Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

A diverse workforce is imperative for a just economy. Design can help propel that justice. The more representational our firm’s workforce is, the more able we are to help our communities design informed, empathetic and equitable solutions.

Our commitment

We are unrelenting in our commitment to dismantling the systems that perpetuate inequity. We celebrate humanity’s beautiful differences and are committed to ensuring our practice is equitable for all and representative of the diverse communities we serve.

Our framework

We are actively investing in programs and initiatives that foster equity and inclusion within our firm, break down barriers for entry into the profession, and provide support to marginalized communities in the cities where we live and work. These efforts are guided by our firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion framework, which focuses on five key areas:

  • Leadership Accountability — Providing culturally competent, empathetic, inclusive leaders who are committed and accountable for leading bold change.
  • Inclusive Systems — Implementing organizational systems, policies and practices that address bias and prohibit discrimination of any kind.
  • External Relationships — Building long-lasting relationships with key external organizations and partners who share our commitments and will continually push our firm and industry forward.
  • Diverse Talent — Recruiting, developing, retaining and celebrating our diverse workforce.
  • Respectful Climate — Providing a welcoming, inclusive, respectful and supportive work environment for people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Our actions

Our journey to achieving the goals we’ve set for these areas will take time, but we’re proud of the progress we’re making each day. Here’s a look at some of our recent actions:

  • We’re one of 10 firms in the National Organization of Minority Architects’ (NOMA) President’s Circle. We have increased our monetary donations to NOMA and welcomed three NOMA Foundation Fellows to our firm in 2020; NOMA Fellows are students who participate in a 12-week internship.
  • We’re hiring a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to guide our firm’s ongoing efforts in creating and implementing firm-wide, client-wide, and community-based DEI initiatives.
  • Across our offices, we’re actively engaged with organizations focused on improving opportunities for marginalized youth, such as Ace Mentorship, Uncommon Schools, the Christo Rey Partnership/Urban Alliance Partnership, Architecture + Education and We Care, to name a few.
  • We launched firmwide listening sessions focused on advancing conversations about equity and inclusion. Topics range from racial and gender equity to the LGBTQ community and how our firm can become a better partner to organizations working to provide opportunities for marginalized communities.
  • We created a Diversity + Inclusion Council that works closely with firm leadership as a trusted advisor and resource to help accelerate results.
  • We’ve introduced employee resource groups to provide platforms for our diverse communities to network with each other, celebrate their identities and experiences, and create enhanced visibility within our firm.

  • We actively recruit at historically black colleges and universities and have strengthened our commitment to getting involved not only at career fairs, but through mentorship, internships and teaching.
  • We provide annual conference scholarships for emerging leaders to attend conferences focused on equity in the profession.
  • We sponsor the bi-annual Equity by Design Survey, which examines the current state of equity in the architecture profession, and the AIA’s Women’s Leadership Summit, a two-day event focused on leadership and design.
  • Through Open Hand Studio, our incubator for public interest design, we provide probono and reduced-fee design services to community organizations who would otherwise lack access to them.
  • We offer ongoing events and learning opportunities to further our employees’ understanding of  diversity, equity and inclusion. We hosted a lecture with Despina Stratigakos, author of “Where Are the Women Architects?,” and recently held a virtual forum with Bruce Mau, author of “Massive Change 24.”

If you’re interested in learning more about diversity, equity and inclusion at CannonDesign, reach out to diversity@cannondesign.com

Recent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion News: