workshop on Wednesday 5/13 1-5pm WE310 Equity by Design: Knowledge, Discussion, Action! Full details and registration information available here.

Can't make it to the Hackathon? Join us for the recap, jury results, and networking at Studio No. 7 which is walking distance from the Georgia World Congress. 

If you are a student, emerging professional, or newly licensed architect, we have scholarships to WE310 EQxD Hackathon thanks to the generosity and support of our sponsors, Autodesk, McCarthy Building Companies and WRNS Studios. 

Read past blogs by Lilian Asperin-Clyman about the EQxD Hackathon experience:


Learning from Silicon Valley

Anatomy of the EQxD Hackathon

Meet the EQxD Hackathon Jurors!

Perfecting your Pitch!