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RS&H Ignite Women’s Leadership Network Leader Encourages Inclusivity

By Rebecca Colone

March 29, 2021

RS&H architect and Ignite Women's Network chair Hillary Andren-Wise standing in the office where she designs for corporate and healthcare clients.

In 2019, a group of 13 women from across RS&H gathered amid a Denver, Colorado snowstorm to help bring the Ignite Women’s Leadership Network to life.

Throughout a two-day workshop, the group developed a mission, vision and values for the network centered around the importance of creating opportunities and connections for women – and with the ultimate goal of fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture.

Of those key members, Hillary Andren-Wise – Corporate, Health and Science Colorado Regional Leader and current chair of the Ignite programs committee – brought a unique perspective to the table, offering insights into what could truly change the game for RS&H.

 

Fostering Inclusive Programs

At the inception of Ignite, Hillary took on the role of vice-chair of the programs committee – just one of the several committees established to promote the company’s overall growth.

She worked closely alongside Alice Schultz, the inaugural chair of the programs committee, and other members, to build out a lasting vision for impactful programming.

“Hillary was instrumental in determining how to organize the programs committee, drawing from her experience serving on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) member boards and other committees,” said Alice. “She applies a logical, systematic approach to tackling a task, yet she is open to and actively seeking new ideas and ways to accomplish things.”

To ensure that representation was at the forefront, Hillary helped push for a committee comprised of associates from a cross-section of diverse occupational roles and varying professional experience levels.

And by identifying speakers whose messages apply to all, Hillary has played a unique role in providing guidance and inspiration for every associate – while always keeping the development of women at the heart of each program.

 

Impacting Culture Through Ignite

The programs committee is an integral piece of Ignite, but the network itself has impacted the RS&H culture at large. As a result, Hillary quickly saw the power of inclusion take effect at the company.

“It’s so important that we create these opportunities for young associates,” said Hillary. “Teams really do benefit from diverse viewpoints and Ignite helps to not only further that goal, but it takes it a step further by reinforcing to everyone at RS&H why inclusive environments are so important.”

To Hillary, the network represents the important steps taken in creating an equitable, inclusive culture, and the opportunity to keep expanding the important mission.

Beyond the programming offered to all associates of RS&H, Hillary has also found a powerful connection among her fellow Ignite committee members.

“Hillary is one of the most genuine people I know and her impact in Ignite is clear,” said Susan Lake, former Ignite steering committee chair. “I have watched us grow from a room full of RS&H female associates who were unsure how to roll out this group and what we should tackle, evolve into a passionate machine of supportive friends.”

A foundation for an inclusive culture and diverse perspectives, Ignite has made an undeniable impact on RS&H, and Hillary is committed to its progress every step of the way.

 

Growing Influence

Hillary’s characteristically positive, balanced approach to leadership has proven essential to the success of the Ignite programs committee, and she will only continue to seek out both meaningful and aspirational messages.

But the mission isn’t completed alone. Through friendships and partnerships, Ignite is strengthened by its passionate drivers. The relationships formed between Hillary and other members are key to the achievement of significant milestones.

“Hillary and I are from different backgrounds, yet we have developed a bond where I know she has my back and I have hers, in life and in work,” said Amanda Mason, Ignite communications committee member. “We lift each other up. Connections like these are important.”

The professional case for Ignite has always been clear to Hillary. But her personal passion and dedication for moving the mission forward are what brings life and energy to the cause – an energy that will only flourish as Ignite grows.

Learn more about the Ignite Women’s Leadership Network and to discuss speaking opportunities, contact Hillary at Hillary.Andren-Wise@RSandH.com.

 

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Topics: Architecture, Our People, Our Culture, Buildings, Colorado, News, Ignite, Health & Science, Diversity & Inclusion

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About the Author

Rebecca is a corporate communications specialist with a love for good stories – and RS&H is full of them.

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