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On May 28 at the District Architecture Center in Washington, DC the American Institute of Architect’s LA.IDEA (Latin American Interior Designers, Engineers, and Architects) and the Emerging Architects Committee hosted a networking event and panel discussion on the topic of Understanding Unconscious Bias. Panelists discussed how all of us have an inherent bias of one form or another: “If you have a brain, you have a bias,” according to World Bank Group’s Monica Oldham. The speakers, who included Gensler’s Mariela Buendia-Corrochano, AIA’s Del Ruff and MMD’s Michael Marshall were asked how they support inclusive practices and how to best ensure diverse voices are represented on teams and projects. All panelists agreed with Ms. Buendia-Corrochano that the most innovative teams are by far the most diverse. In her work, she engages in regional initiatives that foster cross-discipline design synergy in order to broaden Gensler’s design dialogue. Michael Marshall added that his firm represents a broad range of cultures, an intentional practice that ensures the freshest design thinking. All panelists agreed that the best approach to fostering a more inclusive workplace is one of patience and education. Oftentimes people need to be made aware of practices that have been in place for years that may impede progress in this regard. The more people are invited into the conversation, with an open dialogue free of judgment, the better off we all will be, and we all can begin by examining our own behavior and preconceived notions. Added Ms. Oldham, “To walk in someone else’s shoes, first you have to take off your own.”
Panelists for the event included:
To learn more about the event, click here.