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Interview

Dec 15, 2022

The power of collaboration in tackling climate and social justice

Wernick 10 web

Laura Wernick (center) with colleagues.

Photo courtesy of Laura Wernick.

Making a difference in people’s lives, and in communities, has always been the North Star for Laura Wernick, FAIA. As Senior Principal at HMFH Architects, Laura’s deep sense of purpose led to her focusing her career on school design – touching the lives of thousands of students, educators, and entire communities throughout the Greater Boston area and beyond.

Despite the satisfaction she derived from her projects, Laura quickly realized that one architect and one firm can only have so much influence. “Even if we are doing a good job with a half a dozen buildings a year, we will never be able to move the needle on more global challenges unless architects are sharing their expertise and collaborating with others.” This desire to expand her impact led Laura to the BSA decades ago and to her serving over the years as president of the BSA/AIA and chair of the BSA Foundation, and now BSA Foundation liaison to the BSA/AIA – and to her becoming a loyal BSA donor.

“The BSA is a trusted partner for so many,” says Laura. “It is truly a go-to organization for problem solving, advocacy, and moving ideas forward. Because of its welcoming nature, the BSA has such an incredible tapestry of connections and associations that serves as a platform for collaboration. Its impact has been immense.” Laura points to the BSA’s children’s programs, tiny house project, design charrettes on how to address rising sea levels, and to its current work on equity and climate as examples of influential BSA-led projects.

“The social justice and climate initiatives the BSA is leading are near to my heart – and are central to our future,” says Laura. “To ensure the success of the BSA’s efforts, we must leverage resources: technical skills, volunteer contributions, and financial support. I think it is important for architects to find a way to be involved, and one way that I am able to do so is by making a gift to the BSA.”

Laura sees significant potential in the work that the BSA is championing: “Having the freedom to bring collaborators together to think about things differently, and build on solutions in a focused way, is not something that we have the luxury of doing typically in our professional life,” says Laura. “And I think it is essential for us to do so if we are going to contribute to a positive future for our community. The BSA is giving us the opportunity to step back and explore how we can be most effective.”

The BSA’s efforts are not only impacting Greater Boston, but are also having ripple effects across the country, says Laura, with embodied carbon serving as a prime example.

“People all over the country are trying to do this work, and it is happening here in Massachusetts, in part due to the BSA.”

Laura views the BSA as igniting change at a time when there is so much potential for positive transformation. “Every architect and member of the AEC community can have a hand in this transformation. Who wouldn’t want to?”

You can join Laura in supporting the BSA. Make your gift today.

Gift questions?

If you would like to make a gift in-kind, of property or appreciated securities, a planned gift, or a multi-year pledge, or learn more about opportunities to support our work, please contact Development Director Alex Howard at (617) 391-4024 or [email protected]

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