Julia Brown
Speaker, Networking Expert, Business Strategist, Author

Julie Brown is a speaker, networking expert, business strategist, Author of This Shit Works: A No-Nonsense Guide to Networking Your Way to More Friends, More Adventures, and More Success, a book dedicated to making networking easy, accessible (and even fun!) as well as the host of the This Shit Works podcast.

If you cringe at the thought of attending a networking event (virtual or otherwise), if you’ve recently been laid off, or if you’re just looking to expand your professional network, and advance your career,

Julie’s advice and tips strike the perfect balance of humor and expertise gained from more than 20 years of networking experience within the Architecture industry. Julie shows you everyone at any stage of their career that you can unapologetically be who you are authentically and still be WILDLY successful.

Melissa Cassarino
Human Resources Manager at Gensler (Boston)

Melissa Cassarino is the Human Resources Manager for the Boston office of Gensler, a global architecture and design firm with 50 offices and 5,000 people worldwide.  As a senior HR professional, Melissa works directly with office leadership and her HR team on strategic talent acquisition, development programs, and firmwide policies and processes, all designed to support Gensler’s “People First” culture.

Prior to joining Gensler, Melissa worked as an HR director and consultant for several industries, including Technology, Non Profit, Manufacturing and Restaurant.  Melissa is a graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport. Her certifications include Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Society of Human Resource Management-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), and is also a Certified Compensation Analyst (CCA).  In addition, Melissa is trained as a professional facilitator and is licensed to administer and analyze the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment program.

Melissa’s passion is helping people realize their goals.  She thrives on hiring great people and watching them learn and grow!

Andrea Coan
Architecture & Design Manager at Steelcase

Andrea Coan is the Architecture & Design Manager with Steelcase in Boston.  She has 30 years industry experience which includes 19 years as the A&D Manager at a variety of global manufacturers. Prior to that Andrea was an interior designer where she worked closely with Fortune 500 clients on a national basis designing inspiring workplace environments.  Andrea has been an invaluable asset to the teams she has worked with, constantly surpassing all challenges and goals to help bring the best marketing, design and research trend issues to the A&D community and beyond.  Andrea has spent most of her time as the liaison to the design firms to ensure their understanding of the products and services that are offered and assists them with technical information for the product solutions for the project.  Andrea has worked with such clients as Partners Healthcare, Google, Rocket Software, LogMeIn and Olympus.

In 2005, Andrea became a LEED accredited professional.  She uses her LEED knowledge to guide designers and client to the products that are best suited for their LEED certified projects.  Some of the projects that she has been involved in for LEED are Bank of America, City Year and Greater Boston Food Bank.  Through her creative thinking and understanding of the clients’ needs, Andrea can help educate architects, designers and their clients about workplace research, sustainable design, products solutions.  As an active member of the IIDA, Andrea is aware of the issues that face design professionals on a daily basis.  She embraced the IIDA organization while still in college and has been an active member for over 30 years.  She has served on many committees such as the Fashion Show, Career Day, and Portfolio Day and has occupied the position of chairman for the Educational Day Program. From 2013-2017, she was the Vice President of Sponsorship in which lead the charge for strategic fundraising for the chapter and for all events.  In June of 2015, Andrea was the recipient of the 2015 IIDA NE Star Award for her continued dedication and outstanding contributions to the profession and the New England Chapter.

In her free time, she loves skiing, boating and to travel.  She resides in Braintree, MA with her 15 year old daughter Liah.

Thomas Pugh, MBA
Senior Consultant – Architecture, Engineering, Construction Recruitment, Meridia

Thomas Pugh is a Senior Recruitment Consultant focused on meeting the recruitment needs of leading organizations in the Northeastern United States while advancing the careers of the candidates he works with. Through his concentration in the dynamic fields of architecture, engineering and construction, Thomas has established an extensive network and a strong understanding of the best fit opportunities for candidates and clients.

Thomas believes in taking the time to truly understand what is important for both the candidate and client so he can find an ideal match that aligns with the goals of both parties.