LiA – Let’s Talk Architecture Series 2


The LiA Let’s Talk Architecture series brings together successful leaders to share their professional experiences in architecture with the audience. The panel will inspire young architects and engage other design professionals. Encouraging open communication through
a friendly dialogue, we can help bridge the gap of our understanding of diversity and inclusion.


Learning Points:

  1. Diversity in architecture is a value worth fostering. Learn strategies that companies and coworkers can use to nurture a more inclusive work environment.
  2. To affect inclusion it
    is necessary to educate and provide better role models. How can we mentor and work with teams to provide better leaders?
  3. Racial diversity in architecture
    has increased, however data shows that a disproportionate amount of practitioners from underrepresented ethnicities are not attaining a license. How can we encourage licensure and address the disproportionate amount of non-licensed design professionals?
  4. What are different problems
    minorities have encountered as obstacles in their careers and how have they overcome them to succeed?


About the Presenters:


Patricia Alarcón, AIA | Associate Principal | Ratcliff

Born of Peruvian parents, Patricia spent her early childhood in Lima, Perú and moved to the
U.S. in the early 80’s. She holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and an M. Arch
from the University of California, Berkeley. A licensed architect with more than 20 years of
experience, she is a leader in Ratcliff’s academic practice. For the past decade, she has
focused on public higher education projects, on a variety of building types including general
classrooms and teaching labs, libraries and learning centers. She has taught at CCA and has
served on the Board of Directors of the Architectural Foundation and on the Board of Trustees
at Park Day School in Oakland. Mom to Lucia (14) and Marco (12), Patricia is dedicated to
creating environments that positively engage students and teachers and that inspire curiosity
and learning.




Francesca Olivera, AIALEED AP BD+C | Associate Director | 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.


Lilian Asperin, AIA, LEED AP BD+C | WRNS Studio 

Lilian values a firm culture that embraces collaboration, connection to the community, risk
taking, and fostering talent. As one of the studio’s Partners, she helps lead the design process
and build teams that deliver aspirational outcomes. Lilian utilizes her experience as a practice
leader and licensed architect to develop synergistic relationships with leaders throughout the
architectural and educational communities.
Deeply involved with AIA over the past 5 years, Lilian has served as Board Director and is the
Co-Chair of the Equity by Design Committee, a call to action for both women and men to realize
the goal of equitable practice and communicate the value of design to society. As a presenter
and thought leader engaged with the 2018 Equity by Design Symposium, Lilian organized and
shared her journey as part of the original “Chart Your Path” break-out session and continues to
collaborate with others to explore their own means to arriving at meaning and influence in their


Celia Chiang | Gensler

Celia Chiang has been a licensed practicing architect for almost 25 years, working in Boston,
New York City, Miami and San Francisco.
Upon receiving the B. Arch degree from Cornell University, Celia started her architectural career
in Boston before applying to graduate school at Columbia University.
The one-year Masters program led to a 10 year stay in New York, working with large and small
firms, such as KPF and Gluckman Tang, on high-rise office buildings, custom residential
remodels and museums and galleries.
She moved to the Bay Area in 2003, where she spent 12 years with a regional architectural firm,
while raising her child, learning how to architect, on community college projects.
The last 15 years as a Project Architect have been the most formative, as her knowledge base,
on how buildings are built was developed, while working on steel frame structures as well as
high rise concrete towers.
Starting next month, Celia will



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