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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?

2018 EQxD Hackathon: Winners Take On Equitable Compensation

Recap of the invigorating 4th EQxD Hackathon and the winning team’s submission which was hosted by Syracuse University’s Fisher Center - by Lilian Asperin, AIA and Rosa T. Sheng, FAIA

This year on June 20th, the 4th Equity by Design Hackathon: ArchitectuREvolution took place before the AIA National Conference on Architecture in New York City. The hackathon theme was inspired by the U.N. Initiative - the New Urban Agenda serves as a multi-faceted platform for Architects to apply our best skills towards imagining and committing to a world that is truly inclusive, where equity is for everyone. The EQxD Hackathon embodies the defining characters of the Agenda - to reinvigorate, to ensure effectiveness, and to create resiliency. Urban development, while different in scale as Practice development, engenders similar goals of wellness for present generations, openness to embrace diversity and evolving demographics, and a pledge towards sustainability for the future by taking bold steps, together, and today.

As one of the most anticipated workshops at the annual AIA Conference, the EQxD Hackathon continues the goal to create a unique learning experience that is essential to building our skills as designers and architects. Designed as an immersive experience, the workshop is hands-on, action-oriented, inclusive and teaches the process framework for hacking. Groups of thought leaders, licensed architects, and emerging professionals gathered in an incubator-like setting at the Fisher Center to learn and apply radical thinking towards transformational concepts.

The goal - improving Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Architectural Practice and the Communities we serve. Teams presented their “Hacks” to industry experts and a winning concept was selected to be featured in our blog for further discussion and development. These photos communicate some of the amazing energy, creativity and high level engagement from the day that participants can share with their colleagues.

And the winner is….

Compensation Facts

clear, comprehensive and customized for you

Equity is for everyone. Everyone is different. And, everyone’s compensation goals vary over the course of a career.

The winning concept “Compensation Facts” was developed by participants Christina Booher; Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA; Marissa Kasdan, Assoc. AIA; Marisa Nemcik, AIA; Yiselle Santos Rivera, Assoc. AIA; D. Brooke Robinson, AIA; and Laura Wheaton, AIA.

Compensation Facts Team: Christina Booher; Marissa Kasdan, Assoc. AIA; D. Brooke Robinson, AIA; Marisa Nemcik, AIA; and Laura Wheaton, AIA, Yiselle Santos Rivera, Assoc. AIA, Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA;

Compensation Facts Team: Christina Booher; Marissa Kasdan, Assoc. AIA; D. Brooke Robinson, AIA; Marisa Nemcik, AIA; and Laura Wheaton, AIA, Yiselle Santos Rivera, Assoc. AIA, Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA;


A firm should not expect all to thrive under the same compensation package. Compensation Facts makes it easier for firms to communicate a competitive and customized compensation package that supports recruitment and retention of top quality talent while also measuring equity in compensation across all staff.


The first step in improving the navigation of the compensation negotiation is to ensure consistency. We believe the AIA can be the catalyst that turns architecture into the leading industry for transparent work agreements. Similar to AIA contract templates, we encourage the AIA to produce and distribute compensation fact templates. Working with you, we propose to inform and draft clauses that reflect ways that compensation is equitable.

“Compensation Facts: Modeled on nutrition labels, which help you watch what you eat, Compensation Facts helps you watch what you make”.  

~ Excerpt from Equity by Design Hackathon Team Pitch

Screenshot 2018-09-16 09.52.12.png

“An at-a-glance template of pay and benefits, which aggregates into a complete picture of work/life integration. This two-part template lists salary and baseline benefits including: insurance, paid time off, retirement, and other benefits clearly and concisely, the same way every time, across positions, across firms, and across the country. Additionally, it includes a range of opt-in benefits an employee can experience while at a particular firm.”


The use of Compensation Facts templates will enable complex compensation packages to be compared apples to apples. This clarity creates the framework for conversations about creative and personally relevant types or mixes of elements of compensation that can be customized based on need and/or preference to support work/life satisfaction. In practice, a firm might offer two or three equivalent compensation packages for the same position, allowing the employee to select the best fit for them.

Given the diverse composition of the Equity by Design Hackathon team members, a few potential scenarios include: greater professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement; more PTO days for family vacations; flexibility or subsidized funds for caregiving needs; or zeroing out benefits in exchange for higher salary and retirement plan strategies.

While full Compensation Facts would be private, employers could opt to make a partial facts chart publicly available as part of their talent recruitment.

Next Steps: We are seeking interested leaders and firms who are willing to help us prototype this concept! Please contact us via


Thanks to our #EQxDHack18 Sponsors

We are grateful for the champions who provided scholarships for students and emerging professionals to attend. We are also grateful for Syracuse University Fisher Center and Staff for making this event possible.


Join our Champions! #EQxDV Sponsorship Opportunities

The movement for equitable practice can't happen without the generous support and commitment of the Architectural and Engineering community, both individuals and firms that have doubled down on forging the path forward for more equitable workplace culture, creating new value for design and practice and impactful outcomes for the communities we serve.



Become a #EQxDV Symposium Sponsor! 

Join the current group of Champions for the #EQxDV Symposium on November 3, 2018. There are many benefits to sponsorship support of this premiere event, including reserved tickets for the events based on the level of support so that you don't have to worry about registration being sold out. Please get in touch with us before the August 22th Registration launch.

Firm Sponsorship Benefits Prospectus

Premium Sponsorship Benefits Prospectus

Name *
Sponsorship Levels *
Please let us know what level you are interested in


2018 Equity by Design Sustaining Sponsors

We would like to take the time to thank our AIASF EQxD 2018 Sustaining Sponsors who have supported the 2018 Equity in Architecture Survey Research effort that has resulted in over 14,000 responses.

EQxD Curated Collection - Guide to A'18 in NYC

What should I attend at A'18 AIA Conference on Architecture in NYC?

by Rosa T. Sheng, FAIA


If you are like me, I get overwhelmed by the vast amount of programs that are offered at AIA National Conference on Architecture. Add on that next week's marathon of events will be held in multiple locations in New York City and you have yourself a "deer in headlights." Have no fear, we have taken the guess work out of your experience with quality content that has been curated by topics we hold near and dear to us. Of course we will showcase the EQxD Seminars that we have crafted and honed over the past 4 years. We also want to expand our reach to those seminars that amplify our core values and mission.


EQxD Programs  - Year 4

SOLD OUT!!!! EV202 EQxDHackathon: ArchitectuREvolution: Just, Equitable, Diverse, & Inclusive Practice

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Time: 1PM - 5PM
Location: Syracuse University's Fisher Center

Celebrating its 4th year, the EQxD Hackathon is an experience described as action-oriented and career changing. Groups of thought leaders, licensed architects, and emerging professionals will assemble in an incubator-like setting to apply radical thinking to develop transformational concepts for improving justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in architectural practice and the communities we serve. The event will lead off with luminary panelists, Danny Guillory of Autodesk, Katherine Darnstadt of Latent Design, Lilian Asperin of WRNS Studios, and Frances Choun, Equity Champion and long time past sponsor. Teams will present their hacks and the winner will have the opportunity to launch their concept into practice. This year we are excited to welcome #EQxDHack18 Scholarship Winners!

EQxDHack18 Scholarship Winners!

EQxDHack18 Scholarship Winners!


FR205 - Equity by Design: Architects as Catalysts for Community Engagement & Social Impact [1.50 LUs/RIBA]

Date: Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Location: Javits Center, Room 1A07

How does architecture impact the social fabric of our communities, and how does equity influence outcomes? Hear from a panel of architect champions who are pushing the boundaries of social and cultural concern - Michael Ford, Katherine Darnstadt, Garrett Jacobs moderated by Rosa Sheng, FAIA . They'll discuss design as a problem-solving tool and explore how your work can affect the social structures of communities everywhere, creating measurable and practical effects on how people interact and experience community. By considering equitable access, you can reshape the way people experience public space and, by extension, public life. Join us for a revealing conversation about how you can be a catalyst for solving shared challenges, driving social change, and fostering engagement.


Equitable Practice Sessions

Practical skill builds and discussions for Career Pinch Point challenges

EV204 - Share Your Voice: Guides for the Future of Equitable Practice

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Are you interested in building a more equitable workplace, but unsure of how to start? Do you have expertise on an equity issue that could benefit others? In either case, the Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee wants your feedback on a new series of Equitable Practice Guides designed to provide strategies for advancing equity within your workplace. Come ready to learn about EQ+FA's work, and to contribute your ideas towards a guidebook poised to shape the future of design practice.


TH317 - Show Me the Money? Exploring Pay Transparency [1.00 LU/RIBA]

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 8:45 AM - 9:45 AM
Location: Javits Center, Room 1E07

Pay transparency is a polarizing topic. Some argue that it has the potential to increase pay equity while improving trust and employee morale. Others argue against it, citing concerns that it prevents them from rewarding high performers and puts them at a disadvantage in a competitive talent market. Join this lively discussion and debate about the benefits and drawbacks of pay transparency. You'll hear a moderated panel discussion that will engage leaders from award-winning, nationally recognized firms. You'll also be able to assess whether pay transparency is a management strategy you would find beneficial in your own firm.


"J.E.D.I"  Focused Sessions

What are the other must attend events at AIA Conference and Beyond? Last year we introduced the concept of J.E.D.I Architecture - Just, Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive ways that we, as citizen architects and civic design advocates, can transform our practices into vital, valued and relevant services to better serve our communities. 

TH112 - Defense of the Public Realm [1.00 LU/HSW/GBCI/RIBA]

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Location: Hilton Midtown, 1334 6th Avenue, Regent Room

Times Square is the most visited place in New York, with over 40 million people passing through every year. Designing an open space where people want to gather while considering the security concerns of a post-9/11 New York was a unique challenge. Safety and security were critically important in designing New York's newest plaza, as evidenced by closing Broadway to car traffic and giving two-and-a-half acres back to pedestrians in the middle of Manhattan. Join Craig Dykers, founder of Snohetta and partner-in-charge of the Times Square plaza, to discuss the designer's critical role in dealing with security and freedom in public space.


TH409 - Addressing Inequality in Our Cities: Building a Resilient Future (ArchiTalk) [1.50 LUs/RIBA]

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
Location: Hilton Midtown, 1335 6th Avenue, Trianon Ballroom

Structural disadvantages-racial segregation, poor infrastructure, and chronic underinvestment-have a significant impact on who benefits from community investment. Vulnerable communities are often disproportionately affected and often experience lasting consequences. Communities under stress, such as Boston, New Orleans, and Ferguson, Missouri, have revealed the lasting effects of segregation and racism and points of weakness that can no longer be ignored. Join us for this enlightening session to explore these complex issues in greater depth. A former mayor, former chief resilience officer, and two practicing architects will examine the complicated intersection of architecture, public health, climate change, and racism.


TH516 - A Citizen Architect’s Field Guide to Building Resilience. Get Involved! [1.00 LU/HSW/GBCI/RIBA]

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: Hilton Midtown, 1334 6th Avenue, Gramercy Room

Successful design and planning were never limited to the drafting table. When practitioners recognize the value of sharing their time, talent, and training to effect change in their communities, transformative worlds emerge. This panel will discuss how the role of architects shapes and supports state and local government before, in response to, and after a disaster. Come with an interest in doing more. Leave with a plan of action!


FR401 - A Conversation with Sir David Adjaye & Tamara Eagle Bull (Pro Series) [1.50 LUs/RIBA]

Date: Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
Location: The New School, 63 5th Avenue, Tishman Auditorium

Join us for a captivating moderated discussion with A'18 Day 1 Keynote Speaker and AIA Awards recipients. They'll be discussing topics such as leading change in the profession, legacy, community impact, etc.


FR407 - Building for Density & Affordability: Creating Resilient Equitable Urban Communities [1.50 LUs/HSW/GBCI/RIBA]

Date: Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
Location: Javits Center, Room 1E10

As global cities address the need for more affordable housing, little attention is paid to how these communities become socially and economically resilient. Amenities, including education, healthcare, retail, and open space are essential, along with civic engagement. Low-rise, high-density (LRHD) housing prototypes have introduced quantifiably better models for urban living compared to "tower in the park" models. Join this session and hear from an expert panel as they examine LRHD models around the globe and discuss the future of affordable housing and resilient communities.


SA104 - Citizen Architecture: Reinventing the American Legacy City [1.00 LU/RIBA]

Date: Saturday, June 23, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Location: The New School, 63 5th Avenue, Room UL105

Good cities demand excellence in brick and mortar - but also in inclusion and equity. Join this review of best-practice examples that illustrate how you can overcome "design of exclusion" from intended or unintended planning paradigms. You'll hear how you can engage your community using the pillars of professional ethics; support reinvestment in existing communities through co-ops, land trusts, and CDCs; leverage the cultural and physical DNA of the industrial legacy city; grow equity through "smart city" innovation and startups; and more. When it comes to shaping our futures, knowledge is power. This session will deliver real resources for effective practice.

SA401 - Social Entrepreneurship as a Practice Model (Pro Series) [1.50 LUs/RIBA]

Date: Saturday, June 23, 2018
Time: 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: The New School, 63 5th Avenue, Tishman Auditorium

Interested in learning how to integrate social impact work into your firm? We will discuss different models to operationalize community impact design. You will hear from four types of organizations’ traditional Architectural service firm (Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects), a nonprofit design & real estate development firm (Designing Justice + Designing Spaces), an international design network (Open Architecture Collaborative), and a nonprofit doing graphic design advocacy with communities (Center for urban Pedagogy). Each of these organizations takes a different approach to defining its services to reach its ideal clients. You'll learn how certain services that might seem nontraditional actually support the organizational mission while generating revenue to fuel growth. This session is part of the Pro Series, four seminars covering advanced topics. The Pro Series sessions are free with your A'18 registration.


Women in Leadership Sessions

These sessions cover topics focused on celebrating, advocating and advancing women into leadership and ownership of professional practices.

TH408 - Agents of Change: When Women Lead (ArchiTalk) [1.50 LUs/RIBA]

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
Location: Hilton Midtown, 1334 6th Avenue, Mercury Ballroom

Throughout the architectural profession, more and more women are sitting at the leadership table, or at the head of that table. Hear from three different perspectives on what that leadership table looks like today and how they got there. What does increased leadership roles mean for women, and how have they changed their firms and the profession? How do they leverage their strengths to make a difference? Change within organizations can happen slowly and these leaders have been at the forefront, reshaping the firms and the practice of architecture. Learn from leaders who have carved paths to the top and hear how they hope to profession evolves in the future.


TH506 - From Young Female Designers to Firm Leaders: The Boston Experiment [1.00 LU/RIBA]

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: Javits Center, Room 1E07

What's possible when you bridge the gap between young female designers and leaders in architecture?

This session is a reflection on a one-year experiment on design equity in Boston called the Girl UNinterrupted Project. The experiment served three key functions: It offered a manual to young designers on how to jump-start careers, it provided firm leaders with an understanding of young designers' struggles, and it offered suggestions for creating an office culture that is equitable and maximizes talent.

Gain critical insights from these firsthand accounts, and bring practical knowledge back to your practice.


TH509 - The Missing 32 Percent (Women) & Missing Small Architects [1.00 LU/RIBA]

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: Javits Center, Room 1E12

Women architects and firm owners still have meager access to steady and meaningful project opportunities. Licensing statistics are low for women, and they also face roadblocks to prosperity and equal access similar to small firms. This session takes a critical look at the reasons why. 

Join this solutions-based discussion addressing the gender disparity that is still pervasive in the architecture profession. 

Led by a woman FAIA and a panel of public sector leaders, you'll dissect how to expand access to steady and meaningful project opportunities for women architects and small firm owners. You'll explore potential solutions, including how public sector could make a difference.


Professional Conduct - Harassment Free Workplace Culture Sessions

FR519 - Harassment in the Workplace, Part 1-Compliance and Culture: Building a Respectful & Harassment-Free Workplace Culture [1.00 LU/RIBA]

Date: Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: Javits Center, Room 1E14

Every organizational leader has the responsibility to create a culture that values diversity, demonstrates respect, and is free from any form of harassment or discrimination. This session will cover both the compliance and legal issues related to harassment in the workplace and will outline the values, norms, and practices that must be in place in order to prevent harassment from being a common occurrence. The presenter will introduce participants to the most current information regarding forms of harassment in the workplace and the federal laws that prohibit it. She will also help leaders understand what constitutes inappropriate behavior, what actions must be taken to address it, and how they can create a more respectful, inclusive, and harassment-free workplace culture.


SA113 - Harassment in the Workplace, Part 2-Community and Resources: Hearing Voices & Exploring Conversation Strategies [1.00 LU/RIBA]

Date: Saturday, June 23, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Location: Hilton Midtown, 1334 6th Avenue, Mercury Ballroom

Panelists will provide an introduction on the topic of harassment, and there will be an open forum in which participants will be able to raise various factual scenarios for discussion. The panelists will respond to questions, covering prevention, reporting and long-term remedies. The session will also cover key resources, including relevant government agencies and other organizations, as well as educational resources.


Other "Must Attend" Events

A+ Session: Architectural Activism Then & Now
12:50pm, Friday, June 22 Javits Center Exhibit Hall 

Abstract: Design should create a feeling of social, racial, and cultural equity. These leading architects are challenging the industry to create spaces that change behavior and advance inclusivity. Attend this session to learn how. 

Moderator: Bill Richards, senior director, digital content strategy, AIA

Tiffany Brown,


Now What?! is the first exhibition to examine the little-known history of architects and designers working to further the causes of the civil rights, women’s, and LGBTQ movements of the past fifty years. The exhibition content, conversations, and stories will inspire a new generation of design professionals to see themselves as agents of change by looking at the past to see new ways forward.

An exhibition by ArchiteXX.






Friday, June 22, 2018

11:00 AM  - 12:30 PM

S9 Architecture - 460 West 34th Street, 20th floor  New York, NY, 10001

1. Black Women Architects: A History of Activism 11:00–11:45

Moderator: Roberta Washington

  • Panelists:
  • Alexa Donaphin, AIA, NOMA
  • Kathryn Prigmore, FAIA, NOMA
  • Katherine Williams, AIA, NOMA

2. Out of the Shadows: Telling the Story of African American Architects 11:45–12:30

Moderator: Pascale Sablan or Roberta Washington

  • Panelists:
  • Kathleen Ettienne, NOMA
  • Brad Grant, AIA, NOMA
  • Melvin Mitchell, FAIA, NOMA



Friday, 12:30-2pm - Location Details Forthcoming

Inspired by the energy of the flash mob event from the Voices of Women ( in Venice, a consortium of architectural activist groups and individuals will gather as a united group for "Voices of Equity" to support the equitable treatment of all design professionals of diverse identities and backgrounds. We will gather to show solidarity and share in reading a manifesto for dignity and respect for all. Stay tuned for more information.


by Lilian Asperin, AIA

We love creating opportunities, opening big doors and channeling the enthusiasm that comes when you feel both welcome and invited. This year we are grateful once more to all our #EQxDHack18 Hackathon Sponsors, with our biggest champion, Autodesk's Danny Guillory - Head of Diversity and Inclusion, who have graciously partnered with us to support our goal of creating a multi-disciplinary and inclusive framework by sponsoring scholarships for participation in the fourth EQxD Hackathon at an AIA National Conference.

We have awarded this year's scholarships to include a unique and amazing group of graduate students, emerging professionals, and young architects. The excitement in their own words let us know that they are READY.


“I'm excited to participate in this year's hackathon because this event will be unlike anything I have ever experienced.  I can only imagine that when a group of creative people is united with one goal in mind, to create an architectural profession that is more diverse, inclusive, and equitable – something amazing will happen. I can’t wait to learn, collaborate, and create. I’m sure that this experience will be challenging, rewarding, and most of all fun.”

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Kymberli D. Barrett, Emerging Professional

Instagram: @kymbo_nice

Twitter: @kymbo_nice



Kymberli is a designer at TreanorHL in Atlanta, GA. She holds a dual Bachelor of Science in architecture & construction science from Prairie View A&M University and a Master’s in architecture from Savannah College of Art and Design. She is passionate about building up communities through service and thoughtful design.


“I will just have returned from Kenya, and am excited to jump right into this hackathon. I’m excited to meet the other Hackers and see what kinds of solutions we can create.”

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Devanne Pena, Registered Architect

Instagram: @archidev

Twitter: @devannepena


Devanne Pena (Deh-vin Pee-nuh) is a freelance architect who is spending 2018 with no zipcode. She is currently conducting pre-design research and development for her non-profit organization Sustainable AF (Architecture Foundation). In 2016, Devanne became the 375th African-American woman licensed to practice architecture, in history. She activates this unique platform by sharing her story while participating and supporting efforts that align with the advancement of people of color. She served as assistant editor then editor-in-chief of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Magazine from 2012 to 2015, and was a 2016 American Institute of Architects Emerging Fellow. Devanne has been featured in articles by National Public Radio, National Council of Architectural Registration Board, Austin Women Magazine, The Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce.


“The equity, diversity, inclusion topic is very close to my own day-a-day living experience. I’m a woman that immigrated from Colombia 14 years ago. I work for an Engineering company where men comprise 99% of the professional workforce. I’m the only foreigner and one of two female Architects. I’m excited to learn from other experiences, to share my own and to be able to develop concepts for improving justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

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Graciela Carrillo, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Instagram: @gracecol

Twitter: @gracecolny


Originally from Colombia, Graciela Carrillo immigrated to the US in early 2003. While in Colombia, Graciela worked as an Architect at the Bogota’s Institute of Urban Development (IDU), a Government owned institution in charge of city planning and infrastructure construction for Bogotá. Currently she works as an Architect for Cashin Associates, P.C . At Cashin, she has worked on and lead all scales of urban design, planning and architectural projects, and LEED project administration and CX services. Graciela has committed almost a decade of volunteer leadership service to the AIA. She has been involved with the AIA at the local, state and national level, currently serving as the President-Elect as well as the EP and WIA Co-Chair of the AIA Long Island Chapter. On a National and State level in 2017, Graciela was appointed as the NY Regional Director (YARD) for the Young Architects Forum (YAF) and sits on the AIA NYS Board of Directors. Graciela obtained her B. Arch in Colombia, and a MS in Env. Planning from Pratt Institute and is a LEED Accredited Professional.


“Developing concepts to improve justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in architectural practice and the communities we serve is a relevant and important task for the design community to hack.  While the task at hand is complex and daunting, I believe it is an important conversation to lead and continue as design professionals. I am looking forward to the format we will use to tackle such a problem; working with fellow professionals who will challenge the practice of architecture by openly discussing the problems and creating radical actionable solutions through a hackathon.”   

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Lubna Chaudhry, Associate AIA

Ayers Saint Gross - Baltimore, Md

Instagram: @chaudhrylubna



Lubna Chaudry graduated in 2015 with a Masters of Architecture from The University of Maryland, where she was also the Chapter President of AIAS during her undergraduate study. She is currently on the path to licensure, working AXP and ARE's.


“I am excited to be a part of the Hackathon as a way to meet like-minded architects who are conscious of topics such as inclusion and diversity in their design practice. I am particularly interested in urban planning and find that it is our responsibility as designers and architects to consider context when designing buildings. I have always enjoyed design charrettes as a way to meet people and quickly exchange ideas when confronting everyday situations in the architecture field.”

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Stephanie Haller

Master of Architecture Candidate, Syracuse University

Instagram: @snhaller



Stephanie Haller is currently at candidate for a Master of Architecture degree at Syracuse University. She graduated from Temple University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Architectural Preservation.


“I'm incredibly excited to participate in the Hackathon to gain insight in how to address and become a resource for empowerment within my firm and the profession in the conversation about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. I'm looking forward to meeting leaders of the industry and learning from their experience and expertise. I'm also interested in joining a growing network of EDI champions across the country for the betterment of our industry and our communities.”

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Yiselle Santos Rivera, Assoc. AIA

HKS - Washington, D.C.

Twitter: @YiselleSantos  



Yiselle Santos, Associate AIA, LEEP AP is a graduate of Syracuse University School of Architecture and currently leads the HKS, Inc. Washington, DC office Practice Technology efforts in all phases of design and construction documentation enhancing workflows through the incorporation of innovative technologies. She is a co-founder of the Latin American Interior Designers, Engineers, and Architects (LA.IDEA) Committee of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Washington, DC Chapter with the mission to become the leading collective of Latin American design professionals in the DC area by creating opportunities for interaction among members, fostering professional development, and engaging the community. She is an AIA Washington, DC Chapter Board member, a Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program Scholar, the Emerging Professional Outreach Committee Leader for the AIA Women’s Leadership Summit, and the Advocacy Outreach and Education At-Large Director of the AIA National Associates Committee. Yiselle recently founded the AIA WIELD series, an inspiring and empowering story telling event where Women Inspire Emerging Leaders in Design and is a 2018 AIA Associate Award recipient.



“I am curious about the connection between social problems and design progress, and how the whole society can impact on architecture and make our space a better place to live. ‘Equity’ is largely ignored during design process because we, as designers, are biased, so the designs from designer's experience most of time are not related to people who actually live there. I hope from this event, I can broaden my horizon and rethink the architecture design and how it can make a better place for everyone.”

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Miao Hui

Master of Architecture Candidate, Syracuse University

Instagram: huimiao1993



Miao Hui is a graduate of Beijing University of Technology. She is currently at candidate for the Master of Architecture degree at Syracuse University.



“It is an action-oriented and inspiring workshop. Equity is important for everyone, and the EQxD Hackathon embodies the human spirit. I also interested in the value of architecture to society.”

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Han Jiang

Master of Architecture Candidate, Syracuse University




Han Jiang is currently at candidate for the Master of Architecture degree at Syracuse University.


“I am excited and inspired by this year’s Hackathon theme ArchitectuRE:evolution. Architecture is currently undergoing an evolution as a profession and I want to be part of the generation that embraces inclusiveness and equity in architecture. I am looking forward to having a thoughtful, engaging and challenging hack discussion with other professionals about to future of architecture academically and professionally.”

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Anesu M. Dhliwayo, Emerging Professional

Twitter: @anesumercy

Instagram: @anesumd


Anesu Dhliwayo is an emerging professional in architecture and a recent graduate of Boston Architectural College. As the Alpha Rho Chi Bronze Medal – 2016 Recipient, Anesu hopes here career in architecture is guided by the awards principals of leadership and service. She currently lives in San Francisco and works at Gould Evans where she is a member of the Equity Committee and Licensure Committee.


“To be a part of the Hackathon, I expect to prepare myself to have an experience with AIA members and (to study a) collection of information related to architecture. I'm excited to enjoy the event since I could be invited to learn about design, profession and practice of architecture. I am glad to share my own stories with the goal that my work advances equity in architecture and to learn from others' stories - that will also inspire me lots.”

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Peilin Hu

Master of Architecture Candidate, Syracuse University




Peilin Hu graduated from Arizona State University at May 2016 and now joined in Master of Architecture program at School of Architecture in Syracuse University. Peilin's experience is grounded in practical and hands-on architectural design adept at successfully and effectively interacting with contractors across multiple construction sites.

We are eager to gather these voices of emerging professionals, graduate students and those of 60 others who signed up for A'18 EV202 Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 to hack at the Syracuse Fisher Center.  (Yes, the event is sold out.)

Happy Hour IS SOLD OUT! Thanks for your support of our event!

Thank you Syracuse University Fisher Center

Special Thanks to Syracuse University School of Architecture, Dean Michael Speaks, Xiaoyin Li, and dedicated staff at the Fisher Center for making this event  possible.



Special Thanks to our amazing EQxD Sponsors!

#EQxDV | Voices, Values, Vision

AIASF Equity by Design proudly announces theme for Symposium "V" November 3, 2018  

photo courtesy of Wanda Lau

photo courtesy of Wanda Lau

EQxDV marks the fifth anniversary of Equity by Design. 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 equity. 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.


To attract and retain the most diverse talent we must hear from those in practice and beyond. We need to listen to their challenges, concerns, and aspirations. With over 13,000 responses, the 2018 Equity in Architecture Survey is the largest and most comprehensive dataset of career perceptions and experiences in the industry. This unprecedented collection of professional voices is the testimony that allows us to build a deeper understanding of where we are and of the critical work needed to move forward. This year we commit to leveraging our platform to amplify all voices and create a safe space for everyone, regardless of position or identity, to speak up and be heard.


Within a broad diversity of identities and experiences, we come together to find the common ground in our core values. This year we will explore how they guide us in choosing our collaborators, shaping our work culture, and cultivating our design leadership to make the most lasting impact within our communities. We will explore how we can “walk the talk” and communicate our worth as engaged citizens and as architects and leaders. Lastly, we uphold the values of equity, inclusion, dignity, and respect as an integrated approach in our design work that deeply resonates for individuals, practices, clients, and our communities.  


We continue to expand our focus and explore the future of a better world. As we begin to see equitable practice in action in practices of all sizes, we can build on that reality, exploring new types of services, new relationships, new symbiotic models for work culture and life. This year we will also look beyond our workplaces and envision how equity in practice can inform our design work, aiding us in creating equitable outcomes, inclusive experiences, and dignified spaces.

Now is Our Time to Lead.

We have come so far in our journey, yet we must go farther; our work is far from done. Working towards a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive profession is a marathon, not a sprint. Each of us has an integral role to play: sharing our stories, advocating for our values, and paving a new path forward to shape the future of architecture. Together we are stronger.

Will you join us?

Join these amazing Equity by Design 2018 Sponsors!

INSPIRE% [09]: Kerry Drake on Taking the Leap

Kerry Drake, our INSPIRE% interviewee spoke with Mia Scharphie of Build Yourself, and a content partner and collaborator of Equity by Design.

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Kerry Drake is an Architect at Payette in Boston. A few years ago, Kerry set some big bold goals for herself—and shares the results here, showing that love for adventure and traditional career growth are not mutually exclusive.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?  

I am an architect, lab planner, artist, and traveler.  Currently I practice at Payette, planning research labs for higher education clients.  


2. Why did you choose to study Architecture?

It started with a passion for art and illustration.  I earned a BFA at a theory-driven contemporary art program.  What I discovered is that the art world is in a constant state of self-evaluation and search for purpose.  I was drawn to architecture because it has a real-world purpose; at the end of the day your creation shelters people.  Furthermore, a good project is socially transformative and environmentally sound, which are core values for me.


3. What inspires you on a daily basis?

I love to explore, create, and pursue a multi-faceted life.  Beyond architecture, I have visited 20 countries, speak fairly decent Spanish, occasionally run half-marathons, and take on various fine art and graphic design projects.  I seek inspiration in all of these pursuits.


Courtesy of Kerry Drake, Payette

Courtesy of Kerry Drake, Payette

We talked about it for some time, concerned about the career and life logistics (breaking the lease, taking a leave of absence from employment, potential health issues and other physical dangers, etc.).  However we realized this was a rare opportunity to do something big and bold.
— Kerry Drake

4. What are 3 of your most influential projects and Why?

During my career I have had the opportunity to work on a wide spectrum of education facilities, from simple rural schools in Central America, to state-of-the-art research facilities in Europe and the US.  One of my early projects was a special education high school in California; a mini-campus within the setting of a traditional high school. Students could take classes at either campus per their needs and abilities.  More recently I have worked on a ground-up research university in Moscow, designing labs for cutting-edge research in optics, materials, computing, and bio sciences.

In the fall of 2016, my partner and I were offered the opportunity to serve as fellows with Engineers without Borders in rural Guatemala.  We talked about it for some time, concerned about the career and life logistics (breaking the lease, taking a leave of absence from employment, potential health issues and other physical dangers, etc.).  However we realized this was a rare opportunity to do something big and bold.

So we took the leap and broke our lease, put everything in storage, and spent six months in the highlands of Guatemala.  I managed the construction of a high school, the first public high school in their town. My partner was working on hydroelectric dam renovation nearby, so we lived together in a small house, and we really got to know a lot of the local workers there.  Work was conducted in completely Spanish, so the Spanish I had studied in school came in handy (f a little rusty). It is truly a humbling experience when people would approach you in tears because they were so happy that you are there building a school for them.

Courtesy of Kerry Drake, Payette

Courtesy of Kerry Drake, Payette


5. What is the greatest challenge/difficulty that you have had to overcome in your professional career?

Everyone has fears related to their careers: concerns about making mistakes, worrying about finding the right path, sacrificing personal health or family time, trying to balance work and life, and so on. About two years ago, as part of the Build Yourself Workshop, I identified a list of 16 goals and dreams that I would like to achieve if I wasn’t afraid.  The list included career goal and personal goals, and while important to me, I didn’t specifically keep track of them.

I returned to this list after returning from Guatemala, and to my surprise, I had accomplished four of the goals (negotiating salary, working for an NGO, making use of Spanish, and purchasing a house)!  The single action of volunteering in Guatemala allowed me to accomplish multiple life goals.

6. What do you believe has been one of your greatest accomplishments to date? Why?  

The Guatemala experience is the culmination of many paths in my life.  Learning the architectural trade, studying Spanish, traveling to many countries, and following my desire to be part of socially transformative projects.


7. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 24 year-old self?

Don’t wait for someone to hand you an opportunity.  Go out there and get it. As I mentioned earlier, last year I attended the Build Yourself workshop.  There we discussed the “Tiara Syndrome” where people, particularly women, tend to wait for rewards or recognition to be bestowed upon them, rather than taking the initiative to go and get what they want.

As my career has grown over the years, I have tended to wait for promotions and raises, rather than ask for them.  I am sure many women can identify. When I finally made an attempt at increasing salary, it was not successful. This is the kind of confidence setback that made the Guatemala decision more concerning; would volunteering put my career on hold, or worse would it put it a step backward?  But I found the opposite to be true. In Guatemala, I took on a great deal of responsibility, and this gave a new sense of confidence. When I came back, I saw myself in a new way, and my coworkers did too. That new sense of potential, combined with getting my license, helped me successfully negotiate for salary when I asked again.

It can seem paradoxical that growing in your career might mean taking six months ‘off’ in another part of the world, but going out there and getting it doesn’t just mean going from step to step in a linear way, it means doing it in the ways that are right for you.


8. What is the best advice that you ever received and how does that apply today?

In a figure drawing class many years ago, we practiced speed drawing at a variety of intervals, from 30 seconds to 15 minutes or more.  Sometimes students would get hesitate on how to begin when the figure poses changed. The instructor simply said, “Trust Yourself,” meaning don’t get hung up worrying or overthinking, just dive right in and go.  If you make a mistake or don’t like the results, toss it aside and keep moving forward. This is akin to the fear exercise I mentioned before. If you let fear or doubt take over, you will never move forward.


9. How do you see Architecture changing in the next 10-20 years? What would your role be in the future?

The world is increasingly complex and diverse; we as architects must continue to broaden our umbrella of skills in order to stay current and competitive.  Specialty groups that focus on research, sustainability, fabrication, and data are growing within firms. As a planner, I see the trends in big data and visualization particularly relevant.  I am excited to pursue projects that expand my knowledge and leadership in this area, collaborating with and learning from others in the office and in the field.


10. We have heard that while the general public respects Architects, they have little knowledge about what we do. Do you have any thoughts about how we can bridge the gap?

While in Guatemala, I met an American engineer who was building a pedestrian bridge.  When he discovered that I was an architect working on an EWB project, he seemed a bit puzzled, then said, “Well maybe you can help us take a look at the aesthetics of the bridge.”  I smiled and told him about the work I was doing on the school in town, which included buying materials, designing details, coordinating workers, meeting with town officials, and painting lots of window trim.  Not to mention in Spanish. He was delighted to learn how many skills architects can offer.

Yes, architecture is about design and aesthetics.  But is also connects to many other fields and draws from many other skills.   Architecture crosses many boundaries, and we should not be afraid to make this known.


Read more about the Details for Kerry Drake's experiences building in Guatemala in the Payette Blog.


In March 2018, Mia Scharpie will be running a free online session on how ask for what you want at work, and negotiate with more confidence. Find out more and RSVP here for the free session.




#EQIASurvey2018 - Share your Voices, Values, and Vision.


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February 12 marks the start of the third national Equity in Architecture Survey. We are very excited to launch and ask for your patience as our distribution partners prepare the invitation letters with personalized links for participants.


You may receive similar email invitations from one or more of our distribution partners to take the survey based on your professional memberships, firm participation, or alumni affiliations. If you choose to participate, we ask that you only do so once. Thank you for your understanding about the potential for multiple notifications as we seek to reach the broadest group while maintaining the survey’s statistical validity.

The survey will remain open for five-weeks starting February 12th and ending March 16th. On average, the online survey should take 20-25 minutes to complete. Please be assured that all responses will be kept confidential.  The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) will serve as our research partner for the project and preserve data integrity. The survey findings will be first revealed at Equity by Design’s fifth Symposium on November 3, 2018 in San Francisco.


  • Please do not forward or share your link to the survey with others.
  • Please do not share the link to the survey on social media.


  • Please support "take the survey" Reminders on social media by shares, likes, retweets, etc.
  • Please talk about the survey with your colleagues and co-workers.
  • Sign up to be a FIRM Survey Distribution Partner
  • Sign up to be an AIA Component Distribution Partner



Join Us to Make History...

Equity in Architecture Survey 2018

February 12  -  March 16, 2018

To commemorate our five year anniversary since the founding of Equity by Design, we will conduct our third national survey in hopes of reaching 10,000+ respondents. Building upon lessons learned in 2014 and 2016, the survey will raise the goal to reach respondents from architectural graduates and professionals across the nation. The survey is being designed by the Equity by Design/ACSA Research Team in collaboration with a national group of volunteers in the industry to develop survey goals. We will be capturing career experiences of architectural school graduates from accredited programs (regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, license status or practice status.)

Career Dynamics and Pinch Points

Career Dynamics and Pinch Points

Your participation will help generate the most comprehensive national dataset detailing current positions and career experiences of architecture school graduates. This research will examine the differential experiences of professionals based on gender, as well as race and ethnicity, and will shed light on equitable practices that foster sustainable, meaningful and satisfying careers in architecture for all practitioners. More information on the current survey is attached. For previous survey findings and analysis, including a narrated Video of the 2016 Key Findings, please visit

On average, the survey should take 20-25 minutes to complete. ACSA is serving again as the research partner for the project, completing survey analysis from April to August in 2018. The survey findings will be first revealed at Equity by Design's fifth Symposium on November 3, 2018, in San Francisco.