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Diversity and Inclusion > 2009 AIA Diversity Plenary
2009 AIA Diversity Plenary

Value: The Difference – A Toolkit for Firms

Meeting Summary
Meeting Highlights

Meeting Materials


Meeting Summary
In St. Louis, Missouri, April 14-16, 2008, the AIA convened its first diversity plenary meeting, bringing together individuals representing architecture, other professions, business, academia, associations, and AIA components to identify the best practices that must be implemented by the AIA and its partners in order to move the profession towards a more diverse and inclusive future. The outcome of the plenary, a document called the Gateway Commitment, led to the development of a multi-year action plan that will address these issues.

This action plan included a mandate to create a diversity toolkit designed to engage firms on the issue of diversity and inclusion. To help reach this goal, the AIA held its second diversity plenary. Value: The Difference – a Toolkit for Firms, on Tuesday, April 28, in San Francisco. This plenary brought together AIA Board members, collateral organizations, related organizations, firm representatives, interns, and students to identify tools, resources and approaches that can be utilized to increase diversity and inclusion within architecture firms.

The largest share of attendees at the plenary (38%) represented architecture firms, while nearly one fifth represented collateral/related organizations, and 10% were with educational programs. AIA members made up 80% of the attendees.

Meeting Highlights

The facilitator for the meeting was Amri Johnson of Cook Ross. The plenary keynote speaker was Douglas Freeman, CEO of Virtcom Consulting and Founder of the World Diversity Leadership Summit. Freeman spoke eloquently about the business case for diversity, specifically focused on the changing workforce, creating inclusive environments, and the buying power of ethnic minorities.

The plenary also included presenters from the Boston Architectural College, Devrouax and Purnell Architects, EHDD Architecture, Gensler, HDR, HOK, PBS&J, Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, Perkins+Will, Rosser International, Turner Associates Architects and Planners, Inc., and the University of Cincinnati School of Architecture and Interior Design.

The final outcome of this meeting will be a diversity toolkit for firms – an online resource designed to assist firms in a variety of topic areas. Topic areas addressed at the meeting include: diversity management, HR policy, pipeline development, recruitment into architecture schools and the profession, succession planning, and women within the profession.

Value: The Difference – a Toolkit for Firms, will be available in September.

You can read more about this meeting in the May 15th edition of AIArchitect.

Meeting Materials

Invited Participants


Speaker Biographies

Board and Leadership

Board Diversification Strategy: Realizing Competitive Advantage and Shareowner Value
– Virtcom Consulting
Creating Organizational Culture Change
, by Gwendolyn K. Crider – 2008 CEO Diversity Leadership
Diversity Pulse Check
– Basic Diversity
Diversity Requires Responsibility and Corporate Culture Change
, by Robert L. Nardelli – 2008 CEO Diversity Leadership
Strategies for Leadership: A Diversity and Cultural Proficiency Assessment Tool for Leaders
– American Hospital Association
The View from the Front Lines
– 2008 CEO Diversity Leadership

Generational Diversity

Quick Takes: Older Workers
– Catalyst


2009 Corporate Equality Index
– Human Rights Campaign
Building LGBT-Inclusive Workplaces: Engaging Organizations and Individuals in Change
– Catalyst
Quick Take: Gender Identity Issues in the Workplace
– Catalyst
Quick Take: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Workplace Issues
– Catalyst
The State of the Workplace for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans 2007-2008
– Human Rights Campaign

Varied Abilities

Quick Takes: Disabilities
– Catalyst
Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact
– Job Accommodation Network (JAN)


The Global Gender Gap Report 2008
– World Economic Forum
Quick Takes: African-American Women
– Catalyst
Quick Takes: Asian-American Women
– Catalyst
Quick Takes: Women in Management, Global Comparison
– Catalyst
Quick Takes: Women in Their 20s and 30s
– Catalyst
Women in US Construction
– Catalyst

The Workplace

Employee Tenure in 2008
– United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers: First Quarter 2009
– United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
Quick Takes: Working Parents
– Catalyst
Quick Takes: Work-Life: Prevalence, Utilization, and Benefits
– Catalyst
Retaining Talent: A Benchmarking Study (Executive Summary)




Human Rights Campaign

Institute for Human Centered Design

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

World Economic Forum

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