2017 iaWia Annual Report

Iowa Women in Architecture: Annual Report for year ending September 30, 2017

The Bylaws require the Board of Directors to distribute an annual report to the membership. Between August 2016 and September 2017, Iowa Women in Architecture expanded to a membership of 53 members, 21 firms participating as corporate members and a community of 321 participants on the email list.  Our membership was active, continuing, launching and perpetuating multiple initiatives and holding several successful events.  This report details the organization’s activities through September 30, 2017, in support of the following Mission and Vision statements (adopted December 2011).

Educating communities, empowering individuals, and advancing women in design.



Iowa Women in Architecture (iaWia) is a non-profit, educational organization whose mission is to support and promote women involved in design and construction of the built environment by:

·         increasing the visibility of women in design and related fields;

·         by advocating for issues relevant to women within design professions;

·         by advancing women in leadership positions;

·         and by leading discussion about cultural change in design professions.



Through activities such as networking, peer-to-peer mentorship, professional development, research and community outreach programs, iaWia aims to:

·         educate members and their communities about issues relevant to retaining and supporting women in the profession;

·         empower its members through education and recognition;

·         celebrate the contributions of women design professionals at all levels; and

·         ensure a sustainable future for women involved in all aspects of the built environment.



Administrative Accomplishments

  • Elected Offices for 2016/2017 (09/29/16)
  • Established a Reserves Policy (Adopted January, 2017)
  • Board Planning Retreat (February, 2017)
  • Filed Biannual Report with the Secretary of State (March, 2017)
  • Transitioned iaWia website to platform allowing online membership renewal (April 15, 2017)
  • Worked with Drake Legal Clinic to update Bylaws (adopted November 2017)
  • Submitted Ballot for Offices for 2016/2017 (September 15, 2017)


Membership Data

  • 53 individual members (paid through individual option)
  • 21 corporate members (firms or organizations)
  • 53 individual members paid through the corporate membership option
  • 4 platinum corporate members
  • 2 gold corporate members
  • 15 silver corporate members
  • 321 participants on email list
  • 375 “likes” on Facebook Page


Events and Activities:

Open to full membership and/or the public.

  • November 2016, Negotiation 101 Event with Brooke Benscholter.  Joint event with Commercial Real Estate Women in Iowa
  • January 2017, David Zach Presentation to iaWia membership and ISU Design 101 class Jointly sponsored by AIA Iowa, Iowa Chapter of ASLA, IIDA Great Plains Chapter, and ISU College of Design
  • March 2017, hosted table at ISU Design Career Fair
  • April 2017, Unhappy Hour Event, a collaborative social event with Polk County Women Attorneys.
  • July 2017, Networking 101 Event with Danny Beyer.  Joint event with Commercial Real Estate Women in Iowa
  • September 2017, Annual Business Meeting and Presentation: From “Glass Ceiling” to “Leadership Labyrinth”: Developing the Next Generation of Female Leaders by Dr. Lindsay Hastings from University of Nebraska
  • 6 Breakfast Socials held in Des Moines, 8 Breakfast Socials held in Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area


Media and Communications:

Facebook reach statistics, as generated by Facebook: Total “Likes” as of 08/14/2017: 375.

LinkedIn Statistics: 245 connections.

Newsblasts: 23 emailed to iaWia email lists throughout the year for various announcements and invitations. Average percentage of email opens, 44.3%.

Press releases sent to DSM Register, Business Record, AIA Iowa Arch-e-news to announce: An Evening with Futurist David Zach (1/12/17), UNHapppy Hour (3/24/17) and Annual Meeting (9/5/17)



Board of Directors: Officers were elected and committee chairs were appointed at the annual membership meeting on 9/29/2016 (according to By-Laws).  The Oct 2016 – Sept 2017 fiscal year Board Included:

  • Chair: Director of Communication & Outreach – Linda Schemmel [Naura Heiman Godar moves to this position Oct 2017 – Sept 2018]
  • Vice Chair, Director of Education & Programs – Naura Heiman Godar [term up in September 2017]
  • Director of Accounts – Susanne Roesch [term up September 2017]
  • Director of Records & Archives – Jill Godeken [term up Sept 2018]
  • Committee Co-Chairs, Communication & Outreach – Katelyn Rutledge and Hannah Schurrer [appointed by committee]
  • Committee Co-Chairs, Education & Programs – Eli Goll and Holly Pohlmeier [appointed by committee]
  • Committee Co-Chairs, Membership – Susan Judkins and Lyndley Kent [appointed by committee]
  • Student Group Representative – Kassia Payne (2016/2017 School Year) and Leslie Forhand (2017/18 School Year) [ liaison to iaWia Student Group, appointed by Board]
  • Co-Liaisons, AIA Iowa – Joe Tursi and Mindy Aust [ annually appointed by AIA Iowa in December]
  • Past Chair – Laura Kessel [ Linda Schemmel moves to this position Oct 2017 – Sept 2018]
  • Registered Agent – Naura Godar [the 2016/2017 elected Vice Chair will serve as the registered agent for three years.]


Board Meetings:

Monthly meetings of the Board of Directors occurred on the following dates: 10/26/2016, 11/21/2016, 12/28/2016, 01/25/2017, 02/22/2017, 03/22/2017, 05/24/2017, 06/28/2017, 07/26/2017, 08/23/2017 and 09/15/2017. Minutes are available upon request from the Director of Records and Archives.


Treasury (through October, 2017):


Committee Meetings and Action:

For 2016 – 2017, the organization had two committees: Communication + Outreach and Education + Programs.  Each group met as outlined below.


Communication + Outreach:

  • Members: Meetings held on an as-need basis for coordination / collaboration. Tasks delegated to specific individuals.  Group had 11 active members.

·         Thank you to the following participants who volunteered their time and effort on this committee: Katelyn Rutledge, Hannah Schurrer, Maggie Dougherty, Jackie Manning, Paige Hubbard, Lyndley Kent, Laura Kessel, Heidi Pollmann, and Monica Bailey, Sara Davids, Linda Schemmel.

  • Meetings: 10/18, 2/16, 3/16, 6/15, 7/20, 8/22.
  • Accomplishments:

·         General: Publicity for events, including press releases and social media updates; held a booth at the Iowa State University College of Design Career Days; launch of two BPR case studies; transfer of website ownership from Happy Medium to iaWia; creation of new Squarespace website with online membership registration and payment; Branding Guideline document created; creation of a Buffer account to manage social media, member of the month redesigned

  • Initiatives on Deck:

·          Creation of Corporate member of the month,

·          Support Education and Programs Committee on Leadership Series workbook


Education + Programs:

  • Committee Meetings: Held on the second Wednesday each month from 7:30 – 8:30 AM at OPN Architects in Des Moines, IA. Regularly attended by 5 – 8 people; group has 33 individuals on the committee list.
  • Accomplishments:

·         General: Established yearly calendar of events for the organization; worked to keep iaWia member costs down at events while still providing exceptional speakers and education events; set standing socials with varying topics and speakers for discussion, collaborated with a variety of organizations and hosted an array of unique events that support the iaWia mission.

·         Statewide Outreach: Coordinated viewing parties in conjunction with events for membership groups in Iowa City/Cedar Rapids and Sioux City

·         Coordination with BPR Task force to celebrate iaWia’s 5th year with an overview of the Best Practices Recommendations prior to the Annual Meeting

  • Initiatives on Deck:

·         Develop Leadership breakfast series and workbook for 2017/2018 social events

·         Collaborative events with Iowa Interior Design Association, Iowa Architectural Foundation and continued partnership with AIA Iowa, Commercial Real Estate Women in Iowa and Polk County Women Attorneys



  • Accomplishments:

·         Increased individual membership (through individually paid option and by corporate member paid option) by 3 members

·         Increased corporate members by 4 members.

·         Connected committees with interested members

·         Maintained membership roster and email list

·         Continued a co-chair approach with one chair focusing on member recruitment and the other working on membership records

·         Worked to update membership costs and benefits to better recruit higher corporate sponsorships.

  • Committee Meetings: N/A
  • Initiatives on Deck:

·         Encourage more allied members and sponsors while focusing on retention and expansion of design professional membership.


Student Chapter:

The iaWia Student Chapter aims to build mentorship opportunities with those in iaWia while still in school.

  • 2016 Student Members: Anna Bednarko, Marissa Engel, Erin Hunt, Makayla Natrop, Emily Near, Sarah Schneider, Megan Zeien
  • 2017 Student Members (to date): Anna Bednarko, Leigha Duckett, Kierstyn Feld, Tara Fallon, Taylor Hess, Emma Lorentz, Mikaela Meierhofer, Rachel Morror, Makyla Natrop, Emily Near, Greta Norris, Daniela Paez, Sirina Reed, Madeline Schmidt, Sarah Schneider, Taylor Shaw, Shelby Worth
  • Student Chapter Liaison: Leslie Forehand, ISU College of Design
  • Accomplishments:

·         Collaboration with Design 102 Studio - David Zach Presentation (January, 2017)

·         ISU Design Career Fair (March, 2017)

·         Provided Student of the Month information for iaWia Newsletters in collaboration with the Communications & Outreach Committee.


AIA Iowa Update:

Though not affiliated with the AIA, iaWia strives to create a positive, productive relationship with AIA Iowa and to promote women’s leadership in AIA.  We have made great strides in getting women elected/involved in AIA Iowa. The following women are AIA Iowa Board Members: Mindy Aust (Past President), Danielle Herman (2nd Vice President), Tonia Householder (Treasurer), Kerry Weig (Director) and Deborah Hauptmann (ISU Representative). Mindy Aust will serve AIA Iowa Liaisons to iaWia through the end of the year. Matt Ostanik will begin serving as the AIA Iowa Liaison at the beginning of 2018 due to the calendar year terms of AIA Iowa.  


AIA National Update:

One of iaWia founding members received prestigious AIA National award in 2017:

·         Danielle Herman, AIA Young Architect Award


Additional Accomplishments:

  • National and Statewide Outreach:

·         This year, additional efforts were made to make sure our statewide members had the same opportunity to view lectures held in central Iowa as well as the means and methods to take their own events in the direction that worked for them.  The Statewide Outreach groups are sectioned into 4 quadrants based on geography. The Southeast section includes Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, the Northwest section includes Sioux City, the East section includes Dubuque, and the Northeast section includes Waterloo and Cedar Falls.


Best Practice Recommendations:

·         BPR Presentations:

  •   May 2017, Presentation to Chicago Women in Architecture

·         BPR In the news:

  •   The BPR document was featured in the AIA Knowledge Net Practice Management newsletter as a resource for creating employee handbooks.

·         Continuation of BPR: Case Studies in Action:

  •   The BPR Case Studies Task Force completed one additional case study and a new perspective that complement the BPR document.

·         Initiatives on Deck:

  •   Nomination package for the AIA Diversity Recognition Program.
  •   Case Studies in Action

·         Continue to gather case studies that demonstrate examples of best practices in the industry.



General Organization:

  • Roles to fill for the 2017/18 Board: Vice Chair and Director of Accounts
  • Finalize the role definition of committee chairs and board members to ensure a more continuous transition during Board/Committee transitions.
  • iaWia will be compiling a Policies and Procedures Manual.  The Manual may include the following content: Charter Documents; State of Iowa Filings; Federal Filings; Bylaws; Board Member Roles & Responsibilities; Record Keeping Policies & Procedures; Voting Procedures
  • Finalize the Bylaws update to incorporate amendments, reflect current operations and provide language needed to reinforce non-profit status and related regulations.



  • 2017-2018 Iowa Women in Architecture Approved Budget

Looking Ahead - Education and Programs:

  • Chair / Co-Chairs: Eli Goll and Holly Pohlmeier
  • Continue to build relationships through informal networking socials.

·         Set leadership breakfast series and workbook series for breakfast socials.  Keep venue, format and time the same while working through the topic of discussion and inviting featured discussion leaders.

  • Explore and continue collaborations with other local organizations including, NEXUS, IWLC, Polk County Women Attorney's, ULI and Iowa State University.
  • Continue to develop a consistent yearly calendar for all iaWia events.
  • Continue to add value to iaWia memberships.

·         Keep event costs minimal for members. But start to build a budget pool to bring in high quality speakers who may require honorariums or reimbursable for travel fees.

·         Provide event that are educational and beneficial to the membership.

  • Further expand on the BPR topics and iaWia mission statement. Bring awareness to the organization and our achievements.  


Looking Ahead - Communications and Outreach:

  • Co – Chair: Hannah Schurrer and Kati Maki
  • Best Practice Recommendations:

·         Case Studies in Action – Format, distribute and promote the case study initiative and completed case studies.

·         Survey Tool – Continue to promote the survey as a resourceful tool for firms to internally analyze and assess existing policies and perceptions in their workplace.

  • Website:

·         Enhanced utilization and upkeep, offer greater benefits for our members with job postings, events around central Iowa, calendar, and other resources.

·         Coordination with social media platforms

  • Public Relations

·         Higher incorporation of event and news press releases to news outlets

·         Increased social media posting

·         More visibility in community by partnering with other women organizations to include iaWia events and news in their newsletters and websites.

·         Continue to refine and update graphics and consistent “voice” standards


Looking Ahead - Membership:

  • Continue to increase individual memberships;
  • Work with corporate membership and firms to utilize the membership categories better


Looking Ahead - Student Group:

  • Statistical analyses that demonstrate inequities in the profession. The students feel it is important to educate the members and the academic institution to further enhance the progression of empowering women and the new generations to come.  This collected information will be disseminated to the faculty and as a contribution to DATUM, the Department of Architecture's student journal.
  • The students are developing 'swag' for branding/identity purposes
  • Future events include co-sponsoring an ISU lecture, firm tours, a portfolio night, and a potential day-long Master Class where local women in the profession can mentor the students.


In our sixth year as a group, it has been extraordinary to watch the dedication of our volunteers live out the mission and vision of our group. Thank you to everyone who planned events; coordinated logistics of communications, membership, fundraising and accounting; mentored students; advocated for our mission through research and presentations; attended the events; and provided informal mentorship to each other.  Please contact any officer, committee leader, or the general email address with any questions or comments.

Respectfully submitted by: Linda Schemmel, AIA, 2016-2017 Chair.