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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?

#EQxDHack17 - Architecture and the Era of (Disruption) [W304]

These are extraordinary times for our country and also our profession. Now more than ever, Architects need to be agile, open-thinking change agents while articulating core values and advocating for just living environments that our communities need and deserve. Future architects will need to develop "HACK" skills in order to adapt with the hyper-rapid speed of today's technology advancements.

What the Hack? - Unpacking the Workshop Experience

Join us Wednesday, April 26 1-5pm at the AIA Conference on Architecture [A'17] in Orlando, Florida for [W304] EQxD Hackathon: Architecture and the Era of Connection (and Disruption). One of the most unique and talked-about pre-conference workshops, we have developed a reputation within the Conference for developing a game changing learning experience that has yet to be rivaled.  In it's third year, we celebrate the chance to tinker, ideate and hack at the intersection of design, technology, and equitable practice. We have also fine tuned our "UX" aka User Experience by engaging with the teams before during and after the event to make it the best participant engagement event at A'17 - Conference on Architecture.

The day will begin with a diverse panel of industry leaders and entrepreneurs discussing future architectural opportunities in the new digital economy. Once you're inspired, the "mini-hackathon" format will let you develop a real plan of action for creating a positive impact on the profession. You’ll leverage your design thinking skills to rapidly prototype radical, actionable initiatives and explore future business models for the architecture profession. You will be grouped in teams to "Hack" a problem that you have defined. At the end of the session, each group will present an "Elevator Pitch" to the Jurors.

After the official workshop, the fun continues at Cuba Libre for #EQxDHack17 Happy Hour 5:30-7:30pm a few blocks away to network, recap and announce the winning team!



10 SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS, EP's and Young Architects

Equity by Design is excited to announce that we will be providing our 3rd year of Scholarships to attend the much anticipated Pre-Conference workshop EQxD Hackathon [WE304] at A'17 Conference on Architecture in Orlando. This year's theme will be Architecture and the Era of Connection (and Disruption) on Wednesday April 26th from 1-5pm located at the Orlando Convention Center. The #EQxDHack17 Happy Hour will follow at a nearby location from 5:30-7:30pm to announce the winners.The scholarship is focused on providing access for Architecture School students, recent graduates, emerging professionals, and newly licensed architects to this "not to be missed" un-conventional workshop. 


Meet the #EQxDHack17 Panelists

This year we will have three new entrepreneurs within the AEC who will share there paths to ideation and deviation in pursuing their passions.

F. Jason Campbell

Architectural Professional | Photographer, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson | Design Director | ELL San Francisco 

Jason Campbell is an advocate for inter-disciplinary action. He has paired professional practice experience at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, with academic instruction, and community engagement. He has coordinated architectural design studios at the U.C. Berkeley College of Environmental Design, is an architectural photographer, and is the co-founder and design director of ELL San Francisco. ELL is a flex-use platform for the exhibition of art, architecture, and design, emphasizing the mediation of disparate media and conceptual bases.


Esther Sperber

Founder, Studio ST Architects

Esther Sperber founded Studio ST Architects in 2003 after five years at Pei Partnership Architects, working closely with Mr. I M Pei. She was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. Her B. Arch is from the Technion and Masters from Columbia’s GSAPP. Studio ST’s work includes numerous high-end residential interiors, the 14th Street Y community center renovation, synagogues designs and international competitions. Their work has been published in architectural magazines and monographs. In 2008, Studio ST was included in Wallpaper magazine’s list of “World’s 50 Hottest Young Architectural Firms” and their Swell House received Architectural Record’s “Best Unbuilt House”. Esther Sperber writes and lectures on architecture and psychoanalysis, two fields that aim to reduce human distress and widen the range of our experiences. She has lectured widely and her essays have been published in the New York Times, Lilith Magazine, The Jewish Week, Ms Magazine and academic journals and books.


Carlos G. Velazquez

President/CEO, Epic Scan, Ltd.

Carlos Velazquez is the President and CEO of Epic Scan, Ltd. He has grown Epic Scan from an idea into a premier 3D service provider in the architectural, engineering and construction industries. Carlos has been involved with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) since its inception and more recently advanced photogrammetry techniques. He has developed and implemented LiDAR system scanning strategies since 1999, completing hundreds of projects around the world across various industries - including architecture, archaeology, civil, forensic, heritage, marine, mining, nuclear and oil and gas. Carlos has worked in conjunction with equipment manufacturers to develop and improve laser scanning process and methods. A native Oregonian, Carlos loves to be outdoors with his family. His favorite activity is taking road trips across the states in the family RV.

Panel Moderator

Lilian Asperin

Project Director, Associate, WRNS Studio


Lilian values a firm culture that embraces collaboration, connection to the community, risk taking and fostering talent. As one of the studio's Project Directors, she helps lead the design process and build teams that deliver aspirational outcomes. Lilian attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned her BA in Environmental Design and graduated with honors. After completing her studies, Lilian worked at architecture firms around the Bay Area, including Stanley Saitowitz, the City of San Francisco’s Bureau of Architecture, SOM and NBBJ. Recently completed projects include the International Terminal at SFO, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Master Plan, the Center for Science and Innovation at USF, the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Research Building at University of Utah, and the 21st Century Learning Environments Guidelines for CSU East Bay. A leader within the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), she organized the first-ever Hackathon for MOOC’s as part of the Pacific Regional Conference and is currently the Program Chair for the Pacific Regional Council. 

Lilian utilizes her experience as a practice leader and licensed architect to develop synergistic relationships with leaders throughout the architectural and educational communities. Deeply involved with the local community, Lilian works to raise awareness and help break the cycle of poverty in the Bay Area through her work as a Tipping Point Community Partner. Lilian also acts as Co-Chair of AIA San Francisco’s Equity by Design, a call to action for both women and men to realize the goal of equitable practice and communicate the value of design to society.


Rosa Sheng

Senior Associate, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Albany, California


Rosa is an architect with over 23 years experience, who has been involved in a variety of award-winning and internationally acclaimed projects, from the aesthetically minimal, highly technical development of the glass structures for Apple’s original high-profile retail stores, to the innovative and sustainable LEED NC Gold–certified Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College in Oakland, California. As founding chair of Equity by Design and President-Elect 2018 of AIA San Francisco, Sheng has led Equity in Architecture Surveys in both 2014 and 2016, authored AIA National Resolution 15-1 in 2015, and served on the Equity in Architecture Commission in 2016. She has presented nationally and abroad including Boston, New York, Lisbon, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Equity by Design has been featured in Architect Magazine, Architectural RecordThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, TEDxPhiladelphia and KQED/NPR

Frances Choun

Vice President McCarthy Building Companies

Frances is an established and trusted leader as Vice- President of McCarthy’s Northern Pacific Division. Her visionary leadership has propelled the company forward as one of the largest commercial contracting firms in California. Frances launched her career in Architecture, where she developed an interest in the construction side of the business. As an industry expert, Frances is regularly called upon by local, trade and national media to address new and projected trends, and is considered a pioneer in advancing women in the construction field. Last year, Frances was in the pioneering class of the Equity by Design Hackathon at the AIA Convention in Atlanta. This year, her fervor for hacking continues and she will help us select a winner.


What is a Hackathon?
You can get a sense of the #EQxDHack17 by checking out the past 2 year's events.
#EQxDHack15 Recap 
#EQxDHack16 Recap


Thanks to our EQxDHackathon Sponsor

Announcing EQxD Actions!

Equity by Design is excited to announce EQxD Actions, a new series of short posts that will provide you with opportunities to act on promoting equity. Every Monday, we will be posting an action describing something you can immediately do to help make our profession (and hopefully, the world) a bit more equitable for everyone. Every post will contain an image that will quickly summarize the action and a text description below the image which will provide details on difficulty level, how to do the action, why it is important, and further reading on the topic.

In addition to posting on the website, the main ways in which we will be sharing these actions are through Pinterest and email subscription. Our EQxDActions Pinterest Board is an especially important option for following these posts as you can use Pinterest’s new “Try It” feature to provide feedback on whether or not the action worked for you!

Please click here to check out our EQxD Actions! Also, if you decide to share any of our actions, please use #EQxDActions to help brand the effort. It will greatly help us on Social Media! We look forward to sharing these actions with you on a weekly basis.

*If you have suggestions for possible future EQxDActions, please email us at with the subject line “EQxDActions Suggestion”.

Announcing the Metrics Blog Series

 #EQxDM3 attendees review key findings from the 2016 Equity in Architecture survey

#EQxDM3 attendees review key findings from the 2016 Equity in Architecture survey

Equity by Design is excited to announce “Metrics”, a new blog series that will unpack and explore findings from the 2016 Equity in Architecture Survey. In this series, we’ll cover key findings from the survey, and will also take a deep dive into each of the Career Dynamics and Pinch Points.

Additionally, we’ll provide further resources and reading so that you can learn more about each topic. These in-depth looks at our survey data will be accompanied by interactive graphics, which will allow you to explore our data even further.

“Metrics” posts will occur about once a month (usually on Wednesdays), and are  aligned with this year’s quarterly topics. This will enable us to integrate conversations about survey content into a broader conversation that will be fueled by our quarterly workshops, as well as by other initiatives, including: the Inspire% series, the Equitable Practice blog series, the ACSA blog series, and #EQxDActions (more on this next week!).

For more info on these quarterly topics, please see our post from earlier in the month.

Winter: Disrupt Bias

During the winter quarter, we’ll explore how to disrupt implicit bias. We’ll learn about the unconscious biases we all carry and leverage techniques to overcome our own assumptions about others.

Concurrent with this exploration, the “Metrics” series will provide insight into three issues that are commonly linked with implicit bias: the demographics of the profession, pay equity, and the Glass Ceiling. Also look out for a post on “Key Findings,” which will provide a broad overview of the survey findings.

Spring: Articulate Values

Spring quarter will provide an opportunity to reflect on how to articulate the value that architectural education,training, and the practice of architecture provide to society. We’ll consider the issue from a variety of points of view, exploring divergent career paths, design activism, and the value of professional licensure.

The “Metrics” series will provide context for these discussions by providing in-depth analyses of the following issues: “Education,” “Licensure,” and “Beyond Architecture.”

Summer: Chart Your Path

During the summer our attention will turn to charting your career path and do some serious thinking about how we as individuals organize our lives to achieve goals and stay connected within the profession.

To aid in these explorations, the “Metrics” series will provide analyses of Work-Life Flexibility as it relates to all respondents, and explore the experiences and the challenges of being a Working Caregiver.

Fall: Design Culture

We’ll close out the year with a conversation about the culture of our practices, schools, and profession as a whole by looking into the ways in which we can create culture that fosters creativity, design thinking and inclusivity.

The “Metrics” series will cover two issues that are often deeply linked to culture: Finding the Right Fit and Professional Development. The topics will allow us to explore issues like how “fit” is measured, and correlates with professional success, how cultural satisfaction and professional relationships are linked to success, and how fostering a culture of mentorship and transparency can lead to career satisfaction and increased retention.

We’re looking forward to your feedback as this series develops. Please let us know if you have a burning research question, if you have a great resource to share on an upcoming topic, or if you’d like to contribute a guest post on one of these topics!

INSPIRE% TALKS - Relaunch: Be Tough, Brave and Go for It!

by Lucy Irwin, AIA

Equity by Design asked me to share my story of relaunching my architectural career at the 2016 EQxDM3 Symposium Friday Night INSPIRE% TALKS - given in a Pecha Kucha style format: 20 slides, 20 seconds each. The Symposium was designed to be an opportunity for architects of all ages and levels of experience to come together to learn from one another by sharing research, experiences, wisdom, dreams, insights and strategies. This is the story I shared.  Some of the resources I used in my journey are at the end of the post.



We are about to take a risky journey together. So climb into the boat with me. You can be in the bikini or the one piece, but hold on tight, because there are rapids ahead, big rocks to crash into, and it’s all going to pass by in a flash.

At 26, I was probably like many young architects, ambitious, hard working, directed.  I’d graduated from Dartmouth College and Yale School of Architecture, worked for several architects on the East Coast, Chicago and San Francisco.  I was on the fast track, and I was going to do it all.

I imagined myself as the next Frank Lloyd Wright, or Zaha Hadid, while also being a wife and a mother. If I worked hard, I could have a successful career and achieve my personal goals.  But life is risky, and in fact takes twists and turns we can’t imagine at 26. See those rocks and rapids ahead?  I took a big risk, got married, and moved to North Carolina.

I got a great job working for Phil Freelon, the architect of the San Francisco Museum of the African Diaspora. I got my internship years done, designing airports, banks, research facilities. At this point, I was right on track with my male peers, gaining experience, skills and confidence. I took the licensing exams, which at that time lasted several days, while I was 7 months pregnant.  I passed them all, moved to San Francisco with my husband and weeks later our first child was born.

After getting our new little family settled, and surviving the Loma Prieta Earthquake, I found a job working part time doing high-end residential work.  It didn’t feel quite like I was on the Frank Lloyd Wright fast track anymore, but I kept at it. I took the additional oral exam required to get my California license, this time pregnant with my second child. After maternity leave I returned to my part time job, until our third child was born. Juggling two careers and child care for three children was tough. It became clear the best solution for the time being was for me to take care of the home front.

I never stopped thinking like an architect, or seeing the world through the lens of a designer. I paid my licensing dues year after year, but I could not read the magazines or watch who was getting prizes.  It was too painful to be on the outside of something I loved passionately. Between recessions, and being fully occupied with children and community service, years went by.  While I did not practice architecture, I did continue to work on solving complex problems creatively and developed many skills that make me a more valuable architect now.

I did lots of risky things during that time, following my passion for building stronger communities for families and fighting for a more equitable society.

  • I coordinated the first reunion of the Black Student Union at St. Ignatius High School.  We produced a video telling the 40 year history of the club, which was an amazing education in the history of San Francisco.

  • I sat for 6 weeks on a jury for murder case.

  • Worked on political campaigns.

  • Taught sewing to middle school students.

  • Built volunteer organizations at public, private and parochial schools.

  • Sat on boards, learned how to balance  budgets and developed strategic plans.

  • Did workdays with Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together.

But the risk I really want to tell you about is when I decided to return to the practice of architecture.  I decided to take a Revit class, to update my skills.  That first class was terrifying, and I came out of it bug-eyed. I stuck with it and soon realized my knowledge of how buildings go together gave me a leg up.  It was really scary telling people I wanted to return to architecture. Would it be possible?  How it would work out?  

I started doing informational interviews, and through that process I found Equity by Design.  I joined the AIA, a mentorship group, and the Organization of Women Architects.

At my first meeting of Equity by Design, I met Pamela Tang, another mother who had taken 20 years off to raise her four children.  That gave me so much courage and hope.  Rosa Sheng and Lilian Asperin supported, encouraged and challenged me to develop new skills.  I attended the AIA Convention in Atlanta in 2015, and participated in my first EQxD Hackathon Workshop.

I did over 20 informational interviews, asking architects what changes they had seen in the profession, what continuing education they had found most helpful, what resources they would recommend, what skills they look for when making new hires.  I was humbled by what these individuals had accomplished, and their generosity.

Through this process, I learned so much about the current practice of architecture, where I might fit in, and what skills I needed to strengthen.  The more practice I had talking to architects about the volunteer work I had done, and how it fit into my current ambition of returning to practice, the more comfortable and confident I felt.

In September of 2015, I attended the AIA Women’s Leadership Forum in Seattle.  To be in a room full of 300 women architects, and hear their stories of how they built their careers, and families, was deeply reassuring and inspiring.  I feared how other women would feel about me re-entering the profession, but the support and encouragement has been amazing.  My biggest challenge is getting out of my own way, knowing I have the skills, wisdom and ability to get back in the game.

Every one of these steps was terrifying, but each time I put myself out there, I built more confidence in my ability to relaunch my career.  So by the time I had a job interview, I was able to tell my story with confidence, ask pertinent questions about the position, and help the interviewer imagine how they might fit an unconventional applicant like me into their organization.

Because of taking the negotiating workshop with EQxD, I was able to negotiate a fair wage.  My first job was in a large very competitive firm, and I learned so much in four months, it was like boot camp. But it may have not been the best fit.  Equity by Design gives me the courage to dust myself off, get back on the horse, and fight for my spot in this tough profession.

I’d love to tell you I’m well on my way to being the next Zaha Hadid now, but that would not be true.  I am just another step along my path, still figuring things out, taking on new risks and challenges. I am so thankful to have Equity by Design on my side, fighting for the profession I love, running programs that help me develop skills to be a better architect.

I encourage each of you to join Equity by Design, and the movement to make architecture a more relevant, equitable profession.

If you are returning to architecture after a break to care for family, I’d love to hear about your relaunch in the comments below or on twitter.  I’m @Lucile_Irwin. Take some risks.  Be tough, brave, and go for it!


#EQxDisruptBias : EQxD "U" Workshop #1 Disrupting Implicit Bias on 2/8

Disrupting Implicit Bias: Workshop Summary (#EQxDisruptBias)

About the Workshop:

Everyone has implicit bias. We develop our biases through our environment, the people we engage with, and the culture we grow up in. These interactions shape the expectations we have for ourselves, colleagues, and even potential clients. Thus, bias can have a major impact on the design process and desired outcomes in our profession. Additionally, reflecting on our own “Bias Blind Spot” is critical to building empathy and foster a culture of open communication. We will explore implicit bias in design and practice through research and storytelling. We will examine our “Bias Blind Spots” in small groups, and share resources to increase our awareness of bias in our workplace and foster strategies for tangible change.

Workshop Format:

Rosa Sheng, AIA will provide a brief intro on Implicit Bias to frame the discussion. 2017 EQxD Co-Chair Julia Mandell, AIA will be the moderator of the panel with a fresh roster of panelists to provide diverse insights on how to Disrupt Implicit Bias in their work. Afterwards, workshop attendees will break out into small groups for an exercise to rethink how we approach bias in our daily interactions at work, home, in our communities and beyond.


Meet the Panelists for #EQxDisruptBias

Helen Bronston - Associate and Architecture Discipline Lead at SmithGroupJJR

Helen_Bronston_P8472_HI_RES - crop for AIA EQxD.JPG

Helen serves as Director of Architecture for the San Francisco office of SmithGroupJJR, where she is an associate.  Raised in Wisconsin, she holds a BA in Anthropology from Yale, and an MArch from Harvard, where she was awarded the AIA Adams Medal. Over her 26-year career she has worked exclusively for non-profit educational, healthcare, and governmental organizations, for that is where she has felt she can do the most good for the greatest number of people. She is currently serving on the board of directors for Joan’s House, a newly-forming shelter for transgender women who have been incarcerated. Her experience transitioning gender as an architect was profiled in the San Francisco Business Times on 12 June 2015. Unable to leave school behind, Helen is also very slowly writing a PhD dissertation in History of Architecture at UC Berkeley.


Sandra Vivanco - Principal, A+D, Architecture+Design

Sandra is founding principal of A+D, Architecture+Design, a San Francisco firm characterized by design excellence as well as innovative community-based processes. Published widely, Vivanco is sought as a Latino cultural expert with profound knowledge of modern art and architecture in Latin America. A Professor of Architecture and Diversity Studies at CCA, she is a Mission resident, an avid dancer, a mother of two public school graduates and is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.


Michael D. Thomas, Esq. - Associate, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

Michael is an Associate with the global law firm Ogletree Deakins in their San Francisco office.  He represents employers in all aspects of employment law.  He also works with employers on diversity and pay equity issues.  Michael has studied mindfulness, meditation and yoga with a focus on healing and self-regulation.  Recent publications include “Preventing Workplace Violence by Examining Trauma and the NFL” which incorporates mindfulness, meditation and body awareness in preventing workplace violence, and “How Employers Can Root Out the Influence of Unconscious Bias in Compensation Decisions.”  Recent speaking engagements include: Inclusion 2.0, “Intergenerational Trauma, Diversity and Inclusion;” Tech Inclusion Conference, “Awakening to Inclusion;” Association of Corporate Counsel event at Google, “Best Practices for Promoting Fair Pay;” Kaiser, Continuing Legal Education, “Implicit Bias” panel and lecturer, Berkley School of Law, “Mindfulness to Disrupt Suffering and Bias.”  He has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a J.D. from Boston College.


Ming Thompson, AIA - Principal, Atelier Cho Thompson

Ming is a principal of Atelier Cho Thompson, a San Francisco-based design and concept firm, engaged in the art of architecture, interiors, graphics, brand strategy, furniture, installations, and exhibition design. Ming and her partner Christina Yoo formed their firm with an aim to transcend the conventional boundaries between these disciplines, resulting in a richness borne of the cross-pollination of ideas and strategies from across this spectrum of design. Ming studied architecture at Yale University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design and has worked for large and small firms around the globe.  As a practicing architect, Ming is focused on bettering human experience through design; she insists that good design must occur at all scales, from the building to the furniture to the logo, and everything in between.  Outside of architecture, Ming serves on the Board of Trustees of the Yale-China Association and the Alumnae Council of The Madeira School, and teaches at the California College of the Arts.


Panel Moderator

Julia V. Mandell, AIA - Architect at Wilson Associates

Julia is an experienced architect and planner with broad project experience in architecture, urban design, and landscape design. Currently designer and project manager at Wilson Associates, a design/build/development firm in Oakland, Julia’s recent work focuses on innovative commercial and residential projects that serve as urban catalysts. Julia is also very involved with AIASF’s Equity by Design, serving as the group’s 2017 Co-Chair. Previously, Julia worked for four years with SWA Group on large-scale urban design and landscape work in China and Houston, Texas. She received her Master of Architecture from Rice University and her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Columbia University.


Implicit Bias 101 Presentation

Rosa T. Sheng, AIA - Senior Associate, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, AIASF 2018 President-Elect

Rosa is an architect with over 23 years experience, that has led a variety of award-winning and internationally acclaimed projects, from the aesthetically minimal, highly technical development of the glass structures for Apple’s original high-profile retail stores, to the innovative and sustainable LEED NC Gold–certified Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College in Oakland, California. As founding chair of Equity by Design and President-Elect 2018 of AIA San Francisco, Rosa has led Equity in Architecture Surveys in both 2014 and 2016, authored AIA National Resolution 15-1 in 2015, and served on the Equity in Architecture Commission in 2016. She has presented nationally and abroad including Boston, New York, Lisbon, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Equity by Design has been featured in Architect Magazine, Architectural Record, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TEDxPhiladelphia and KQED/NPR.

"Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices" Video Debut

We are excited to share the Equity by Design: Metrics, Meaning & Matrices video from AIASF's 4th Symposium and messaging about the mission and exciting movement for taking action. Please share this video with your colleagues, friends, firm leaders, etc. 

The video is created by Corey Leavitt, our talented filmmaker. 

Special Thanks to AIASF, Equity by Design symposium Thought Leaders and Volunteers and our generous EQXDM3 sponsors that made this video possible.

EQxD "U" - Quarterly Topics for Equitable Practice

by Julia V. Mandell, AIA - AIASF Equity by Design Co-Chair

Throughout 2017 Equity by Design will explore four quarterly topics from the Equity in Architecture Survey through in-depth workshops, blog posts, twitter chats and other activities. These interrelated pursuits will allow us to develop a deeper understanding and gain the knowledge we need to take action for each area of focus.  

  • Winter: Disrupting Bias - January thru March
  • Spring: Articulating Values - April thru June
  • Summer: Charting Your Path - July thru September
  • Fall: Designing Culture - October thru December  


Winter: Disrupting Bias

 Graphic by Rosa Sheng, AIA

Graphic by Rosa Sheng, AIA

Disrupting Bias is our lead topic for 2017. We’ll kick off with the 1st EqxD “U” Workshop of the year at AIASF on February 8th 6-8pm, Disrupting Implicit Bias. Everyone has implicit bias. We develop our biases through our environment, the people we engage with, and the culture we grow up in. These interactions shape the expectations we have for ourselves, colleagues, and even potential clients. Thus, bias can have a major impact on the design process and desired outcomes in our profession. Additionally, reflecting on our own “Bias Blind Spot” is critical to building empathy and foster a culture of open communication. We’ll learn about the unconscious biases we all carry and techniques we can use to disrupt our own assumptions about others. A diverse panel of advocates will reflect on their own experiences on both sides of bias and discuss strategies for change.

In the next few months on the blog we’ll explore survey findings in Pay Equity, the Glass Ceiling and feature Inspire% stories related to how people have overcome the challenges of bias. A twitter #EQXDChat will allow participants to reflect on bias through multiple points of view.


Spring: Articulating Values

In the spring we’ll investigate how Articulating Values in our profession and communities. We will put those values into action in every day practice and strategic ways. In April, at the 2nd EQxD “U” Workshop, “Becoming a Change Agent”, we’ll learn how to put our values into action and shift the status quo. A panel of change agents will share tools and techniques that go from identifying a problem to making a lasting impact. Then we’ll put our new skills into practice in a hands-on workshop activity,  

Concurrently, we’ll gain an understanding on the blog of survey data relevant to our theme in areas like Education, Licensure, and explorations Beyond Architecture. We’ll also read about strategies for equitable practice that allow firms to articulate their values and turn those values into action.


Summer: Charting Your Path

 Mapping Exercise #EQXDM3 WorkLife Break Out

Mapping Exercise #EQXDM3 WorkLife Break Out

During the summer our attention will turn to Charting Your Path and some serious thinking about how we as individuals organize our lives to succeed both personally and within the profession. The 3rd EQxD “U” Workshop "Graphing the Work-Life Equation", will explore the many possible ways to conceptualize the relationship between our work and personal lives.  Panelists will share how they set goals for navigating work/life flexibility or integration and the strategies they’ve adopted. They will also guide participants in reflecting on their own approach, how it is working for them and re-evaluate areas needing improvement.

Our survey investigations will explore relevant EQiA 2016 Survey findings in Paying Dues, Work-Life, and Working Caregivers. A twitter #EQXDChat will give us a chance to discuss work-life strategies with our friends and allies nationally and internationally.


Fall: Designing Culture

 Culture with Intent Symposium Break Out Matrices Board

Culture with Intent Symposium Break Out Matrices Board

As the days get shorter again we’ll shift our focus to Designing Culture and spend some time thinking about how we can create culture that fosters creativity, design thinking and inclusivity. Our 4th and last EQxD “U” Workshop "Culture With Intent", will offer a chance to examine the firm culture where we work and how we can participate in shaping it. Along with a panel of experts, we’ll evaluate office culture in relation to our personal values, address any incongruities, and develop strategies to affect positive outcomes.

EQIA 2016 Survey findings in areas like Finding the Right Fit and Professional Development will help us gain a greater understanding of how culture affects career success. We’ll also get a chance to put our Design Culture ideas into action every day through the execution of related #EQxDActions.

If you are interested in participating or contributing to Equity by Design? Please check the blog and calendar or sign up to volunteer.

SAVE THE DATE! #EQXDHack17 @ A'17 in Orlando

EQxDHackathon: Architecture And the Era of Connections 4/26/17 @ A'17 (aka. AIA National Convention) in Orlando, FL  1-5pm

If you are attending A'17 in Orlando 4/26-4/29, please be sure to join us for the 3rd installment of the much talked about and game-changing workshop at the Conference on Architecture (Formerly known as - AIA National Convention). 

When you register, please pick WE304 as a pre-convention workshop and note that our program is held on WEDNESDAY 4/26/17 from 1-5pm which is the day before the A'17 starts.

EQxDHack17 Scholarships will be available this year for Students, Emerging Professionals, and Newly Licensed Architects! Stay Tuned for How to Register!

10 New Year's Revolutions - A look ahead for EQxD in 2017

Happy New Year Equity Champions!

You were probably getting worried that we went M.I.A and ready to send out search parties for us. Rest assured that we have been here all along - in a short hibernation post-symposium, recuperating, ruminating and strategically planning for the coming year.

And in 2017, rather than making wishful resolutions, let's all engage in real "actions" that foster pervasive, positive, and impactful change in our lives, in our professions, in our society, and in our local communities. Please join us by participating in our New Year Revolutions in 2017! ACT UP!

Revolution #1 - Adopt a Mindset for Equity and Advocate for Equitable Practice

 Craig Froehle - Equality vs Equity Meme

Craig Froehle - Equality vs Equity Meme

There is a critical difference between Equity and Equality. Equality is about “sameness” and believing that everyone gets the same “piece of the pie”, regardless of the outcome. Equity is about recognizing differences and individual challenges, while providing just opportunities for all people to have access to success. In short, we all benefit from equitable practice when we recognize that all people have different challenges and needs.


Revolution #2 - Share and Discuss the Equity in Architecture Survey 2016 Early Findings

The Early Findings presentation will be available as a recording of the research team Annelise Pitts and Kendall Nicholson this winter. The results, organized into two frameworks—career dynamics, or the challenges and perceptions of working in the profession; and career pinch points, the milestones that make or break one’s advancement. Moreover, the survey identifies the specific predictors of one’s success in architecture.

Revolution #3 - Attend the EQxD "U" Workshops at AIASF (Quarterly)

Save the Date! The 1st of 4 Quarterly Workshops in 2017 will be Wednesday, February 8th on Disrupting Implicit Bias. Throughout 2017, EQxD will be deep diving into the topics of the Equity in Architecture Survey with Workshops, Blogs, #EQxDChats on Twitter, and other ways to take action and move the needle.

  • Winter - Disrupt Bias
  • Spring - Articulate Values
  • Summer - Chart your Path
  • Fall - Design Culture

Revolution #4 - Attend EQxD Hackathon at AIA's Conference on Architecture in Orlando

"One of the most unique and talked-about pre-convention workshops is back! Join us for a new EQxD Hackathon in its 3rd year of innovation and disruption and explore the intersection of design and tech.

The day will begin with a diverse panel of industry leaders and entrepreneurs discussing future architectural opportunities in the new digital economy. Once you're inspired, the "mini-hackathon" format will let you develop a real plan of action for creating a positive impact on the profession. You’ll leverage your design thinking skills to rapidly prototype radical, actionable initiatives and explore future business models for the architecture profession."


Revolution #5 - Contribute a Blog Post to

In 2017 Action starts with using your voice and is the perfect forum for sharing your story of challenges, triumphs, advocacy for equitable practice, etc. We have an amazing list of past contributors and this year we will be trying to get more voices represented in our INSPIRE% blog series.



Revolution #6 - Become an Equity Mentor & Champion

One of the key factors for success and talent retention in architectural practice is having strong professional mentors and champions. Build a culture of organic mentorship that support people’s passions and unique skill sets. Allow that to feed back into the firm culture. Build relationships with “champions;” Find a Champion, but also be a Champion. Find people that purposefully and conscientiously look out for you (and you for others), to advocate for development and advancement opportunities.


Revolution #7 - Walking the Talk - Advocate for Social Justice in your Design Work.


Join the Design Justice Platform for the pivotal Design as Protest as a Nationwide action, on Friday January 20th 2017, connecting activist, community organizers, architects, planners, designers, and artists, with the direct intention of utilizing our skill set to stand up to injustice, discrimination, and hate. Ultimately, we will use design as a means to speak out in support of the disinherited and marginalized communities at risk during the next administration. 


Revolution #8 - Break Down Silos - Get Connected and Expand your Equity Network

Architects may have mixed feelings about engaging in Social Media. There are trolls and bad things that could happen. But the reward is greater than the risk. In all seriousness, there is an amazing world of connections to be made to forward the movement for equitable practice. You can also strengthen your professional development, building relationships and connections to people who will likely become your future champions. Suggested: Twitter, Linked In, Facebook. 


Revolution #9 - Build Recognition of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Champions

Despina Stratigakos launched a movement in June 2013 in Places Journal with an article titled "Unforgetting Women Architects" . Despina's modern day strategy to undo the effect of women architects being left out of the history books suggested that Wikipedia was the new medium of measuring existence and recognition. Since then, Architexx, Parlour, and N-ails have answered her charge to document notable and inspirational women architects. Write a Wikipedia entry to contribute to the restoration and ongoing legacy. Write about women contemporaries in architecture that you admire. Use the WiKiD guide developed by Justine Clark's Team at Parlour. Collaborate with other groups like SheHeroes.Org to expand the storytelling beyond our profession. Let's expand this recognition to practitioners who are immigrants, people of color and LGBTQ practitioners, etc. the list goes on.


Revolution #10 - Advocate for Pay Equity and Promotions

Less than 40% of EQiA survey respondents had negotiated for a higher salary if they had an unsatisfactory offer. This turned into a popular series of workshops to learn better negotiation skills. I shared an article in AIA YAF Connection in April 2015 that highlights the key components to becoming a better negotiator.  

The other aspect is to ask employers to help root out influences of implicit bias in the hiring, promotion and compensation decision making with real applicable suggestions from Michael D. Thomas, Esq. of Ogletree Deakins



#EQxDM3 Symposium - Full Storify Recap

2 weeks after the AIASF Equity by Design's 4th Sold Out Symposium - Metrics, Meaning & Matrices, we have compiled, curated and edited a Storify capture of live tweets and photos from the day as part of our ongoing commitment to all of you for actionable resources towards Equitable practice in architecture. The infographics that summarize the key findings are provided here for your reference.


Here are some other posts and articles about the what occurred at the EQxDM3 Symposium. Video to follow shortly!

Equity by Design Releases Early Findings From Its 2016 Equity in Architecture Survey by Wanda Lau

San Francisco’s Equity by Design Symposium Uses Data to Engender Change by Lydia Lee

EQxD's 4th Symposium A Success! by Angie Sommers, PE.