People, SOM in the Press

Workers in Progress

Photo © SOM | Lucas Blair

Julia Murphy, AIA, restarted Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Women’s Initiative in 2010 when she and her colleagues realized the firm didn’t have any women partners...

Today, each of the firm’s offices has its own iteration of the Women’s Initiative, overseeing programs that include annual shadowing internships, public speaking training, and mentoring. Murphy, who has been at SOM for a decade, is now an adviser to the Women’s Initiative rather than its leader. She’s particularly mindful not to steer younger women away from revisiting problems the initiative tackled in the past. “We are talking about cultural change and the pace of that is often quite slow. There are certain conversations that we have to revisit often in order to keep goals in sight,” Murphy says.

This past March, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) awarded Murphy its Tribune Award, which recognizes leadership in improving gender equity.

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