Roundtable Discussion: Getting Hired and Pursuing a Rewarding Career Path


Roundtable Discussion


View the recording at this link


This summer’s Professional Preparedness Workshop events continue with a Roundtable Discussion.

A panel of six leaders in the Bay Area architecture community will be sharing their advice with students transitioning into the profession. We are excited to have the students learn from the varied experiences that this panel represents.

Given the difficult hiring landscape, we are asking students to be open-minded and flexible, but above all to revisit their values that they hope to enact through this profession. While for many students, there is an urgency to find a source of income or maintain their visa status, we are encouraging them to also imagine their longer-term career trajectories that align with the beliefs they want to advocate. This roundtable discussion will be an opportunity for the students to hear about different paths.

This event is open to all.




We are excited to announce the panelists who have generously agreed to donate their time and wisdom. As mentors to young architects and students, they will be answering questions about entering and thriving in the profession of architecture.

Lisa Cholmondeley, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CDT, NOMA LinkedIn

Design Manager, Principal, Gensler

Lisa is committed to the idea that design happens at all stages of a project. As a Principal in our San Francisco office, Lisa is passionate about space and design, and is motivated by the challenges of making ideas reality. She has been a key member in the delivery of several large, complex, mixed-use developments in the Middle East. A trained architect, Lisa has spent almost half of her career working on interiors, and strongly advocates for the development of spaces that have a shared story between the exterior and interior experience. Prior to joining the San Francisco office, Lisa’s career at Gensler included experience in London, Doha, and Abu Dhabi. She has taught architectural design at both Howard University and the University of Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University, and a Master of Arts degree in History and Theory of Architecture from The Architectural Association.

Stan Lew, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB LinkedIn

President, RMW

Stan believes design is a unique opportunity to problem-solve creatively while synthesizing a wide range of internal and external influences that – when successful – yield elegant, even sublime solutions. Great designs are derived directly from their function, with specific influences from their time, place and culture.

Stan joined RMW in 2007, and was named President in 2020. His humility and vision in assuming this role underscore his leadership approach, which is one of service to both the RMW family and the professional architectural and design community at large. Among his many industry affiliations, Stan is a member and immediate past president of the AIASF Board of Directors and serves as the director of the San Francisco 2030 District.

Francesca Oliveira, AIA, LEED AP

Associate Director, Technical Design, SOM

Francesca R. Oliveira is responsible for projects from concept through construction execution, ensuring that sustainability principles are incorporated holistically. Her project experience includes a diverse range of building types from skyscrapers to civic buildings in U.S. and Overseas, which seek creative design solutions synthesizing American innovation in the built environment with vernacular architecture while pushing the boundaries of resiliency. Specializations in high performance building enclosures and strategic programming compliment her strong balance of design and technical abilities. Additionally, Francesca is also an AAU Adjunct Professor, serves as AIASF Assistant Secretary, and was the AIASF Emerging Professional 2018.

Amy Eliot, AIA, LEED AP BD+C LinkedIn

Design Principal, Dreyfuss Blackford Architecture

A design leader in the Bay Area for over 25 years, Amy is a cross-platform professional, with a passion for civic engagement and community building. Amy believes that design and design thinking can be primary advocacy tools in the service of social justice, environmental sustainability, and strategic development. She has worked extensively with institutional, public sector, commercial, cultural arts facilities, corporate interiors, multifamily residential, and non-profit clients.  Amy is particularly adept at facilitating complex projects involving multiple stakeholder agendas, challenging budgets, community outreach, diverse funding mechanisms, and multiple entitlement needs – to successful outcomes. She has provided leadership to a number of diverse academic and public works projects ranging from park amenities and utility infrastructure at Mission Bay to the Master Plan for the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley.  Amy holds a Master in Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor’s degree from Smith College.

Lauren Maass, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Principal, Gould Evans

Lauren is a culture-builder who engages our diverse and dedicated group of associates and forges cross-studio collaborations throughout our practice. Everyone who works with her—clients, associates and consultants—knows that she exemplifies the qualities one looks for in an architect, and a leader. As Lauren develops projects and engages in firm-wide initiatives, she brings fierce loyalty, a warm personality, and dedication, above all, to the quality of our work. She embodies the values of Gould Evans, with inspiration and caring for those she leads. Her energy is boundless, allowing her to provide leadership on a lengthy list of current projects. She also finds time to be active within her school community and in local politics.

Lauren is deeply committed to equity in our profession: she is a long-time contributor to the AIASF Equity by Design Committee and an enthusiastic promoter of our firm’s internal dialogue on equity. An advocate and respected practitioner of innovative educational design, she helps to lead our education design practice in the Bay Area.

Tiana Taylor, Associate AIA, NOMA (Past President) LinkedIn

Associate Principal, Huntsman Architectural Group

Tiana brings knowledge and experience as a designer and project manager for a variety of project types ranging in scale from Fortune 500 to start-up companies including financial firms, law offices, technology companies, and retail and hospitality venues. She directs project teams through multi-phased and concurrent projects, overseeing budgets and schedules and providing an expertise in technical detailing and construction administration. Outside of the office, she is an active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects’ San Francisco chapter where she helps to lead the planning of educational programs and mentors minority students interested in the design and construction professions. Tiana received a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and joined Huntsman in 2012.

Moderator: Simon McKenzie

Senior Architect, SOM and Faculty at AAU

Simon is a Canadian designer, working at the international office Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill. He has spent the last two years designing a Buddhist Temple and is one of the lead organizers of SOM’s Year One Program, its Research Initiative, and the Material Innovations team.

Before SOM, Simon gained experience at the offices of OMA, Coop Himmelb(l)au, and the Research and Development Laboratory at 3XN. In addition to his work at SOM, Simon teaches a 4th year architecture studio at the AAU and has an expertise in the fields of sustainability, neuroscience, and phenomenology.

To view an overview of the PPWS (Professional Preparedness Workshop) see this page.