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WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH 2021

Mentor / Mentee Relationship: Athena, Soumya, and Gia March 18, 2021


erfront, Programming cial Equity

ent Session #4

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH 2021

“The Manhattan 1/2/5 Sanitation Garage and the Spring Street Salt Shed was beginning to transform the edge of NYC’s waterfront as my mentor, Gia, was working on the project under construction. Our paths unknowingly crossed at points in time across West Street as I was adapting to a new city through my daily runs along the Hudson River. I believe when you find yourself in the right environment, unexpected future interactions occur. I feel very fortunate that our paths have crossed in an intentional way through our participation in the mentorship program over the past two years. Although we grew up in radically different urban contexts, we are both drawn to the complexity of cities at multiple scales, further connected by our education at The Cooper Union—an institution with a foundation in a humanist, socially conscious approach to architecture.

Waterfront, Programming & Social Equity Development Session #4 Athena Unroe and Casie Kowalski

Legend: Parks Shoreline Ferry Terminals Navigable Waterway

1

Case Studies / Institutions Ports Coastal Zones SMIA Outline (Site Specific to Sunset Park, Industry City, Brooklyn Navy Yard)

Athena Unroe is a Designer. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.

Gia’s commitment to learning and always asking questions is impressive—I am inspired by her capacity to balance enthusiasm for every task at hand, critical thinking, and ability to shift attention to engage with me in our monthly mentor/ mentee breakfast. More recently in the past year, our mentorship relationship expanded with Soumya Rao joining as a fellow mentee and colleague. This larger group dynamic of inspiring women came at a critical time during a global crisis. Our relationships with each other have grown to become supportive touchpoints built on trust, inciting open exchanges about the challenges women face in architecture. I am excited to see how our individual future paths grow as we continue to learn collectively from each other.” — Athena Unroe


WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH 2021

“2020 was my first year in the Dattner Architects Mentorship program. Given how circumstances changed so dramatically for our Industry last year, Gia listened to me when I shared the challenges I faced at work and at home. The regularity of speaking with Gia one-on-one gave me a safe space to voice out my concerns as we pivoted to a virtual work life filled with uncertainties. We discussed ways of being selfaware, setting healthy boundaries, while also standing up for yourself at work as Women in Architecture. Having a “takecharge” person like Gia as my mentor, gave me the support I needed especially when I would reach out to her with a new opportunity that would show up, be it at Dattner or in the professional groups I am part of. There were many moments where I second guessed myself and Gia was truly the voice of reason and encouraged me to take the plunge on an important office wide initiative.

Soumya Rao is a Designer. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Savitribai Phule Pune University and a Master of Architecture from Iowa State University.

As a Woman in the Architecture field, having a mentor from the leadership group to push you out of your comfort zone, to understand and empathize with my goals filled me with purpose. I came to Dattner with a lot of baggage from my prior work experiences and speaking with Gia helped me bring my whole self to Dattner and the work we do. This honesty is essential to all mentoring relationships. I take heart from the fact that I got to know Athena, a fellow mentee through our activities together. We have a forum where the three of us share stories and issues we face daily. We make it a point to attend events together and uplift each other especially during stressful times. To be cheerful during anxiety inducing times is an act of self-care and courage and we truly practice it through our activities. My mentorship journey has been a fulfilling and wholesome experience and Women supporting Women will never stop because that is part of who we are!” — Soumya Rao


WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH 2021

“Working with incredible, talented, and passionate mentees motivates me to be a better leader, and strengthens my commitment to building support, trust, and confidence in our team. My mentees, Athena and Soumya, have provoked me to reflect on my own professional path, and distill the success I have had and the challenges I’ve overcome in a way that I can share with them. They inspire me: Athena’s detailed observations of our interactions with the natural and built world, and where the two intersect. Soumya’s commitment to engaging in dialogue on inclusivity and support within the profession and our firm. Our mentoring relationships have shown me the power of women supporting each other, the affirmation of open dialogues built on trust, and the pure joy of sharing in each other’s accomplishments and experiences. I am so proud to see each of them chart their own distinct paths, accomplish personal goals, and challenge themselves!” Gia Mainiero is a Principal and Studio Director of the firm’s infrastructure and transportation studio. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.

— Gia Mainiero AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Assoc. DBIA

For more information on our participants, please visit: https://www.dattner.com/people/team.

Profile for Dattner Architects

Women's History Month: Mentor / Mentee Relationship — Athena, Soumya, and Gia  

In recognition of Women's History Month, Dattner Architects is celebrating our women architects and designers by highlighting the relationsh...

Women's History Month: Mentor / Mentee Relationship — Athena, Soumya, and Gia  

In recognition of Women's History Month, Dattner Architects is celebrating our women architects and designers by highlighting the relationsh...

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