AIA Springfield 2019 Equity Survey

Submitted by 948aa9bb-23b9-… on Fri, 02/19/2021 - 22:55
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EQUITY IN DESIGN SURVEY INFOGRAPHICS AND DIVERSITY & RECRUITMENT PANEL DISCUSSION LISTEN... Two-years ago I sat in my first annual AIA board retreat where an idea to bring greater equity and diversity to our local AIA chapter began to be formulated. By the end of the retreat we had formed the Diversity and Recruitment committee and made a list of potential members who could make the committee impactful and inspirational. Within a week, I had what would be one of the most amazing groups of people I have ever worked with - they keep me honest, they challenge me, they inspire me, and they truly know how to make change, not only for AIA Springfield, but for the greater community. If it weren't for Kuleya Bruce, Emily Whitty, Ashton Shepard, Kirsten Whitehead, Nicole Shaul, Kayla Thomas, Angela Shyaka and Karen Spence, I'm certain this committee wouldn't have become the amazing voice of the AIA that it is today. We began with a mission, "to bring greater awareness, connectivity, and dialog among AIA members of all ages, backgrounds, genders, races, and ethnicities." Before we could pursue this mission, however, we had to gather basic information about the component through means of a survey. After hashing out the items that needed to be included in the survey for nearly a year, we issued it to the component in October of 2019. The survey included five categories: perspective on architecture, individual profile, professional information, work environment, and AIA Springfield. Overall, the survey indicated that most people feel hopeful about their profession, which is great news, but there were some obvious areas for improvement. One was the makeup of the component. We have very little diversity in regards to race, ethnicity, or age. The other concerning factor was that nearly 50-percent of those who filled out the survey had thought about leaving the profession. This appeared to be primarily due to long working hours. So I'd like to say to those who are reading this or who attended the panel discussion, how can we do better? As John Oke-Thomas said as we ended the panel, "listen." How can we all listen to one another with compassion and understanding in order to make a stronger AIA? I am very thankful for our panelists, Michael Kennedy Jr., John Oke-Thomas, Jim Lohmeyer, Emily Whitty, and Layne Hunton. Their amazing insights are outlined in this publication and have been helpful in guiding our committee on how to move forward from here. At our next committee meeting on November 24, we will be discussing ways to move forward after hearing the wonderful insights from our panelists. If anyone is interested in joining our committee or offering insights, please email me at awiley@nformarc.com. Thanks, -Amy
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