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About Us

Our Mission

The Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals supports and promotes women in design-related fields in all phases of their professional lives. We seek to:
  • Improve the professional standing of women in architecture and design-related fields.
  • Promote networking opportunities among our members and related professional groups.
  • Provide support for women entrepreneurs and business owners in the design industry.
  • Advocate young women and students entering design related fields through mentoring, education, and employment opportunities.
  • Support women in creating a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.

Our History

The OWA is a non-profit organization founded in 1973 when twelve Bay Area women working in the field of architecture began gathering to exchange their experiences in a traditionally male-dominated field. The group became a networking resource, a place to share ideas and a group whose goal was to support and advance not only the professional but also the personal lives of its members. A more exhaustive history and links to past OWA events and publications are on the OWA History Page.

Our Structure

The OWA is run by a volunteer Steering Committee staffed by members who are committed to upholding the organization's goals. The system of organization allows for the greatest possible participation and direction by members and is conducted in accordance with our Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation.

Our Members

As the OWA enters its fourth decade it has a membership of over 300 members, and architects are just a part of the picture. Among the many disciplines included are interior designers, landscape architects, planners, lighting designers, graphic designers, photographers, artists, writers, and educators. The OWA also welcomes student members. Our diverse member base creates an ideal forum for networking across disciplines, sharing ideas, and mentoring one another. Over the years, the unique network has been a tremendous resource for its members.

Membership - what do you get as a member?

Everyone on the web has access to some of the OWA benefits:
  • A bimonthly Newsletter with current events, member news and interviews, and other relevant topics.
  • The Forum showing public postings.
  • A Calendar of OWA events as well as upcoming shows, competitions, conferences.
  • Women in the Design Professions Resource Page.

But only members get:
  • Health Plan: OWA offers a health care plan for its members.
  • Forum: posting access for public and members-only topics and comments.
  • Member Directory containing professional information and interests for OWA members.
  • Portfolio and Journal to create your own public portfolio of work and to maintain your own blog.
  • Participation in the many events, lectures and tours sponsored by the
      OWA including:

      OWA Programs: Scheduled bi-monthly with topics ranging from career development to community outreach to tours of local buildings. When possible, we feature the work of our members as well as projects designed or managed by women architects and design professionals. Meeting dates, places and agendas are shown on the Calendar.

      Annual Retreat: Typically held in Sonoma County in the fall - the OWA Annual Retreat offers a chance for members old and new to reconnect, restore, and revitalize the spirit. It is also OWA's chance to evaluate the past year's events and progress and plan for the upcoming year.

      Holiday Giving Party: Each year, at the OWA Holiday Benefit Party, we donate hundreds of gifts to the Hamilton Family Center and Shelter for homeless families in San Francisco.

  • The camaraderie and support of hundreds of other design professionals. For this alone, joining is worthwhile!

Privacy Policy

The OWA does not share or sell its mempership information to outside interests or organizations. Further privacy considerations are here.

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