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Bay Area Power Women: 5 Questions With KTGY's Jill Williams

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This limited series profiles Bay Area Power Women who have helped shape Bay Area cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Bay Area Power Women event in San Francisco on May 30.

Jill Williams is a principal and board chairman of KTGY Architecture + Planning, an international, full-service architecture design and planning firm with offices in Oakland; Chicago; Denver; Irvine, California; Los Angeles; Pune, India; and Tysons, Virginia.

As managing principal of the firm’s Oakland and Tysons offices, Williams takes an active role in client relationships, setting design vision, mentoring KTGY’s practice-area principals and providing leadership. Williams joined KTGY in Irvine in 1991. Since 2001, she has dedicated her efforts to building an award-winning studio in the Bay Area. Williams is also active in the Home Builders Association of BIA | Bay Area, The North State Building Industry Association, the American Institute of Architects and the Urban Land Institute.

Bay Area Power Women: 5 Questions With KTGY's Jill Williams
KTGY's Jill Williams with her husband, Joe, and dog, Yager

Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?

Williams: When asked, I always want to know about the best place they have ever lived and why. That is what an architect endeavors to achieve: the creation of exciting, memorable places.

Bisnow: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career and how did you achieve it?

Williams: In KTGY’s 28th year, I reflect on the amazing opportunity to be surrounded by talented women and men that drive change and innovation every day. I like to think of being in the middle, listening and being curious.

Bisnow: How have you seen companies change the way they address wage and gender inequality in recent years?

Williams: We are pleased to be participating in discussions and planning with other architectural CEOs and [human resources] directors to share data and directives. We, as an industry, need to put a bold face forward on equity, diversity and inclusion. And that is why we at KTGY hold a strong belief that investing time and resources in education, at all levels, has the greatest return on moving our industry forward. Any change needs to start where young people are developing their passion and interests. We foster leadership with our local grade schools, the ACE Mentor program and continue through the college intern programs. KTGY’s Oakland office, working with the Oakland Public Education Fund, teaches sixth-graders on a biweekly basis about design and planning as a way to solve problems. We want to inspire the next generation of diverse leaders to become architects, designers and planners, by encouraging them to see the possibilities.

Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?

Williams: Raise your hand, step forward. It only gets more fun. It is your journey, so set the course.   
 
Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working?

Williams: Weekend trips to get outside, walk and enjoy local scenery ... and usually finding our new favorite restaurant.

Meet KTGY Architecture + Planning principal and board Chairman Jill Williams at Bisnow's Bay Area Power Women event May 30 at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.