To kick off the new year, Bmore NOMA was invited to be the featured guest organization at the Networking in the New Year event hosted by SMPS-MD (Society for Marketing Professional Services). We were very excited to partner with such an influential group of professionals in the A/E/C industry!
This year’s theme focused on the lack of diversity in the design professions and the various strategies and initiatives that are underway across the country that champion the mission of our organization. Bmore NOMA hosted a discussion with SMPS-MD lead by DC NOMA members Kathy Dixon and Katherine Williams. We were presented with the unique opportunity to share our story and perspective with the people who are often key players in business and project development.
To open the discussion, Kathy Dixon presented the facts – that roughly 2% of the more than 110,000 licensed architects in the United States are African-American. Of that, a little over 500 are African-American women. This number reflects a significant growth in the past twenty years, but also highlights how far the industry still must go with regards to diversity in the profession. Both Kathy and Katherine then described the numerous ways in which architects of color have established new programs and initiatives that not only showcase the historic strides made in the industry but also seek to increase these numbers in the future. Most notable were those programs created by NOMA members across the country, such as The First 500 Project, 400 Forward and Project Pipeline summer camps.
During the Q&A period, a powerful question was asked - how can marketing professionals in the A/E/C industry help change the face of the profession? Some of the ideas discussed by members of both organizations included supporting NOMA membership, including diverse representation of entourage in renderings, considering diversity when selecting which university career fairs to attend, and encouraging staff members to attend the annual NOMA conference.
Members of SMPS-MD connected with Bmore NOMA to learn more about how the chapter plans to replicate these same programs locally throughout the Baltimore area, fostering a partnership which we hope to continue in the future.