Inclusive Architecture

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

PHOTO: Compton Community Center. BASE Architecture

Encompass is the AIA|LA conference dedicated to increasing diversity in the architectural profession.

As programmed by the newly launched JEDI Committee, the 4th annual Encompass Conference  will serve as a joint AIA-LA & So Cal NOMA’s post Covid-19 challenge, to come together, and refocus our commitment to environmental justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. As our ongoing pandemic has highlighted the severe inequities and systemic disparities of our built environment, we see the urgent need to accelerate change and create better, more generous and equal places for everyone to belong, contribute, and succeed.

Encompass is presented by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.


A 2-day event, Encompass will tackle diversity and inclusion in the profession and education as well as the role of architecture in increasing urban equity and resilience.

The need for the architecture profession to advance greater social and environmental justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is now more urgent than ever. Our challenges can be solved more effectively when diverse minds work together. Let’s transform this crisis into a catalyst to accelerate proactive and positive change.


+ Ziba Ghassemi, AIA, LEED APVice President of Design, Airports, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Group
+ Leslie Sydnor, AIA, LEED APDirector, Planning Project Manager, Cumming Corporation
+ Joshua Foster, NOMA, Assoc. AIADesigner, KFA, LLP
+ Kevin Michael Holland, FAIA, NOMAC, LEED APManaging Principal, K. Michael Architects, LLC


Day 1 – Wednesday, September 2, 2020 | 8:00A – 10:30A

Day 2 – Thursday, September 3, 2020 | 8:00A – 10:30A

Encompass is a Virtual Conference




AIA Members/$45 (includes both days)

Public/$65 (includes both days)

Students/ FREE (includes both days)

*If you’d like to volunteer for this conference and/or need to enquire about receiving a scholarship to attend, please contact Will Wright for more details.


Day 1: “Inclusive Profession in the New Normal”

Panel 1 – We Are All In It Together: Beyond Workplace


Kimberly Dowdell, AIA, NOMA, LEED APPrincipal, HOK & 2019-2020 National President, NOMA
Marcela OlivaArchitecture Professor, LATTC & Lead, Careers by Design LA
John A. Padilla, AIAPadilla Architect
Marcus ReeseExecutive Vice President of Public Affairs, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW)
Carol C. Wedge, FAIA, LEED APCEO, Shepley Bulfinch
Ziba Ghassemi, AIA, LEED APVice President of Design, Airports, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Group (co-moderator)
Kevin Michael Holland, FAIA, NOMAC, LEED APManaging Principal, K. Michael Architects, LLC (co-moderator)


Panel 2 – Urban Resilience: Planning for Equitable & Healthy Communities


Majora CarterUrban Revitalization Strategist, McArthur Fellow, Peabody Award winning radio broadcaster & Social-Enterprise Pioneer
Lance A. Collins, AIA, LEED AP (BD+C), cSBA, GGP, GGA-EBDirector, Partner Energy & President, So Cal NOMA
Ronnell Hampton, M.A.Founder, Growing Greatness & Los Angeles Food Policy Council
Demar MatthewsFounder/Principal, OffTOP Design
Leslie Sydnor, AIA, LEED APDirector, Cumming Corporation & Board Director, AIA Los Angeles (co-moderator)
Christopher Locke, NOMADesigner, Egan Simon | Architecture &
Co-Founder, Designing in Color (co-moderator)


Day 2: “The Follow Through: Effectuate Change by Education”

Panel 3: “The College Stress: Student-driven Discussions on the Impact of the Coronavirus & Pre-existing Inequalities

Speakers (students):
Dae’ja SlackDesigner, Perkins Eastman & Alumna, Howard University
Stephen E. CurtissIntern, KFA Architecture & Student, East Los Angeles College
Stephanie Green, NOMASVice President of NOMAS, Woodbury Architecture
Khan Muhammad, NOMASB.Arch Undergraduate Student, NOMAS Chapter President 2017-2020, Woodbury University
Jessica FlorenceIntern, Jacobs & 4th year architecture student, Florida A&M University
Ekaterina (Kate) Bogdanova, AIAS, NOMASIntern, Perkins Eastman &  2021 M.Arch, USC Graduate & President of NOMAS at USC & Board Member of AIAS at USC

Speakers (Faculty):
Aaron GenslerPrincipal, GenslerClipp & Assistant Chair of Woodbury School of Architecture
Alvin Huang, AIA, NOMAPrincipal, Synthesis Design + Architecture & Director of Graduate Architecture & Associate Professor, USC Architecture
D. Michael Hamner, FAIA, NCARBChair/Professor, Architecture Department, East Los Angeles College
Dahlia Nduom, AIA, NOMAAssistant Professor, Department of Architecture, College of Engineering and Architecture, Howard University

Joshua A. Foster, NOMA, Assoc. AIADesigner, KFA, LLP & Historian, So Cal NOMA
Matthew Trotter, NOMA, Assoc. AIA – Designer, Cunningham Group & Parliamentarian, So Cal NOMA


Panel 4: Take Action: A Workshop on Exploring Next Steps for Implementation

Session Leaders:
Dawn Hicks, Assoc. AIA, NOMATreasurer, So Cal NOMA & Rose Fellow/Community Design Coordinator, Venice Community Housing Corporation
Janiece Williams, NOMADirector of Operations, Hanson LA & Secretary, So Cal NOMA

There have been town halls, panel discussions, meetings, and now SoCalNOMA has launched the DEI Challenge to firms with actionable items and measurable accountability towards achieving greater diversity, equity and inclusion throughout their business operations.

While considering ways to implement greater diversity in our businesses, we must ask ourselves how do we keep the momentum going? As we explore the impacts of diversity on the industry pipeline, we have to consider approaching implementation from various angles. When you think about the longstanding work that needs to be done in order to see real change, how can firms continue to keep this at the forefront of their strategic planning? How will this continue to appeal to all professionals from the recent graduates to Principals and CEOS?

This workshop will allow attendees to participate in thought-provoking and challenging discussions to address two main questions at the root of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the design industry:

What is the business case for diversity, equity and inclusion?
What is the design case for diversity, equity and inclusion?

The answers may vary from company to company, but in order to put the action in place, let’s take this time to address the very questions that many of us may not know how to answer. Providing this platform in support of one another can help to fuel the action and use this as an opportunity to collaborate across the industry.


Encompass is made possible by the generous firms who support EDI in the A/E/C industries.

Support a conference that advances our profession, increase visibility for your firm, and pick up tickets for your staff.

To sponsor Encompass, Click Here.

Presenting Sponsor


PHOTO: Banner: Compton Center. BASE Architecture