By Whynde Kuehn, Founder and Managing Director of S2E Transformation Inc.
After our recent soft launch announcement of the Women in Architecture global initiative, I am entirely inspired, encouraged, and deeply proud of the response from the global architecture community and our advocates. We may not always agree on the specifics of architecture practice, but we do believe in the expansion of women in architecture roles towards an equal balance and enabling women to contribute with impact. Even better, with all we are called to do as architects for our increasingly connected and digital world, it just seems like the logical next step to lean into this goal so that we can rise to the occasion with a bigger pool of practitioners and every one of us at our best.
As I reflect on my own journey in architecture, by chance I started out in a business architect job (and a 3-month temporary one at that). However, one thing led to another, and that job became a career which then evolved into a life’s work for me to serve a global vision and community. How I got here many years later as a global business architecture leader and educator, I can only attribute to following my bliss and doing what I thought was right and needed next for my clients, my students, and my fellow colleagues.
It always takes a village though, and I am so grateful for all the people who helped and encouraged me along the way. In particular, what made the most impact for me were the chances I was given by people who saw potential in me (and yes, they were mostly males at the time), the support I was given for my work and the way I performed it, and the cycle of inspiration for me to see what was possible.
I honestly believe that the reason we see a lower percentage of women in architecture is mostly systemic. I believe it is a function of how we have historically talked about and thought about the discipline, and our patterns around hiring, development, and management of architects. This is why I am so excited about Women In Architecture – and why I think it is possible to make a profound global impact together. Starting right now we can help individuals through community, events, coaching, and conversation, and longer term we can build the pathway for future women in architecture through education and awareness, programs to target underrepresented populations, and other means. We can start at the source by inspiring and educating youth and making the role attractive to path into from others.
For me – as I know it is for many others – Women in Architecture is a way to give back for all that I have received, to lift others to a higher potential, and to build a new generation of architects that our world is going to need. We have an opportunity for the entire architecture community to come together – leveraging our own diversity as a way forward to build unity and harness the full power of architecture to make a difference for our organizations, societies, and world.
Whynde Kuehn is recognized globally as a highly sought-after pioneer and thought leader in business architecture, with a distinguished track record of creating successful strategic business architecture teams worldwide. She has worked with an extensive array of organizations to build their capacity for end-to-end strategy execution, including Fortune 500 and global enterprises, governmental and non-profit organizations, social enterprises, startups, and cross-sector initiatives. Whynde is the creator of Biz Arch Mastery, a dedicated online platform and community that helps professionals master the art and science of business architecture. She is also the co-founder of the Business Architecture Guild®, helping to advance and formalize the discipline across the globe. Whynde is author of the book Strategy to Reality.