In the past several years, the question of equity has become a prominent topic relative to how the design profession is continuing to evolve. During this session, presenters will share snapshots from their on-going equity journey, and how their firm’s internal efforts to promote diversity and equity has positively influenced how they work, the type of project they seek, and the type of advocacy they encourage in the communities where we live, work and play. They will share key aspects of the firm’s internal process to enhance diversity and equity within the architectural practice, provide a few case studies of how that internal process has informed their approach to specific projects and their related long-term results, and how it has also helped them think about how designers work to help educate the markets in which we work.

Case studies will include adaptive re-use and new construction projects that have strengthened community resilience, supported and promoted human wellness, and, via post-occupancy analysis, led to enhanced long-term relationships between design team and stakeholder communities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe how a national integrated AE firm followed a specific process to develop a strategy to improve gender equity within its structure
  • Understand how a staff role dedicated to equity and diversity can positively influence the well-being of the firm’s full team while enhancing team performance, project sustainability, client service, design quality, and client satisfaction.
  • Apply lessons gained via stakeholder engagement to key design issues in community-oriented project types.
  • Relate the importance of accessibility best practices to a wide cross section of clients as not only the right thing to do, but rather, a compelling business opportunity to connect to a rapidly aging population

Presented by:

Scott Cryer, AIA

Principal, HGA

During his two decades in architecture, Scott has passionately led efforts to enhance diversity and equity in design. In 2008, he founded the Community Interface Committee (CIC), a sub-committee to the AIA Chicago Chapter, a group dedicated to public interest design issues. He has presented on accessibility best practices in museum and theater environments at multiple conferences including LHAT, MAAM, VAM, SEMC and AAMG, and regularly advocates with state and local governments to enhance equity in the arts as a member of VAM’s Advocacy Committee and Chairperson of ArtsFairfax.


Terri Howard

Director of Equity, HGA

As Director of Equity at HGA, Terri Howard serves as a thought leader to drive equity initiatives, develop internal programming and resources, build external partnerships with diverse voices, and consult on equity in design nationally. Terri has extensive experience implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plans for nonprofit organizations, government entities, and Fortune 500 companies, including Dane County (WI), the City of New York, Hyatt, University of Wisconsin, and Harris Health Systems in Texas. She has spoken at multiple national conferences and professional association events on the topic of equity.


Peter Cook, FAIA

Principal, HGA

Peter is recognized nationally for designing arts, community and educational spaces. He creates innovative solutions to complex programs, exemplified by designs for several public libraries in Washington, the Saint Elizabeth's Gateway Pavilion, the South African Embassy, and his collaboration on the National Museum of African American History and Culture. These projects were centered on listening closely to clients and communities, allowing him to translate their aspirations into a compelling vision. Peter was recently elevated to the AIA’s College of Fellows and appointed to serve on the Commission of Fine Arts.