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October 2, 2023
HED Celebrates Graduates of the Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation Inaugural Ladders to Leadership Program
The Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation (CWAF) has recently celebrated the graduation of its inaugural Ladders to Leadership Program, a unique six-month intensive educational series for up-and-coming female leaders in the architecture industry.

Designed for mid-career, licensed women architects on the path to becoming equity owners, principals and C-suite leaders, 15-women were selected in January 2023, to participate in the program at no cost to them through a discerning application process. The program is underwritten by sponsors including The Driehaus Foundation, the Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and individual CWAF board members. Twelve day-long sessions featured senior level executive guest speakers of architecture practices and architecture firm-adjacent businesses such as law firms, accounting firms, banks, insurance, and public relations firms on the topics of business development, negotiations, financial health assessments, risk management, operations structures, HR practices, and evaluating performance, and ownership and shareholder structures. HED was uniquely privileged to have two team members applications accepted to the program this year: Chauncey Kingsbury and Catherine Van Leer.

Chauncey Kingsbury, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is the Workplace Sector Operations Leader of HED’s Chicago office. She leads complex multi-disciplinary project teams through project development and has extensive experience in construction administration. She is known for her ability to effectively translate this knowledge and owners’ needs and expectations into prompt and cost-effective solutions. “The insight shared by the thought leaders who participated in this program confirmed my commitment and plans for future advancement at HED. I’m proud to be a member of this inaugural cohort and believe it brings much needed support to the women within our industry as we continue to move up the ladders to leadership,” says Chauncey.

Catherine Van Leer, AIA was recently elevated to the position of Healthcare Market Sector Leader in Chicago. Catherine is a passionate architect and client advocate in the healthcare space, known for leveraging her diverse capabilities to arrive at creative solutions that showcase thought leadership and commitment to healing environments. “When I was asked if I wanted to be a part of CWA’s 2023 Ladders to Leadership inaugural program, I didn’t know at the time how drastically is would help me at a pivotal point in my career. Each week a speaker would share their insights, good and bad, and their experiences helped me feel better prepared to accept a leadership role in our firm. I am very happy I got the chance to be a part of 2023 cohort and look forward to building relationships with the women in this group beyond the program,” says Catherine.

To conclude the program, each participant utilized their learned content to prepare and present a pitch of their professional “Ladder to Leadership” three-to-five-year career plan to a panel of industry experts for constructive critique. Plans are already underway to offer the Ladders to Leadership program in 2024. The graduating 2023 cohort also includes: Sheri Andrews of Valerio Dewalt Train, Sara Beardsley of SCB, Yuki Gottschaldt of STG Design, Laurie Hoffman of Buffalo Grove Park District, Maggie Kriegerof FGM Architects, Dallas Martin of CannonDesign, Monika Miller of SmithGroup, JinHwa Paradowicz of Perkins Eastman, Elizabeth Schneider of Goettsch Partners, Jane Sloss of WJW Architects, Anne Strane of Holabird & Root, Chey Taylor of SMNG Architects, and Erica Ulin of The Collaborative, Inc.

Congratulations to all participants on this accomplishment!
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