Women In Architecture Silicon Valley


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2019 WIA Events

The WIA (Women in Architecture) is a subcommittee of the AIA Silicon Valley. Founded in 2015, the committee’s focus is on expanding equity, equality, and diversity in the profession of architecture. The WIA offers programs which empower and support women as they establish their professional identities, develop their career paths, and find their leadership direction. Gender serves as a gateway topic to addressing experiences of diversity - allowing a flexible and expansive focus on topics. These are addressed through our events as the committee members and event guests navigate their intersectional identities and the challenges of living and working in a complex socio-historic context, a dynamic economic and technological region, and a turbulent political climate.

The WIA is pleased to announce the 2019 events theme: Advocacy. The events will address topics in advocacy scaling from self-advocacy to advocacy for others and advocacy for the community. As the year progresses, conversations will explore how articulating experience and goals can impact individuals both professionally and personally. The ultimate goal of this year’s events is to promote a more diverse and equitable field by enhancing communication and empathy.

Join us at the events listed below to explore more about advocacy! Both members and non-members are welcome.

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Voices at the Top: Built to Last

  • Fergus Garber Young Architects 81 Encina Ave Palo Alto, CA 94301 (map)

Voices at the Top: Built to Last

We are witnessing the fast pace at which companies are changing, and in architecture, we have to rise to embrace this dynamic. We need to search for new ways to elevate the practice by transforming leaders. The architectural practice is becoming more diverse. In this diversity, we have found ourselves as leaders in an industry that is lagging behind in the way we run the business of architecture.

We are not sharing three stories, it is one story of how we met and discovered how much stronger we are together. We met at the intersection of Women in Architecture, when we were all mid-career in our profession. Three years later we find ourselves not alone in search of an anchor network to sustain our leadership path. This session will explore ways to build an anchor network for transformative and diverse leaders.

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
- African proverb of unknown specific origin


 About the Presenters:


Katia McClain, AIA, DBIA, LEED AP BD+C

Over the past two decades, Katia McClain has been involved in the design, management and construction of complex architectural programs for both public and private educational and commercial clients. In addition to her experience studying and working in the cultural capitals of Latin America and Europe, here in the United States, Katia has developed an expertise in leading large educational projects. She encourages an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and collaboration in order to create spaces that have a positive effect on human outcomes.


Mariana Alvarez Parga, AIA, LEED AP

As a Principal and Partner at MADI Group Inc, Mariana brings over nineteen years of architectural experience, from design to occupancy. She is based in the San Jose office where she oversees the firm's architecture department.
Her experience and focus on work environment and firm culture has contributed to the firm’s rapid growth and expanded portfolio

Mani professional portrait 2015 (inside).jpg

Mani Ardalan Farhadi, Associate AIA, LEED AP

A global thinker and creative thought leader, Mani Ardalan Farhadi’s experience spans three decades. Currently, as Senior Facilities Planner at Stanford University, School of Medicine, OFPM (Office of Facilities Planning and management), Mani enjoys combining her passion for education, with her extensive planning skills. Having collaborated with public and private institutions, she is integral to campus projects. Mani’s leadership extends into volunteer duties: former Board of Trustee (Los Gatos Union School District), and Chair of Bond Oversight Committee, receiving ‘Citizen Architect’ award. Her professional degree was obtained from Boston Architectural College (B.Arch), following her degree from Wellesley College (B.A. Architecture). Her speaking engagements include presentations at SCUP, EQXD, AIA, CCFC, CCLC, A4LE, SF Design Week and SPUR. 




  • Identify techniques to define your leadership style.

  • Explore the strength of individuality.

  • Create an internal mechanism for realizing potential.

  • Organize support to achieve a leadership network.

  • Emphasize the need for a network to then sustain your leadership growth.