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LA Power Women: 5 Questions With Gensler's Barbara Bouza

Los Angeles

This limited series profiles SoCal Power Women who have helped shape cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles in Southern California. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Los Angeles Power Women event Dec. 12.

For Barbara Bouza, representation matters. 

As a black woman and architect, she knows and understands that she is blazing a trail for young African Americans and women in the architecture industry.

Gensler Managing Director Barbara Bouza

"As an African American woman, I’m in such a small, small minority of my profession,” Bouza said in an interview with Metropolis. “We make up 0.3% — so not even a percent — of the architecture profession. I want to make sure I can be a positive example for students, because we’re looking at how we diversify the pipeline of the profession … so it can reflect the communities we serve. That’s a passion of mine.” 

Bouza is a co-managing director and principal at Gensler. She also serves as leader of the architecture company's global Health & Wellness and Sciences Practice Areas.

With more than 25 years of experience, Bouza is known for her work in management, design and strategic planning of technical environments, according to her company bio.

But mostly, Bouza is a passionate mentor, involved with Girls Inc. and Dress for Success and a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects and the Women Presidents’ Organization. 

Bisnow: Who are you and what do you do?

Bouza: Barbara Bouza, I co-lead the Gensler LA office and am president of the American Institute of Architects LA chapter.

Bisnow: What is the most challenging part of your job?

Bouza: The most rewarding? It is challenging to continually stay nimble and resilient while design opportunities continue to be dynamic. The most rewarding part is creating a meaningful impact through design excellence across diverse communities both locally and globally.

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

Bouza: The key is to recognize and value multiple types of leadership qualities, and not only replicate what exists today.

Bisnow: What do you enjoy most about living and doing business in Los Angeles?

Bouza: LA is full of untapped hidden gems and so open and creative; I enjoy the synergies that come together across multiple industries such as media, entertainment, technology, science, sports, health and education.

Bisnow: What are you most excited about, professionally, as we head into 2020?

Bouza: The AIA 2020 National Conference on Architecture will be in LA. This will be an amazing opportunity to share the city with over 25,000 attendees.