More Inclusive Profession

On October 8th, this half-day program will focus on the need for the design profession to create a more inclusive culture – so that there are more diverse perspectives in design studios and throughout the AEC landscape. Joining the Forum for this discussion is one of architecture’s leaders on equity in the industry, Rosa Sheng, FAIA, LEED AP BD + C. Rosa is a Principal at SmithGroup serving multiple roles as Higher Education Studio Leader in Northern California and national Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion.

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12:00 p.m. - 12:15 p.m. 

Keynote: The J.E.D.I. Agenda - An Intersectional Approach to Designing a Just Future
Speaker:  Rosa Sheng
Credits: 1 AIA LU (HSW)
Program Description:  Our society is at a critical inflection point. The choices and actions we make today will determine our collective future. This is contextualized by a historic confluence of catastrophic events in 2020 and continuing in 2021 - a global pandemic, severe economic disruption, racial violence driving civil unrest, and environmental peril caused by climate change. This perfect storm exposes the intersectional impacts of a legacy of systems of institutional and structural racism that have perpetuated social inequities and health for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and vulnerable populations. This is deeply rooted in systems of injustice that have existed within our society since the founding of our country. The resulting shifts and disruptions mean that we live in a time choosing either periled paralysis or a new found persistence to overcome the challenges surrounding us. Real and necessary progress towards Justice in our world will only be achieved when we are willing to do the work to expose and dismantle the deep and intricate history of racist and unjust policies and practices that have resulted in multigenerational and harmful outcomes for many. Given the challenging and complex conditions in which we find ourselves today, we must come together towards a broader agenda with an understanding that Justice and Equity must be prioritized to drive Diverse representation and Inclusive outcomes.

This presentation will outline data points that highlight the intersectional realities of the challenges we must address and  #EQxD2020 SERIES - Practice, Process and Paradigms for the J.E.D.I. Agenda, which explores new concepts focused on topics centered around Justice and its relationship to Health, Societal/Economic Mobility, Environment, and Practice.

1:15 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.

1:20 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.
Session 1: Preparing for Our Future: Bridging the Gap
Speakers: Mark Gardner (AIA, NOMA), Natasha Espada (AIA, NOMA, LEED AP BD+C), Rashida Ng (RA), Sarah Curry, Ingedia Sanchez (AIA, LEED), Juliet Chun (AIA)
Credits: 1.5 AIA LUs
Program Description: For many young professionals, the gap between graduation and the professional world is filled with the excitement and optimism associated with the start of a lifelong architectural career; yet for some, this crucial time is filled with uncertainty prompted by the realities of joining a profession still grappling with how to embrace a more equitable, diverse and inclusive workforce. Join us for this panel discussion as we gather together with academic and industry leaders to explore strategies for fostering success during this crucial time while setting the stage for a more diverse design community in the future. Discussion with Educators and Practitioners on the next generation of architects.

2:50 p.m. - 2:55 p.m.

2:55 p.m. - 4:25 p.m.
Session 2: Preparing for our Future - Multigenerational Panel Discussion on the Future of the Architectural Profession
Speakers: Michael Spain (Moderator: Assoc AIA, NOMA), Lilian Asperin (AIA), Katie Broh (AIA), Elizabeth Caccavano (AIAS), Sergio Duran, Kevin Holland (FAIA, NOMAC, LEED AP), Annalise Pitts (AIA)
Credits: 1.5 AIA LUs
Program Description: The foundation of the design profession is built upon the knowledge shared between generations. Firm culture has the power to create an environment that fosters collaboration and cultivates growth within a diverse and inclusive community; but it also has the power to dismantle communication while marginalizing and penalizing those that represent the minority or new voices that challenge the status quo. All the best intentions of diversity (greater creativity, wider perspective, more innovation ,etc.) will fail in a non-inclusive environment.  If an individual is stifled in order to assimilate it defeats the ultimate objective of diversity…to design for a world that serves everyone in our communities.

Our moderator will host six individuals who will share their diverse experiences through the lenses of race, ethnicity, identity and orientation across generations.  It is through an ongoing dialogue that we can help to provide a vision  towards realizing the goals for equitable practice. Join us for a lively discussion on firm culture: creating space and opportunity for underrepresented members of the design profession to develop and catalyze  the growth of diverse and visionary firm leaders.

4:25 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Session 3: Preparing for our Future -Tools and Resources for firms to promote equitable, diverse and inclusive work environments.  
Speakers: Tina Faust, Sandy Sechang, Kumea Shorter-Gooden, Ph.D. , Dana Reed (Moderator) 
Credits: TDB!
Program Description: Our membership asked for concrete tools that practitioners can use to advance the cause of equity in Philadelphia architectural practice, so please join a round table discussion of firm and equity thought leaders sharing the tools they use to assess, report, improve and promote quitable practices in design firm workplaces. Sandy Sechang will introduce the Just label, the International Living Future Institute's nutrition label for socially just and equittable organizations. Tina Faust will recount the firm;s initiatives for mentorship, recruitment, retention and equitable career pathways, community engagement, and mandatory firm-wide EDI training workshops. Kumea Shorter-Gooden, Ph.D. will introduce the AIA Philadelphia Cultural Initiative (CCI) program the year-long annual series of workshops she will lead for a cohort of Philadelphia architectural firms to improve their practices in diversity, equity and inclusion. The CCI sessions are available to architects in AIA Philadelphia, and will enhance skills in identifying and addressing implicit biases and microaggressions, foster the development of an "equity lens", and increases firms in engaging in difficult conversations.