photo of women gathering around a table

Women in Architecture

Leaders in Design, Management, Business Development and More

As current and emerging leaders in our architecture practice today, women hold roles as designers and planners, principals and directors, managers and marketers, and more. Their tenure and experience is as varied as their titles; and whether considered individually or collectively as a group, they are inspiring and helping to reshape and redefine how our business is conducted today and in the future.

We’re fortunate to have these women serve as role models to all of us. Their accomplishments are impressive: one started a science, technology, engineering and mathematics event for local Girl Scout Troops, others served as the first women presidents of their American Institute of Architects chapters, and another chaired a prestigious AIA committee dedicated to social justice. One woman advocated for the China Accord in sustainability. Another developed an advanced tool for measuring a façade’s energy impacts, while yet another created a wellness design tool that translates health and wellness design strategies into outcome-focused metrics.  

Not only have they carved their own paths into the industry, but their ambition has led to prominent roles not only in our architecture practice, but within a global design firm of over 11,000 employees in more than 200 locations.

Elevating Women in the Industry

Our Women’s Employee Network Group provides an inclusive and empowering environment that fosters community, learning and meaningful dialogue. Here, the unique perspective women bring to our firm is recognized, valued and elevated throughout the organization, helping us better understand how policies and practices can improve and grow our company for the future.

For more info contact

Sloan Anderson
Strategic Recruiter, Architecture
Sloan Anderson
Katie Diamond

Spotlight on Design

"I decided I wanted to be an architect at age 10. I had the chance to tour Europe and spend some time in Chicago, where my mother took me to visit Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and Bucky Fuller. It made me excited about architecture.

My science class at that time had a very clever sort of Tom Sawyer-strategy to seduce good students to do more. If you earned A’s on the tests, you didn’t have to attend class. Instead you had to do a special independent study project on a topic related to what we were studying. All of my projects were about architecture, including designing a school from the perspective of acoustics, lighting and sight lines, and designing an inflatable moon station."

More Design Leaders

April Drake
Managing Principal
Kaia Nesbitt
Urban Design, Planning & Landscape Architecture Director
Julie Robertson
Interior Design Director
Jen Cross Portrait
Landscape Architecture Studio Lead
Amy Mays
Interior Design Director
Elizabeth Von Lehe, HDR
Design & Brand Strategy Principal
Brooke Horan
Interior Design Director
Alex Wessling Sydney Australia Director
Project Director
Mary Chow
Civic Principal

In Their Own Words: Women in Architecture Share How they #EmbraceEquity

In celebration of the #EmbraceEquity theme for International Women's Day 2023, women across our firm – from lab planners to designers, managing principals, and more — reflect on how they embrace equity in their roles, form equitable design teams, and design equitable built environments. 

women in architecture
Sloan Anderson

Spotlight on Management

"The women in leadership roles at HDR are confident, fearless and inspiring – but above all, they are welcoming and eager to help each other realize the full potential of the talent and contributions that our female employees bring to the firm. When I talk to candidates interested in joining our architecture practice, I reinforce the opportunities they will have to learn and grow. Sometimes, women think they need to come to a position with all the boxes checked. At HDR, we’ll give you the tools and guidance to thrive in your new role."

More Management Leaders

Amy Williams
Managing Principal
Cate Cowlishaw
Regional Managing Principal
Julianne Scherer
Managing Principal
Elizabeth Mahon
Managing Principal
Grace Rappe
Managing Principal
Susana Erpestad
Global Director of Federal Architecture
Sandy Tkacz
Health Director, East Region
Cynthia Keefe, HDR
Director, Health
West Region
Yong Sun

Spotlight on Business Development

"I am very proud of the China program ... Our facilities help more than half of the population in the world get better healthcare. I have also made a lot of good friends with my clients and coworkers. We exchange ideas and inspire each other, and those friends refer me to other projects. It's very satisfying to know that people trust me and would work day and night for me."

More Business Development Leaders

Kim Gosteli portrait for HDR
National Director of Business Development, Canada
headshot of Rachel Lee
Education & Science Principal
Sarah Brownell HDR
Business Development Director Southeast U.S.
Jessica Stebbins
Principal, Health

Spotlight on Industry Experts

"I find there is no daily or even weekly or monthly balance. I think the idea of balance gives false hope that you can do a little of everything. Life comes with choices, and those choices must be looked at across time. 

I see my work and my personal time outside of work as fully integrated parts of my life. I aim to be as fully present as I can wherever I am, which takes a lot of self-reminders all day long. I find it is not possible to keep all work at work or all home at home, but I do work very hard to stay focused on the task at hand."

Jill Bergman

More Industry Experts

June Hanley
Principal Planner
Anosha Zanjani
Behavioral Health Design Specialist
Diana Studer headshot
Project Manager
Katie Fricke
Health Planning Principal
Barbara Miszkiel
Director, Health
Anisha Kothari
Principal Planner

More Practice & Process Innovation Leaders

Jeri Brittin professional portrait
Social and Behavioral Sciences Director
Holly Madara
Strategic Advisor Principal
Rachel Riopel
Digital Practice Lead
Elizabeth Cook, HDR
Project Principal
Heidi Higgason
Director, Strategic Project Delivery
Diane Hamlin
Project Principal
Francesqca Jimenez