Cheryl McAfee, FAIA

CEO & principal

Cheryl McAfee has spent her career breaking down racial barriers and championing diversity in architecture. She’s bringing the passion, energy, and experience behind more than 30 years of pioneering firsts to Day 3 as part of a unique keynote panel, Anticipate Change: What’s Next in Architecture.


As CEO and principal of McAfee3—which has offices in Atlanta, Dallas, and Wichita—Cheryl leads the firm in all operational aspects. She’s currently the principal architect on a master planning and design joint venture for the $7 billion expansion of the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

She was the senior program manager of design and construction for all 33 sports venues of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Her project experience includes major planning and urban design studies, feasibility studies, and real estate investment programs.

A career of firsts

Inspired by her father, Charles McAfee, FAIA, and growing up during the 1960s, when Civil Rights laws were just being enacted, Chery has made a career out of trailblazing.

She was the first African-American woman in Kansas history to receive a license in architecture. Her firm is the first—and only—in AIA history in which a father and his two daughters are AIA Fellows. She was the first African-American to chair the AIA Conference on Architecture in Boston in 2008. And, she was the first woman to be elected president of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

“I have such a passion for justice…I try to figure out what I can do to make a difference—and how I can make a difference as an architect.”

Keynote details

Cheryl shares the keynote stage with Nóra Demeter, Int’l. Assoc. AIA; Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA; and moderator Frances Anderton on Day 3, right before Amy Cuddy’s presentation on the power of change. Don’t miss this exciting event on Saturday, April 29.

See this panel:
Saturday, 12:30pm, Hall C
Anticipate Need: What’s Next in Architecture

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