Culture Change in Practice: A Leadership Cohort 2024

Facilitated by Dr. Anu Taranath, this four-part, peer-based workshop series will support a community of practice, equipping leaders from architecture and allied firms to translate learning and catalyze change outward in their own firms and beyond.

This workshop-based curriculum focuses on individual skill-building and implementation related to structural firm-wide and firm-level change. Participants will grow their capacity and responsiveness to lead justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and engage in sustained action. Sessions will explore power and privilege, conflict transformations, integrating and investing in equity work, and initiatives and impact. 

Join us for the fourth edition of Culture Change in Practice: A Leadership Cohort on August 7, August 21, September 4, and September 18, 12-4pm PT at the Center for Architecture & Design (1010 Western Ave).


We invite a dedicated cohort of new, emerging, and current firm leaders from the broader AEC industry who are invested in facilitating impact and being a part of the next generation of change.

  • *Firm Leaders: lead firms, lead practice groups, lead teams, are direct supervisors, make key decisions and have influence and power in shaping the culture and staffing of the firm or projects 

Past participation is not a limitation! We invite firms to tap into this work year after year. Space is limited!


Includes continuing education (12 LU) + lunch and light refreshments 

$960  AIA Member/Corporate Allied Partner (CAP)/Allied Member
$960  Government + Partners
$804  Associate Member
$1,260  Non-Member

Early Bird Deadline: Register by Wednesday, July 24 to save 15%.
Final Registration Deadline: Friday, August 2, 5:00pm PT.

Participants must attend all four workshops to receive continuing education credit or a certificate of completion. No partial credit will be awarded. 

Want to learn more about the member ticket rate and other benefits associated with membership? Click here. Want to learn more about our program pricing and the other major education programs we offer? Click here.

Reduced Rate Options

While we are striving to prevent or minimize the labor that BIPOC 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 or individuals 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 Wednesday, July 24, 5:00pm PT. 


Invest in Equity Work  

Investing in equity work offers significant returns for both individuals and firms. This program will help you build a firm culture that values justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion to deepen employee engagement and firm- and industry-wide impact.

Engage in Responsive Learning 

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. The Culture Change in Practice 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. The architectural profession is still predominantly white and predominantly male. Of the AIA Seattle’s over 2,400 members, just 24 are Black or African American, and 4 are Indigenous American, while only 32% are women or nonbinary according to AIA members’ self-reported data.

Join a Growing List of Leaders 

The Culture Change in Practice program has already engaged 75+ leaders! Read Testimonials from Past Cohort Participants to understand the value of their experiences. Will you join them? 


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.


August 7, 12pm-4pm PT | Workshop 1: Power & Privilege | In-Person @ the Center for Architecture and Design (1010 Western Ave)

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 power and 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.

August 21, 12pm-4pm PT | Workshop 2: Conflict Transformations | In-Person @ the Center for Architecture and Design (1010 Western Ave)

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. This second workshop will help build more connections between equity work, anti-racism, emotional literacy and leadership strategies.

September 4, 12pm-4pm PT | Workshop 3: Integrating & Investing in Equity Work | In-Person @ the Center for Architecture and Design (1010 Western Ave)

This third workshop will explore the integration of equity work into business practice emphasizing its role in enhancing a firm’s overall culture and success. Participants will deepen their understanding of equity work as a valuable investment and develop personalized action plans, enabling them to immediately apply these tools, resources, and strategies within their firms and individual practices. 

September 18, 12pm-4pm PT | Workshop 4: Initiatives & Impact | In-Person @ the Center for Architecture and Design (1010 Western Ave)

This final workshop will provide cohort participants the opportunity to share learning and collaborate on refining their firm’s equity initiatives based on unique challenges and opportunities. Participants will discuss how we measure impact and long-range success, and track hopes and progress together. By the end of the program, participants will leave with a plan to sustain ongoing efforts, advance these initiatives within their firms, and contribute to structural change.

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.


  • 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 collaboration with project teams, clients, and community groups.
  • Understand how to integrate equity work as part of business practice to emphasize its role in a firms overall culture, success, and ability to meaningfully engage with the people and communities we’re designing for. 
  • Develop skills and language to weave justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts into project work – to better equip architects to prioritize the diverse social, physical, and emotional needs of occupants.


Alyssa M. Mitchell Assoc. AIA, Weber Thompson | Jennie C. Li, Planning in Color/UW Landscape Architecture | John Alex Correa, HEWITT  | Leon Holloway, NOMA NW/DLR Group | Shweta Sinha AIA, Schemata Workshop | Susan Frieson AIA, Diversity Roundtable/JE:DI Council/NOMA NW/AIA Membership Advancement Committee | Marijana Misic AIA, NOMA, AIA Seattle Board of Directors/Mahlum | Meredith Everist AIA, Past AIA Seattle Board of Directors/Baylis Architects 

Initiated in 2021, the Culture Change in Practice program was developed by the Racial Justice Working Group (RJWG) in close collaboration with individuals from NOMA NW, Planning in Color, and Diversity Roundtable. Thank you to all who have contributed to this program over the years! 


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 | Gensler | GGLO | HEWITT | Integrus Architecture
Jackson Main Architecture | Johnston Architects | KPFF | GGN | Mahlum | McGranahan Architects
MG2 | Mithun | Nakano Associates  | NBBJ | Olson Kundig | Perkins+Will | Rice Fergus Miller, Inc
Runberg Architecture Group | 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, Senior Programs Manager at AIA Seattle

Sponsorship Questions?
Contact Zee Mars, Development Manager at AIA Seattle