Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects
Next Big Challenge As An Industry: The greatest challenge in our industry is continued sustainability and getting to net zero. For me, I believe social sustainability is part and parcel for ensuring any kind of environmental sustainability. For example, as we consider green sustainability for the city-region, are we at the same time looking at accessible housing and advocating for our unhoused neighbours in an equally robust manner? To get there, we need to reflect on social sustainability as being part of the equation. Looking at this challenge through the lens of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion can provide a respectful approach for understanding how these issues impact the types of spaces that we are creating. In order for our buildings to be innovative and sustainable, we have to be inclusive about what these spaces represent and who they are designed for.
On Championing Others… am committed to furthering mentorship from within the office and mentoring in partnership with other outside organizations. At Diamond Schmitt I am a mentor for OAA interns and I also mentor students and young professionals at BADIA (Black Architects and Interior Designers Association) in Toronto. Throughout my career I have been fortunate to have had many mentors along my way and I continue to keep in touch with them. By championing others, I am not only reciprocating the generous guidance I have received, but I am also fostering the growth of a wider network of people to talk about career and industry challenges at any point in our professional journey. Mentorship is ideal for someone that may think their network might be limited. Working with my architectural student at BAIDA this past year was a wonderful experience. I couldn’t believe how at her young age she was already a skillful mentor to teenage girls thinking about STEM/STEAM, and pursuing careers in architecture and engineering. I am excited to be part of her network today and can’t wait to see what she does tomorrow, over the next 5, 10, 20 years. My immediate future has me looking forward to mentoring Indigenous architectural students this fall with the first applicants from the ḴEL,ḴELOŦEN ȻE S,ISTEW̱ Fund. The recently announced fund will support Indigenous architectural and engineering students in British Columbia.