Industry Leaders Roundtable Retreat October 7-8, 2014

5th Annual Retreat, October 7-8, 2014
IBM Learning Center, Armonk, New York

Speakers for the 2014 Industry Leaders Roundtable Retreat:

Nancy Alexander, Principal, Nancy Alexander Consulting
Andrea Wicks Bowles, Senior Consultant, Horizons Workforce Consulting
Renee Charles, Associate Director-Workplace, AIG Life
Fiona Cousins, PE, Principal, ARUP
Victoria Brescoll, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Yale School of Management
Adrienne Fretz, Partner, OnPoint HR Solutions
Rosa Sheng, Senior Associate, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Jennifer Wynn, Manager, McKinsey & Company
Sasha Zolley, McKinsey & Company

The 5th-annual Industry Leaders Roundtable Retreat, October 7-8, 2014, at the IBM Learning Center in Armonk, NY. Photo Credit: BWAFArchives

The 5th-annual Industry Leaders Roundtable Retreat, October 7-8, 2014, at the IBM Learning Center in Armonk, NY. Photo Credit: BWAFArchives

Creating a culture that both retains and attracts high-value talent is a challenge most firms face. What makes a firm a great place to work? How do the best and brightest talent view your firm? Is the firm attracting the right women from schools? What measures does your firm implement to ensure women’s retention and success upon hire? How does one balance the needs of a multigenerational workforce and still promote design excellence?

Based on research, we know that there is a lack of proportionate female leadership. This is not a pipeline issue, but retention and a cultural issue. Data shows, that a firm culture that promotes employee well-being and work-life balance attracts and retains both male and female employees.

The 2014 Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Industry Leaders Roundtable focused on issues related to attracting and retaining the most highly valued talent from entry level to the C-Suite. Speakers discussed what elements make a firm a great place to work and how the firm can provide support for well-being and care-taking that will allow professionals to be flexible and concentrate on their work. The Retreat also explored the aspirations of recent graduates. Why they choose the firms for whom they want to work; and why and how search firms can recruit high potential employees to your competition. The group had the privilege to analyze findings from the recent AIA San Francisco “Missing 32%” survey. Participants in this Roundtable were exposed to current research information which facilitated strategic planning that was applied to their individual firms.

Speaker Biographies

Alexander_NancyNancy Alexander is a leading voice in advancing women in the architectural profession. She has been a highly rated speaker at AIA conventions and was a closing plenary speaker with Helene Dreiling, current president of the AIA, at the 2011 Women’s Leadership Summit. Nancy was vice chair of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation board and is a member of the Dean’s Council of the Yale School of Architecture, where she speaks each year on gender matters. Among her recent clients are WEPAN (Women in Engineering Pro-Active Network) and BIMForum, a group of building industry leaders advancing collaborative practice.

Bowles_Andrea WicksAndrea Wicks Bowles is a Senior Consultant with Horizons Workforce Consulting, a division of Bright Horizons Family Solutions. She works with clients to develop work/life strategies that meet the needs of employees while addressing strategic business goals. Andrea has presented at numerous professional conferences including Working Mother, NHRD India, and the National Work and Family Research Network. Topics included workforce effectiveness, work-life integration, employee well-being and developing and employer business case.

Victoria Brescoll at Yale SOMVictoria L. Brescoll is a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. Broadly, her research examines gender issues in the workplace, but she is particularly interested in the challenges that face women leaders. For example, she has found that displaying anger hurts female leaders, but may help male leaders; even very powerful female leaders fear talking too much in meetings compared to their male counterparts; and when mistakes are made, a woman’s professional status may be much more in jeopardy than a man’s. Dr. Brescoll’s research has been published in the leading academic business and psychology journals and is also regularly covered in media outlets including the New York Times, National Public Radio and the Wall Street Journal. She is regularly sought out as an expert on women’s leadership and diversity, most recently being featured in the best-selling book, The Confidence Code.


Renee M. Charles is a strategic and dynamic executive with a 15+ year track record in protecting value in real estate investments, as well as a high-performing leader with an outstanding ability to effectively translate opportunities into tactical innovative business solutions. She has combined multi-disciplinary experience from both the Landlord and Tenant sides in real estate transactions, design, construction management, finance and process transformation and the ability to achieve positive bottom-line impact. Renee is consistently successful in improving quality, enhancing operations, and value creation through decisive and knowledgeable leadership and adept at building relationships at every level and achieving success through tactful negotiations.

Cousins_FionaFiona Cousins leads the sustainability team in the New York office of Arup, is one of the leaders of the mechanical engineering team and is a member of the Arup Americas Board. She holds a degree in engineering science from the University of Cambridge and has spent her career engaged in HVAC design, with an area of specialization in thermal comfort and energy efficiency. She has worked for both corporate and institutional clients on a wide variety of building, planning and sustainability projects including museums, galleries, archives, trading floors, laboratories, libraries, performing art centers, energy master plans and campuses.

Fretz_AdrienneAdrienne Fretz is Partner at OnPoint HR Solutions, a boutique executive search firm focused exclusively on placing game-changing talent in critical roles in HR, Organization Development and Talent Management. Her prior roles in consulting and industry give her a different perspective for advising clients and coaching candidates. Prior to OnPoint, Adrienne was Senior Vice President of Talent & Performance Management with Barclays and Lehman Brothers where she led employee engagement, leadership and development and advancement initiatives. Before Lehman, she was a consultant in Deloitte’s Human Capital practice with an emphasis on organization design, workplace transformation and talent management. While at Deloitte, she initiated advanced degree recruiting for MBAs and other related degrees into the Human Capital practice with the vision of bringing a different skill set to the function.

Sheng_RosaRosa Sheng, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, joined Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in 1997 and became a founding member of the San Francisco office in 1999 while serving as Project Architect for Pixar Animation Studio’s Headquarters in Emeryville. With 20 years experience, Rosa has led a variety of award winning and internationally acclaimed design projects, which range from the aesthetically minimal, highly technical development of the glass structures for Apple’s original high profile retail stores to the innovative LEED NC-GOLD Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College. She was also part of the team for Square Headquarters and is currently working on innovative and sustainable projects for UC Davis and Dominican University of California. Rosa also serves as a Board of Director for AIA San Francisco and is the Founding Chairperson for The Missing 32% Project Committee, to address the issue of Equity in Architecture. She is also a member of SCUP, USGBC and OWA.

Wynn_JennJennifer Wynn is a Manager in McKinsey & Company’s New York office, where she leads teams to design digital and in-person capability building for clients. In addition to creating tools for leadership development, Jenn has also worked with clients in the public and private sectors to design and implement performance management systems and to conduct organization-wide performance transformations. Jenn was first introduced to the concepts of Centered Leadership in 2008. Centered Leadership helped bring to light Jenn’s passion for education, which led her to found a charter school and help develop courses for MBA and Executive MBA students at NYU Stern. Since returning to McKinsey & Company, Jenn has trained as a facilitator of Centered Leadership and helped deliver Centered Leadership training to others. She has an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business, a M.Ed. from Hunter College, and an A.B. from Harvard University.
Zolley_SashaSasha Zolley is a Manager for McKinsey & Company’s New York office where she leads teams to design digital and in-person capability building for clients. Sasha has also worked with McKinsey’s Education and Tech, Media and Telecom practices. She helped a performing arts institution define its digital education strategy, has helped design digital centers of excellence and secured suppliers for a new subscription model for a major publishing company. At McKinsey, Sasha was trained in Centered Leadership and has co-facilitated Centered Leadership programs. She has a JD / MBA from NYU School of Law and Stern School of Business, and a B.S. in International Political Economy from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

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