WILA Interview Series: Advice

image: iStock © PeopleImages

image: iStock © PeopleImages

The Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN)’s focus for 2015-2016 is an interview series developed around being women landscape architects, life/work balance, and mentors. The WILA PPN’s co-chairs and officers developed a set of 17 questions, then sought out willing landscape architects and began the interview process. The following is an in-depth look at responses to the last group of interview questions, asking what general advice they have for new landscape architects and what specific suggestions they would have for their 25-year-old self.

The result: be focused, be fearless, be engaged, be connected. It will work out; build the relationships and put as much into those professional relationships as into the practice of the profession. We are not alone in our workplaces. Use those around you to help define and determine where you want to be and work to get there. Good advice for anyone.

Many of our respondents suggested that new landscape architects be active and decisive in pursuing interests related to work focus and content and to seek out mentors and be engaged in learning from them about specific needs and aspirations. While some suggested focusing on the aspects/areas of most interest in landscape architecture, others encourage a well-rounded, more broad-based approach to the field. Be sure to do your research before reaching out to respect the time of the mentors and get involved early in ASLA and other professional societies through writing or activities to build relationships and connections in your new career.

As advice to themselves at 25, most focused on a version of ‘Relax, it’s going to work out.’ Coming in second were variations on ‘Build your relationship network with as much focus as you put on work.’

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WILA Interview Series: Influences

image: Kristina Snyder

image: Kristina Snyder

The Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN)’s focus for 2015 is an interview series developed around being women landscape architects, life/work balance, and mentors. The WILA PPN leadership team developed 17 interview questions, and then found willing landscape architects to participate in the interview process. The following is an in-depth look at responses to the third group of interview questions, asking how respondents felt their gender influenced challenges in their work and/or informed their design work.

Many of our respondents indicated that they had experienced issues with being heard on the job (both at the construction site and in the conference room). Most respond to this challenge by making sure they had their own voice and standing up for their ideas. Several also indicated that they did not feel that gender played a role in their design work, attributing any influences in design (either approach or aesthetic) to personality instead. On the other hand, quite a few mentioned that a focus on collaboration and consensus building in their work was directly related to gender.

Each person’s experience is highly personal, but in sharing, discussing, and being open about our influences and experiences as a profession we become familiar with different ways of approaching similar situations in the future and ultimately push forward the best design for each project.

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WILA at the Annual Meeting in Denver

2014 WILA Walk route through Denver's Golden Triangle image: Connie Perry and Susan McCabe, the Denver WILA Walk organizers

2014 WILA Walk route through Denver’s Golden Triangle
image: Connie Perry and Susan McCabe, the Denver WILA Walk organizers

The ASLA Annual Meeting in Denver is just around the corner!  We can’t wait to see you!

This past year, WILA has focused on rolling out a women in landscape architecture interview series. The series will revolve around a series of questions developed by the WILA PPN’s leadership group, and the interview results will be posted here on The Field as an overview and in more detail in the upcoming year.

WILA events for this year’s Annual Meeting include speed-mentoring at the WILA PPN Meeting on Saturday, November 22 at 4:15 pm, the PPN Networking Reception on Friday, November 21, and of course the WILA Walk on Monday morning at 7 am. More information on all of these and several education sessions which might be of interest is listed below.

Hope to see you at one or all of these events!

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Women in Landscape Architecture: Preview of Annual Meeting Events

The WILA Walk at last year's Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. image: Emily M. O'Mahoney, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, BD&C

The Women in Landscape Architecture Walk at last year’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.
image: Emily M. O’Mahoney, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, BD&C

It’s that time of year again: the ASLA 2013 Annual Meeting & EXPO will be in Boston, MA next month! Check out ASLA’s The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Boston for some of the sites you might want to see while you’re in town. We hope it will encourage you to attend; there is a lot to see in Boston!

This year’s Women in Landscape Architecture PPN meeting will be held immediately following the Women in Landscape Architecture Walk around Boston Harbor on Monday, November 18. Those of you who cannot join us for the walk can meet us at 9:00am at Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, 346 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210. Our meeting will be a quick catch up face to face after the morning walk. If you have a particular subject you’d like to discuss, let us know and we’ll work it into our meeting.

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Want to help with the HALS Cultural Landscapes of Women Challenge?

MainImages_GoodnowHouse1958

Isaac Goodnow House – Manhattan, KS
image: Historic American Buildings Survey; Douglas McCleery, Photographer June 1958

First of all THANK YOU!  Your interest can really help focus national attention on the cultural landscapes of women this year.

Secondly, the HALS short form is easy! It’s neither as exhaustive nor as restrictive as other national historic preservation paperwork you may be familiar with. The National Park Service (NPS) has done a lot of the work for you. Just download and fill out the short form for your selected landscape. You’ll just need some information on the landscape.  If you’d like, include a plan drawing sketch (doesn’t have to be construction worthy, just a quick sketch) or rights free photos. They aren’t necessary – but both great excuses to get out to the site and exercise your hand drawing and photography skills.

Now the hard part: Selecting a Landscape for this Challenge! Where can I find a cultural landscape of or for women? We have listed below several general ideas to start your brainstorming process.

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Cornelia Hahn Oberlander receives ASLA Medal

Cornelia Oberlander, FASLA

Cornelia Oberlander, FASLA
image: ASLA

This year’s recipient of the ASLA Medal is Cornelia Hahn Oberlander a woman whose work in Canada and the United States has inspired many by incorporate nature and natural systems in to the built environment.   Read the rest of this entry »

HOW TO BALANCE LIFE AND WORK

Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus — New Academic Complex designed by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc., Phoenix

Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus — New Academic Complex designed by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc., Phoenix
image: ASLA

Balancing time at work with time at home is challenging especially when events in one or the other create additional stress.  The Women in Landscape Architecture PPN had an opportunity to chat with Susan Hatchell, FASLA, PLA, and current ASLA President, about a work/life balance issue last month in response to a request from a member for information on maternity leave policies in the landscape architecture industry.

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