Equity by Design

Future Vision is a one-day symposium that builds upon past AIA Portland equity events. The goal of Future Vision is to discuss equity, its importance relative to the health of the industry, and to provide exposure to the tools necessary to promote equity within the profession. 

Call for Presentations:

May 18th – Future Vision : Voices in the Workplace

Full day equity symposium – registration required

Location – TBD

Speaking opportunities available, for further info contact Adrienne Morris at adriennem@aiaportland.org
Sponsor this event! Contact Colleen Bastendorff at colleenb@aiaportland.org

This year’s theme focuses on workplace culture; the elements that create the personality of a company. Elaborating on the idea of office culture will be individual speakers, panelists, educators and professionals sharing their expertise and actionable strategies.

The event’s title, Voices in the Workplace, acknowledges that a company’s culture is a reflection of its members. Everyone brings with them personal experiences, values and biases that intrinsically shapes a firm’s daily efforts. As companies work towards reflecting the realities of a changing world and a global client base, understanding the dynamics of a healthy workplace culture is paramount to success.


Future Vision 2017, The Value Proposition for Equity, held this past May at the EcoTrust Building attracted over 85 professionals interested in investigating the topic of equity’s impact on a company’s bottom line.    Here are a few comments from past attendees about what they most liked about Future Vision 2017:

  • I liked the call to action. I felt like we all left with a full toolbox of ways to implement equity strategies in our own firms.
  • I’m very glad to see the issue of inequity presented through a more intersectional lens. The talk about implicit bias was valuable, as was having insight from professionals in other industries.
  • Good energy, relevant information and timely material.
  • An inspiring event with a motivating atmosphere
  • Loved it! An annual check-in on where we are as an industry and to hear more and more success stories.
  • Overall the event was worthwhile and I had some concrete take-aways. As one of the very few men at the event, I was a bit disappointed there weren’t more. It is important that more males in the profession engage with this subject.


Call for presenters!

Be part of Future Vision 2018 and include your voice in our discussion all about workplace culture.

There are several formats you can select from: individual speaker, panelist or case study presentation.

You can select to do a team presentation or even submit an idea for a workshop style presentation. All you need to submit is a rough idea and the Future Vision planning team can help you finesse and formalize your idea.

Deadline to submit extended to 10PM Saturday, March 3


The following is a list of suggestions for presentation topics, but feel free to submit on anything you feel is relevant to the event topic of voices in the workplace. Plus, presenters get free admission to the full day symposium and the end of day networking reception!

Experiences with utilizing Lean management to empower staff (lessons learned)
Experiences with attaining a JUST label (lessons learned)
Strategies towards attracting and retaining good talent
Experiences with office culture and finding a good fit
The business case for diversity, advocating for women and under-represented groups
Experiences with instigating new company benefits, like paid-family leave
The issue surrounding implicit bias, especially in the hiring process & leadership tracks
Challenges surrounding the gender gap and the pay gap
Transparent management techniques, i.e. open pay scales
Unionizing the profession of architecture
The benefits of top down or bottom up (grassroots) management

Navigating the workplace
Does your office illustrate a clear path to leadership, how can you progress
Working with others of different generations, the issue of ageism
Experiences of being discriminated and/or harassed
Workplace boundaries, appropriate behaviour and bystander training
Organizing and advocating towards progressive or innovative efforts within a larger firm
Engaging the community, pro-bono work and educating about the implicit value of design
Tools towards collaboration and inclusion throughout the design process
How do firms assess their success, tools towards accountability
Supporting licensure

Personal & professional development
Finding your voice and mission within the profession
Understanding personal core values & how they align with your company
Experiences cultivating work + life balance
Experiences with mentoring and advocacy
When to move on, what are the signs and the strategies
Changing careers, charting a new path
The importance of personal self-care and managing stress


Visit here for details & photos from the 2017 event: http://aiaportland.org/futurevision


Equity is for everyone–architects, design collaborators, clients, and our communities. Often confused with equality, equity entails recognizing difference and providing fair and just access to opportunities rather than the same prospects for all.  Equity also speaks to a collective ownership, vested interest and knowledge of the architecture community’s worth. Equitable practice promotes the recruitment and retention of the most diverse talent while building stronger, more successful, and more sustainable design practices. Equity in our profession allows us to better represent the people we are meant to serve. Not prioritizing equity within the profession, from an individual to an organizational level, effectively limits innovation and deprives the bottom line.  


Equity by Design is a call to action for both women and men to realize the goal of equitable practice, advance architecture, sustain the profession and communicate the value of design to society.

Resources discussed at the 2015 Equity by Design symposium:

Designing for Diversity: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Architectural Profession
by Kathryn H. Anthony

Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want
by Linda Babcock, Sara Laschever

Web Resources:
The Missing 32 Percent Project/Equity by Design

Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture


Resolution 15-1: Equity in Architecture

List of WLS Resources

WLS Conference Video Summary

RIBA – Role Models program

2003 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada: ‘Consultation & Roundtables on Women in Architecture in Canada
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Recommendations include: celebrating women’s achievements, publishing salary grids, improving Institute flexibility to recognize part-time employment and parental leave and expanding the definition of ‘architect’ to those in non-traditional roles.

The Career Progression of Men in Architecture
This Australian Institute of Architects report is a response to Paula Whitman’s Going Places report. Many of the findings regarding men’s attitudes to workplace and promotion are similar to Going Places.

2005 Going Places: The Career Progression of Women in Architecture
The result of a comprehensive survey of women in Australian architecture, by Paula Whitman including a set of recommendations.

2007 Gathering and Reviewing Data on Diversity within the Construction Professions
A report by Ann de Graft-Johnson, Rachel Sara, Fiona Gleed and Nada Brkljac, commissioned by the the Diversity Panel of the UK Construction Industry Council. Includes an extensive bibliography.

2010 Practice and Gender in Architecture: A survey of New Zealand Architecture Graduates 1987–2008
A report by Professor Errol Haarhoff looking at the progression of New Zealand women architecture graduates into practice.