At our April Committee Meeting, the AIANY WIA Committee hosted Mary-Margaret Zindren, CAE, the Executive Vice President at AIA Minnesota as our special guest speaker to present the Culture Change Initiative. The Culture Change Initiative is an intensive and ongoing effort led by AIA Minnesota to examine the current state of the culture of the architecture profession, to define the desired culture, and to determine what will accelerate progress in achieving that desired culture.

Mary-Margaret shared the findings of AIA Minnesota’s 2-year-long research effort that was prompted by the #metoo movement and engaged more than 70 demographically diverse architects, architectural designers, and students. She explained how the ongoing conversations about the pandemic, systemic racism, #metoo and climate change are all interwoven and have all created the conditions for cultural change to happen.

Through the clearly presented, wide-ranging, and varied research we learned how a culture that is authentic, collaborative, and equitable can directly position AEC firms for success; how systems thinking, self-awareness, and identifying toxic organizational and personal mindsets are the first steps towards achieving desired outcomes; and how we can each cultivate and contribute to culture change by leveraging our own skills and strengths.

We thank Mary-Margaret Zindren for giving us hope, tools and a path forward towards transformation, as well as all those who attended and participated in the Q&A. Some of the resources that were discussed at the event are below:

The AIANY WIA April Committee Meeting Agenda, Around Town & Related Events, Topics, and Good Reads can be viewed here. The AIA Minnesota Culture Change Initiative presentation can be viewed in full here.

The number of job opportunities in our new ‘Member Announcements’ section made us optimistic about the recovery of the AEC industry after the pandemic: