Being Women in Architecture and Design: Challenges, Triumphs, and Opportunities

March 28, 2023|29 Minutes
Alison Briggs, Danielle Elzahr, Anat Gimburg
(L-R) Alison Briggs, Interior Designer; Danielle Elzahr, Studio Director; Anat Gimburg, Studio Director

The architecture and design industry has historically lacked diversity in leadership roles, particularly for women. While female representation has grown over the past decades, women still only account for about 17% of registered architects — despite the fact that roughly half of students in U.S. architecture programs are female.

This Gensler Design Exchange podcast episode features a conversation with three accomplished female leaders at Gensler: Alison Briggs, Danielle Elzahr, and Anat Grimberg. As a senior interior designer and studio directors respectively, they offer valuable perspectives from their diverse experiences, discuss challenges of working in the male-dominated industry, and share stories of navigating important career milestones. The guests also explore how considering various lived experiences enhances design thinking.

By delving into the career journeys of these successful women in architecture and design, listeners will learn about strategies for addressing unfair treatment, balancing career and family, and advocating for oneself. The podcast celebrates the contributions of women in the industry while highlighting the ongoing efforts to create an equitable and inclusive community within the profession.

Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Women in the architecture profession face unique challenges.
  2. Including diverse perspectives is key in both design and leadership.
  3. It’s crucial to address issues directly rather than ignoring unfair situations.
  4. Support is imperative to establish work-life balance as a working mother.
  5. Representation can encourage other women entering the field.
Alison Briggs headshot
Alison Briggs
Alison is an Interior Designer with a diverse background working with corporate, technology, and hospitality clients. She has a passion for the holistic design process, from concept development and finish selections to construction documentation and administration. She is based in Raleigh-Durham. Contact her at
Danielle Elzahr
Danielle is a Studio Director who focuses on large, complex development projects to deliver holistic design solutions that meet the owner’s budget and schedule goals. With a focus on mixed-use developments in urban sites, Danielle brings experience in residential, hospitality, commercial office, retail, parking, and workplace to deliver complex projects. She is based in Miami. Contact her at .
Anat Gimburg headshot
Anat Gimburg
Anat is a Studio Director and Design Manager who is passionate about the power of design to transform organizations and bring their physical spaces in alignment with their mission. She has worked with a variety of clients including financial services firms, not-for-profit organizations, education, and retail entities. She is based in Baltimore. Contact her at .
Brandon Larcom
Brandon is a global leader of Gensler’s Product Development practice. As Co-Director of Product Development, he specializes in business development, identifying future design industry trends, and licensing for global product rollouts. Brandon currently hosts and co-produces the Gensler Design Exchange podcast, facilitating a dialogue between design experts, creative trendsetters, and thought leaders to discuss how Gensler is enhancing the human experience through the world of design. Contact him at .