PGDG! Launch Party

On Thursday, November 7, we gathered in the barn at Bartram’s Garden to launch Philly Girls Do Good! The Blog. Maitreyi Roy, PGDG! member and Executive Director of the John Bartram Association, graciously hosted this innaugural gathering of the woman of PGDG! As guests arrived, Fatima Olivieri, Morgan Berman, and myself, Sophia Lee, mingled with the stars of the evening amidst an incredible spread of food and spirit! Danielle DiLeo Kim and Sylvia Palms gave us bloggers a brief introduction to the group, after which we had a chance to meet a few more of the women.  

05 PDGD Danielle Sylvia

Philly Girls Do Good! Launch Party

Sylvia then gave a beautiful speech describing her reasons not only for why she and Danielle began the Philly Girls Do Good! initiative, but also why she decided to start Locus Partners with Danielle. From the very beginning, they wanted their partnership to encompass urban design that transforms and ameliorates communities. They were especially inspired by the women of Philadelphia improving our urban space and Doing Good. So they thought, why not give these women a platform where they could share their stories and inspire a broader audience? And thus, Philly Girls Do Good! was born.

09 Danielle DiLeo Kim PGDG

At this inaugural gathering of PGDG! women, Danielle and Sylvia immediately established the collaborative nature of Philly Girls Do Good! with an activity. On sheets of colorful paper, they had each of the women write down two suggestions: something they could Give or Do for PGDG! and something they’d like to Receive from PGDG! These pages were then hung from a cord ala "prayer flag"—to put them out there. Please stay tuned for our next blog entry where we plan to share the suggestions that were collected! 

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The highlight of our evening was a performance by Nyree Jauhar of the band “Lucid Dreamers.” Nyree is part of Girls Rock Philly, a non-profit that teaches girls to be rockstars!


Big thanks to Ann Karlen of Fair Food Philly for putting together a beautiful plate of local cheeses and seasonal fruit. And special thanks to Natalie Dohrmann for her wonderful photo coverage of the evening. 

Why Blog for PGDG! - From Fatima Olivieri

fatima_olivieriI currently live in a building designed by one of the first female architects to be registered in Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Fleisher. For me, this discovery was pure happenstance. When I moved to Philadelphia for an architecture job 3 years ago there was a rental housing shortage and the building was close to work and in a nice neighborhood. It wasn't until an old professor from the University of Virginia asked me where I would be living that I learned about the background of my new residence. I became fascinated with the history of the building and tried to learn more about the impact that Elisabeth Fleisher has had in the city. Unless you have prior knowledge of Elizabeth Fleisher or just happen to go into the lobby of my building and read the discreet plaque on the wall, you would never know of this architect’s work. Through my research I was able to learn more about her work, and about other women designers who have had significant impact in the shaping of our city. I was able to combine my love of architecture and writing in an article that highlights the building I live in and Fleisher’s work.  I was able to take her name out of a plaque on the wall and bring it into the minds of readers who might not have known about her impact on the city. This is why I am contributing to Philly Girls do Good!I want to be part of a community that highlights and celebrates the achievements of women in the design & community development fields. As a designer, I am excited to get to know other women who are working hard to positively impact the city we live in. As a writer, I want to share their stories, take them out of the “plaque on the wall” and into the consciousness of readers.

- Fatima

Why Blog for PGDG! - From Morgan Berman

morgan bermanI contribute to Philly Girls Do Good! because it is the perfect outlet to blend my professional interests and skills for a worthy cause. Prior to beginning my Masters in Sustainable Design I was involved in what you could call a retro third wave feminism- I worked as a women's health educator, sexual assault advocate, social worker, and feminist performance director- all my efforts were focused on empowering women and supporting them to make healthier lives for themselves and their families.Growing up in Philadelphia I saw the struggles so many families experienced just to meet their basic needs and the needs of their families. For a long time I focused on helping to fill those needs through services and education. But after several disheartening experiences, I realized I wanted to find a way to address the more systematic cultural and environmental causes for the social and economic decline that created the dysfunction and strife. I also wanted to be able to pursue a career that was more creative and personally rewarding, a difficult task when you are working for struggling nonprofit organizations that lack consistent funding.

Sustainable design feels like the answer to creating healthy communities. A country, city or even neighborhood that is more efficient, more beautiful and more human centered is a really important way to help create a world where the kind of struggles I witnessed become increasingly rare.

Now that I’m working in the built environment and sustainability world, PGDG! is an opportunity to bring two parts of my life together. By celebrating powerful women professionals and the important work they do, we can further all of our efforts to make this a better city for everyone.


Why blog for PGDG! - From Sophia Lee

Sophia_Lee_2012_FletcherWhen I entered Architecture, I assumed the profession entailed only the design and construction of buildings. This all changed in grad school when I had the wonderful opportunity to help coordinate a symposium called “Design Careers Expanded” with former Chair of the Department of Architecture at UVa, Craig Barton and my classmate Lauren Begen. With the changing and slow economy, Craig wanted to inspire the graduating class with the amazing realization that a degree in Architecture can take you so many other places than just buildings. We invited ten alumni with degrees from the UVa School of Architecture who worked in fields as diverse as fashion designGIS DisasterMapping, and Artist/Conservation Biologist.The entirety of this experience blew my mind and my entire perception of architecture. Stand aside buildings: the possibilities for spatial design are endless! I found these stories so inspiring that I desired to explore more creative ways that people apply their design degrees. Perhaps I too could find a way to combine more of my humanitarian, environmental, and social concerns with architecture in unique ways.

When I heard Danielle DiLeo Kim describe the idea of Philly Girls Do Good! at an AIA Associate Committee Monthly Meeting, I instinctively knew that this would be the perfect platform to discover and share more stories. The lens of celebrating women designers in particular just made it even better. I am thrilled that Sylvia and Danielle of Locus Partners are giving me this great opportunity to launch this blog, and I’m excited to see where it will go.

- Sophia