Meet Our POWERFUL Women Speakers

click here for more information on POWERFUL



Barbara Bouza, AIA
Managing Director, Gensler

  • When did you first realize you wanted to become an architect?
    In high school I started to explore a way to combine my passion for art and design with the more analytical and precision approach of math. My definition of architecture was initially about drawing and then evolved into an understanding of buildings, space and material. From that moment, I set a clear path to study architecture in college and I estimate that about 20% of my class were women. Architecture was not an intuitive choice for many girls in my high school since mechanical drawing was a prerequisite, but today I see a broad interest among my daughter’s friends.
  • Who has inspired you and/or influenced your career the most? And how?
    My husband, Manuel is an architect and we met at Cal Poly Pomona and then went on to study at the Architectural Association in London. His passion (or obsession) for design is incredible. We have grown up in the profession together along different paths. Architecture and design are in integral part of our lives on a daily basis.
  • What are your recommendations for increasing diversity in the workplace and within the design process particularly?
    Elevating ideas through multiple lenses and diversity of leadership increases the opportunities for innovation and talent development. We are always looking to raise the bar for design so it is important to attract great people and focus on their strengths and not limit one’s potential. Since Gensler practices architecture in 27 uniquely different industries such as entertainment, education, healthcare, corporate real estate, hospitality, retail and aerospace to name just a few, recognizing the diversity of these clients is critical to success. I personally encourage women who have a degree in architecture to become licensed. This shows a commitment to the profession and it is a choice we have the power to make. It is a challenge to demand equal space at the table when only roughly 18% of architects are women, while over 50% of architectural graduates are women.
  • As a woman, what are your thoughts on the Los Angeles region as a place to work?
    Gensler has 46 offices around the world so I have had the opportunity to work and collaborate with teams across the US and spend time in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The culture and vibe of Los Angeles embraces an open, creative and tolerant environment with an entrepreneurial spirit. These are attributes conducive for women in the work environment. Being present and engaged while leveraging mobility and technology to expand our reach is important given the expansive area of the region.

Barbara Bouza, AIA, IIDA, LEED® AP, EDAC

Managing Director, Principal - Gensler Los Angeles

Barbara is Co-Managing Director of Gensler’s 500-person Los Angeles office and a Leader of the Health & Wellness and Life Sciences Global Practice Areas.

A celebrated architect, innovator and champion for diversity, Barbara is committed to enabling the advancement of women in design. Barbara was recognized by The Los Angeles Business Journal as “2014 Executive of the Year” at the inaugural Women Making A Difference conference. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is a past member of the Board of Directors for the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).

Barbara is passionate about providing opportunities for women and minorities in the design, construction and real estate profession. As a leader for professional and talent development within Gensler, Barbara spearheads the Women’s Leadership Initiative program for the firm’s Los Angeles office. Barbara is also a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) whose mission is the further advancement of women in healthcare and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) whose mission is to champion diversity within the design profession.

In the community, Barbara is actively involved with Girls Inc. and Dress for Success, and she is a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO). Barbara holds a Bachelor of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and studied in the Graduate Diploma Program at the Architectural Association in London. Her work has been published in Architectural Record, Architectural Review and Domus.

Last updated: 02-Feb-2015 04:22 PM
Share Share