Monday, October 2, 2023

Speakers – WIA Leadership Summit 2021


Ming Thompson, AIA 

Ming Thompson, AIA is co-founder of Atelier Cho Thompson, a multidisciplinary design practice. Ming is focused on bettering human experience through design; she insists that good design must occur at all scales, from the building to the furniture to the logo, and everything in between.

Ming studied architecture at Yale and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Ming was a recipient of the AIA Young Architect Award in 2020, and her firm has received numerous design honors, including the IIDA Foundation Visionary Award and the Dezeen Best Emerging Architecture Firm Longlist. Ming is a member of the newly formed NOMAct chapter.

Melinda Agron, AIA, NOMA

Melinda Marlén Agron, principal at Newman Architects in New Haven, is passionate about creating synergies between critical building design and innovative business strategy. Growing up in Miami, she cultivated an early fascination for the impact that coupling good architecture and thoughtful real estate development has on an evolving city landscape. That lifelong interest prompted her to pursue an MBA alongside a graduate architecture degree and brought her to Newman, where she works across multi-family, mixed-use, and large-scale commercial projects as well as in real estate planning services.

Melinda also plays a key role in recruitment and strategic business development efforts in the firm, both of which engage her drive to connect people through relationship building. Melinda is an engaged alumna of Dartmouth College, the Yale School of Architecture, and the Yale School of Management. She has served as an instructor at the Yale School of Architecture and is co-editor of Perspecta 54: The Yale Architectural Journal (2021).


Amanda in her Studio (2)

Amanda Martocchio

Amanda Martocchio (Cornell: B.Arch, Harvard GSD: M.Arch II) leads an architectural practice in New Canaan, CT recognized for its work on single family homes with multiple AIA Design Awards, the AIA CT Emerging Architectural Firm Award, LEED certification, HOBI and Magazine Design awards. Amanda affects positive change as a leader in her community, supporting economic development and tourism and town building projects, including the Town Library, an independent school, and affordable housing. AMA’s work was featured in the 2018 exhibit New Canaan Modern Architects: 50 Years of Achievement and she is among local women leaders being honored upon the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Cassandra Archer headshot

Cassandra Archer, AIA, NOMA

Cassandra received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston in 2012. After graduating she moved to California to begin her career. She worked for two different San Jose based firms that specialized in education and commercial interior fit-outs. In 2016 she moved back to the East coast, working at KBA in New Haven and now with Centerbrook, where she recently completed her licensing in 2019.

Since becoming an architect, she has taken on an active role as a board member of NOMAct as well as within the local community. Cassandra is passionate about mentoring the next generation and making the field of architecture more accessible for all.


Jennifer Huestis, AIA

Jennifer Huestis, AIA is a founding partner at Huestis Tucker Architects, LLC, an award-winning firm specializing in custom residential and higher education projects.   She and her husband, Robert Tucker founded the firm in 1998. Together Jennifer and Robert have completed hundreds of renovation projects and newly built homes. After working for various architectural firms in Chicago, London, and New Haven, Jennifer started her own practice in 1995, and was joined by Robert in 1998 when they formed Huestis Tucker Architects. The work of Huestis Tucker Architects has been published in numerous books and magazines.  Jennifer grew up in Connecticut, received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and her MArch from Yale University, where she also received several awards and honors.  She is a registered architect in the States of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.  Jennifer is currently serving on AIA Connecticut board of directors and the town of Woodbridge Architectural Review Board.

Emily Grandstaff-Rice

Emily Grandstaff-Rice, FAIA

Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA is an architect and senior associate at Arrowstreet in Boston with experience on a broad range of academic, cultural, and commercial projects. Her leadership includes serving as 2018-2020 Director At-large for the AIA Board of Directors, 2014 president of the Boston Society of Architects, and chairing the AIA Equity in Architecture Commission. Her philosophy about applying for Fellow at age 39 was simple—time was on her side. If she didn’t get elevated, there was 31 more years to keep applying and they would have to back down eventually.

Julia Su Jack

Julia Su. Jack, AIA, NCARB, NOMA, PMP

Julia Su. Jack graduated with her Bachelors of Architecture from Howard University decades ago and her career started out traditionally as she went straight to work in an architectural firm. But the tide would turn after she took a leave of absence from work to focus on her growing family. When she returned to her career, circumstances would take her through many different professional roles in a variety of sectors across the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. She worked in architecture, interior design, pre-construction management, non-profit construction employment management, project controls in the transportation sector, and more, finally landing as an Architect for Connecticut’s Capital City.

She would claim that her most empowering professional experience was in her work at Capital Workforce Partners, in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, where she endeavored to engage young men and women in the fields of construction. With such a growing, yet still small, pool of female constructors she felt immeasurably passionate about her work there.

Julia’s most transformational personal experience came as a result of her facing down her 50th birthday, when she struggled to find her purpose and to know herself. That period of self-discovery propelled her to earn her Architecture License -AND- to create the F50Woman movement; a movement created to Bring Together a Diverse Community of Women; to Build Unshakable Character and Achieve Extraordinary Things.