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2020 Year in Review


December 28, 2020

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”– Alice Walker


2020 – A Year Like No Other (we hope)

While we prepare to put a lid on what is fair to say has been the most unique year in our collective lifetimes, we wanted to take a moment to reflect back on what PWC Philadelphia accomplished this year and provide a little insight into our plans for 2021. We hope you will take a few moments to celebrate PWC Philadelphia’s 2020 highlights and toast our hard working membership. As a Board, we continue to believe that we grow best when we grow together. To that end, we hope to see each of you throughout 2021 as we continue our work to provide meaningful opportunities for women throughout our industries to create personal connections and expand their presences and impact in the Philadelphia region and beyond.


It would be an understatement to say that we were really excited about our 2020 slate of events. The year started off on a high note with a busy Q1 as Joining hosted its first Prospective Member Breakfasts of the year and Growing delivered two sold out members-only events – Asking for What You Want & the Schuylkill Yards Hard Hat Tour. Not to be outdone, Learning presented our 2nd Annual Connecting the Dots event to an overflow crowd at Ewing Cole.

While we paused events in Q2 to get our arms around COVID-impacts, our Committees stepped up in amazing ways and transitioned all planned events for Q3 and Q4 to virtual formats so that we could continue to deliver quality, impactful programming.

  • Joining went virtual with Perspective Member Breakfasts – and found them to be wildly popular; allowing us to not just maintain, but actually grow our membership in 2020.
  • Growing revamped its original slate of in-person events and transitioned to virtual events on Back-to-Work Covid Protocols; Parenting Through Covid; a Retirement Outlook and Planning session; and a Get Well! mind, body and spirit event.
  • Learning combined our Flipping the Script on Wellness and Finding Your Voice marquis events into an interactive panel with women business owners doing cutting-edge work integrating health and wellness, office environments, and construction materials at a Future of Healthy Environments event, hosted by Cohere.
  • Connecting coordinated with GBCA and the CSI Grill Series to bring PWC Board Member Amy Novak to a panel on Submittals and continued its work with our Student Outreach group to ready a student version of Connecting the Dots for 2021.
  • Storytelling took advantage of the shift to a virtual focus and expanded our social media platforms to include timely and topical links to videos, podcasts, and articles relevant to our membership.

We are now in the final stages of planning for an equally engaging 2021 Event Slate, so make sure to check out PWC’s brand new website for additional details as new events are confirmed!


We closed out 2020 with our 3rd Annual Storytelling Event: Unapologetically Ambitious; a Conversation with Shellye Archambeau. Board Member Jen Unterberger interviewed Shellye on the highlights of her amazing career, the inspiration behind her book, and her insights into learning to be unapologetic about our ambitions.


Recognizing the impact COVID-related closings were having on student access to funding – and the impressive perseverance of young women who continue to pursue AEC careers amidst the pandemic – the PWC Philadelphia Board elected to accelerate the launch date of our Student Recognition Program. The Board selected Illyana Bass as the inaugural winner of the PWC Philadelphia Student Recognition Award; providing financial assistance for Illyana to continue to pursue her architectural studies at Drexel University. In addition to Illyana, the Board recognized six additional students pursuing AEC careers in the Philadelphia Region; gifting each with a 1-year membership to PWC Philadelphia and celebrating their accomplishments throughout our social media platforms.

Congratulations and Welcome to PWC to:

  • Illyana Bass, Drexel University
  • Genna Brunetta, Rowan University
  • Mizuki Davis, Drexel University
  • Ksenia Kudinova, Drexel University
  • Katie Tiarks, Drexel University
  • Smita Yamgar, Columbia University
  • Emma Youngs, Drexel University


In the Spring of 2020, PWC Philadelphia Board Members and our members-at-large began a dialogue around the state of diversity in the AEC community and the role that PWC Philadelphia should play in expanding and supporting diversity in the Chapter and the industry as a whole.

  • May 2020: the Board established a Task Force to focus on expanding Chapter efforts to improve Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts.
  • June-July 2020: the Task Force met with outside consultants and began a dialogue around best practices towards developing a Plan of Action for a Philadelphia PWC Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Program.
  • August 2020: the Task Force held a series of Call to Action phone calls with membership to collect thoughts and ideas on developing an effective DEI Program. The Board began to craft the Plan of Action, with direct input from Committees and from at-large members.
  • October-December 2020: the Task Force launched members-only DEI zoom discussions, where members watch a brief video and then discuss issues of race and equity in our industry and our communities. Continue to look for more of these discussion opportunities in 2021. The Board and Committees continue to draft a DEI Plan of Action that will establish both concrete metrics and aspirational goals to expand diversity throughout PWC Philadelphia and the AEC industry at large.
  • January 2021: Launch of the Plan of Action. The Board is committed to sustained, focused action to expand diversity throughout PWC Philadelphia. Continue to monitor your emails for more on these efforts.


Ask any member and they are sure to tell you that you will get the most out of your membership by joining one of our SIX COMMITTEES. We are always looking for new voices. Click below to find additional information on each Committee.

Reach out today to get involved.


Committees are hard at work planning a cadre of events, both large and small, for our 2021 Calendar. We will again offer four marquis general admission events, a series of small-format members-only events, opportunities to connect with other organizations through shared events, and our continuing DEI discussion series. Make sure to checkout the website – and your inbox! – for event updates.

Like what you see? Join Us! PWC offers several membership levels – student, individual, small business, and corporate – so there is certain to be a level that meets your needs.


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