Culture Change in Practice: A Leadership Cohort 2023

AIA Seattle, in close collaboration with NOMA Northwest and Planning in Color, is proud to announce its third – and newly revitalized – 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 as a response to racist violence, inequitable firm culture, and a segregated built environment. With the support of our facilitator, Dr. Anu Taranath, this program will 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

The architectural profession is still predominantly white and predominantly male. Of the AIA Seattle’s over 2,600 members, just 30 are Black or African American, and 2 are Indigenous American, while only 32% are women or nonbinary according to AIA members’ self-reported data. Creating culture change within architecture and allied firms is a critical step to creating a more diverse and equitable profession and industry. And through this professional change, we hope to influence broader cultural change, due to the significant role architects play in crafting our physical environment.

This program is created in partnership with NOMA NW, and Planning in Color, and has been selected as a grant award winner for the 2023 Component Grants Program by AIA Trust.

>>> Want to learn more about the program and its impact? Join us at the Culture Change in Practice Mixer on Tuesday, August 15, 5:30-7:30pm PT at The Miller Hull Partnership. Learn more and RSVP here.


We invite a dedicated cohort of 40 firm leaders from the broader AEC industry. This peer-to-peer learning cohort, facilitated by Dr. Anu Taranath, will support firms’ ability to live up to the goals of the Call-to-Action 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! 


Includes continuing education (12 LU) + light breakfast and refreshments for in person sessions

Per Person (Based on Firm Size)

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. Individual workshop registration is not available.

$500  $575 (per person)  // Firm Size: 1-7 Employees 
$1000  $1,150 (per person) // Firm Size: 8-49 Employees 
$1500  $1,725 (per person)  // Firm Size: 50+ Employees 
$1500  $1,725 (per person) //  CAP Sponsors

Registration has closed

Early Bird Deadline: Register by Monday, August 28 to save 15%
Final Registration Deadline: Monday, September 11

Participants must attend all four courses (September 15, October 6, October 27, November 17, 2023) to receive continuing education credit or a certificate of completion. No partial credit will be awarded. All registration questions can be directed to Andrea Aguilera.

We’re excited to offer virtual and in-person workshops while keeping costs consistent with previous years, thanks to the support of AIA Trust and DLR Group! 

Reduced Rate Options

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 reduced rate request. In addition, we recognize this fee may present hardship to some firms who are nevertheless committed to investing in the work. AIA Seattle has reserved limited funds for reduced rate requests, 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, August 28, 5:00pm PT. 


Dr. Anu Taranath, Dr. Anu Consulting: dialogues for justice | Dr. Anu Taranath is a speaker, author, educator, and racial equity consultant who partners with a range of people to deepen conversations on history, harm and healing. A University of Washington Seattle professor for the past 20+ years, Dr. Anu knows that the most compelling conversations on race, identity, power, and belonging take place when people feel valued and heard. She has received the Seattle Weekly’s “Best of Seattle” recognition, the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and multiple US Fulbright Fellowships to work abroad. As a consultant she has partnered with over 300 clients from National Geographic Society to the Raging Grannies. Her book “Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World” was named a Washington State Book Award Finalist, Newsweek’s Future of Travel Winner in Storytelling, and included in Oprah Magazine’s “Best 26 Travel Books of All Times.” Visit to learn more.


Cohort participants commit to engaging in all four sessions, understanding that the content is designed sequentially for cohort-based learning. All sessions subject to change.

September 15, 9am-12pm PT | Workshop 1: Power and Privilege | In-Person @ DLR Group (51 University St #600)

We will get to know one another in this session, and learn about the equity journeys of the firms represented. What are some of the general barriers to equity work? How might we handle discomfort in productive ways? How does a deeper awareness of our positionality in relation to others help us develop a responsibility toward stewardship, especially as leaders in our firm? This first workshop will explore what exactly equity stewardship looks like, especially since some firm leaders’ life experiences might look quite different from those on whose behalf they are advocating.

October 6, 9am-12pm PT | Workshop 2: Conflict Transformations | Online

Conflict is often seen as a barrier and obstacle to progress. We will unpack how we approach conflict, reframe these moments as opportunities to grow and better ourselves with practical skills and tools. Importantly, psychological safety is often a precursor to enable us to have tough conversations and navigate conflict with more stability and strategy. The better we are able to manage our feelings and navigate conflict, the more psychological safely we can enjoy. This second workshop will help build more connections between equity work, anti-racism, emotional literacy and leadership strategies.

October 27, 9am-12pm PT | Workshop 3: The Value Case and Business Case for Equity Work | Online

This third workshop will offer practical reasons why equity work makes sense for a firm’s overall culture and business. We will help participants define and more intentionally cultivate a safe/safer space for BIPOC and all staff, and to better understand how and why BIPOC comfort, thriving and success is “good for business” and indeed, integral for firm-wide success.

November 17, 9am-12pm PT | Workshop 4: Initiatives and Impact | In-Person @ DLR Group (51 University St #600)

This final workshop will serve as an opportunity for cohort members to collaborate and speak together based on the work their firm is doing around equity initiatives. We will share strategies and create foundations for collaboration. We’ll discuss how we measure impact and long-range success, and track our hopes and progress together.

In-person sessions (1 + 4) include an optional networking hour from 12-1pm. Guiding questions, readings, and/or worksheets may be sent to participants prior to, and following, each session. 


  • Examine how inequitable firm management and top-down practices are resulting in negative design outcomes that impact the health and well-being of communities.
  • Share best practices around mentorship and paths-to-leadership for BIPOC and other historically marginalized people who are not typically seen in leadership positions in architecture and allied professions.
  • Explore how to navigate one’s own positioning of power and privilege through equity stewardship and responsible practice.
  • Expand leadership capacities by understanding conflict skills, emotional literacy, and psychological safety to transform project team collaboration.
  • Understand how and why BIPOC comfort, thriving, and success is “good for business,” integral to firm-wide growth, and directly correlated to meaningful engagement with the communities we’re designing for.
  • Develop skills and language to weave JEDI and anti-racism into project work – to better equip architects to prioritize the diverse social, physical, and emotional needs of occupants.


Sponsored by Parker, Smith & Feek, Victor, the CNA Insurance Companies, and The AIA Trust, providers of the AIA Trust Professional Liability Insurance Program.


Whitney Lewis Assoc. AIA, Diversity Roundtable/JE:DI Council/AIA Board of Directors/GGLO  |  Susan Frieson AIA, Diversity Roundtable/JE:DI Council/NOMA NW/AIA Membership Advancement Committee/ Weber Thompson Kristen Riley Assoc. AIA, LMN Architects Meredith Everist AIA, AIA Past Board of Directors/Baylis Architects Jennie C. Li, Planning in Color Marijana Misic AIA, AIA Board of Directors/Mahlum Leon Holloway, NOMA NW/DLR Group  |  Alyssa M. Mitchell, Assoc. AIA, Weber Thompson  |  Shweta Sinha, AIA, Schemata Workshop Lisa Morgenroth, AIA


Architects Without Borders – Seattle | Arup | AssuredPartners | B+H Advance Strategy | Bassetti Architects | Berger Partnership | Betts, Patterson & Mines, P.S. | BuildingWork | Coughlin Porter Lundeen | DLR Group | Dykeman | Environmental Works | FSi Engineers | GGLO | HEWITT | Integrus Architecture | Johnston Architects | KPFF | Mahlum | McGranahan Architects | MG2  | Mithun | Nakano Associates  | NBBJ | Olson Kundig | Perkins+Will | Rice Fergus Miller, Inc | Schemata Workshop | Schreiber Starling Whitehead Architects | SHKS Architects | Signal Architecture + Research | Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects | The Miller Hull Partnership | third place design cooperative | VIA Architecture | Weber Thompson | Weinstein A+U | Weisman Design Group

 + Will you join this list? 

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

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

Sponsorship Questions?
Contact Melissa K. Neher, Executive Director at AIA Seattle