BWAF Honors Six Leading Female Professionals in Architecture, Construction and More
Leaders in varied fields elevating roles of women are recognized with Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation’s BEVY Awards at annual gala event in New York City
Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation has announced six exceptional women in architecture, engineering, construction and allied fields as honorees to be recognized at their 2022 BEVY Leadership Awards Gala on October 19th.
The annual event, which brings together leading women in varied professions from around the nation, focuses on the widely admired mission of Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) to “bring attention to the work of contemporary women in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, development and construction.” The 2022 honorees include one of North America’s most influential engineers, the dean of a top architecture school, a prominent executive in real estate development, and the managing partner of a celebrated international architecture firm.
Throughout the evening gala event at the Bryant Park Grill, each of the women will be cited for beneficial impact in a specialized area and in fields where women are increasingly visible and impactful. The categories of recognition include innovation, mentorship, academic leadership, media engagement, organizational excellence, and emerging leadership — all linked to Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation’s core mission of changing the industry of design and construction, for women, through education and research.
“Since 2014, we have raised awareness of women showing great progress in fields historically dominated by men through this highly respected awards program, and by celebrating their achievements at our annual gala,” says Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, executive director of the Beverly Wills Architecture Foundation.
Among the applauded honorees for 2022 are engineer Fiona Cousins, for her widespread impact as Chair of the Americas for the global engineering and design giant Arup, and architect Elaine Molinar, managing partner of the U.S. practice for Snøhetta, an acclaimed 100-person interdisciplinary architecture, landscape, and interior design studio with a focus on well-being.
Also honored this year for academic excellence is J. Meejin Yoon, dean of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and one of the founding partners of the architecture and design firm Höweler + Yoon. For innovation excellence, the award goes to Judy Kessler, a highly accomplished real estate development executive known for leading large-scale building projects as well as supporting housing for low- and moderate-income residents including the formerly homeless.
Other honorees for this year’s BEVY Leadership Awards include an emerging leader award for Adrienne Hepler, founder of owner’s representative and project management firm Envoie Projects, and mentorship laurels for construction executive Brennan Gilbane Koch of Gilbane Building Company, a company frequently named atop lists of the best places to work.
Gala Chairs and Sponsors
In addition to the six honorees, the two event co-chairs Jennifer Stone and Ebbie Wisecarver further the representation of innovative leadership that underpins the spirit of the awards gala. Jennifer Stone, AIA, partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects, is an advocate for high-quality design and collaborative problem-solving, with a talent for bringing together the diverse voices of academic, administrative, and community stakeholders to envision and build a shared future. In addition to her standing as a seasoned architect and business leader, Ebbie Wisecarver is senior vice president and head of global design at WeWork, serving as a strong advocate for gender equality as well as the executive sponsor of the company’s employee resource group, Women of WeWork.
Sponsors of the 2022 BEVY Leadership Awards are law firm Zetlin & De Chiara, the engineering firms Thornton Tomasetti and Arup, along with the four architecture firms SHoP, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Dattner Architects and Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), as well as real estate developer and manager Brookfield Properties.
“On the heels of winning prestigious grants for our podcast audio documentaries about great women in architecture and design, New Angle: Voice, we are very thankful for the strong and steadfast support from our gala sponsors and chairs,” adds Kracauer. “Our movement is growing momentum and attention, and women leaders like our 2022 honorees are creating new ways to make that possible.”
About the Honorees
J. Meejin Yoon
Dean, Cornell University
J. Meejin Yoon is the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) at Cornell University, and co-founding partner of Höweler + Yoon. An architect, educator, Yoon is committed to advancing creative and critical practices and pedagogies, scholarship, and research that address the many urgent environmental and social challenges we face in our cities and communities.
Yoon’s own work and research examines intersections between architecture, urbanism, technology, and the public realm. Her professional projects include cultural buildings and public spaces including the Institute of Democracy and the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia, the MIT Museum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Living Village at the Yale Divinity School.
Yoon’s work has been widely exhibited internationally at venues such as MoMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Vitra Design Museum, and the National Art Center in Japan, among others. She is co-author of the recent title Verify in Field: Projects and Conversations Höweler + Yoon (Park Books, 2021) and Public Works: Unsolicited Small Projects for the Big Dig (Map Books, 2009); and author of Absence, an artist book published by Printed Matter and the Whitney Museum of Art in 2003. In 2021, Yoon was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in the field of architecture, the highest recognition of artistic merit in the United States.
Kessler, an accomplished real estate development executive, coordinates Vornado’s groundbreaking work in the Penn District. She facilitated the company’s vision to bring significant improvements to Penn Station and create meaningful change in this derided neighborhood. The plan is taking shape now with over $2 billion of privately funded projects above grade and $3 billion of publicly funded and PPP projects in Penn Station and the transit network below. Kessler brought to bear innovative planning, design, and interdisciplinary and interagency problem-solving to realize these complex integrated plans to help break through decades of intransigence and underfunding.
She previously led pioneering projects, including 15 Central Park West condominium, as a development executive for Zeckendorf Development, and performed early work on what would later become the Moynihan Train Hall as a project director at Tishman Urban Development Corp.
Kessler actively serves on the board of Settlement Housing Fund, a not-for-profit serving more than 25,000 low- and moderate-income residents including the formerly homeless. She also sits on the board of the Urban Design Forum, whose mission is to convene civic leaders to confront the defining issues in New York City’s built environment.
Chair of the Americas, Arup
A leader championing the advancement of women in engineering, sustainability, and related fields, Fiona Cousins is the recently appointed Chair of Arup’s Americas region, a leading global built-environment consulting firm dedicated to sustainable development. Her work is focused on delivering solutions that prepare cities and communities to withstand the impacts of climate change while ushering in a net zero future.
In addition to her role as Chair, Cousins is also an Arup Fellow working to accelerate the firm’s digital transformation and delivering innovative solutions for a more equitable built environment. Among other key responsibilities, she advises on Arup’s ongoing climate services initiatives to ensure sustainable outcomes are credible and compelling to clients. Throughout her tenure, she has contributed her expertise to a wide range of iconic projects around the world, including the U.S. Embassy in London and the Fulton Street Station in New York City. As a valued advisor, she has provided counsel on critical climate legislation, including New York City’s recent Local Law 97.
Born in the United Kingdom, she is a published author and avid kayaker. In conjunction with her leadership duties at Arup, Cousins has served as the Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council and earned such honors as LEED Fellow and the AIA New York Chapter’s Award of Merit in 2017. She helms Arup Americas at a pivotal moment, as the firm moves forward with commitments to achieve net-zero emissions across its entire operations by 2030 and undertake whole lifecycle carbon assessments for significant building projects.
Founder, Envoie Projects
Adrienne Hepler is owner and founder of Envoie Projects, an owner’s representative and project management firm based in New York City. She excels at strategic oversight and planning for complex capital projects, with a particular passion for and expertise in projects for cultural, mission-driven and not-for-profit clients. She builds and directs large teams and is adept at navigating capital projects of all types and sizes through regulatory review and approvals processes to completion on time and on budget.
Prior to co-founding Envoie Projects, Hepler was the Chief Operating Officer for Levien and Company, where she managed staff assignments and client relations, improved operating systems, and directed firm strategy. Before joining Levien, Hepler worked on the owner’s side, where she served as Director of Capital Projects and Government Relations for The Public Theater in New York City, managing a $42 million renovation to a landmark building, which remained operational during four years of construction.
Hepler is a member of both WX New York Women Executives in Real Estate and the Owner’s Representative Project Manager Alliance, serves on the Ambassador Council for Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), and was a Beverly Willis Foundation Emerging Leader.
Managing Partner, Snøhetta
Throughout her life and career, Elaine Molinar has followed a path of cultural passion. As a young woman her classical dance studies led her to other artistic interests finally settling into a study of architecture. She has since helped create the Snøhetta studio and become a lead designer of significant cultural projects around the world including the Bibiliotheca Alexandrina, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the National September 11th Memorial Museum Pavilion. She is a co-founder of Snøhetta’s New York studio and the Managing Partner of the portfolio in the Americas. Her focus in recent years has been directing the strategic direction of the practice while improving the platforms by which younger members of the staff may excel. The studio has nurtured several hundred emerging designers during her tenure.
Elaine’s commitment to the issues of social and physical well-being have further motivated her work. She has cultivated new programs for the company internally and connecting these programs to other independent groups, growing the practice positively for over three decades As the executive sponsor of an internal task force focused on improving the firm’s understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion she has made substantial progress fostering a healthy work environment and infusing the firm’s design work with these values. She has helped form employee work groups and fostered a positive work environment formed by interaction and open dialogue.
Elaine has a deep interest in nurturing the future generation of design professionals and is an active participant in the advisory boards of the Stuckeman School of Architecture at Penn State University and the University of Texas at Austin, her alma mater. She offers a broad perspective rooted in a career that has crossed cultures and generations. As an advisory board member to the online platform Madame Architect, and previously at the Van Alen Institute Elaine has further connected to a wider spectrum of positive cultural influence. Elaine continuously speaks about these issues to a wide range of audiences from student and commercial groups to national and international public officials.
Brennan Gilbane Koch
Director, Strategic Partnerships and Client Relations, Gilbane Building Company
2022 BEVY LEADERSHIP AWARDS
Dedicated to sustainable development, Arup is a collective of designers, consultants and experts working globally. Founded to be humane and excellent, we collaborate with our clients and partners using imagination, technology, and rigor to shape a better world.
Brookfield Properties is one of the world’s largest real estate managers, providing development and management services for projects from office to retail, logistics to multifamily, and hospitality to mixed-use, and bringing high-quality, sustainable real estate to life for everyone, everywhere.
A mission-driven firm enriching civic and urban spaces, Dattner Architects transforms environments and strengthens communities through engaged collaboration, thoughtful programming, and creative design.
Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP is a 200-person firm of architects, interior designers, and supporting staff, with an established international reputation as a leading design firm with wide experience in residential, commercial, and institutional work.
SHoP is a firm of architects and innovators, craftspeople and problem solvers, highly trained specialists and proud generalists, who share global expertise in anticipating and designing for what’s ahead.
Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) is an interdisciplinary collective of architects, designers, engineers, and planners working together to build a better future.
An independent organization of engineers, scientists, architects and other professionals who collaborate from offices worldwide, Thornton Tomasetti is committed to being a sustainable, diverse and enduring organization and a global driver of change and innovation.
Zetlin & De Chiara
As one of the country’s leading law firms, Zetlin & De Chiara LLP provides sophisticated legal and business counsel to real estate owners, developers, financial institutions, owner’s representatives, design professionals, construction managers, and contractors in all aspects of construction law and the built environment.
The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) is leading a cultural revolution in the building industry that acknowledges, cultivates, and values women’s contributions and achievements — past, present, and future. BWAF advocates for gender equity in leadership and recognition in architecture, design, landscape, engineering, technology, real estate and construction. BWAF achieves its mission by researching and documenting women’s contributions and achievements in the built realm, educating the public, and transforming industry practices. Through exhibitions, websites, media, public and invitation-only programs, and our acclaimed New Angle: Voice series, BWAF collaborates with museums, universities, professional organizations, and other groups to advance women. We cultivate leaders at all levels. Through our work, we seek to build global change. Visit bwaf.org for more.