November 16, 2018

Scott Simpson, FAIA

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Scott Simpson is an award-winning architect with more than 40 years experience. A Richard Upjohn Fellow of the AIA and a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council, Scott has been a principal in five different firms and president & CEO of two. Scott’s work includes healthcare, higher education, research facilities, hospitality, and corporate/commercial projects which have won more than two dozen awards for excellence.

Scott has published more than 180 articles on issues of innovation in the design profession as well as three books: How Firms Succeed, The Next Architect - A New Twist on the Future of Design, and Lessons from the Future. He has lectured at design schools across the US including Yale, Harvard, Rice and Illinois, and has been an invited speaker at more than 120 conferences and symposia world-wide including 20 AIA National Conventions


Carol Rickard-Brideau, AIA

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Carolyn Rickard-Brideau is a Partner and Corporate President at the multi-disciplinary global design firm Little. Carol, a practicing architect for 35 years, is responsible for the firm’s vision, talent development and people and client strategies.

For the last decade, Carol’s energy has been trained on the scientific basis for the relationship between architecture and design and its focus on increasing human wellness, happiness, and productivity, and she speaks and writes extensively on those subjects. Carol was recently named to the International WELL Building Institute’s Mind Concept Advisory Group to explore and quantify the impact of the built environment on mental wellness and human health. She was also par of a team that completed one of the first WELL certified buildings in Silicone Valley, for a building occupying a poisoned Superfund site.

Ryan Johnson, AIA

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With more than 10 years of experience, Ryan Johnson’s project range from higher education facilities to commercial buildings to parking decks. He is passionate about the tools architects use, because these tools and the design community’s relationship with them have such a strong connection with what designers create. Ryan leads Clark Nexsen’s internal Tech Studio, which strives to leverage current and future technology to facilitate design, collaboration, exploration, and workflow.

Ryan obtained his bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University and his Masters of Architecture, Design. For the past two years, Ryan has also been on the leadership of the AIA’s Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Knowledge Community.


Todd Berg, AIA


Toss Berg has positively impacted the environment through design and community service for more than three decades. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree with honors from Virginia Tech in 1984 and has practices in Charlotte since that time. Todd became a Principal of Morris-Berg Architects in 1998 and became the sole owner of the firm in 2013. The firm was selected as the AIA Charlotte Firm of the Year for 2014, and was inducted into the PSMJ Circle of Excellence in 2018 based on management practices and financial performance.

A firm believer in the importance of corporate citizenship, Todd has served on numerous boards and committees including as Chair of the Cabarrus County Planning and Zoning Commission, Chair of the Concord Historic Preservation Commission, member of the Board of Directors for the Cannon Memorial YMCA, and member of the Advisory Board for the School of Architecture at Virginia Tech. His dedication to the profession includes service as an Officer and Director for AIA Charlotte for eight years and as president in 2010, member of AIANC’s Board of Directors, and member of AIA Charlotte’s Architects for Education Committee, for which he received a Presidential Citation in 2006.


Katie Robinson, CKM

Katie Robinson, associate principal and corporate communications leader for LS3P, supports the firm’s communications (both internal and external) to include all media platforms and digital presence, creating and implementing the use of marketing collateral, brand management, budgeting, strategic leadership, and fostering collaboration among the firm’s marketing staff throughout its eight offices.

Career Speed Dating

October 11, 2018

Participants had conversations with panelists regarding their career plans for the next 5-10 years and beyond. Panelists included, Dennis Stallings from Clark Nexsen, Rhonda Angerio from Smith Sinnet, Katherine Peele from LS3P, and Robby Johnston from Raleigh Architecture Company.

City Planning

September 20, 2018

The Forum met with Durham Mayor Steve Schewel and Durham Assistant Planning Director Sarah Young to discuss strategies that are being implemented around Durham to promote positive growth.

Vision and Values

August 09, 2018

We met with David Hill, Head of the School of Architecture, NC State to hear about his career and how to turn your passions into a career.

Collaborators Round-table

July 12, 2018

For our July meeting the Forum met with consulting engineers to better understand the relationship between the Engineers and Architects and to hear about strategies that work well for our collaboration. The panel included Ginger Scoggins from Engineered Designs Incorporated, Dan Hesington of Calyx Engineers, and Sean Dolle from Grounded Engineering

Retreat to Washington DC

June 1-3, 2018

Our annual retreat this year was to Washington DC where the Forum toured the construction of Capitol Crossing, a project covering the highway creating three new city blocks and over 2 million square feet of space. After the tour we visited the national portrait gallery. On Saturday we spent most of the day in the Francis A. Gregory Library learning about our strengths and how we can use them to accelerate our career. After that event we toured the capitol mall.

Mid Career Panel

May 10, 2018

We had a panel discussion with architects in the middle of their career about their path and what advice they had for newer architects and engineers. The panel included Teri Canada from EVOKE Sturio, Eric Hawkins from Little, Taylor Medlin from Raleigh Architecture Company, Dan Rider from Cline Design, and Jay Smith from Duda|Paine.

In-Situ Architects

April 25,2018

Erin Sterling Lweis and Matthew Henning Griffith

Lunch with Alex Anmahian

March 22,2018

Conversation with Kevin Montgomery

March 1, 2018


November 17, 2017

Emily Grandstaff-Rice


Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA, is a Senior Associate at Boston-based architecture and design firm Arrowstreet. The current Chair of the AIA Commission on Equity in Architecture, Emily was also 2014 President of the Boston Society of Architects, and will serve as 2018-2020 At-Large Director of the AIA. Emily brings 16 years of experience in designs focused on creating connections between architecture and the community. A highly sought after speaker and adjunct professor, Emily has been named one of Building Design + Constructions 40 under 40, and has been recognized by the Boston Business Journal and the AIA.


TED talks

In these TED-inspired sessions, four local Fellows will share their career journeys, discuss opportunities they pursued, and outline their personal visions for the future. Their unique career paths will highlight diverse opportunities and career paths architects may pursue.

Louis Cherry, FAIA
Phil Szostak, FAIA
Chris Braiser, FAIA
Anna Wu, FAIA

Marie Schacht

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As a team member at New Kind and the Director of Hopscotch Design Festival, Marie Schacht uses her architecture background to connect, innovate, and inspire. Marie’s intensive workshop will focus on developing personal and professional vision. After the workshop, participants should leave with better clarity, motivation, grit, confidence, and support to move forward in pursuing possibilities for both career and life. 

John Kane

October 26, 2017

Kane Realty began work on its signature project, North Hills, in late 1999 with the purchase of numerous properties in Raleigh’s North Hills, embarking on a massive billion dollar redevelopment that now encompasses 165 acres. North Hills, a mixed-use, multi-block district known as Raleigh’s Midtown, is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades for its pedestrian-friendly and sustainable design which has made it one of America’s premier in-fill developments. Centrally located at the corner of one of Raleigh’s main thoroughfares and the I-440 beltline, North Hills is a destination of urban living, luxury hotel rooms, class A office space, premier dining, salons and day spas, high-end boutiques, a 14-screen movie complex, a state-of-the-art athletic club, and numerous gathering places.

Sharon Crawford, IIDA

September 21, 2017

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Sharon is the studio director for the Raleigh office of Gensler. 

Panel Discussion with Consulting Engineers

August 17, 2017

Eric Davis, Landscape Architect - Surface 678

Anna Lynch, Structural Engineer - LynchMykins

During our cross-disciplinary panel discussion, we met with local landscape architect Eric Davis and local structural engineer Anna Lynch to expand our architecture bubble and have an open dialogue across design disciplines. Both are leaders in their respective firms, respected in their disciplines, and represent a nice cross-section of the Triangle. We discussed how we can have better collaboration efforts across all disciplines and what are some challenges facing each design discipline presently. The most notable takeaways from our panelists:

  • Always do more than what is expected of you

  • Value the relationships you make with your teams on projects (and don’t burn bridges)

  • Find mentors that enjoy what you bring to the table and who is willing to learn from you, as well.

  • Build strong working relationships (“You want to be happy going to your coordination meetings”)

  • You can’t fake passion!

  • Architect’s should encourage cross-discipline collaboration more and earlier in the project

  • If you want to be a leader in your firm - bring in business.

Mid Career Panel Discussion

July 20, 2017

Albert McDonald (Clark Nexsen)

Elizabeth Caliendo (Clearscapes)

Courtney Evans (Tactile)

Katherine Hogan (Tonic)

Matthew Konar (MK Architect)

Leadership Forum Retreat - Asheville, NC

June 23-25, 2017

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Biltmore Farms

Samsel Architects

Strengths Based Leadership

It was interesting and rewarding to get a well-rounded experience of the Biltmore Farms Preview Center. Jack Cecil of Biltmore Farms, spoke with our group about his ambitions for community development and it encouraged me to see how developers have the power to create for the benefit of many. The Biltmore Farms Preview Center was an idyllic backdrop to our team workshop and a spectacular example of good design. The time spent in our workshop taught me a lot about my strengths as an individual, both in and out of the workplace. It challenged me to really think about where I want to be with my career in far into the future, and encouraged me to create realistic stepping stones to get there. I appreciated my time with the retreat group, and it was inspiring to spend time with other highly-motivated peers. I highly recommend this workshop and retreat to any aspiring or young architect within the first half of their career. ~Eileen McDonough

Wake County Community College - Morrisville Campus

May 25, 2017

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Construction site tour

Julie Snow, FAIA

May 4, 2017

Our lunch discussion with Julie Snow was wide-ranging, covering multiple facets of architectural practice, design, and community engagement.  Her studio's focus on great design is apparent in their work, and the values held by leadership certainly reinforce this strength.  The studio operates with a clear set of established practices including knowledge transfer among staff levels - “you will teach me and I will teach you” - vs. traditional one-way 'mentorship', openness and balance in staff management, and attention to metrics of both projects and people.  Evaluating successes based on these metrics allows everyone to maintain clarity and commitment to the studio's values and direction.

Their self-defined 'smart and humane' staffing/project planning was of particular interest as this is often bypassed in architectural practice, in favor of a "work until it's done" methodology.  Acknowledging that number of hours worked is not directly indicative of efficacy is key here, and studio staff are instead evaluated based on effectiveness, commitment, and work quality.

At the close of our conversation, we turned to specifics for emerging professionals and career guidance, and this series of questions has continued to resonate:

What are your interests and at what do you want to be good?  Think beyond a role or title.

Why are you here and an architect?  What do you want to accomplish?

How will you define your own trajectory for your career and personal goals?

Rhonda Angerio, AIA and Ann Collier, AIA

April 13, 2017

For the second session of Leadership Forum 2017, Rhonda Angerio welcomed us to Smith Sinnett. Keith Weaver with The Alternative Board met with us to discuss how he uses DISC to help employers find the right fit for openings. DISC isnt a measure of intelligence, skill or ability but weighs the behaviors of the individual and helps provide insight into how they may react in a position. He opened the session with an activity he uses at meetings to help foster open and honest communication. Temenos comes from ancient Greece and means a safe place were warriors can remove their armor. At TAB, they have modified the word into Tabenos which has lead to 'tap the nose' which is done to signal that someone in the meeting is putting on their armor and is used to diffuse the situation and bring everyone back to the open conversation.

After a brief break, we spoke with Jay Sikes who works with Rhonda at Smith Sinnett. Jay told us he regularly reviews his coworkers DISC results to make sure they are having productive conversations and to reduce conflict. If an issue does arise, he will review again and that usually leads to a light bulb going off about why the problem is happening. Rhonda and Ann Collier of Oakley Collier met with us to talk about their use of DISC. They both keep copies of all their employees profiles for quick reference and will use DISC when hiring for strategic positions.

Ellen Weinstein, AIA

March 9, 2017

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The first session of Leadership Forum 2017 was reminiscent of beautiful, lazy Sunday afternoons spent sipping lemonade on grandmother’s porch.  The community at Weinstein Friedlein Architect’s wonderfully designed Durham Central Park Cohousing project were our gracious hosts welcoming us into their “house”, showing us around, and letting our group occupy their front porch for a spell.  Quoting from Harwell Hamilton Harris’ 1955 UT Austin convocation speech, Ellen delivered a powerful message about the importance of being a natural leader where life, architecture and leadership meld together to create the authentic you.  Ellen urged participants to be proactive with this opportunity and not to treat it like an item on a leadership check list – this is not the year to set navigation to cruise control, but rather to spend the time realizing your strengths and utilizing them.  She emphasized that there are a wide range of leader types, get exposed to them and then ask, “What kind of leader will you be?”  Find out by looking through the lens.