August 6, 2018 / Member News

AIA Baltimore Commits to Equity and Diversity in Leadership and the Workplace

AIA members commit to a more equitable profession at the AIA Conference. Courtesy AIA National.

Baltimore, MD (August 6, 2018) – During the AIA Convention in New York, AIA leadership from across the country met to hear testimony on resolutions that will shape the focus and policies of the Institute moving forward. A common theme was a call to action on issues of equity and diversity. AIA Baltimore President-Elect Suzanne Frasier, FAIA, led testimony on Resolution 18-3 “Diversity Pipeline and National Recognition” with a powerful call for the AIA to create a national leadership pipeline of African American women candidates. The resolution, sponsored by AIA Georgia, passed with overwhelming support.
AIA Baltimore’s support of Resolution 18-3 is one of several key activities that support the chapter’s mission to promote equity and diversity. In 2016, the AIA Baltimore Women in Architecture Committee became the Equity Committee, with a renewed mission to promote an inclusive environment for all design professionals. This year, under the leadership of committee chairs Valerie Kirkley, AIA, and Hilary Zoretic, AIA, the committee organized a three-part “Implicit Bias in the Workplace” series that aims to teach AIA Baltimore members how to identify and address bias in the workplace. The third part of the series “Reducing Bias” will be held on September 12 at BCT Architects, and will provide attendees with strategies for reducing bias in their workplaces, including  approaches to job interviews and performance reviews, data gathering techniques, inclusive workplace design choices, and ensuring accountability at all levels.
The AIA Baltimore Equity Committee also partnered with the AIA Baltimore Design Awards Committee and the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) to create the Social Equity Design Award—one of the first AIA design awards in the country that specifically recognizes community-driven projects that promote social equity. AIA Baltimore is accepting submissions through September 4.
AIA Baltimore Fellows are using their role as leaders to advocate for workplaces where harassment will not be tolerated and where all employees will be treated with respect. Suzanne Frasier, FAIA, and Tom Liebel, FAIA, are leading an effort to get 100% commitment from AIA Baltimore Fellows and then challenge chapters across the country to do the same.
AIA Baltimore stands by the belief that a more inclusive and equitable workplace and workforce is both a professional and societal imperative. In order to achieve equity in the built environment, the architecture workforce needs to reflect the rapidly changing demographics of those people we are charged to serve.