Newsletter | May/Jun 2011

Visioning Retreat Focuses on What Makes OWA Vital
by Joanne Chow Winship

May 7 Visioning Retreat in Lafayette

Rene Yung leads OWA in mindmapping

The May 7 Visioning Retreat was blessed by glorious weather, great ideas, good food, and beautiful surroundings. Thirty women gathered in Lafayette at Leslie Golden's home to explore the question of what makes OWA vital and viable? The lively discussion was facilitated by OWA member and civic engagement artist, Rene Yung. Rene led the group through a mind mapping exercise that resulted in the creation of energy pods focusing in 7 areas to promote OWA growth and vitality: Public Service; Business Development; Education: Media; Eco Village; Book Circle; and 40th Anniversary. The general membership is encourage to participate in one of these energy pods by contacting the pod coordinator listed. A brief area description of each follows after the pod's contact information.

1. Public Service: Cami White,, 415-526-2939 and Rachel Slonicki,,510 704 0808
The purpose for our public service interest group is to provide tangible support to the community surrounding the OWA and to increase visibility and awareness of OWA in our community. Our interest group proposes to develop three types of potential, public service types and solicits member comment, support, and participation:
  • Take action, volunteer, and participate with community partners on a public service project.
  • Tutor in a mentorship program and provide outreach to members of the community contemplating a career in design.
  • Provide design services for a project of interest to the OWA membership.

  • Participation and Potential Projects

    The public service interest group seeks members to volunteer to participate on our interest group, a proposed project, and to provide feed back, additional resources or ideas that we might explore as a design community:

    a. Public Service Project
  • Be a Community Partner with Kaiser Permanente, NBBJ, McCarthy Building Companies at Mosswood Park in Oakland California for National Facilities Services Volunteer Day on Friday, 26 August 2011, 8 am-3pm. Our goal is to have fifteen members sign up to volunteer. The work involves park cleanup, weeding, mulching, help sorting books for a library book drive,
  • Develop a project through Rebuilding Together for April 2012.
  • Leslie Golden has designed, pro bono, a playground for Building Bridges Child Development Center in Oakland. We’d like to explore the possibility of helping fund or build the playground.

  • b. Establish or participate in a mentor program:
  • ACE Mentor Program, Career Directions for High School Students in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering
  • Volunteer to teach a design skill at Cypress Mandela Training Center

  • c. Provide design services for a project to be determined.
    This topic can be explored further.

    2. Business Development: Shannon Devine,, 533-7332 and Eliza Hart,, 415-503-7071.
    A weekly business blog is started on the OWA Forum and focus will be on compiling a list of resources that are related to business development. These could be websites or tips or references to people.

    3. Education: Karlene Gullone,, 510-845-5786
    Focus will be on scholarships, internships and formalizing mentorships.

    4. Media: Leslie Golden,, 510-465-4030
    Goal – to advance the goals and activities of OWA in the media.
  • 15 minute OWA Historical Video – To cover the founding, current events and activities and he future of the OWA – to be shown at the 40th Anniversary and posted on web site in three video sections.
  • 3 minute OWA Video Add – Upbeat video, show casing the diversity of our membership, our activities and to encourage new members.
  • Promote Facebook and Linked in Opportunities
  • Press releases for Activities and possible pro bono work
  • Strategic Partnerships with other women organizations
  • Other ideas are welcome!

  • 5. Eco Village: Spring Friedlander,, 510-652-7600
    Those of us in the design and construction fields effectively manage the development of communities. Let us support one another in applying our skills, practices and resources to transform our existing micro-environments with a goal of lessening our carbon footprint and serving the environmental needs of humans and other living organisms. See the Ecovillage Network of the Americas - for more information.

    Let us work with one another to join our neighbors in weaving eco-villages where we live. The 100 year old urbanist mini- neighborhood that Spring F. lives in, Fairview Park, has begun to evolve as an Eco-village.

    Please join in forming an OWA eco-village focus group which could partner with others to build capacity and resilience for transition to a post-carbon future by supporting Fairview Park and other evolving eco-villages.

    6. Book Circle: Wendy Bertrand,, 415-648-2713
    My objective in creating the OWA Book Circle was to increase the organizational focus of how women and the design professions are meaningfully linked. Eight of us are starting to read our third book, Women and The Modern House by Alice T. Friedman. Author and historian Friedman highlights the fact that very exciting women were the clients of some of the most famous modern houses.

    2012 may see a continuation of the OWA Book Circle (with two books) if there is interest (group size 6-8). We look for books that explore or bring new insight to the vast interface of women and the design fields; women as architects, planners, clients, authors, , historians, educators, critics, users of spaces and places and so forth. All the books we read and discuss are available for loan, before being donated to design schools, to OWA members outside the Circle. If you are interested in borrowing a book or being in the next circle please email me at

    7. 40th Anniversary: Gilda Puente-Peters,, 510-526-6226
    Contact Gilda to the volunteer for the following events being planned:
  • Dinner Gala Party: Symposium / Reception at UC Berkeley
  • OWA 40th. Anniversary Commemorative Video
  • Trip oversees or US trip depending on the members interest
  • Participation in the Bay to Breakers run
  • Digital Exhibit of member's work that can be showed at the different events during the anniversary year.

  • copyright © 2019