Design Architect, Gensler
Sector: Private Sector
Magic Moment: In 2016 I was a panelist at the IIDEXCanada Design Show for a discussion that centered on the challenges to women within design and construction. Initially, I was hesitant to discuss the challenges specific to Black female architects as I did not want to be solely identified by race to the audience. The conversation developed and I shared lessons learned from my own experience. The “Magic moment” occurred when two female architecture students in the audience thanked me for my contribution. They had yet to hear anyone acknowledge the challenges within the Architecture profession specific to racialized communities which they both belonged. I no longer hesitate or fear discomfort by conversations pertaining to race and gender.
Key Influence: Dori Tunstall, Dean of Design at OCAD University. Dori has cut her own path amongst institutions to promote educational curriculums that decolonize design and empower marginalized communities. I have learned the importance of having a seat at the proverbial table but also to not be afraid to make your own and surround it with those with likeminded vision.
Betsy Williamson, Principal – Williamson Williamson. Betsy serves on the Advisory Committee for the organization Building Equality in Architecture Toronto. She is very approachable and I admire her continued dedication to challenge established organizations on their commitment to support and raise the profile of women and visible minorities within the design profession.
Next Big Challenge As An Industry: The distribution of municipal resources and public amenities are fragmented across the city and often lacking within marginalized communities.
Secret Talent: I have solved one face of a Rubix Cube.
On Championing Others… There is a disproportionate representation of women and visible minorities within the Canadian architecture profession. I am a founding member of the Building Equality in Architecture Toronto. This is a volunteer-run organization that promotes equality in the profession through advocacy, mentorship and networking. I also sit on the Executive Committee for the Black Architects and Interior Designers Association (BAIDA) is a non profit organization made up of 100 students, planners, interior designers, and architects. BAIDA aims to support diversity, equity and inclusion in the profession of architecture and interior design. Our tools are advocacy, mentorship, networking, and outreach.
One word that captures you: Intentional. When it comes to the various initiatives I have aligned myself with, I am committed to the time required to learn, prepared to encounter challenges and recognize all advancements and achievements made by all.