If you’re familiar with Build Yourself, you know that we’re a community of women in design careers looking to unleash our potential to excel in our careers.

So today I want to let you in on what the great women of Build Yourself are doing.

I want to introduce you to a few women in design who, since working with me, have created amazing opportunities for themselves and reached significant career goals.

These women are ambitious go-getters who are using their unique voices to advance their careers and make an impact on their local communities.

Bianca Koenig

Bianca Koenig, Director of Landscape Architecture at Wallace Group, is the first woman to hold that role in the history of the department. She stepped into the leadership role with the support of Build Yourself coaching. She’s not only secured significant projects for the firm’s landscape architecture practice, but also led the firm’s leadership team through the study and practice Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead ⁠skill sets which help people take on “fear, feelings, and courage” in their leadership practice.

Cali Pfaff

Landscape architect Cali Pfaff has just launched her own design firm, Studio Campo, focused on plant-driven design.

Kristin Kelsey

Kristin Kelsey just joined Signal Architecture as an Interior Architect and Operations Manager where she will strengthen the firm’s capacities in designing beautiful human-centered interiors and their operational systems. And she’ll be kicking off the work with a railway museum and a strategic visioning workshop. This is a position she landed while in Build Yourself’s Next Level Program.

Sreoshy Banerjea

Sreoshy Banerjea is developing a Creative RFP toolkit on more effectively responding to design RFPs that she will give to the architecture, planning, and urban design community. Through this course, Sreoshy will be helping architects and urban planners more effectively communicate and align their value to the non-designers client’s who read their RFPs, and use storytelling to amplify their RFP response.

Irene Boland Nielson

Irene Boland Nielson, City Strategist at the American Cities Challenge which is a program of the Natural Resource Defense Council, is helping six mid-sized cities across the US achieve their carbon reduction goals. While these cities don’t have large budgets to face the climate crisis, their size and scale does reflect a majority of American cities, and they therefore can provide a widely applicable roadmap of how other cities can reduce their carbon emissions.

Ivette Batista

Ivette Batista, an architect and Associate in at Stantec New Haven, is rocking the boat at her local women’s leadership initiative group⁠ – Women at Stantec. Upon reading the planned events for the year, Ivette noticed it was limited to volunteering and charity events solely, a typical “female role”. So, Ivette specifically asked her group: How can we transition from the historic stereotype of “women do charity and men do business” towards: “women and men do business” and also “women and men do charity?”   

Sarai Williams

Sarai Williams, a landscape architectural designer at OLIN, has been tapped to facilitate the development and execution of the Penn Abroad Global Engagement Internship into a permanent feature of the Weitzman School of Design. The program would bring students to Nicaragua, Botswana, and South Africa to use human-centered design and participatory design to address issues like generational poverty, clean water, and housing.

Amanda Loper

Amanda Loper, Principal at David Baker Architects’ Birmingham office and the first of the firm to extend its brand of high quality urban and affordable housing to the Southeast, will be designing all the service buildings for CityWALK Bham, Birmingham’s new one-mile park to be constructed under a freeway in downtown Birmingham.

These are just a few of the examples I could share about women in design careers who are making an impact.

Are you ready to get the meaningful, powerful, and creative career you’ve always dreamed of?

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Hi I'm Mia

Mia Scharphie , career coach, headshot

I’m a career coach and strategist with a secret power (I mean, past career) as a designer. I love road trips, graphic novels and helping people like you design the career you love on your own terms.

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