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AIA Chicago Equity Roundtable

AIA Chicago Equity Roundtable Article

By Natalie Hicks

In March of 2019, the AIA Chicago Equity Roundtable hosted an open meeting to discuss its goals and strategies with firm owners, leaders, and members. The Equity Roundtable was formed in response to the January 2017 AIA National publication titled Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Commission Executive Summary. Of the 11 priority recommendations for action in the summary, the AIA Chicago Roundtable chose to focus on four that the local chapter has not yet addressed.

The first recommendation is to create guidelines for equitable, diverse, and inclusive practice. Referencing the AIA National Guides for Equitable Practice, the local Roundtable is expanding on this by profiling local firms on important topics, connecting with schools and faculty to instill positive workplace culture practices, establishing guidelines for equal work value and providing forums for discussion, and learning what issues and problem-solving approaches are occurring in other professions and industries.

The second and related recommendation is to develop a self-assessment tool for firms to measure a firm’s engagement with EDI principles. This tool will focus on the pinch points in architecture and measure EDI at various levels in an architectural career path, benefits and policies, and firm culture.

The third recommendation is to require EDI data as part of AIA award submissions. This information is requested for other group awards, and the Roundtable is looking into how it can be requested by the AIA, especially for notable awards such as AIA Chicago Firm of the Year.

The final recommendation pursued by the Roundtable is to ensure that AIA publications reflect EDI. They will work with the AIA Chapter Communications team to generate ideas for features and create metrics to determine the EDI makeup of firms highlighted in publications.

The Roundtable will host a series of open meetings and presentations to share its ideas and goals with Chapter members to gain feedback and brainstorm. Look for more information coming from them soon!

AIA Chicago Roundtable Members: Patricia Saldaña Natke, FAIA, Jennifer Park, AIA; Bradley Fritz, AIA; Khatija Hashmy, AIA; Natalie Hicks, AIA; David Mulder, AIA; Emilio Padilla, AIA
AIA Chicago Roundtable Advisors: Carol Ross Barney, FAIA; Phillip C Johnson, FAIA; Brian Lee, FAIA; Edward Torrez, AIA
AIA Chicago Roundtable Liaisons: Catherin Baker, AIA; Walter D Street III, AIA