Posted by Rachel Westall on 18 September 2023
The panel discussion 'Women Leaders in Design: A Conversation with By Design TV' with Esha Gupta, founder and publisher of Design Pataki from India, Molly McGowan, partner of Ennead Architects from the USA, and Shida Salehi, founder and managing director of Customs Bureau from the UK, made it very clear: the international architecture and design industry benefits from female entrepreneurial spirit and leadership. On the one hand, the three pioneers stand for fascinating new projects and unique spatial designs with emotional added value. On the other hand, they convince with a strongly collaborative and inclusive leadership style. A mixture that invigorates the entire industry and is ground-breaking for the next generation.
The three internationally active top female designers and architects exchanged views on the challenges, opportunities and successes of women in architecture and design-related fields. They spoke about their different experiences and shared their requirements for the future. In order to advance professionally step by step, they believe that mentorship and the development of a network are extremely important - mentors can certainly come from an industry that is not related to architecture or design. In general, networking beyond the boundaries of one's own industry is essential. In addition, regular exchange with women who are in similar leadership positions in other fields helps.
The question of whether equality has been achieved was unanimously answered in the negative, although there are of course differences among the individual countries and cultures. Shida Salehi, founder and MD of Customs Bureau, put it in a nutshell: "There's still a long way to go. Not everyone has the same opportunities. And it's not only up to women to change things here. Everyone is responsible for change. The focus has to be on diversity and appreciation collectively to create a good working environment". According to Molly McGowan, equality has been achieved in the US in terms of education, universities, schools and workplaces. However, not yet at the top management level. Women are still assigned the stereotypical soft skills. "I'm still some of the few women who is out on construction sites, it's crazy. We need to get away from that and distribute roles and responsibilities equally in the team based on interests, talents and inclinations - regardless of gender," said the Ennead Architects partner.
"The greater the diversity in the team, the better it is for the creative process," Esha Gupta, founder and editor Design Pataki, also emphasised. In India, many small firms are run by women, while large ones are run by men. Much more development work needs to be done here. And due to the caste system in India, opportunities are very unequally distributed. To this end, she has set up a foundation that specifically supports young women. Together they encourage them to assert themselves with their own visions. Esha's tip: "Don't give up and stick to what you love". Shida added: "Just do it, find a mentor and learn from setbacks. Everyone has the right to develop and prove themselves". Molly: "Consistently build your expertise in specialised areas, this will be invaluable later on".
Digital Academy: Simply network and follow streamings
Interested? The recording of the panel discussion is now available in German and English in the Digital Academy media library. From 20th September 2023, it will be permanently available on Conzoom Solutions. With the Digital Academy, the three consumer goods fairs Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld offer regular target-group-specific online events on a joint platform on important topics that move the consumer goods sector. They take place every two months throughout the year, can be followed in German and English and, with impulse lectures and discussion rounds by experts, provide sound industry knowledge, food for thought and practical tips. Participation in the events is free of charge. All participants of the Digital Academy also benefit from the AI-supported matchmaking function. They can use this to network and exchange business ideas throughout the year.
The fourth episode of the Digital Academy will take place on 8th November 2023 at 10am. and will be dedicated to the topic "Future of Hospitality - Innovative trends for successful restaurateurs". To register for the Digital Academy free of charge, go to consumergoods.digital.messefrankfurt.com
More design and live exchange on site at Ambiente
Ambiente will once again be the meeting place of the international designer scene from 26th to 30th January 2024. At various events, the community can network with each other and meet future clients. Exciting new highlights for visitors: In future, the Saturday of the fair will be the Designer Day: five guest designers will create this day and deal with the topic of design from different perspectives. In addition, the designer Elena Salmistraro from Milan is the 'Ambiente Designer 2024'. With 'The Lounge', she designs a special presentation in Galleria 1 that creates a thematic interface between interior design and HoReCa. This is the starting signal for an ongoing project: Every year, Ambiente honours an up-and-coming designer with an exclusively designed special presentation.