Voices at the Top: Built to Last
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When: Wednesday, August 21, 2019
6:00 - 7:30 PM
Where: FGY Architects
81 Encina Ave
Palo Alto, CA  94301
United States
Contact: Mani A. Farhadi

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Voices at the Top: Built to Last

We are witnessing the fast pace at which companies are changing, and in architecture, we have to rise to embrace this dynamic. We need to search for new ways to elevate the practice by transforming leaders. The architectural practice is becoming more diverse. In this diversity, we have found ourselves as leaders in an industry that is lagging behind in the way we run the business of architecture.

We are not sharing three stories, it is one story of how we met and discovered how much stronger we are together. We met at the intersection of Women in Architecture, when we were all mid-career in our profession. Three years later we find ourselves not alone in search of an anchor network to sustain our leadership path. This session will explore ways to build an anchor network for transformative and diverse leaders.


If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
- African proverb of unknown specific origin


About the Presenters:


Mani Ardalan Farhadi, Associate AIA, LEED AP

A global thinker and creative thought leader, Mani Ardalan Farhadi’s experience spans three decades. Currently, as Senior Facilities Planner at Stanford University, School of Medicine, OFPM (Office of Facilities Planning and management), Mani enjoys combining her passion for education, with her extensive planning skills. Having collaborated with public and private institutions, she is integral to campus projects. Mani’s leadership extends into volunteer duties: former Board of Trustee (Los Gatos Union School District), and Chair of Bond Oversight Committee, receiving ‘Citizen Architect’ award. Her professional degree was obtained from Boston Architectural College (B.Arch), following her degree from Wellesley College (B.A. Architecture). Her speaking engagements include presentations at SCUP, EQXD, AIA, CCFC, CCLC, A4LE, SF Design Week and SPUR. 

Mariana Alvarez Parga, AIA, LEED AP

As a Principal and Partner at MADI Group Inc, Mariana brings over nineteen years of architectural experience, from design to occupancy. She is based in the San Jose office where she oversees the firm's architecture department.

Mariana's experience and focus on work environment and firm culture has contributed to the firm’s rapid growth and expanded portfolio.

Katia McClain, AIA, DBIA, LEED AP BD+C

Over the past two decades, Katia McClain has been involved in the design, management and construction of complex architectural programs for both public and private educational and commercial clients. In addition to her experience studying and working in the cultural capitals of Latin America and Europe, here in the United States, Katia has developed an expertise in leading large educational projects. She encourages an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and collaboration in order to create spaces that have a positive effect on human outcomes.




  • Identify techniques to define your leadership style.
  • Explore the strength of individuality.
  • Create an internal mechanism for realizing potential.
  • Organize support to achieve a leadership network.
  • Emphasize the need for a network to then sustain your leadership growth.