Knowing how to collaborate and build effective working relationships is a key skill for any leader to develop, and a skill often called upon by women in leadership roles. Join us for a panel discussion with women members of the current AIBC council Marguerite Laquinte Francis, Michelle Fenton, Sara Kasaei, Danica Djurkovic, Catherine Nickerson, and Sama Abri around bringing a collaborative perspective to leadership in the architectural profession.

Learning Objectives:

  • Better understanding the roles of the AIBC vs. RAIC regarding advocacy.
  • How might the leaders in our profession better support women in the profession.
  • What perspectives might women in the profession bring to the leadership table.
  • How might the leaders in our profession encourage a more collaborative approach to our work.
  • How might WIA play a more proactive role with the AIBC and the profession in general.
  • General thoughts about women in the profession and our strengths in working collaboratively.




Marguerite Laquinte Francis, Architect AIBC, PMP, International Assoc. AIA

Marguerite Laquinte Francis is a BC Registered Architect and a Project Management Professional (PMP). Her experience spans over 19 years in project management, community-building, temporary events, retail and commercial construction.  She has served on the Board for the Parkgate Community Centre and was instrumental in establishing training and emergency management policies for BC’s Architects. In 2018, Marguerite was elected to the Council of the Architectural Institute of BC. and currently serves as its Treasurer. She is valued for her skill in leading client and consultant teams through high profile, complex projects.


Michelle Fenton, Architect AIBC 

Michelle’s interests lie in creating well-articulated PLACES through stakeholder consultation and intuitive design. As principal at Khôra Architecture + Interiors, Michelle has worked with several commercial, corporate and institutional clients, helping them navigate through intensive public and employee engagement processes, to design and develop spaces that represent their organization’s identity in an authentic way, rethinking the space to incorporate diversity, flexibility, and a dynamic, healthful environment. Michelle currently sits on the Architectural Institute of BC’s Council and is a member of the Future of Architecture Task Force. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.


Sara Kasaei, Architect AIBC, MArch, MLA, LEED AP

Sara is dually registered as an Architect AIBC and Landscape Architect with BCSLA, completed her master’s degrees from the University of British Columbia, and earlier studies at Azad University in Iran. She has gained experience and worked in both Architecture and Landscape Architecture local offices as a designer and project leader after her graduation from UBC in 2009. Sara has a diverse portfolio of work and experiences ranging from residential, mixed-use, office to institutional and healthcare projects. Sara is equally zealous about the profession of architecture. Whether involved in an emerging leader program or mentoring aspiring intern architects, Sara has been engaged in the Architectural Institute of BC (AIBC) since 2015. Today Sara is an elected councilor at AIBC Council currently serving the second term (2019-2021). Sara has served at different AIBC committees such as Finance Committee ( FICOM) and Professional Development Committee. She is currently working at Chris Dikeakos (CDA, office as a project manager.


Danica Djurkovic, Architect AIBC, LEED AP

Danica is a passionate, visionary strategic leader with over 30 years of practice in the private, non-profit, and public sector. She led many leading practice organizations, policies, projects, and programs, that have been widely recognized. As a President of the Architectural Institute of BC, she elevated the institute and significantly contributed to the profession of architecture across the country and even around the world, as evidenced by the signing of the recent mutual recognition agreement with the European Union
Outside of this very demanding leadership role, Danica is also a highly respected professional in her role as Director of Facilities Planning and Development for the City of Vancouver, where she has similarly gained considerable recognition for her work. Her personal approach is open, collaborative, transparent, inclusive, and result-driven, enhanced by the high level of professionalism and integrity, with a particular focus on planning and architecture as a community benefit.


Sama Abri, Architect AIBC, MRAIC, LEED AP

Sama graduated from Tehran Azad Art and Architecture with a dual Master of Engineering Architecture and Urban Design Degrees. Sama has completed many diverse projects in the commercial realm, including retail, office, education, and mixed-use, industrial, as well as residential single- multi-family, and urban design projects. Sama’s projects are located on 2 continents with a particular focus on the design and management of complex projects in the Middle East. Through working with such architectural firms as; TETCO (+150 organization based in Tehran), J&H (Dubai), David Mah Architect, CTA, HDR and STANTEC Architecture, City of Vancouver, and Vancouver Board of Education, she has achieved an extensive amount of both local and international experience. Sama’s interests lie in Quality Control Project Management and through her Role in the City of Vancouver; Sama oversees the project processes, interactions, and delivery methodology. As a councilor of the Architectural Institute of BC, and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada-chapter committee member, Canadian Construction Women Sponsorship Committee member, and a member of Building Official Association BC, she contributes to the profession of architecture at local and national levels.


Catherine Nickerson, Architect AIBC, FRAIC, LEED AP

Catherine Nickerson is a consultant to government and project owners in the Broader Public Sector specializing in the planning and development of major and complex capital construction and renewal projects within the commercial real estate, health, justice, education, and advanced education sectors. Catherine’s broad range of technical, financial, regulatory, environmental, and project management expertise draws on over 25 years of experience with the Province of BC, coupled with a Master of Architecture, Bachelor of Interior Design, and LEED AP designation.


When: Thursday, November 26, 5:30-7:30PM
Where: Online (Registration is needed to receive a link to join this event)
Fee: $5
*This event has been approved for 1.5 AIBC Core LU.

Thank you to DIALOG for hosting this event.

Register here.


​If you have any questions, please email
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