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Meet the 2021 Empowerment by Design Leadership
Symposium Planning Committee - Click Here

All are invited to attend this two day virtual Empowerment by Design Leadership Symposium which is designed to help build virtual networks with other women and men, access tips and successful tactics for overcoming professional and personal challenges, and learn key strategies to succeed. Three areas of concentration will be provided: Mentorship, Resilient Management and Diversity which will culminate in a virtual networking scramble where we will be able to discuss and share ideas from the event. Seating is limited, so make sure you reserve your spot today to make sure you get your "swag" for the networking scramble.


February 24, 2021

8:15-8:30am Registration / Welcome
8:30-9:30am The Power of Successful Mentorship - Panel Discussion
9:30-9:45am Break
9:45-10:45am Speed Mentoring Session
10:45-11:00am Break
11:00-Noon Embracing Diversity, Building Leaders - Panel Discussion

February 25, 2021

8:15-8:30am Registration / Welcome
8:30-9:30am KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: How to Build Your Career and Grow a Firm: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime in the Business
9:30-9:45am Break
9:45-10:45am Unlock Your Inner CEO
10:45-11:00am Break
11:00-noon Strategies for Resilient Management - Panel Discussion- Panel Discussion
Noon-1pm Networking Scramble


Register by February 12th in order to receive Swag!

February 24, 2021

The Power of Successful Mentorship

Mentorship can take many forms, all of which exist to help individuals develop skills and gain knowledge. Statistics show that successful mentorship can impact mentees, mentors and even the organization itself. According to the 2016 SE3 survey results, respondents with identified mentors reported being more satisfied with career trajectory and career choice. Join us for a conversation with our diverse group of panelists from across our industry to hear how their involvement as either a mentor or a mentee has helped them to be successful in their careers. Learn how they are using what they have learned to empower others and their tips for how to implement effective mentor programs in your organization. 

Moderator: Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, NOMAC, IIDA, LEED AP

Director of Global Diversity, Principal
Perkins and Will

Gabrielle oversees Perkins&Will’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement program, which works to support and strengthen a firmwide culture that embraces a diversity of people, colors, creeds, credos, talents, thoughts, and ideas. Her unique role as an award-winning principal and the firm’s Director of Global Diversity enables her to combine her passion for architecture and social justice to effect positive change at a micro and macro level. Gabrielle is regularly sought out around the world for her leadership and expertise in issues of social equity in architecture, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and physical and mental ability.

Gabrielle has been a key player in Perkins&Will’s success for nearly three decades. She’s worked in both the New York and Los Angeles offices, and became the first African-American and first woman to rise to the position of Managing Director of the Los Angeles office. Over the course of her career, she has led numerous complex and high-profile projects, most recently Destination Crenshaw, a project that combines all the elements that Gabrielle believes makes for a successful groundbreaking project.

Gabrielle graduated in 1984 from the Rhode Island School of Design with degrees in fine arts and architecture, becoming the second African-American woman in history to earn an architecture degree from that university. In 2014, she was elected by her peers as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and served on the AIA’s Equity in Architecture Commission. She is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), a past board member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, and a board member of the Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles and the International Interior Design Association. She served as the 2018-2019 President of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Gabrielle is the recipient of the 2020 AIA Whitney Young Jr award for her commitment to advancing diversity in the architecture profession.

Panelist: Patti Harburg-Petrich, SE, LEED AP BD+C
Buro Happold

Patti Harburg-Petrich, SE, LEED AP BD+C is a structural engineer and Principal at Buro Happold, serving as US West Coast Aviation Lead. She has a passion for community-centric work, adaptive reuse and seismic retrofit, sustainable design, and aviation and transportation projects.  Patti is particularly interested in community resiliency, embodied carbon, and offsite construction strategies. She is an experienced project manager of multidisciplinary teams and believes in collaborative, holistic and integrated solutions. Patti is a licensed Structural Engineer in the state of California, LEED Accredited Professional, Building Design + Construction, and certified Disaster Service Worker for the State of California Safety Assessment Program. She serves on the Executive Board of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California, the Executive Board of the ACE Mentor Program, the Executive Board of the Southern California Development Forum, and the ASCE Structural Engineering Institute BPAD Executive Committee. 

Panelist: Derya Thompson, CEng, MIStructE, ENV SP
Vice President, Southern California Bridge Area Manager
Gannett Fleming

Derya Thompson is the Southern California Area Manager for Gannett Fleming (GF). As well as managing projects, her responsibilities include contributing to the growth of the transportation business in the West Region.Besides pursuing and delivering bridge design and assessment projects, she has contributed to national pursuits of complex structures and design-build projects.

Derya has 29 years and extensive DB/P3 experience in the design, procurement and management of major transport projects and bridges in North America, Europe, South East Asia and Africa.

Derya has been a mentee since 1991 and has benefited from reverse mentoring since 2003. Derya officially started mentoring in 2003 in the UK,  as a mentor in Arup’s one-on-one mentoring program for junior engineers and was a mentor in Arup North America’s Mentoring Circle from 2013 to 2016. Derya also created a start-up project in Columbia Business School for on-line mentoring of professional women, with emphasis on returning back to the workforce after a career break and was an Angel funder of a Start Up business for on-line mentoring of SBE’s in NYC.

Panelist: Craig Chamberlain, PE, SE
Client Executive, Principal
IMEG Corp.

Craig leads IMEG’s structural team located in Los Angeles. He is a registered professional Civil and Structural engineer with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Craig has a wide range of experience from hundreds of projects in residential, commercial, and industrial industries which also includes expertise working with California DSA- and OSHPD-regulated projects. Criag is a member of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California and recently served on their Board of Directors from 2010-12. He has also been a steering committee member of SEAOSC’s annual Building at Risk Summit as well as a member of the Existing Building Committee and SEAOC Convention committees.

Panelist: Michele Hines
Senior Project Manager
Skywalker Properties, LLC.

Speed Mentoring

Join our mentorship panelists along with 10 additional mentors with varying backgrounds and years of experience in the AEC industry for a series of short, focused conversations on topics such as career goals and development, leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion, plus more. Attendees will be placed in breakout rooms with 6-8 other mentees for a 20 minute session with one of our distinguished mentors, after which everyone will be placed into the main room again prior to another 20 minute breakout room with 6-8 new mentees and a new mentor.  Suggested questions to begin each session will be provided.


Matt Barnard

Robert Lyons
Brandow & Johnston

Lori Guidry
Development Industries

Juliet DeMoss
CAA Professionals

Richard Chen
Labib Funk + Associates

Ed Silver
Senior Project Director

Kent Kaewwaen
John A. Martin & Associates

Kim Caravalho
Brandow & Johnston
Vice President

Lia Tatevosian
Manager, Special Projects

Aileen Santos-Redman
Structural Lead Engineer
TY Lin International

Embracing Diversity, Building Leaders Panel Discussion

SEAOSC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee is presenting a panel discussion about how leaders are fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion in a professional environment. Also, we’ll be discussing how diverse teams can create great future leaders. Our distinguished panelists will share personal experiences and insights on the challenges and benefits of creating a diverse team environment, actionable recommendations for leaders to become more inclusive, and the long term positive impacts that diversity strategies can have on corporate culture and a business’s success while developing great future leaders.

Moderator: Yvette E. Pearson, Ph.D, P.E., F.ASCE
Founder & Lead Consultant
The PEER Group

Dr. Yvette E. Pearson is recognized globally for 25 years of contributions to engineering education and research. A Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Dr. Pearson is the Founder and Principal Consultant of The PEER Group and Associate Dean for Accreditation, Assessment, and Strategic Initiatives in the Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. She has led teams to acquire and administer millions in funding to support projects designed to ensure full participation of persons from traditionally marginalized identities in engineering education.

Dr. Pearson is the Inaugural Chair of Members of Society Advancing an Inclusive Culture (MOSAIC), ASCE's board-level advisory committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As previous Vice Chair of ASCE’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, she was part of the team that initially incorporated DEI into ASCE’s Code of Ethics, providing specific leadership for the principle that requires engineers to consider community diversity and include diverse perspectives in their work. Among her numerous awards and honors are ABET's Claire L. Felbinger Award for Diversity and Inclusion, ASCE's Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award, and the University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dr. Pearson holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an M.S. in Chemistry from Southern University, a graduate certificate in Educational Research Methodology from the University of Illinois Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from the University of New Orleans. She hosts Engineering Change Podcast, which is focused on overcoming barriers to DEI in engineering education and has listeners in over 40 countries on six continents. Dr. Pearson is a registered Professional Engineer, served seven years as a Program Evaluator for the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, and is now an ABET EAC Commissioner.

Panelist: Yiselle Santos Rivera, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LSSYB, WELL AP, LEED AP
Vice President & Global Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Yiselle Santos Rivera, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LSSYB, WELL AP, LEED AP, is a medical planner and the Firmwide Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion at HKS, Inc. With national and international experience on a broad range of healthcare, sports, residential, institutional, and commercial/mixed-use projects, she thrives on designing for inclusive communities, building belonging through equitable practices, and empowering the next generation of leaders in the architecture, design, and construction industry.

Ms. Santos serves as the AIA DC Chapter Board Treasurer and DC NOMA Advisory Board member. She is a member of the AIA Equity Future of Architecture Board Committee and the AIA New Urban Agenda Taskforce. In 2020, as a member of the AIA COVID-19 Health Impact Task Force, she led the creation of the Additional Considerations section of the AIA Alternative Care Site Preparedness Assessment Tool V2.0 providing measures in support of ethnically diverse and marginalized populations. She is also co-founder of the Latin American Interior Designers, Engineers, and Architects (LA.IDEA) DC Committee, past chair of the AIA DC Equity Committee, and founder of “Women Inspiring Emerging Leaders in Design” (WIELD), which received the 2019 AIA Diversity Program Recognition Award.

Yiselle is a published author and has been featured on various national Podcasts. She is a storyteller, a 2015 Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program Scholar, and a recipient of the 2018 AIA Associate Award.

Panelist: Aaron Yohnke
Vice President and District Manager
Los Angeles PCL Construction Services, Inc.

For more than 17 years, Aaron Yohnke has contributed to the success of construction teams and projects across North America, including in the United States and across Canada. 

Aaron’s focus is working in and leading teams that produce extraordinary results. He currently oversees PCL’s largest US district in Los Angeles, California. As a proud third generation builder, he has diverse project experience in many markets including sports and entertainment, higher education, aviation, healthcare, commercial, civil, and institutional work. 

Aaron’s purpose is founded in trying to make a positive impact to his family, to our business, and within the community.

Panelist: Robert Lyons, SE
Brandow & Johnston

Bob Lyons, SE, is a principal at Brandow & Johnston, with a 42-year career beginning in 1978.  Project experience includes hospital facilities, K-14, institutional buildings, essential facilities, central plants, commercial buildings, entertainment structures, performing art theaters, industrial buildings, structural evaluations and forensic investigations, structural alterations and upgrades, multi-family residential, including  mixed use, high end residential, non-building structures and building component design.

Bob has been an active member on numerous technical committees since the 1980’s for Structural Engineers Association of Southern California, Structural Engineers Association of California, AISC, NEHRP and other organizations.  He is author and contributing author of several technical papers, publications, articles and presentations.  He served on the SEAOSC Board from 2003 to 2005, 2015 to 2019, and as president 2017-2018. Bob was awarded SEAOSC Honorary Member status in 2010 and inducted into the SEAOC College of Fellows in 2021. 

He obtained his BS degree in civil engineering from UCLA in 1978.

Panelist: Consuella Lewis, Ph. D
Transformations Organizational Consulting

Consuella Lewis is President of Transformations Organizational Consulting and recently worked with ETS and the National Urban League on the Equity and Excellence Project. She has served as Assistant Professor of Education in the Administrative and Policy Studies Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research career began while serving as a student affairs administrator at the University of Illinois. She was invited to serve as a summer consultant at the University of California, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, where she conducted two quantitative studies: cost per hire for lab scientist and a workload analysis of human resource professionals. During her tenure as Dean of the Office of Black Student Affairs at the Claremont Colleges she became interested in involvement theory and its relationship to student persistence. Lewis, PhD, conducted research on the effects of student involvement on persistence. In addition, she was invited to serve on the editorial board of the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals Journal. Furthermore, she was selected to participate in the Management Development Program at Harvard University. Near the end of her, doctoral studies Lewis, PhD, was awarded an OERI dissertation fellowship and served as a research associate with the Southwest Regional Laboratory (WestED). She was also awarded a fellowship for and selected to participate in the California Policy Fellows Program, through the Institute for Educational Leadership. As a WICHE Policy Fellow and Consultant, she conducted a research project on student financial aid for the SPIDO database. Lewis, PhD, was selected to attend the AIR/NCES Summer Data Policy Institute. In addition, she was selected to become a Policy Program Associate with the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in 2005. She was awarded the Inaugural Sylvia Taylor Johnson Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Educational Testing Service, where she conducted research using the restricted NSF/SESTAT database. Her study examined the effects post baccalaureate cultural capital accrual on the persistence through the doctorate in science and engineering for minorities and women. As a Fulbright New Century Scholar in 2007, her research focused on access and equity in higher education in Zanzibar. Lastly, she is currently a Fulbright Specialist and her recent assignment in 2020 was with the Chairman of the National Education Policy Commission (NEPC) in Myanmar for work on the decentralization and autonomy of higher education institutions in Myanmar. NEPC is the statutory body established by law in 2014 to develop policies which promote the development of education in Myanmar through reform and capacity building.

February 25, 2021

Keynote Presentation: How to Build Your Career and Grow a Firm: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime in the Business

With over 35 years in the structural engineering industry including the past 13 years as DCI Engineers President/CEO, Mark Aden has led DCI's growth to their current size of 350 total staff in 13 offices around the Western United States.  DCI Engineers has averaged 15% year on year revenue growth for the 22 years Mark has been with the firm, and he will discuss the reasons for growth, organic and M&A growth techniques, the importance of staff and client retention, costs and financing, and how to define and ensure success.  Additionally, in this presentation, he will discuss  the various career paths in engineering firms, the types of opportunities and employers to seek at each stage of your career, critical skills to acquire, and how to assess your own ambition and sensitivity to risk when setting long term personal career goals.    

Keynote Speaker: Mark D. Aden, PE, SE
DCI Engineers

Mark Aden did his undergraduate work at Walla Walla College, then graduate school at the University of Washington. He started his career in 1985 with a very small engineering company in Seattle, designing even smaller commercial projects. After working for two other small companies, he joined DCI Engineers in 1998. He opened their first branch office in Spokane, WA, then became President of the firm in 2007 at age 44. He has served in that capacity since and led DCI’s growth to their current footprint of 13 offices and 350 total staff. Mark has been married to Stephanie for 33 years, and has two grown children. His passions are reading, hiking, boating, motorcycling, skiing, and live music (and sometimes scotch).     

Unlock Your Inner CEO

How much of life is luck, is preparedness, or is action?  We often give up so much control over our future by sitting back and waiting to be told our next steps. Let’s talk about the skills you need to always be looking at regardless of your experience level, the attitude that will bring you the farthest, and develop a basic understanding of human nature to make your life easier.  Take control over your future by unlocking that inner CEO. 

Speaker: Ann Banning-Wright, LEED AP, CPSM
Bright Operations LLC

Ann Banning-Wright founded Bright Operations LLC, a leadership consulting company, in 2010. The firm was started to help architects, engineers and contractors develop distinctive strategies and “operationalize” those strategies into everyday efforts so they can be realized.  

From 2007, Ann led the West Region for Syska Hennessy Group, Inc. through the worst recession in history to become the standout region in the firm. Prior to running the west for Syska she was Chief Strategy Officer both starting new business ventures and turning around under-performing units.  

Ann’s is on two corporate Boards including Pankow Builders and Marx|Okubo, architecture, engineering and construction consultants.  Ann lives in Pacific Palisades with her husband and two cavapoos!

Strategies for Resilient Management - Panel Discussion

As we all know, the past year has been far from "business as usual". Join us as industry leaders Liz Mahlow, Krista Looza, Andrea Cabalo and Jennifer Halstead give us their top strategies for how to stay resilient in a constantly evolving AEC business climate. In this panel discussion, they'll share their insights and lessons learned on successfully managing clients, projects and business as a whole.

Moderator: Aileen Santos-Redman, P.E.
Structural Lead Engineer
T.Y. Lin International

Aileen is Structural Lead Engineer for TY Lin International’s Los Angeles office, with over 20 years of experience in the design and construction of various building and infrastructure projects. In the first half of her career, she focused on the structural design of buildings for the commercial, residential, educational, and medical sectors, before transitioning to working on infrastructure projects for various public works agencies. Aileen is currently managing RFI and submittal reviews and providing structural design input where needed for LA Metro’s Division 20 Portal Widening Turnback project.

Aileen is also a proud mom of a 14-year-old son, and encourages students to consider careers in engineering by emphasizing that life as we know it would not be possible without engineers of all disciplines working to make the world a better place for everyone.

Panelist: Krista Looza, S.E.
Associate Principal

Krista is a licensed Structural Engineer and works for Buehler where she is an Associate Principal.  She opened and managed their new Los Angeles office in 2015 and now works primarily from their headquarters office in Sacramento. 

She has been at Buehler since graduating from Cal Poly, SLO, in 2004 with a B.S in Architectural Engineering.  Krista has been involved in all phases of design, coordination, and construction administration for health care, education, retrofit and aviation projects and primarily now manages projects and younger engineers as well as working on company process improvements and recruiting new talent.

She enjoys mentoring and sharing her learning experiences with younger engineers and has done so through the ACE Mentor Program as well as creating training and mentorship programs for Buehler.

Krista has been very active in the structural engineering industry through SEAOC since college and has served on various committees including the Board of Directors for SEAOC Central and is a SEAOC Central Past President (Structural Engineers Association of Central California).  Krista has also served on the board of directors for the SEAOC State Association and has been a dual member at SEAOSC (Southern California).

Panelist: Jennifer Halstead
COO & Executive VP
Matt Construction 

Jennifer Halstead has nearly 30 years of commercial construction experience and has completed over $3B of projects, primarily for, and with, at-risk General Contractors in domestic and international markets.  Her construction career spans Operations positions from Field Engineer to President and most everything in between.  She has worked for very large and medium-sized General Contractors as well as owned her own firms, which gives her a unique perspective as COO of Matt Construction. 

Jennifer is primarily known for her expertise in forming, leading, and empowering integrated cross-functional teams on large, diverse projects through collaboration, use of technology in field solutions, process innovation and compassion.  Her strategic approach and thought leadership have led to many creative solutions.  Jennifer is experienced in all phases of design and construction from programming and planning to pre-construction through close-out and beyond.  She also has over 12 years self-performing CIP and custom structural precast concrete which enables her to bring innovative structural solutions to a variety of projects.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s degree in General Engineering with a secondary field in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Construction Engineering and Management from the University of Southern California.  She is an adjunct Professor at the University of Denver, past adjunct faculty for USC, a 20+ year member of the Society of Women Engineers, including Past President of the SWE-RMS Section, and most importantly, a 13-time Volunteer Puppy Raiser with her husband, Chris, for a national service dog organization, Canine Companions Independence.  

Panelist: Liz Mahlow, P.E.

Nous Engineering

Liz Mahlow is a founding partner at Nous Engineering, based in Los Angeles. She is a licensed engineer with 15 years of professional experience in the construction industry. Through her structural engineering practice, she has worked to strengthen collaboration and diversity among practitioners in order to create best possible solutions for the project and community. Projects include large hospital campuses and schools in Africa to affordable housing in her Los Angeles community, emphasizing seismic design and client education of building performance outcomes. As adjunct faculty at Woodbury University, she taught multiple lecture and studio courses with an emphasis on collaboration between architectural intent and structural performance. She is currently on the Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design and serves on the Advisory Council for the Architectural Engineering Department for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  

Panelist: Andrea Cabalo, AIA, DBIA, LEED-AP BD+C
Principal, Director of Project Management
AC Martin

Andrea Cabalo is a Studio Principal at AC Martin. She has over 25 years of experience managing programmatically complex buildings on college and university campuses in California and Hawaii. Her skills in communication, consensus building and collaboration have guided teams through many successfully completed projects. Andrea earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Hawaii, and is currently a licensed architect in the State of California, a LEED AP in Building Design + Construction and a designated Design Build Professional (DBIA). As a strong advocate for licensure, Andrea leads the “areU” committee at AC Martin focusing on supporting licensure, accreditation, certification, and intern development through mentoring.


The Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) is the oldest structural engineering association in the world


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