Newton's Notes

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    Erin Sharp Newton
    Aug 25, '23 10:24 AM EST

    Source: AIA CNJ

    Source: AIA CNJ
    • Pioneering Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in New Jersey

    In architecture, winds of change are flowing across the landscape of Central New Jersey, USA.  In the Garden State, bridging New York City and Philadelphia, women in architecture are emerging and crafting a new narrative of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the field of design and practice.

    Shining a spotlight on a few remarkable women who have quietly been pioneering a transmutation in a very difficult environment of old-beliefs (and where old habits are hard to break through), they are enabling a shift that extends beyond designing structures – respectfully shaping a more comprehensive architectural community. These three examples each have served (or are serving) as Presidents to the AIA Central Section, where professional governance coexists with personal and professional integrity.

    Through their visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to the profession, these architects are not only shaping buildings but also cultivating an environment where everyone's voice is valued. They are pushing the conventional boundaries to expand into an architectural community that celebrates empowerment coupled with kindness and consideration. They are impacting AIA Central from within the organization due to to their unwavering dedication to creating an environment where every perspective thrives.  This approach has ignited initiatives, and has opened pathways for all professionals to flourish. 

    • Elina Schchervinsky AIA: Inclusive Leadership 

    Elina Schchervinsky, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, serves as an elegant example of inclusive leadership in her role as President of the AIA Central New Jersey Section. Merging her years of working as a Design Architect into her expertise as a Forensic Architect, she has brought a high level of critical creativity into the professional community. Through her tenure, she has fostered an environment that encourages architects to participate and shine. Elina's emphasis on education and support networks helps architects to break barriers and feel empowered to contribute to the architectural community narrative. She has spent her term in office, as President, and as President-Elect, transforming the Section by harnessing the legacy of seeds planted, and by actualizing a vision for a more modern present and future.  Through supporting the local professionals in organizing interesting educational events, managing the governing infrastructure, to behind-the-scenes revamping of the website and the Section’s brand, she has made sure individuals and their firms have presence within the community.

    • LoriAnne Jones AIA: Advocating for a Diverse Narrative

    LoriAnne Jones, AIA, LEED AP (with an MBA focused in Business Strategy & Leadership, and Entrepreneurship), also served two terms as President for AIA CNJ.  As a Past-President she has continued to create underpinning for future leadership. As an expansive professional, she has “taken mentorship and passion for architecture to a whole new level”.  As a featured panelist in the six part Diversity in Architecture Series and a reader in AIA New Jersey's Storytime for children, she introduces architecture and architects in a manner that has been instrumental in advocating for diversity.  She was the first black woman to be named the Young Architect of the Year (2020). As a representative of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), her advocacy extends beyond design aesthetics, by focusing on the cultural and social aspects of architecture. By highlighting the importance of different cultural narratives, LoriAnne is actively empowering citizenry and creating space that can resonate with a wider spectrum of identities.  

    Source: AIA CNJ
    • Donna Terzano AIA: Making Room for New Leaders 

    Donna Terzano, AIA, LEED AP, has spent her entire career cultivating inclusivity through her former role as President of AIACNJ, as an architect at HDR, as Associate Vice President at Cannon and other roles, including her work at Hillier, and at Robert Wood Johnson (managing the development of architectural and capital improvement projects). She has reached into the public realm in her role as part of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, addressing Healthcare Design in a Post-Pandemic World.  Her approach to architectural practice transcends traditional boundaries, emphasizing collaborative partnerships that embrace varying perspectives. By valuing input from all stakeholders, Donna is an excellent example of a woman who has stayed steadfast within the AIA, lifting up emerging, or overlooked, professionals in the Section, by pulling them into leadership roles. Serving for five years as AIACNJ President, she has been long planting the seeds that are helping the Section become a true resource for others and bridge for the profession.  



    As we stand at the crossroads of a new architectural epoch, these women in Central New Jersey beckon us forward. Their work, inside and out, transcends the material—they are symbols of progress, inclusivity, collaboration, creativity and most of all, kindness. With Elina Schchervinsky AIA, LoriAnne Jones AIA, Donna Terzano AIA, and countless others as guiding stars, the architectural landscape of the Garden State is being cultivated with great promise.

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