May 7, 2020 Introduction by WiA Visionary Series:Writing Architecture moderator, Janki DePalma:

"At the start of the pandemic, the Austin WIA made the prudent decision to move its inaugural Visionary series to a virtual panel discussion.  All of us involved in the planning were curious about how we could replicate the fellowship that is so important to our WIA events.  Would the audience be able to connect with speakers? How would we encourage engagement?  Will anyone even show up? Even though our panelists were sheltering in place, the enthusiasm and vibrancy of their message came loud and clear.  We surprised ourselves by how lively the discussion grew and how many people showed up!  The two hours of our talk flew by and could have easily spilled into a third hour as we dove deep into the questions.  Our talk, the panelists, and the spirit of our audience buoyed us all and reminded us that fellowship isn’t just about breaking bread, it’s about breaking down walls. 

It’s no accident that the first episode of WIA’s Visionary series focused on writing, as the written word clearly helps “shape the conversation”.  With that, it’s important to look at where those voices come, whose perspectives are heard and how those stories are showcased.  Each of our panelists inspired us by sharing her “origin story”.  One shares the story of design, another reports on the world through a design lens while another curates the space to showcase design voices.  As we learned about the writing paths of Canan, Florence, and Caitlin, we also found ourselves looking at our own selves.   These speakers shared their truths in collaboration, vulnerability and empathy.  They also place a call to action for all the audience to find the courage to share our voices.  Now more than ever, the design community needs us to identify our unique viewpoint and deliver it.  For all of us involved in this first discussion, we look forward to what this inspires.  Perhaps this is the start to your origin story!"


Additional reading: Q&A Highlights, Cite