“Leadership can happen in different forms: one is to inspire the people around you and another is to take initiative on things that matter to you,” said KSS Principal, Mayva Donnon, to the eager and impassioned women of University of Pennsylvania’s PennDesign Women In Architecture. The aspiring future architects gathered in our Philadelphia office to learn more about KSS as a majority women-owned firm and to find out what it takes for women to become leaders in a male-dominated industry. KSS Partner Merilee Meacock could tell these women are going places as soon as they walked in the room. Mayva, along with KSS’ Juliet Geldi and Christina Marconi, were equally impressed, and were eager for the opportunity to speak with and help educate the PWIA members.
After a short presentation, the guests all raised their hands for a Q&A session asking questions about what it’s like to be a woman in architecture and how to become a true leader in the industry. “Know your information,” said Merilee, “and know your priorities,” advising the girls to get into a habit of asking themselves “what are the top 4 things I can do today to make a difference in the firm, and to better my life.”
Christina emphasized the importance of authenticity and honesty, answering questions for yourself before anyone else, and knowing you’re investing your time in something that’s going somewhere. “Try something and invest the time and take ownership of it,” she said. After the Q&A, the PWIA members took a tour around the office led by Juliet who informed them of the day-to-day operations of KSS and the firm’s key differentiators.
We’d like to thank the promising members of the PWIA for participating in such an engaging discussion. It was so wonderful to meet all of the young women and we can’t wait to see what their futures have in store.