AIA Redwood Empire Perspective Series


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Emerging Professional Women: Rising through the Ranks of Architecture

1.5 LU|HSW

Our local panel discussion will take us on the journey of 5 emerging professional women. Our panelists come from a variety of firm types, and all entered the profession at different times and in different ways. Their voices are unique and their stories are important…to be heard by all people, regardless of gender.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Moderated by Je’Nen Chastain, MBA, Assoc. AIA.

Je’Nen Chastain is the founder of Apostrophe Consulting, a management consultancy serving professionals in architecture and the creative fields. With expertise in marketing, leadership development, and strategic planning, Je’Nen is passionate about developing next-generation practice leaders. She is a Co-Host of Practice Disrupted, a brand-new podcast by Practice of Architecture and Gābl Media, exploring the changing nature of practice. A recipient of the 2017 AIA Associates Award, Je’Nen holds both a B.Arch. and an MBA. She previously spent a decade in the Bay Area, collaborating with award-winning firms in their design, marketing, and business development efforts.



Emily Grayho, TLCD Architecture

Emily Grayho has been a designer with TLCD Architecture for two years. She grew up in the East Bay, attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for her Bachelor of Architecture, and started her architectural career in a two-person firm in Oakland. An enthusiast of new experiences, Emily embraces comfort in discomfort to gain empathy and shared humanity amongst different walks of life. She enjoys all things fitness and movement, mental growth and fulfillment, when stereotypes are broken, and fighting for a just and equitable world.


Heather Evans, QKA

Heather Evans is a Job Captain and Project Designer at Quattrocchi Kwok Architects in Santa Rosa. She graduated from the USC School of Architecture in 2010, with a bachelor’s degree and particular interest in sustainability. After graduation, she continued to stay on in Los Angeles working briefly in the art department at Marvel Studios, a small residential design studio, then eventually landing at a corporate firm specializing in construction administration and healthcare design. In response to a constant desire to make an environmental and social impact, she spent a few years volunteering on farms in Australia and New Zealand to learn about permaculture. During this time she met her husband, and returned to his home in Italy where they lived for a few years. Adjusting to life in a new country and foreign language was a challenge, but also an opportunity to teach ESL and absorb the architectural history that surrounds every-day life there. Now back in California and a new mother, she looks forward to making roots and getting involved in her local community.


Kristin Nichols, MAD Architecture

Kristin is a business engineer (dual MBA and MSME) from Germany, who is very passionate about sustainable design. Before she came to the US she was a project engineer for Waste-to-Energy facilities and District Heating networks in Switzerland. While working for MAD since the end of 2018 she fulfills her dream to add creative expression into her work. Kristin’s role as CAD Technician is to prepare design visualizations and construction documents. She also brings in her experience in organization and quality management to continuously support the deliverables for our clients regarding cost, time and accuracy.


Leah Pettis, AXIA Architects

Leah Pettis is a Sonoma County born designer with a background in theater and film design. She holds a BA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and received her MFA in Set Design from Carnegie Mellon University. She previously worked in film & television in the art department on titles such as “Dark Knight Rises” and “Man of Steel.” She has worked at AXIA Architects for the last 4 years and holds the position of Job Captain.



Chelsea Hamada, TLCD Architecture

Project Captain

Originally from Salt Lake City Chelsea now calls Santa Rosa home. Her education took her from the mountains of Utah to Japan, New York, England and Italy. The economic downturn of 2008 influenced her decision to step into the complex, technical, yet rewarding world of healthcare architecture at TLCD. As a Project Captain of the healthcare studio Chelsea’s approach is very collaborative and team-oriented. She loves working within a team where she finds that mentorship is a rewarding two-way street. This approach extends into all aspects of her life. Day to day she is navigating the ins and outs of her projects, while managing a new balance of working from home with twin boy and girl toddlers running around. If you know anything about twins or toddlers, you know that it is a team effort!










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