Joshua A. Foster, NOMA, Assoc. AIA
A native of the Philadelphia area, a seasoned New Yorker, and now a settled Angeleno, Joshua has a strong passion for community-focused urban design. As an architectural designer, Joshua focuses on affordable and market-rate housing projects at KFA Architecture while advocating for diversity as a SoCal NOMA Executive Board member and the Co-Chair of the AIA|LA Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) committee. Outside of architecture, Joshua is a musician as well as a Co-Founder of Mint Inc., a platform empowering a community of young minority professionals and entrepreneurs.
Prior to completing his Masters of Architecture with a Real Estate Development certificate at the University of Southern California, Joshua spent his undergraduate years shuffling between the architecture studios of Columbia University as a student and the football field of the school’s Division 1 FCS program as an athlete. He now uses his diverse experiences in architecture, sports, and community entrepreneurship to speak and share at schools, events, and conferences throughout the country.
Leslie Sydnor, AIA
Leslie is a director at Cumming. Currently an owner’s rep at Hacienda La Puente School District she has over 25 years of experience in the design of education, aviation, industrial and low income housing projects. Leslie has been a member of the Design Awards committee and is on the Board Nominating Committee and the Long Range Strategic Planning Committee. She was a panel moderator at the 2019 Encompass conference on equity and diversity.
Leslie was interviewed on Audrey Sato’s XXLA podcast which features LA women in architecture and was a guest interviewer on the podcast as well. Realizing the importance of representation in the profession she has served as a juror at Woodbury University, Cal Poly Pomona and USC.
Leslie is one of the fewer than 500 Black women licensed architects in the U.S. She is a LEED A.P. and has a B.A. in Architecture from Yale and an M.Arch from UCLA. She believes mentorship and visibility are the keys to the diversification and future of the profession. When not in zoom meetings she’s in the kitchen cooking Italian food.
Ziba Ghassemi, AIA Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
Ziba is Vice President of Airport Design at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, a global developer focused on making positive social, cultural, environmental and economic contributions to users and communities. She has led the experiential design of airport terminals across the country, including LAX Bradley International, Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 6, Chicago O’Hare, and Boston Logan. Her approach to design brings local architects and experts from the private and public sector together with an internal team of multi-disciplinary experts, to foster an investigative and explorative process where smart products, technology, sustainable features and strategies for resiliency all contribute to creating a more connected transportation facility and traveler experience.
Genelle Brooks-Petty, NOMA, Assoc. AIA
Principal designer – BPC Interior Design
Genelle Brooks-Petty is the principal designer of BPC Interior Design, a Los Angeles-based interior design firm servicing contract, and residential clients. After years in the fashion industry, her clients in that realm pushed her into interior design. While studying interior architecture at UCLA, she honed skills under a famed designer, and serviced residential and boutique scale commercial clients of her own, developing a unique perspective. Her work bridges gaps as she aims to build community through design.
Genelle is a graduate of Howard University’s School of Business, and she holds a Master of Interior Architecture from the UCLA Extension/ California State Polytechnic University, Pomona joint study program. She is an associate member of AIA (American Institute of Architects), Allied ASID (American Society of Interior Designers), AWA+D (Association for Women in Architecture and Design), and a current board member of SoCal NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) as well as SCOPE-LA (Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education).