Annual WIELD Event 2023

Having It All: Balancing Work-Life Stages

Women are renowned for their ability to multitask and juggle numerous responsibilities in their careers and personal lives. They strive to excel in all fronts, upholding high expectations at work while navigating pressures within their personal lives. Not all women have the same aspirations, nor are fortunate to have choices in their careers. However, amplifying women's voices at the leadership level allows for greater support and opportunities across all workplaces.

The AIA DC Equity Committee by WIELD celebrates its eighth Annual WIELD Event that provides a storytelling platform for four female leaders in the building industry to share what “having it all” means to them, how they achieved it (or didn’t), and what compromises they faced along the way. Join us for inspiring, personal stories about challenges and triumphs along the path of “having it all.”

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore stories of empowerment and resilience as it relates to gender equity in the building profession.
  • Identify internal and external obstacles women face in their careers and strategies to overcome them.
  • Describe ways to help women overcome their mid-career pinch points and maintain career paths to leadership.
  • Plan ways to become advocates for emerging female leaders.

Presented by:

Renée Byng Yancey

AIA National Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Officer

Renée Byng Yancey is the Chief External Equity, Diversity & inclusion Officer of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a dynamic network of more than 96,000 architects and design professionals throughout over two hundred chapters committed to enhancing the built environment. During her tenure, she has held two inaugural senior leadership roles. Renée’s global portfolio includes enterprise-wide strategic leadership of three teams—Knowledge & Practice, Member & Component Engagement and Marketing & Communications—each led by a senior vice president. She is a direct report of the CEO, and a member of the Senior Leadership Team.  Her combined teams encompass nearly half of the AIA workforce, management of hundreds of volunteers and four board-level committees. Renée is committed to coaching leaders to bring about transformation in business practices, individual professional growth, and member excellence.

With an early career in commercial banking, Renée is dedicated to social change, strong and thriving organizations and communities leveraging equity, diversity, inclusion, and effectiveness. 

Renée works at the intersections of the AIA’s strategic priorities to advance racial, ethnic and gender equity and climate action for human and ecological health. She currently serves on the board of trustees of Peirce College in Philadelphia. An avid sports fan, Renée is proud to root for her hometown Philadelphia sports teams. She earned a Master of Science degree from Drexel University and holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Peirce College. 


Joanna Schmickel, FAIA
CGS Architects

Joanna Schmickel, Principal of CGS Architects (formerly KressCox Associates) has been a practicing architect in Washington DC since 1985. During this period, Joanna has managed a diverse set of award-winning local and national projects for educational, institutional, commercial, and residential clients. She has been the lead designer on projects ranging from individual structures to full campus master plans concluding in design and construction of multiple buildings.
In partnership with the AIA, Joanna has created and delivered multiple youth workshops for the Washington Architectural Foundation, led an Architecture in the Schools team, and was an inaugural creator of the Achi-Builder Studio. She is the founder of the Design Like a Girl Mentor Program, a STEM mentorship program focused on introducing young women to Architecture and inspiring them to take leadership roles in the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction. The Program is in its 8th year in Washington DC, its 2nd year in Bucks County PA, and about to begin its 1st year in Denver CO. In 2017 Joanna was awarded the Washington Architectural Foundation’s John ‘Wieb’ Wiebenson Award for Architecture in the Public Interest in recognition of her work to develop and execute the Design Like a Girl program.
Joanna received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Syracuse University (1985). She is a registered architect in the District of Columbia, the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Patricia Mao Booker

Patricia Booker applies nearly 20 years of industry experience to her work as a director of production at KTGY’s Tysons office. She currently serves as a member of the company’s Key Leaders group, the body responsible for refining and implementing a successful corporate strategy. She also leads KTGY Community, an employee-driven community outreach program. Her day-to-day duties include design development, code analysis, multi-discipline coordination as well as field and office construction administration. Extensive experience in multifamily design and production has earned her a portfolio of multifamily communities, childcare facilities, senior and military housing, and affordable developments. She is passionate about finding ways to address housing affordability, and previously served as a committee member for HomeAid Northern Virginia. In her down time, you can find Ms. Booker spending time with her family and two children.

Morina Peterson, NOMA, AIA, LEED AP
HDR + DC NOMA Vice President

Morina Peterson is one of the founding members of WIELD (Women Inspiring Emerging Leaders in Design). Throughout her career, Morina has served as a mentor and enthusiastically championed various career development initiatives. These efforts include the DC NOMA Project Pipeline (volunteer), the NOMA HBCU Professional Development Program, and serving as a juror/portfolio reviewer at the Howard, UDC, and Marymount Universities. She has held various positions since graduating from Hampton University with a Bachelor of Architecture, including owner's representative, project architect, staffing manager, supervisor, IDE Ambassador, and LEED Coordinator. Morina is a Senior Healthcare Project Manager and employee-owner at HDR, a global architecture and engineering company. With over 25 years of experience in the architectural industry, she has worked on approximately three million SF of healthcare projects ranging in scale from a 915 SF renovation to an 850,000 SF clinical research new construction. Most of these projects have focused on welcoming the community and improving patient care. Morina has a successful track record of being proactive and highly collaborative. This approach has consistently met project requirements and client/user aspirations in Design and Construction Administration Phases. She is excited and honored to have this opportunity to share her journey with you.

Cynthia Bailey
Fairfax County Attorney’s Office

Cynthia Bailey currently serves as a Deputy County Attorney for Fairfax County, Virginia, and has served in the Fairfax County Attorney’s Office for almost 25 years. Her work there has covered a variety of legal areas including litigation, the First Amendment, and procurement. Most recently, she leads the County’s legal team in support of affordable housing development and the management of public records. She is the immediate past chair of Leadership Fairfax Institute and has served as the chair of the Virginia State Bar’s Local Government Section. She is also the past chair of two non-profits devoted to early childhood development: Infant Toddler Family Day Care and Main Street Child Development Center. She is an adjunct professor of Legal Writing at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University and is a graduate of both Boston College and Boston College Law School. She claims Fairfax County as home—a place where she raised three children and lives with her husband.

Organized by:

AIA|DC Equity Committee by WIELD

Sponsored by:

KTGY logoCGS Architects logo