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Diversity and Inclusion > 2013 Diversity Council Convention Events > Honoring Multicultural Fellows and Diversity Award Honorees: Diversity Council Closing Reception and After-Party

Learn and Network With Us at Convention!
June 20-22, 2013
Denver, CO

EV407 Honoring Multicultural Fellows and Diversity Award Honorees: Diversity Council Closing Reception and After-Party

Saturday, June 22, 2013
5:00 - 11:00 PM
Kevin Taylor’s at the Opera House
Chambers Grant Salon
950 13th Street

MC: Stephonie Brackett, Assoc. AIA. Panelists: Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA; Charmalee Gunaratne, Assoc. AIA; Ken Rhyne, Allied AIA, AICAE. Moderator: Antoine Bryant, NOMA.

Spend the evening with your peers, friends, and allied professionals as we celebrate diversity in architecture in all of its forms—people, culture, practice, and more.

Celebrate the achievements of multicultural members recently inducted into the AIA College of Fellows as well as the 2013 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award recipient Harvey Gantt, FAIA, and 2013 AIA Diversity Recognition Program recipients AIA Buffalo/WNY Architecture + Education Program and NOMA Louisiana Project Pipeline.

Stay for our panel discussion “The Intersect of Architecture and Social Justice,” featuring Harvey Gantt, FAIA; Ken Rhyne, AIA; and Charmalee Gunaratne, AIA. Fifty years after America’s March on Washington. Forty-five years after Whitney M. Young Jr. challenged the profession to become more diverse. Five years after AIA’s first African-American President. We’ll discuss the intersect of social justice and architecture with award-winning architects and community change agents who are leading socially through the design process.

Then network, mingle, and dance the night away as you close out the evening and your stay in Denver at our DJ-led after-party.

Your ticket price includes hors d’oeuvres and one drink ticket. All Fellows and convention attendees, including emerging professionals and architecture students, are encouraged to attend.

How To Register:
Attending Convention? Please register for this event by logging into the 2013 AIA National Convention web site.

Not attending convention? Onsite registration is available. RSVP at, by June 12. Payment will be collected onsite.

Stephonie Brackett, Assoc. AIA – MC

Stephonie-Evett Brackett is currently the Architectural Concepts Manager at CIDology. Diversity in Architecture and mentorship are two areas extreme importance to Stephonie. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture from California College of Arts. She became one of the founding members of the NOMAS chapter at CCA, serving as VP 2006-07 and president 2008. She also served as a board member of AIACC for two consecutive terms, first as Student Director 2008-09, and finally as Associate Director 2010-11, where she also served on the board of the Academy of Emerging professionals and organized local conferences to help foster professional development & share best practices with students and Associate members. Serving as a member of the Long Range Planning Committee, she was a dedicated advocate for the emerging professional.

Stephonie furthered her commitment to the profession by also serving at the National level as a member of the AIA Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She was chairperson for the Diversity and Inclusion Conference held in New Orleans, 2011. She was also an active member of the Pipeline Development committee. Traveling to Southern University as part of the B.E.E.P. program, she helped to mentor architectural & business students.

Stephonie is a passionate advocate for professional development & engagement in community who has never forgotten that mentorship is key. With continued diligence & help from her mentors, she aspires to attain a place amongst the .09%.

Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA – Panelist

Harvey Gantt is a founding partner of Gantt Huberman Architects. He became a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects in 1986, and has served on the boards of numerous committees to advance the profession, including the NC Board of Architecture, NAAB Accreditation Teams and the National Organization of Minority Architects.

Harvey’s background as an architect, city planner, and former mayor of Charlotte, has allowed him a unique perspective on how good urban design can create memorable places and buildings at the center of our cities. He has also spent considerable time working on master plans for colleges and universities that blend the many campus land uses into a cohesive environment for learning and creativity. His project experience ranges from small renovations to major downtown developments.

In addition to his professional career, Harvey has served on the boards of numerous business and civic organizations, including past chair of the National Capital Planning Commission, the Foundation for the Carolinas, and the Charlotte Center City Partners.

Charmalee Gunaratne, Assoc. AIA – Panelist

Charmalee is the President and Co-Founder of Eco Abet, a non-profit design organization based in Kansas City. Eco Abet’s mission is to act as a catalyst to meet the design needs of the underserved, primarily in the Kansas City metropolitan area, by serving as a connector and conduit between the design community and other nonprofit organizations.

Passion for affordable sustainable and socially responsible architecture has been the focus of her work. After finishing her Master in Architecture from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, she got the opportunity in designing a Children’s Resource Center for the children living in the war zone funded by UNICEF during the cease fire period 2001-2002 in war battered zone Kilinochchi, opened her journey to this path.

Her notable achievement is developing “Reducing Rainwater Harvesting Systems cost for Poorest of the Poor Globally” with University of Warwick, Coventry, UK in 2001. The successful prototypes were later implemented in rural Sri Lanka, Uganda and Ethiopia. Funded by Standerford Scholarship, she expanded her knowledge to develop technologies for displaced people at “Environment Seminar & Pallet Workshop” at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana.

Charmalee also severed as the director of the Women in Design Kansas City 2009. She initiated the Women In Design Scholarship Fund and Women Principals Group in Kansas City while serving as the director. Charmalee continues to serve in the Advisory Group of the organization.

A mother and a wife, Charmalee is also an artist and sculptor. She tries to capture the emotions and lives of people through her work has been exhibited at numerous events.

Ken Rhyne, Allied AIA, AICAE – Panelist

Urban Design Group’s newest shareholder, Ken has over 34 years of experience in conceptual architectural and interior design projects. His areas of expertise include museums, libraries, resorts, casinos, cultural centers and corporate offices. Ken’s award-winning projects include the National Museum of the American Indian, Cultural Resources Center for the Smithsonian Institution and the Kampen Eagle Wing Center in Lafayette, Indiana.

Ken is nationally recognized through his published works, lectures and notable projects. This national exposure led to his selection as a spokesperson for Dupont’s Antron Nylon Division in 2001. He has also been recognized as the Minority Entrepreneur of the Year, by the Atlanta Minority Business Development Center. Ken is often asked to speak on the topics of Sustainable Design and Green Architecture. This passion for sustainable architecture principles translates into his work.

A Tuscarora Indian, Ken is a member of the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers. Ken’s influence also extends into the music world. An accomplished blues singer and harmonica player, the Ken Rhyne Band was a Nammy (Native American Music Awards) nominee for Best Blues Album of the Year. Ken is a member of the Pfeiffer University Baseball Hall of Fame and was a minor league player for the Washington Senators and Texas Rangers.

Antoine Bryant, NOMA – Moderator

Antoine Bryant, NOMA, SEED, is a design and development professional with over 15 years of experience in the design, development, engagement and empowerment of underserved communities across the United States.

As Principal of The Bryant Design Group, Antoine has focused his efforts on effective and inclusive processes of design and development. As such, a key building block in said development is the empowerment of the local populace, which has led his efforts to engage communities. He has worked in South Dallas and Fair Park with Brent Brown and the noted building communities Workshop (bc WORKSHOP); South Side Day Nursery in St. Louis, MO; Neighborhood Recovery CDC in Houston’s Third Ward; the Community Design Research Center of the University of Houston; and the Rice Building Workshop, among many others.


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