Women’s History Month: Building on the Past, Planning for the Future

by Lara Moffat, ASLA

WILA PPN leaders and representatives from ASLA’s Gender Equity Task Force at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture. Left to right: Lara Moffat, ASLA, Kristina Snyder, ASLA, Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA, Joy Kuebler, ASLA, Ebru Ozer, ASLA, Wendy Miller, FASLA, Laurie Hall, ASLA, Su Wanqin, ASLA. / image: courtesy of Lara Moffat

As we kick off Women’s History Month, the Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN) is pleased to share what we have been up to, which is building on the past and planning for the future! We will continue the conversations from our participation at the ASLA 2022 Conference on Landscape Architecture and bring those into focus with a theme in 2023 of health: mental, physical, and social.

Our first event for the year occurred last month with a virtual open forum where we recapped the highlights from San Francisco: we shared takeaways from the Deep Dive on Cultivating Conversations: An Open Dialogue to Effect Change in Organizational Culture; reviewed the discussion with the ASLA’s Gender Equity Task Force during our WILA PPN Campfire Session; and outlined our initiatives for 2023.

A Look Back at San Francisco

On Saturday of the conference, we were fortunate to have had a Deep Dive presentation selected on Cultivating Conversations: An Open Dialogue to Effect Change in Organizational Culture. Resulting from the 2021 WILA PPN Campfire Session, From Mentorship to Sponsorship: Friendship is the Key!, exploring how professional relationships contribute to a flourishing career, we developed this session based on the findings and requests of the 55 attendees.

Deep Dive presenters Ebru Ozer, ASLA, Kene Okigbo, ASLA, Emily Henry, ASLA, April Philips, FASLA, and Lara Moffat, ASLA / image: courtesy of Lara Moffat

Led by Lara Moffat, ASLA, WILA PPN Chair, the session commenced with introductory statements and moderated questions from the diverse panel of an educator, Ebru Ozer, ASLA; emerging professional, Kene Okigbo, ASLA; experienced practitioner, Emily Henry, ASLA; and emeritus April Philips, FASLA.

image: Lara Moffat

Afterwards, we transitioned into guided roundtables to ensure that all perspectives were given a voice on topics from current office needs in Equity, Work-Life Fit, and Resources. Additionally, these roundtables helped determine how the session developed and provided talking points for the participants to take away and build upon. The takeaways from this deep dive centered on work-life fit, mentorship/allyship, and having more forums to share resources. Click here for the session guide.

On Sunday, the PPN Campfire Session, titled Women in Landscape Architecture: A Discussion of Experience, Equity, and Needed Resources, was a joint panel of the WILA PPN and ASLA’s Gender Equity Task Force. After a brief introduction of the task force, we opened the floor to discuss what is impacting women in the profession. Additionally, a notepad was circulated with the broad question of, “What support do you need, and what can we help provide?” We had students to emeritus in attendance; thus the comments were varied though centered on: Mentorship, Career Growth and Work Life Fit; Career Re-entry; Gender, Age, and Life Stage Equity; Emerging Professionals Goals and Licensure; Nontraditional and International Students; Community; and Resources.

The Women in Landscape Architecture PPN event in Practice Basecamp. / image: Alexandra Hay

If you are interested in learning more about the Gender Equity Task Force, the first webinar in their speaker series is taking place next week on Thursday, March 9, 2023: Closing the Gender Equity Gap, Advocacy in the Workplace is free to attend for ASLA members. Learn how to be an advocate for yourself and for larger, impactful changes to office culture and employee benefits. Hear firsthand experiences from practitioners who are making changes in their companies through employee-driven initiatives and setting off on their own.

image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography

On Monday, continuing a tradition that began at the 2009 ASLA conference in Chicago when Angela Dye, FASLA, was ASLA President, this past year’s ASLA Northern California Chapter’s WILA Walk explored the SOMA district, including the East Cut neighborhood, San Francisco’s new Downtown, and the Yerba Buena District, the original cultural and civic institutional hub of SOMA.

Attendees visited and discussed an energetic mix of sleek residential and commercial high rises, repurposed live-work historic buildings, small businesses, corporate headquarters, new streetscapes, and public green spaces as well as reviewed a revitalization plan for the original cultural hub. The route, which you can check out through the Google map on the walk webpage, highlights urban spaces, streetscapes, public art, architecture, and master plans that were planned, designed by, and/or influenced by women.

image: Andrea Gaffney, ASLA
image: Andrea Gaffney, ASLA
image: Andrea Gaffney, ASLA
image: Andrea Gaffney, ASLA
image: Andrea Gaffney, ASLA
image: Andrea Gaffney, ASLA

Another highlight from the conference was a chance to see some of our PPN leadership recognized. For the last three years, we have recommended one of our own for the WxLA Scholarship and we now have four in our midst: Su (Wanqin) Su, Sahar Teymouri, Patricia Matamoros, and Tristan Fields, with Su being the most recent. Additionally, Kristina E. Snyder, one of our past Co-Chairs, was recognized as an ASLA Outstanding Service Award winner. Congratulations to Su and Kristina!

Kristina Snyder, ASLA, receiving an Outstanding Service Award from Eugenia Martin, FASLA, Immediate Past President of ASLA. / image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography

Learning from all these fantastic events, the WILA PPN is using these to inform our 2023 initiatives and we have submitted another Deep Dive submission for this coming conference in Minneapolis. Stay tuned!

For 2023, we plan on more open forums, aiding in spreading the work of female landscape architectural professions across the US, further discussions with the Equity Task Force, promoting WILA at chapter events, and of course planning for the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture’s annual WILA Walk and PPN Campfire Session.

Interested in learning more about ASLA’s Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN)?

Or, not sure if you’re already a member? You can check by logging in to the ASLA website and seeing what’s listed for your PPN(s), located under the Activities / Orders tab. If you are not currently in any PPN, or would like to switch PPNs, you may do so by completing this form.

If you are new to the WILA PPN, we encourage you to explore our webpage, join our Facebook and / or LinkedIn groups, and read through our most recent posts for The Field. A reminder for any writers or aspiring thought leaders out there: all ASLA members are welcome to write for The Field—submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

If you would like to be more involved with the WILA PPN on an ongoing basis, any member of the PPN may volunteer to join the PPN’s leadership team. The commitment would be a monthly Zoom meeting with like-minded professionals and volunteering to support one of the PPN’s resources. Learn more and sign up to be a PPN leader.

Lara Moffat, ASLA, is ASLA’s Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) PPN Co-Chair/Chair for 2020-2023 and a past president of the Texas Chapter.

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