2022 Culture Change in Practice: A Leadership Cohort

AIA Seattle, in close collaboration with NOMA Northwest and Planning in Color, is proud to announce its second edition of the Culture Change in Practice program.

This four-part, peer-based learning program was designed by a team of architects and allied professionals to specifically provide architecture and allied firms the tools and community to meet the explicit goals and metrics laid out in NOMA NW’s Call-to-Action. It is the second edition of the Culture Change in Practice program. 

The architectural profession is still predominantly white and predominantly male. Of the AIA Seattle’s over 2,600 members, just 27 are Black or African American, and 3 are Indigenous American, while only 32% are women or nonbinary according to AIA members’ self-reported data. Creating culture change within architecture firms is a critical step to creating a more diverse and equitable profession. And through this professional change, AIA Seattle hopes to influence broader cultural change, due to the unique role of architects in crafting our physical environment. 

This program builds off AIA Seattle’s Intercultural Leadership Program and Conversations Toward A More Equitable Practice series in 2019, and is part of our Racial Justice Commitments. It serves as part of an ongoing response to racist violence, inequitable firm culture, and a segregated built environment, with a lens on architecture’s specific role in creating equity both within the profession and in the projects we carry out. It is created in partnership with NOMA NW, and Planning in Color. 


We invite a dedicated cohort of 40 firm leaders who have committed to, or are considering, the NOMA NW Call-to-Action Pledge. This peer-to-peer learning cohort, facilitated by Dr. Anu Taranath, will support firms’ ability to live up to the goals of the pledge and equip leaders to catalyze change outward in their own firms. 

  • (40) Firm Leaders: lead firms, lead practice groups, lead teams, are direct supervisors, make key decisions and have significant influence and power in shaping the culture and staffing of the firm or projects i.e Principals, Partners, Owners – with the intent of facilitating broader impact within their firms and industry 

Space is limited to 40 total registrants. Firms are encouraged to sign up to two (2) participants for this cohort. 

In response to requests from BIPOC participants in our first cohort, we are also asking participants to opt-in at registration to the White Male, White Female/nonbinary, or BIPOC affinity group. Each of these three groups will have one, shorter lunchtime gathering at a time TBC, convened by our facilitator to provide safe(r) space for discussions, alongside the four, cohort-wide learning sessions. 


PLEASE NOTE: Each registration confirms a spot for one individual based on the size of their firm. Up to two (2) individuals per firm may participate in the program. Cost includes continuing education credit (12 AIA LU HSW).

$500 (per person)  1-7 Employees (firm size)
$1000 (per person)  8-49 Employees (firm size)
$1500 (per person)  50+ Employees (firm size)
$1500 (per person)  CAP Sponsors

Registration has closed

In order to implement feedback from past cohort members and our planning team, and to allow time for ongoing conversations with prospective registrants, we have delayed the March session of the Culture Change in Practice cohort, and extended the registration deadline to Monday, May 16. A new session date has been added on Monday, December 5; all other dates remain the same. 

Registration includes all four courses in the series (12 AIA LU HSW). Individual course registration is not available. Participants must attend all courses in order to receive continuing education credit or a certificate of completion. All registration questions can be directed to Andrea Aguilera 

In recognition that this fee may present a hardship to some firms who are nevertheless committed to investing in the work, limited reduced rate options are available on a first come, first serve basis (priority given to AIA members). Please submit the Scholarship / Reduced Rate Request Form via email by Monday, May 9, 5:00pm PT.   

While we are striving to prevent or minimize the labor that BIPOC firm leaders are often asked to carry out in equity-related conversations, we recognize that our world’s power dynamics may unintentionally arise in this space. With that in mind, we encourage BIPOC and other marginalized participants to submit a Scholarship/Reduced Rate Request Form with their participation.  


Series registrants commit to participate in all four courses, understanding that the content will be designed sequentially for cohort-based learning. Program dates subject to change with notice to all registrants.

Session 1 | Monday, March 28, May, 23*, 9:00am-12:00pm PT 

*We have delayed the March session of the Culture Change in Practice cohort, to occur Monday, May 23.

Session 2 | Monday, August 29, 9:00am-12:00pm PT 

Session 3 | Monday, October 3, Friday, October 7, 9:00am-12:00pm PT

Session 4 | Monday, December 5, Friday, December 2, 9:00am-12:00pm PT

Click here for attendee resources

As noted above, participants who opt-in to the affinity groups will be invited to one, additional lunchtime gathering at three respective dates, to be confirmed. 

Guiding questions and readings will be sent to participants prior to, and following, each session. 


Dr. Anu Taranath, Dr. Anu Consulting: dialogues for justice | Dr. Anu Taranath brings both passion and expertise to her work as a speaker, facilitator, author and educator. A University of Washington professor for the past 20 years, she teaches about race, gender, equity, and global literatures. As a DEI and racial equity consultant, she offers coaching, training, facilitation and other types of partnerships. Her book Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World was named a Finalist for four book awards including the Washington State Book Award. Included in Fodor’s Travel’s “13 Books to Inspire Your Travels” and Oprah Magazine’s “Best 26 Travel Books of All Times,” Dr. Anu and her book have been profiled in YES!, AFAR, Bitch, Mindful and National Geographic magazines. Please visit www.anutaranath.com for more on Dr. Anu and her work.


  • Assess design practices and community/firm integration, to understand how current firm management and top-down design practices are affecting the health and wellbeing of those who occupy the buildings architects design.
  • Share best practices around mentorship, clear metrics, and paths-to-leadership for BIPOC and other historically marginalized people which are not typically seen in leadership positions in architecture.
  • Define and more intentionally cultivate a safe/safer space for BIPOC staff and occupants, and widen the understanding of “user/client” in design practice. Through this, attendees will recognize and respond to environmental racism and White supremacist design principles to produce healthier buildings.
  • Develop skills and language to weave DEI and anti-racism into specific project work – to better equip participants to assess the diverse social, physical, and emotional needs of clients who will use their buildings.


Whitney Lewis Assoc. AIA, Diversity Roundtable/AIA Board of Directors/GGLO | Susan Frieson AIA, Diversity Roundtable/NOMA NW/Weber Thompson | Mark Chubb Assoc. AIA, Code Unlimited | Mathew Albores AIA, The Miller Hull Partnership | Genevieve MacNeil Assoc. AIA, Diversity Roundtable/Gensler | Kristen Riley Assoc. AIA, LMN Architects | Stephanie Velasco, Planning in Color | Meredith Everist AIA, AIA Board of Directors/Baylis Architect | Jennie C. Li, Planning in Color | Simba Mafundikwa Assoc. AIA, NOMA NW/AIA Membership Steering Committee/GGLO | Marijana Misic AIA, AIA Board of Directors/Mahlum | Patreese Martin AIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson | Leon Holloway AIA, Professional Practice Steering Committee/NOMA NW/DLR Group | Veronica Barrow Assoc. AIA, NOMA NW/Veronica Barrow Design 


Olson Kundig | Weber Thompson | The Miller Hull Partnership | Nakano Associates | Dykeman | SHKS Architects
+ many more

Registration or Credit Questions?
Contact Andrea Aguilera, Programs Coordinator at AIA Seattle

Program Questions?
Contact Zoe Guckenheimer, Programs Manager at AIA Seattle

Sponsorship Questions?
Contact Kristen Lound, Associate Director of Growth & Operations at AIA Seattle