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There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?

Equity in Architecture Survey 2018 - Narrated Slide Presentation is LIVE!

In tandem with National Architecture Week, we are pleased to release the EQIA 2018 Survey Narrated Slide Presentation which includes the key findings that were presented at the 2018 Equity by Design Symposium #EQxDV:Voices, Values, Vision. The presentation is narrated by EQxD Research Chair, Annelise PItts, AIA and ACSA Research Partner, Kendall Nicholson, PH.D. and provides a critical foundation of the data analysis. We encourage utilizing this long awaited resource in the following ways:

  1. View the narrated presentation to better understand the key findings at your own pace.

  2. Share the Presentation with your company colleagues and leadership / AEC Organization

  3. Host a viewing and discussion of the presentation at your office/organization

  4. If you find this resource useful, please share on social media for further outreach.

EQIA 2018 Research and Symposium Planning Team Acknowledgements:

  • Chair of Research - Annelise Pitts, AIA

  • Founding Chair, Fundraising,Outreach - Rosa Sheng FAIA

  • Committee Co-Chair Lilian Asperin, AIA

  • Committee Co-Chair and Symposium Chair -Julia Mandell, AIA

  • ACSA Research Partners: Kendall Nicholson, Michael Monti

  • Infographics: Ming Thompson/Atelier Cho Thompson

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2018 Research Sponsor Acknowledgements:

AIASF Sustaining Sponsors, Autodesk, HOK, CannonDesign, HDR, SmithGroup, HGA, Skanska, Mithun, WRNS Studio, McCarthy Building Companies

Thank you to our Sponsors!


#EQxDV: Voices, Values, Vision Video!

#EQxDV marks the fifth anniversary of AIASF Equity by Design. Since 2013, we have made incredible strides towards equitable practice with three groundbreaking surveys that have launched a national movement in architecture and allied professions. In light of deep challenges and uncertainty within the profession, our communities, and the world, we remain steadfast and committed to our collective progress towards just and equitable practices to achieve diverse and inclusive outcomes.

Equity is the work of minimizing barriers to maximize our potential for success. We are focused on studying the root causes of a broken professional culture, creating just access for all, and giving everyone a fair chance to thrive. Working in collaboration with partners at all levels of practice, we will champion the difficult conversations and important work that still needs to be undertaken to further advancements in equitable practice and design impact.

We are grateful and indebted to our [EQxD] collaborators, sponsors, partners, and fellow equity champions for supporting the movement and this video. Special Thanks to Filmmaker Conor Hagen for the amazing talent and heartfelt collaboration to capture the highlights and essence of our collective work.

2018 Survey Early Findings Report

The Equity by Design Committee of AIA San Francisco is pleased to release our Early Findings Report. This report is available for viewing online. We look forward to issuing a Final Report for online viewing and publication later in 2019.

As we continue our data analysis, your feedback is important. What topics would you like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments!

Special Thank You to our Sponsors, Contributors and Champions! None of this would be possible without all of you.

EQxDV “Plus One” Voices: Change Starts with Conversations and Community

Written by Itria Licitra

#EQxDV Plus One Scholarship Recipients and Mentors gathering for the first time - Photo by Andre Pennycooke  

#EQxDV Plus One Scholarship Recipients and Mentors gathering for the first time - Photo by Andre Pennycooke  

On Saturday, November 3rd, 2018, I found myself looking out over the unusually clear morning bay from the San Francisco Art Institute’s patio - the location for #EQxDV: Voices, Values, Vision Symposium. I am not a member of the architecture community, as a structural engineer, I am architecturally adjacent. I walked onto the patio - lively with the eager chatter of colleagues ready to dive into a difficult and exhausting day of conversations about a number of challenges in the field - unsure of what was to come. Much of what was said over the day was specific to the architecture field, but I was able to find a number of parallels with the engineering field and many tips and tools to inform my approach to my professional practice.

Tactical Implementation Workshop  

Tactical Implementation Workshop  

In the afternoon I attended the “Tactical Implementation” breakout session. During the session, 4 firm leaders spoke about how they exercise and monitor equity at their workplace. After hearing from the speakers, we broke out into small groups based on company size and brainstormed what strategies of tactical implementation would look like at small, medium and large scale. There were two tactics that particularly stood out to me. The first, so simple and seemingly obvious, was to define company values then evaluate how well the company is achieving those values. Setting clear goals and defining what success looks like helps to better measure how well a company is performing with respect to predefined values. I imagine that exercises like this would also help facilitate conversations about nature and cause shortcomings. The second tactic came up a few times throughout the day, it was about how to foster a more diverse workplace. My takeaway was that recruitment should occur in the communities that you would like to see represented in your company. Be intentional about making the company accessible in those spaces.

Through the breakout sessions and the conversations that ensued throughout the day, I was struck by the strength of the community that was forming around me, the kindness and enthusiasm that people were showing towards each other and me, and the ways so many people were tackling the challenge of equity in various ways. I felt inspired by the strength of the people that spoke, willing to share their experiences with all of us and help facilitate this community. Equity by Design has provided a space, for people to come together to share similar and dissimilar experiences. This allowed people to create a network of inspiration and support that I was witness to continuously throughout the day.

Vision Panel - Photo by Rosa Sheng  

Vision Panel - Photo by Rosa Sheng  

I am still relatively new to the industry with just a few years under my belt. I am feeling my way around engineering and design - reconciling the things that I really enjoy with the positive and negative effects that my work has on my community. I live in the Bay Area, where it is rare that a week passes without a conversation about housing prices, gentrification or the tech industry. I cannot pretend like my work does not play a role in this climate. I participate in an industry that primarily creates spaces that are not accessible to me. There are redeeming projects and I do find value, but I would like to find a better way to exercise my skills in a more meaningful way. At the end of the day, listening to the Vision panelists speak, I felt a renewed hope that there are wholly good projects out there. I want to take the conversation they started a step further and explore how we can remove micro-aggressions from everyday projects. How can we use our power and influence to encourage owners to consider how equity can be designed and built in? I don’t know the answer, but I would like to be around to explore options and see where this conversation goes.

Photo by Andre Pennycooke  

Photo by Andre Pennycooke  

#EQxDV: "Plus One" Voices: Belonging Together

Written by Maggie Gaudio

As I prepared to attend my first #EQXDV Symposium, I did not know what to expect. In all honesty, I wasn’t quite sure what “Equity by Design” really meant. Initially, I jumped to the conclusion that it meant “equitable design” since I am still in architecture school and have made it my personal goal to create socially conscious designs that benefit everyone as opposed to select groups of people.


My naivety became clear to me the moment the symposium began and I was exposed to Equity in Architecture Survey findings - data the organizers of the event had collected from over 14,000 professionals in the realm of architecture and design. This data covered the current climate of the profession in regards to gender, race, salary, values, work/life balance and so forth. The reality of this data and the conversations that flowed from it revealed to me that equity by design, although still related to equitable design, has a much broader and holistic meaning. I learned that equity by design means bringing understanding to the profession. An understanding that everyone is different and brings valuable, relevant qualities to the table. Therefore each should be appreciated and rewarded appropriately. Currently, there is a general awareness of this, yet not an overall understanding and implementation of it.

The following are some issues that I had encountered before attending the symposium but feel I learned about much more deeply throughout the event:

  1. Women in architecture and the related fields are still being paid less than men.

  2. Only about 440 black females in the country are registered architects. In the country!!

  3. Many women leave the profession after having children.

  4. The concept of work/life balance means something different to everyone.


These topics are prime examples of how today’s professional field of architecture is aware of the fact that people are different, yet there is not an understanding and appreciation of this difference. There is such a lack of understanding that women are either not getting licensed or leaving the field because of their race, their commitments to their families, or their unequal salaries. As a woman entering the profession and interested in one day having a family and a life outside of my job, this causes me significant concern. However, having attended the symposium - hearing from and speaking with people who share similar concerns as me - it was inspiring and refreshing to be surrounded by like-minded people as dedicated to creating a more inclusive professional field as myself.


This collective dedication and passion for the same cause was contagious and the sense of community was palpable. One of the several panelists that we had the pleasure of listening to, Damaris Hollingsworth, said that she believed the definition of community was when we intentionally behave as if we belong together. I wholeheartedly agree with this and it was clear that the attendees of the symposium intentionally behaved as if they belonged there and comfortably shared their thoughts with each other.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is quite the same in the day-to-day reality of the architectural profession. Well, not yet. As with most cultural shifts, major changes don’t happen overnight. But the symposium is an example of first steps, of bringing awareness to the issues at hand and fostering an inspiring environment in which people can openly share ideas on how to make change happen. Throughout the day, there was an emphasis on the concept of champions - of being a champion for someone else and of having a champion for yourself. When we are surrounded by the support of such champions, we feel empowered to make a difference. I definitely felt (and still feel!) empowered by the champions I met at the symposium to become an increasingly engaged and active member of this community, united in the cause of creating a more inclusive and understanding profession.

Belonging Together - “It was clear that the attendees of the symposium intentionally behaved as if they belonged there and comfortably shared their thoughts with each other.”

Belonging Together - “It was clear that the attendees of the symposium intentionally behaved as if they belonged there and comfortably shared their thoughts with each other.”

#EQxDV "Plus One" Voices: How one day can impact your life

Written by Olga Bracamontes, NOMA

When Diane Jacobs, from Holly Street Studio in Phoenix, sent me the application for the #EQxDV Plus One Scholarship, I had no idea what lay ahead of me. Two weeks prior to attending the Equity by Design Symposium, I was returning home from the 2018 NOMA Conference after hosting a seminar with my chapter, NOMAarizona. I was aware of the Equity in Architecture Survey but had no clue about the symposium. I knew I was in for a treat when reading through the breakout session topics and the panelist discussions.


As my first time attending a conference alone, especially out of town, I was very excited yet a bit nervous but I was sure that I’d be able to connect with amazing people. The moment I walked up to the registration table on Saturday morning, who did I run into? My mentor: Jill Bergman! What are the chances! We spent our morning getting to know each other, talking about the conference and sharing words of knowledge.

Although the data and panel discussions were informative, it isn’t surprising that there is a lot of work yet to be done in our industry and the AEC community for equitable practice. Rosa Sheng = wow! This woman is a true leader and speaks in such a way that moves you. She brought so much energy to the room full of attendees with her story, words of inspiration, and raised questions that I hadn’t put thought into before. Rosa started the conference by talking about the difference between equality, equity and justice, and why equity matters. This conversation framed the content of the symposium and caused me to do a lot of self-reflection. Why do I do what I do? Because I need to be who I needed growing up.

As I filled my new #EQxDV sketchbook with notes throughout the day, I reflected upon my personal contributions, involvement with the community and the youth. I felt proud of the work I’ve done over the last few years, especially my involvement with NOMAarizona over the last year as a founding member. Diversity and inclusion is our driving force as a chapter, and as the College Liaison I have been fortunate to work closely with college students as they are the future. But after hearing the stories from the panelists I thought, “there is SO much more for me to do!”

If there is something that I really appreciated from the symposium was that they provided a safe space, a place to be vulnerable without judgement. People shared amazing stories, often accompanied with their failures and struggles, which is important for me to hear. We aren’t perfect. Life is full of struggles. It’s ok to talk about them and be willing to share with others. As a young professional who is actively involved with the community and aspires to have a family someday, I know that I will face many struggles but the women I met at the symposium assured me that it IS possible to do both. It’s definitely not an easy road, but it can be done.


Last but not least; the people. I’m very grateful to have been paired up with a wonderful mentor that provided plenty of advice but also encouraged me. Your energy is contagious and I was always fascinated with our conversations. Thank you Jill! It was also great to connect with the other women of the #EQxDV “Plus One” Scholarship cohort, whom are brilliant and inspiring. The people that I met at the symposium, some of which are also NOMA members, provided great insight to what I wish to continue working on or pursue. I look forward to attending the symposium in the future and reconnect with amazing individuals who are changing the game. Opportunities come and go, and we must learn to take them. It truly comes a long way when just one person provides that gateway. Thank you Diane for sharing this opportunity of applying for the #EQxDV “Plus One” Scholarship to an event that would impact my life and career.

#EQxDV “Plus One” Scholarship Winners and Mentors - (Left to Right) Taylor Holloway, Jill Bergman, Olga Bracamontes, Frances Choun, Maggie Gaudio, Meghana Joshi, Mani Farhadi, Saskia Dennis-van Dijl, Itria Licitra. (Patricia Ramallo not pictured) Photo credit: Jordan A. Lim.

#EQxDV “Plus One” Scholarship Winners and Mentors - (Left to Right) Taylor Holloway, Jill Bergman, Olga Bracamontes, Frances Choun, Maggie Gaudio, Meghana Joshi, Mani Farhadi, Saskia Dennis-van Dijl, Itria Licitra. (Patricia Ramallo not pictured) Photo credit: Jordan A. Lim.

#EQxDV "Plus One" Voices: The More You Do, The More You CAN Do


December, 2014. Barely coming out of the recession, I was working on commercial/ light industrial projects as an independent architectural consultant while balancing raising my two daughters, fourteen and eight at the time. Although architecture as a profession was clawing its way up from the Great Housing Depression, not everyone was employed to maximize their abilities. Being an immigrant woman of color, a mother, and a recent transplant from Pasadena to Irvine, I didn’t have the network and resources I needed to connect with companies that aligned with my interests. At that point, I was not a member of AIA Orange County yet. One fine day, while surfing the internet for current and relevant articles on architecture, I came across Rosa Sheng, and the initiative (originally known as) “The Missing 32%”. That was the straw I was looking to grasp, and I haven’t looked back ever since. 

#EQxDV Plus One Scholarship Recipients and Mentors

#EQxDV Plus One Scholarship Recipients and Mentors

This year, I was selected to participate in the “Plus One” scholarship program for 2018 Equity by Design Symposium. In celebration of the #EQxDV 5 year founding anniversary, Equity by Design paid it forward with five “Plus One” scholarships for students and emerging professionals to attend the symposium, and connect with five EQxD Mentors/ Champions to share insights on their careers in the built environment. My fellow “Plus One” cohorts were Olga Bracamontes, Taylor Holloway, Maggie Gaudio, and Itria Licitra. We were each paired with a mentor, and mine was Mani Ardalan Farhadi.


Mani and I have known each other virtually for the past year, bonding over topics related to archimoms (mothers in the profession of architecture) and equitable future in the profession. She is a Senior Facilities Planner at Stanford School of Medicine, “Thought Leader” with Equity by Design, “Citizen Architect” formerly on the Los Gatos Union School District Board, Publicist at AIA Silicon Valley’s Women in Architecture Committee, and former blog editor at the Iranian American Women Foundation. It was a perfect mentor-mentee pair, with similar (and several!) work and life integration/ challenge parallels.

What we see is that the gap between white men and women has narrowed, but meanwhile the gap between white men and people of color has gotten wider over time,
— Annelise Pitts, AIA, (The 2018 Equity in Architecture Survey Encourages Industry Soul-Searching, Metropolis Magazine, November 13, 2018, Lydia Lee)

As a volunteer for the survey preparation and an AIA member taking the survey, this was a surreal moment where I was part of past, present and future of an equitable profession. Reality in the shape of graphs stared at me, and I wondered, why the denial? More data followed, showing how women of color with a master’s degree in architecture will earn significantly less than a white male with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. 

Natalie Tse, a presenter of “Building an Equitable Workplace from the Bottom Up”

Natalie Tse, a presenter of “Building an Equitable Workplace from the Bottom Up”

I attended a break out session titled “Building an Equitable Workplace from the Bottom Up”, and listened to Natalie Tse share her story of juggling caregiving and a career as a structural engineer, while also being the cofounder of SE3 Project (geared towards equitable future in Structural Engineering). Natalie’s story of Asian upbringing and the need for self-care resonated with me. As a mother of two, with a full-time job,the Chair of Women in Architecture Committee for AIA Orange County, as well as an ARE test taker, I admit that self-care is on the bottom of my list. Post symposium, I am rethinking self-care, and have made a promise to myself to never let my sleep or health suffer for anything.

During lunch break, the courtyard at the San Francisco Art Institute was filled with the energy and diverse voices of architecture, who were ready to transform the future of the profession. We networked, exchanged contact information, shared our stories, and wished each other success in our chosen paths. We got lunch and broke out into smaller groups.

Mani and I shared our backgrounds and stories. Within minutes into the conversation, Mani gave tips on how to handle performance reviews and negotiate for promotions/ pay raises. She explained how to prepare a folder with printed material and communication showcasing my accomplishments throughout the year, document over-time hours, and all examples that demonstrate going above and beyond my job duties. She advised me to do market research, be assertive, and acknowledge what I deserved without hesitation. Unfortunately I had just finished my review before the symposium, but there is always next year! I am so grateful for this unique experience. Mani is everything I would like to be as an archimom down the lane, willing to share her struggles, her triumphs, and her journey.

Later in the afternoon, I attended the breakout session “Chart Your Path” with Lilian Asperin (left) and Jill Bergman (right). This session integrated work, life, and everything that requires strategic mapping of professional development. Lilian shared her story (I Unsubscribed), and her visual mapping method using analogue tools (post-its!) to find patterns that guide your decision making. Jill shared how you can add more to who you are with a strategic growth plan. I worked on Jill’s method, and realized that I have a short term goal, a long term goal, but not a vision! This was my biggest take-away from the symposium. Seemingly simple, yet complicated when you sit down with a pen and paper. The path is never linear but the plan is, with the ability to meander and course-correct.

Rosa Sheng’s inspirational keynote at the end of the symposium brought almost everyone to tears, as she shared the story of her archimom’s dinner invitation with Steve Jobs. It was very sentimental, touching, and inspiring at the same time. Networking in the courtyard followed, with everyone sharing their takeaways and influences from the symposium. I made new friends, met my social media friends and influences, and connected with more like-minded people.

The EQxDV Symposium was inspiring and energizing, and there is a renewed fire within my soul to do more, to be more.

Two weeks after the symposium, I have taken my plans and goals more seriously than ever. A lot of thought has gone into the direction I want my career to take. The vision board is still a work in progress, and I know there will be challenges in the years to come as I transition from an actively involved parent to an empty nester to primary care-giving. But, to make this vision my own, and not my employer’s or my mentor’s, will help me become my authentic self and give my heart and soul to what I truly believe in.

When I drove to the symposium, I knew I was joining the Board of Directors for AIA Orange County, but I didn’t have a two-year plan. Post symposium, I know what I want to work towards… I am the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - aligning with the Strategic Plan developed by AIA Orange County. In that role, I will be the champion of change and an advocate for equity, or a JEDI Master (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) as Rosa Sheng puts it.


"Their goal wasn't to stand out because of their differences; it was to fit in because of their talents.”

- Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures

This quote sums up what women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ aspire to achieve through an equitable framework for a better future. In an ideal world, nothing other than work ethics and talents should matter. Unfortunately, we need equitable frameworks, knowledge and intercultural intelligence (ICQ) to help dismantle the system barriers that prevent advancement. Architecture is a profession that can benefit from diverse experiences to shape our built communities. No one should feel stifled because of their gender, color or race. Let the learnings from the symposium empower us to seek  champions and pay it forward by mentoring the next generation. 

My tweets from the symposium: @meghanaira 

My Instagram story from the symposium: @meghanaira 


If you liked this post, please view the other posts here:

#EQxDV “Plus One” Voices: Speaking Up is Hard

#EQxDV “Plus One” The More You Do, The More You Can Do

#EQxDV "Plus One" Voices: How one day can impact your life

#EQxDV: "Plus One" Voices: Belonging Together

#EQxDV “Plus One” Voices: Change starts with Conversation and Community

#EQxDV "Plus One" Voices: Speaking Up is Hard

Written by Taylor Holloway

Speaking up is hard. Being the only one is hard. Succeeding in your profession without an abundance of support, peers, or mentors with shared commonalities, is even harder.

The #EQxDV Symposium, the 2018 Equity in Architecture Survey, and the AIA Guides for Equitable Practice, are the courageous efforts that give validity to the systemic, accepted, and covert, biases and injustices within architectural education and practice since the history of United States. Prior to the #EQxDV Symposium, I had never been able to articulate, voice, or discuss my experience of architectural education and practice that 90% of licensed architects have not experienced, and largely, cannot comprehend.

#EQxDV “Plus One” Scholarship Winners and Mentors - (Left to Right) Taylor Holloway, Jill Bergman, Olga Bracamontes, Frances Choun, Maggie Gaudio, Meghana Joshi, Mani Farhadi, Saskia Dennis-van Dijl, Itria Licitra. (Patricia Ramallo not pictured) Photo credit: Jordan A. Lim.

#EQxDV “Plus One” Scholarship Winners and Mentors - (Left to Right) Taylor Holloway, Jill Bergman, Olga Bracamontes, Frances Choun, Maggie Gaudio, Meghana Joshi, Mani Farhadi, Saskia Dennis-van Dijl, Itria Licitra. (Patricia Ramallo not pictured) Photo credit: Jordan A. Lim.

#EQxDV 5th Sold-Out Symposium at San Francisco Art Institute - November 3rd, 2018. Photo Credit: Andre Pennycooke

#EQxDV 5th Sold-Out Symposium at San Francisco Art Institute - November 3rd, 2018. Photo Credit: Andre Pennycooke

For the first time ever, alongside a band of driven equity and justice warriors, I recognized that I was not alone in my experience both at school and in practice. I am not alone in being the only black woman in my graduate M.Arch class. I am not alone in being told by firm leadership that I was “just was not a good fit” irrespective of my professional performance. I am not alone in grappling with the reality, cost, and isolation of being the first generation in my family to attend college as well as the first to attend graduate school. And most importantly, I am not alone in deciding to commit myself to changing the profession of architecture.

The #EQxDV Symposium was undoubtedly an exceptional event, but more so, it was a space of true dichotomy. It is a space where both pain and joy were unearthed. It is a space where both fact and feeling were examined. It is a space where both reality and the means for mobilizing a new reality convened. Above all, it is a space that architecture needs.

Intersectionality Workshop Presenters - (Right to Left) Rosa Sheng, Prescott Revis, Mani Farhadi, and A.L. Hu. Photo by Taylor Holloway.

Intersectionality Workshop Presenters - (Right to Left) Rosa Sheng, Prescott Revis, Mani Farhadi, and A.L. Hu. Photo by Taylor Holloway.

During a morning workshop - Intersectionality and Intercultural Intelligence, we utilized Milton Bennett’s Intercultural Development Continuum to aid us in pinpointing our personal Intercultural Mindsets. Our talented and patient facilitators helped participants identify how we each dis-engage with or actively integrate our understanding of cultural difference into our lives. Applying actionable tools and processes to confront inequity and bias that exists in all forms of professional practice, not just architecture, isn’t impossible--but it is work. It is work that requires iteration and a conscientious effort to be inclusive and self-aware.

Intersectionality Workshop Participants - Photo by Andre Pennycooke.

Intersectionality Workshop Participants - Photo by Andre Pennycooke.

Among the many learnings I drew from the Intersectionality workshop and the Symposium, what resounded most is that moving towards equity, justice, diversity and inclusion is not solely the work of the underrepresented. It is the work of all of us. Only in collaboration and from a place of openness can architecture emerge on the other side of history as an adaptable, valued, relevant, and evolving profession.

Voices Panel - Kevin Holland, Diana Jacobs, Julia V. Mandell, Tiffany Brown, and A.L. Hu. Photo credit by Wanda Lau

Voices Panel - Kevin Holland, Diana Jacobs, Julia V. Mandell, Tiffany Brown, and A.L. Hu. Photo credit by Wanda Lau

Tiffany Brown, the founder of 400 Forward, spoke at the Symposium about whether it is fair to steward African American women into a field where they will be underrepresented and undercompensated. And it is true; according to the 2018 Equity In Architecture survey data,  black women in architecture may find themselves possessing a master’s degree and still earning less than a white male counterpart with only a bachelor's degree. And it is true; in 2018 we’re still addressing whether a millennia old profession can be made equitable enough to include individuals of different races, creeds, gender identities, socio-economic backgrounds. Yet everyone at the #EQxDV Symposium was in attendance because they possess a belief, or at a minimum a hope, that the evolution and relevance we seek as a profession, will only come after we have made space for the very populations architecture never intended to make space for.

This past week I had the privilege of witnessing Tamara Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, give a keynote address. Listening to Tamara, I began to fully understand that those of us working to overcome an injustice or a form of trauma can only do so if made aware that we are not alone. The EQxDV Symposium exists not simply to affirm the profession’s real challenges of inequity and bias, but to serve as a foundation and wellspring of encouragement for the efforts that are propelling the profession forward and ushering in new generations of designers, architects, and leaders.

The #EQxDV Symposium was a gathering of the most welcoming and authentic group of individuals in the profession that I have ever encountered. It is also the only gathering of architects I have ever seen collectively decide that they care enough about the profession to mobilize and develop strategies to evolve the field so that its future may look nothing like its past. It was an honor to attend the 5th Equity by Design Symposium, and I reiterate: it is a space that architecture needs.

#EQxDV 5th Sold-Out Symposium at San Francisco Art Institute - November 3rd, 2018. Photo Credit: Andre Pennycooke

#EQxDV 5th Sold-Out Symposium at San Francisco Art Institute - November 3rd, 2018. Photo Credit: Andre Pennycooke

#EQxDV "Plus One" Scholarship Winners!

This year in celebration of #EQxDV our 5 Year Founding Anniversary, we are paying it forward with 5 “Plus One” Scholarship Winners for students and emerging professionals to attend our 5th Sold Out Equity by Design Symposium and connect with 5 amazing EQxD mentor/champions to share insights on their careers in the built environment.


Olga Bracamontes is on the path towards her architecture license, while currently working on a performance art center project that will serve the community. She was invited to the first Women in Architecture Conference at ASU in April 2018, a student let event, to participate as a panelist representing recent alumna. Olga recently presented at the 2018 NOMA Conference in Chicago as the College Liaison of NOMAarizona, based on a job search seminar with college students.


Taylor Holloway is an architect, educator, and maker with broad experience using design-driven approaches to promote equity in the built environment. She is the Founder of Public Design Agency, a multidisciplinary design studio that fosters civic stewardship, urban revitalization, and cross-cultural exchange through art, architecture, and collaborative design practices.


Maggie Gaudio is in her final year as a Bachelor of Architecture candidate at UT Austin. She is in San Francisco for a semester-long internship with Steinberg Hart as part of a residency program. She is interested in how architecture practice and education can become increasingly socially conscious.


Meghana Joshi has worked on diverse commercial and residential projects throughout California, and specializes in senior and multifamily housing projects. Her projects have received SAGE award, PCBC Gold Nugget grand award, and SoCal award this year. She is the Founder/Chair of Women in Architecture committee for AIA Orange County, and she will join AIA Orange County Board of Directors beginning Jan 2019.

Itria Licitra (1).jpg

Itria Licitra is a structural engineer (CE) based in the East Bay currently working at Tipping Structural Engineers in Berkeley, CA. Originally from Los Angeles, she came to the Bay Area to attend UC Berkeley (B.S., M.S.). She is curious about the intersection of structural and architectural design and the impact on community. She is also currently working on honing her carpentry skills.

Thank to our amazingly generous mentor/champions include Thought Leaders from current and past Equity by Design Symposia and Hackathons - Mani Farhadi, Jill Bergman, Patricia Ramallo, Frances Choun, Saskia Dennis Van Dijl.

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We are grateful to the generous #EQxDV Symposium sponsors of the Plus One Scholarship program, including Laura Thomas, AIA of Melville Thomas Architects and Patricia Ramallo of NCARB.