Anne Torney Honored Among Bay Area Power Women

Date Posted: 05.05.2017

San Francisco Bisnow

Mithun partner Anne Torney has been recognized within Bisnow’s 2017 Bay Area Power Women initiative. The program recognizes top-level executives and industry leaders who are shaping commercial real estate, which continues to be a male-dominated industry. Bisnow recently asked Anne to speak about her personal experience, movement into a leadership position and challenges facing the industry today.

“I originally came to architecture via a humanities background. It fascinated me that you could talk about buildings as cultural objects, the same way you could talk about art or books, as repositories of cultural meaning. When I began practicing, I realized what a complex and far-reaching endeavor architecture is, and how good design can address a whole host of issues.

“I didn’t experience gender discrimination in my career, as so many others have, but as I began to hold more leadership positions, female colleagues reflected back to me that it was highly meaningful to have a woman in those roles. The Equity by Design initiative is a terrific resource, with great metrics and action tools for both understanding and addressing diversity in architecture. In addition to gender diversity, cultural and ethnic diversity is crucial for design, as in much of the real estate industry. A recent AIA report demonstrated that the top 10 high-performing, innovative architecture firms have a significantly higher rate of women in leadership than in the field as a whole. That’s powerful.

“The twin challenges of our time are income inequality and climate change, and design has the power to address both. At Mithun, I focus on affordable and market-rate housing, and work with other teams designing office and educational space. We are always addressing these key issues—what we call design for positive change. We’re thrilled to be working with clients who are addressing climate change, for example, such as our net-zero campus at Chatham University, where undergrads study sustainability and ecology. Our project for Mercy Housing at 1180 Fourth Street in Mission Bay houses 150 low-income families, many of them formerly homeless, in a building that signals that they are valued and important citizens.

“We are also working on three affordable housing projects in the Mission District, designing housing that’s rooted in neighborhood and culture. Architecture has the capacity to address and remediate inequity, and my passion for design work is rooted in its ability to respond to contemporary challenges.”

Anne’s story is available along with those of additional leaders at “Bay Area Power Women Talk About Breaking into the Industry and Making their Mark.” Honorees will be celebrated at the 2017 Bay Area Power Women event May 31 at The Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco.