At NORR, we believe diversity and inclusion is a shared responsibility. As an employee-owned company, we work with organizations that share our work and social values to strengthen our message across the globe.
One of those organizations is the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). NOMA’s mission is to empower local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development and design excellence.
This year’s NOMA Conference marks the 50th anniversary of the organization, being held in Detroit where the twelve founders convened for the 1971 AIA Conference. As an action under our NORRForward program, we are proud to be a Conference sponsor. The conference brings together more than 1,500 architects, engineers and design professionals, and more than 1,000 students. Highlights include a student design competition, professional design awards and 29 different chapters competing for chapter of the year.
We had an opportunity to catch up with two architects and NORRForward members, who have been instrumental in NOMA initiatives, to get their perspective on how we can make a meaningful impact as individuals and as an A&E company. Here’s what they told us:
“Sponsoring the 50th Anniversary NOMA Conference signifies a commitment to doing the work that is needed in our profession. With robust chapters in Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia, there are ample opportunities for NORR employees to participate and learn from others, then bring those ideas and discussions back to our local offices and communities,“ said Kevin Jasey, NCARB, NOMA, Studio Manager, Commercial in our Philadelphia, PA office. “Support and advocacy for organizations like NOMA, is critical to empowering individuals to feel recognized and appreciated for who they are and what they can contribute.”
Alex Froehlich, Assoc. AIA, LEED® AP, Associate, Designer, Restaurants in our Detroit, MI office commented that “by continuing to learn from others and their experiences, every employee at NORR can promote and innovate a culture of diversity and inclusion. It starts with awareness, advocacy, volunteering and supporting the professional development of minority architects. You don’t have to identify as a minority to participate; we need to be part of a broader holistic movement to increase representation of minorities in the discipline of architecture and design. A great opportunity can begin by simply volunteering your time or joining organizations as a member.”
While we know there is more work to do, we continue to support related organizations and fellow professionals such as Project Pipeline and Hip Hop Architecture Camps that work to empower young people to affect change in their community through design.