January 25, 2018


AIA Kansas City Equity in Architecture Survey Report Release Panel Event

4:00 PM
Center for Architecture & Design | 1801 McGee, Suite 100 Kansas City, MO 64108 Map

On January 25th at the Center for Architecture & Design we will be celebrating the release of the AIA Kansas City Equity in Architecture 2017 Survey Report through a panel discussion on diversity, inclusion, and equitable practice inspired by the report’s Key Findings.

As a committee of AIA Kansas City, Equity in Architecture identifies its “A.C.E.” goals to Advocate, Connect, and Educate membership to improve industry awareness and success on issues around diversity, inclusion, and equitable practice. The AIA Kansas City Equity in Architecture 2017 Survey Report is an effort to understand our chapter’s perception and goals with regards to diversity, inclusion, and what enables workplace success for all. Our goal in this endeavor is to amplify the successful measures our community is taking toward a more diverse, inclusive and equitable profession as well as to highlight growth opportunities for continued progress toward that outcome. We hope the survey report inspires conversation in our chapter, in our community, and in our profession.

Thank you to our event sponsors Gould Evans and Crossland Construction Company!


We are honored to introduce our event panelists:

Laura Beth Cochran, AIA is an architect at DLR Group in Overland Park, KS and a 2018 Co-Chair of AIA Kansas City’s Women in Design Committee. Having represented our chapter as a published author in the internationally distributed 2015 AIA Kansas City Women in Design journal “RISE” and participating at the 2017 AIA National quinquennial Practice Innovation Lab as one of 60 emerging professionals from around the country, Laura Beth is an active and passionate advocate for redefining the practice of architecture and improving diversity and inclusion in the profession.

“The ability to create viable new offerings, to innovate, in our work today depends upon the strength and genius of the whole profession and its leadership. As a profession, I believe that our ability to design better will improve as efforts are born out of diversity of background and of opinion. Driven by competition and selection, our successes will reflect the inclusiveness of our approach. There is a fundamental imperative for biological diversity; not just that we are stronger when we incorporate diversity but that we will quite literally cease to exist without it. This truism can be transferred powerfully to the design profession and to many aspects of our work and lives.“ – Laura Beth Cochran, AIA

Joy Coleman, AIA is an architect and principal with TreanorHL as well as the 2018 Board of Directors Past President of Commercial Real Estate Women Network (CREW) Kansas City. Focusing on historic preservation, Joy believes in the power of architecture to influence people and affect communities. She has dedicated her career to the preservation and reuse of the older iconic buildings to inspire positive development and community connectivity. Additionally, Joy is active in local organizations such as the Kansas Preservation Alliance and Missouri Preservation.

“The ability of a person to design a building or manage a project is not dependent on their gender or the color of their skin. The ability lies in their focused effort as it is aligns with the task’s requirements. Architecture is not easy, quick or straightforward. An architect is a person that can perform the right task at the right time with the talent of an artist and skill of an influential communicator.” – Joy Coleman, AIA

Tony Rohr, FAIA is the National Managing Principal at Gould Evans. An evangelist for the practice, Tony’s design leadership has been honed over 30 years on a wide range of projects across the country. He is responsible for ensuring that the firm’s work resonates for people and place. He excels at motivating design talent to create positive outcomes that are both beautiful and intelligent. Rohr uses research and design to build communities. He has overseen a wide range of public and commercial projects for clients who are interested in employing architecture to make a difference.

“At the 1968 AIA National Convention, Whitney Young Jr., the famous civil rights leader and head of the national Urban League was a keynote speaker. Quoted from his speech, ‘…as a profession, you are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights, and I am sure this has not come to you as any shock. You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance…’ ‘So what’s at stake, then, is your country, your profession, and you as a decent civilized human being. Anatole France one said, “I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.” For a society that has permitted itself the luxury of an excess of callousness and indifference, we can afford to permit ourselves the luxury of an excess of caring and of concern.’

At the time, only 1% of all Licensed Architects in the US were black. Today, at the threshold of the 50th anniversary of Whitney Young Jr’s speech, the percentage of all licensed architects in the US that are black is 2%. No other minority group has endured such difficulty making progress. If we are really ready to address this, then our efforts have to be intentional and pro-active at multiple levels. Why can’t we treat it as a design challenge, we get all amped up for those. In this case, a humanity design challenge.” – Tony Rohr, FAIA

Rachel Treanor, CPSM is the Director for Business Development and Marketing at Crossland Construction Company. Rachel engages directly with clients on development directives, incentives and other project objectives. Passionate about the power of art, branding, identity, and design, Rachel is responsible for strengthening relationships, generating leads, firm culture, brand management, and is the point of contact for prospects and teaming partners. Rachel was nominated by Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) as “2016 Marketer of the Year”.

“Don’t be intimidated when you walk into a room and your audience does not look like you, talk like you, sound like you or think like you - Command the Room Anyways!  Your perspectives matter and contribute toward moving the needle!” – Rachel Treanor, CPSM

Nilou Vakil, RA, LEED BD+C is an architecture faculty member and the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas, serving as the School’s liaison to the KU Office of Diversity and Equity. She is also a Principal with in situ DESIGN, specializing in designing civic projects, museums and cultural institutions. America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools by DesignIntelligence, recently named Nilou Vakil as one of its “25 Most Admired Educators” of 2017-2018 in the U.S. in the field of Architecture and Design.

“This lack of diversity may stem from the fact that clients and patrons of design services are also rarely from traditionally underrepresented and disenfranchised groups. The irony is that designed environments are experienced and affect all populations and yet they have little right to its determination.” - Nilou Vakil

Gregorio Valdovino is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Bringing 20+ years of diversity and inclusion expertise, Greg leads the KC Chamber efforts related to the organization’s D&I mission to value and promote diversity and inclusion for a successful business community. Committed and passionate about diversity and inclusion, Greg dedicates his time to service in professional and community organizations, including the KC Diversity and Inclusion Consortium, and currently serves on a number of committees.


AIA or Associate AIA Member Ticket - free
Cornerstone Partner - free
Non Member - $10.00
Professional Affiliate - free


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