New York — The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) held its fifth annual Leadership Awards Gala honoring six firms and seven individuals on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at the Prince George Ballroom in New York City. Over 300 leading professionals in the building industry attended the Gala which raised nearly $300,000, a new record for the fifth annual event. This specially curated experience celebrated firms and individuals supporting, promoting and retaining female talent in the design and construction field.

Attendees heard an introduction by Executive Director of BWAF Cynthia Kracauer, followed by Chair of the Board of Trustees at BWAF and Director at Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Julia Murphy. After recognizing the legacy sponsor, Brookfield Properties, and transformational sponsors, ASM Mechanical, FXCollaborative Architects LLP, John Civetta & Sons, Inc., KPF, SOM and Thonton Tomasetti, Inc., Murphy introduced the Gala Co-Chairs and evening’s master of ceremonies, Fiona Cousins, PE, FCIBSE, Arup Fellow at Arup, and Jill N. Lerner, FAIA, Principal at KPF. Cousins and Lerner presented the following six awards:

Keystone Award: Sabrina Kanner, Executive Vice President, Design & Construction, Brookfield Properties, is an executive leader who has increased women’s impact, representation, and effectiveness at top management levels in the building industry. Kanner is renowned in the industry – known for her strategic vision, and for the quality of the work at Brookfield and the professionalism of her teams. Kanner was an early supporter and speaker in the BWAF Emerging Leaders’ program and has helped BWAF to reach out to other women at the highest levels of their professions.  She is truly committed to the goals and ideals of BWAF, and to the advancement and recognition of women in design, development, engineering and construction.

Foundation Award: Building Energy Exchange was honored for their Women in Sustainability and Energy (WISE) series, for expanding opportunities and for influencing the careers of women in the building industry. Building Energy Exchange has a mission to reduce the energy use and carbon footprint of buildings through research, partnerships and demonstration. They have gone the extra mile to specifically recognize women in the energy and buildings industry through their WISE series initiated by Ashley Verhines and supported by Talia Kula and Helen Chananie. The program is designed to celebrate women’s technical knowledge and skill.  Vicki Kuo, Director of Energy Efficiency and Demand Management at Con Edison and Board Member of Building Energy Exchange accepted the award.

Tribune Award: Zhanina Boyadshieva and Juliet Chun were recognized for their GirlUninterrupted project, as younger industry leaders that demonstrate active work to increase recognition of women and improve gender equalities in the building industry. The Girl UNinterrupted project seeks to bridge the gap between young female designers and leaders in the architecture field. Similar to BWAF, their work relies on research and networking in a three-step approach: data gathering from young professionals, network building through conversation with seasoned professionals and the publication of a user guide.

Scroll Award: Ned Cramer Editor-In-Chief, Architect Magazine and Editorial Vice President at Hanley Wood was recognized for his excellent coverage of women in the design and construction industry.  Cramer was recognized for his recent posts around gender and racial equity in the profession, sparked in part by the #metoo movement.

Pillar Award: Sylvia Smith FAIA, LEED AP, Senior Partner, FXCollaborative was honored for her leadership and mentorship in the profession and her work to increase recognition of women’s work and opportunities for women. Smith was the first woman partner at her firm where there are now 5 women principals in architecture, out of 17 total. Smith is an active Board Member of AIA and the Design Trust for Public Space. She was instrumental in the FXCollaborative’s women’s initiative to improve the culture for women in the firm.

Oculus Award: Frances Bronet, President, Pratt Institute was recognized for her academic support in the history, role and education of women in architecture and engineering. Bronet was the first women to hold the role of President at Pratt Institute and is rare among presidents in that she is an architectural educator.

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