Today the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) announced the departure of its recently hired executive director, Yvonne Thurman-Dogruer, citing "deep philosophical differences" between Thurman-Dogruer and the foundation. BWAF has opened the search for a new director.
BWAF named Thurman-Dogruer executive director on January 30. She took over from Wanda Bubriski, who had held the job since 2004 and stepped down last August. Thurman-Dogruer joined BWAF from the Women Builders Council, where she was executive director from 2011. Prior to that, she had run her own business and directed a research center within Columbia Business School.
Founded in 2002, BWAF works to promote women's contributions to the built environment. Its research and outreach initiatives include an online archive of women in 20th-century architecture, an industry leaders round-table program, and the Women of Architecture lecture series at the National Building Museum.
Beverly Willis, FAIA, chair of BWAF's board of trustees, told ARCHITECT that Thurman-Dogruer had been hired on a 90-day probationary consultancy and completed 60 days of that term. Willis said Thurman-Dogruer's lack of a background in architecture was a factor in her departure.
BWAF will hire a search firm to help find its next director, who Willis hopes will have "an architectural background or an architectural degree, but also might have an MBA." She said the board will look for a strong manager who can fundraise, collaborate with both architectural practitioners and educators, and "have an insight on the tremendous changes that are occurring within practice today."
Thurman-Dogruer could not be reached for comment.
UPDATE (4/2): Thurman-Dogruer contacted ARCHITECT and wrote that she had decided to resign from BWAF due to "professional differences." Not having a background in architecture did not factor into her decision, she wrote. She clarified that she had been hired not as executive director but as a consultant "to act within the capacity of a director." A Jan. 30 press release from BWAF announcing her hire, however, named her as the foundation's director. "If my position was portrayed in any other way [ie than as a consultant], it was not accurate," she says.
Thurman-Dogruer "wish[es] the Foundation much success in its very important mission."