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Community | BE Attends Women's Leadership Initiative Panel

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As a woman-owned firm, we consistently attend events and opportunities that promote women in architecture industry. This month, Ellen Bailey Dickson and David Kennedy attended the Urban Land Institute Chicago (ULI)’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. As part of their annual signature event, the WLI hosted “Game Changers”, a discussion with groundbreaking women who have positively impacted the built environment in Chicago.

The panel included Billie Tsien, Carol Ross Barney, and Rebekah Scheinfield. The panel was moderated by Mary Ludgin, the managing director and head of global research at Heitman LLC, and the ULI Chicago’s District Council Chair. Billie Tsien is a partner at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. While based in New York, Tsien is the lead designer of the Obama Presidential Center and has completed work for the University of Chicago. Carol Ross Barney is the Design Principal at Ross Barney Architects who designed portions of the Chicago Riverwalk design, creating accessible and vibrant public spaces along the Chicago River in the heart of downtown. Rebekah Scheinfield is the Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Transportation. Scheinfield is a leader in Chicago’s transportation initiatives and capital investments such as the Chicago Riverwalk, Loop Link, the 606 and Bloomingdale Trail.

Founded in 2015, the Women’s Leadership Initiative has hosted four annual events. The 2019 “Game Changers”, with an audience of over 360 people, was the most well attended event so far. The panel discussed leadership styles, personal legacy, politics and policy, and Chicago and its architectural heritage.

“Each panelist showed their unvarnished identities which revealed that strength comes in many packages: strong, soft, and subtle,” – Ellen Bailey Dickson, FAIA.

The ULI Chicago Women’s Leadership Initiative works to promote the advancement of women, increase the number of women who serve in leadership positions, increase visibility of women leaders, and to increase the number of women who are active ULI Full members.