This year – the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) Committee has been busy with a variety of in office initiatives and mentorship opportunities, and we’re excited to share an update with you. In this post, we will highlight a few things we achieved, and few we still hope to accomplish – and find more information on past work in our last update here. We’re proud and excited by the work we’re doing and would love your feedback and suggestions – as always, please feel free to reach out.
At the onset of 2022, after working with DEI consultant Humanize Us All, we identified a few key internal initiatives the studio could implement to make Feldman Architecture a more equitable and transparent workplace. HUA recommended our studio consider implementing affinity groups – which resonated with the JEDI Committee, and we discussed, researched, and called upon outside counsel to help us develop a strategy that would best serve our firm. We then implemented a two-part strategy – first forming ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) based on positions held by staff: a Designer, Job Captain, and Project Manager group meet monthly to discuss challenges, questions, and ideas, and then present biannually to the executive team to be solved, addressed, or just heard. So far, we’ve found this to be a very successful tool for internal mentorship and career growth. Our second initiative took the form of monthly open office discussions, surrounding a variety of identity-based topics our staff can discuss on a voluntary basis. So far, as an office, we’ve had discussions with the following themes/identities: International Staff, Parents and Caregivers, and Mental Health in the Workplace. All staff have been invited to each session, and thus far have resulted in fruitful and healing discussions that encouraged new connections and growth. We’re excited to continue to grow and develop these initiatives in the coming year – reach out if you have suggestions or ideas for monthly open office discussion topics!
Secondly, this year, the JEDI Committee has been very focused on furthering our staff’s participation in mentorship opportunities, which involved dedicating a budget to staff mentorship and volunteer hours and crafting a plan for which organizations we donate our time to. This year, two staff members acted as mentors with ACE Mentorship San Francisco Chapter, one staff member volunteered through SF NOMA Project Pipeline summer camp, we hosted a high school intern from the SFUSD, and one staff member mentored a high school student through AFSF. We’ve enjoyed exploring local organizations exposing specifically underserved youth in our community to the architecture and design industry and are looking forward to more volunteer work in the coming year.
A few other accomplishments to note: the JEDI Committee invited David Godshall from Terremoto Landscape to speak to our studio for a Third Thursday about the community-based activism their firm is pioneering, began researching and discussing the potential of a Feldman Architecture Scholarship Fund, solidified our internal complaint form, and continued working on expanding and creating a more inclusive hiring process. Next year, we’re excited to check a few more things off our list, including creating an internal KPI metrics tracker for our DEI initiatives and progress.