The 2023 Women’s Leadership Summit in Boston served as an extraordinary platform, dedicated to elevating and honoring the remarkable accomplishments of women in architecture, engineering, construction, and design. This year’s summit held special significance, marking a heartfelt celebration of the event’s founders and paying homage to the enduring legacy of the late Sho-Ping Chin, FAIA.
As the inaugural recipient of the Sho-Ping Chin scholarship in 2016, my attendance at the summit felt like a journey coming full circle. It afforded me the unique opportunity to delve deeper into Sho-Ping’s profound contributions and the extensive impact she left on the broader architectural community. Moreover, it allowed me to connect with the circle of resilient and visionary female trailblazers who shared her vision and mission. Their stories and achievements served as a testament to the significant progress women have made in traditionally male-dominated fields, underlining the indomitable power of resilience and determination.
Throughout the summit, I found myself frequently humbled and deeply moved to be among so many women united by a common purpose – to support and assist one another, to teach and learn from each other, and to inspire and be inspired by each other. A few key takeaways emerged from this experience:
The resounding message was that intentional acts make change. To bring about transformation, it is imperative for women to advocate for themselves and actively seek opportunities for growth. In doing so, they not only empower themselves but also set a powerful example for others and inspire generations that follow.
The clarion call to ask who is not at the table emphasized the critical importance of representation. Diverse perspectives lie at the heart of more inclusive design. A profession enriched with diversity is better equipped to identify and rectify discriminatory practices and biases that may linger within the field. Achieving greater representation not only makes the architecture profession more accessible and responsive to societal needs but also encourages future architects to pursue their dreams, regardless of their backgrounds.
The imperative to be contagious was a strong call to lead by example through mentorship. Intentional acts extend to nurturing and mentoring fellow women in the field. By actively extending a helping hand and guiding their peers, women in design can cultivate a nurturing ecosystem conducive to growth and triumph. The stories of resilient women who had surmounted obstacles and adversities were profoundly motivating, reminding us that no aspiration is too lofty, and that with unyielding determination, support, and a robust network, anything is attainable.
Life is short but it is wide was a motivating reminder that not everyone’s journey is a straight line, and the path to success maybe winding. It encourages embracing the twists and turns in one’s path, facing challenges with resilience, and progressing, knowing that personal growth and positive change come from these experiences.
The Women’s Leadership Summit underscored the invaluable lessons of perseverance, mentorship, and the unassailable power of a united community of women. In honoring Sho-Ping Chin and the other founders this year, the summit emphasized the significance of acknowledging and celebrating the women architects who have paved the way for future generations. Their leadership and dedication stand as a poignant reminder that progress is achievable and that emerging professionals possess the potential to shape a more equitable and inclusive future for the architectural profession. I remain profoundly grateful for the Sho-Ping Chin scholarship, which not only enabled my participation at the WLS this year, but also connected me to Sho-Ping’s world at Payette and beyond.