<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2436644669725187&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">


Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Sed molestie augue sit amet leo consequat posuere. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin vel ante a orci tempus eleifend ut et magna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.




It's 2023 and what is your architecture or engineering firm doing to be a leader on the business case for diversity and empowerment? To demonstrate to your current (and future) team that you are serious about creating a culture of equity and inclusion? To make space and create growth pathways for the diverse perspectives and voices that represent the future of your firm?

If you are still stuck in making the move from conversation to action, you are setting your firm up to be stuck in the past. The time is now to tap into the full potential of your team and ensure that the best and brightest voices have a seat at the table.  

This one-day summit brings you data, case studies, and expert insight to help you to:

  • Create a mentorship program that create growth pathways for all
  • Practice inclusive leadership to avoid mistakes you don’t even realize you are making
  • Identify and fix pay equity issues
  • Use Employee Resource Groups to empower diverse perspectives.
  • And much more.

This event is for all firm leaders to learn, network, and move beyond the status quo and become a leader on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.


Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

A/E/C CultureSHIFT Conference

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Registration and Breakfast

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Opening Remarks

Susan Israel SQSusan Israel, AIA
Senior Consultant
PSMJ Resources


9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

Opening Keynote:
"Dancing on Eggshells: How to Have Open and Honest Conversations About DEI at Your A/E/C Firm"

Bobby Bakshi

Despite the attention on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging, most A/E/C firm executives take a back seat. Even those that appoint a principal to improve representation in the leadership ranks may feel reluctant to position the shift as integral to firm mission and values. Often, it's because they worry about saying the wrong thing, so they walk on eggshells and learn to stay quiet. This is harmful to all of us. 

Bobby Bakshi spent almost a decade at Microsoft before leading People & Culture (HR) roles at mid-sized firms. Known for leading with compassion and courage to help people bridge divides, he brings a breadth and depth of experience to this journey of DEI, culture transformation and leadership development, only sharing practices that he has experienced himself.

In this session, you learn how to lead discussions and decisions on DEI without fear of misstep and with a clear plan of action for driving critical change, with A/E/C - specific ways to step into action and ensure all voices are heard. 

10:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Networking Break

10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

Panel Discussion:
Formal and informal policies to support your DEI strategy.

Do you have a DEI strategy? Is DEI in your strategic goals? If you have no plan and DEI isn't wired into your top goals, then how committed are you? Hear from our panelists how to build a strategy with backbone. Culture takes deliberate, sustained attention, whether through formal or informal policies. Stop overlooking the talent you have and create a culture that develops everyone's highest potential, raises your team's engagement, productivity, and retention.

  • Sandra "Sam" Buehler, CFO, Pope Design Group
  • Peggy McDonough Jan, AIA, LEED AP, President, MHTN Architects
  • Rebekah Barton, Principal & CFO, Method Studio Architects
11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Lunch and Special Address: "A/E/C Compensation Transparency"

Susan Israel SQSusan Israel, AIA
PSMJ Resources


1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Networking Break

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Keynote Address:
"Why your A/E/C Firm's Inclusion and Diversity Plan Isn’t Going to Work"

Cynthai HendersonTo execute projects and grow your bottom line in a tight labor market, you know how essential it is to recruit and retain the best staff. Unfortunately, many A/E firm leaders overlook three critical and interconnected issues that derail growth: One, they don't prioritize the representation of women in leadership roles, which impacts the recruitment and retention of younger staff members. Secondly, they overlook the impact of toxic individuals on staff, which impacts underrepresented groups. Lastly, a toxic culture undermines efforts toward diversity and inclusion. Using real-world examples, Cynthia Henderson, founder and principal engineer of Cypress Environment & Infrastructure (2022 Inc 5000's #15 fastest-growing engineering firm) shows us how to identify the problems curtailing growth and provides solutions to promote diversity and inclusion. As an engineer with 23 years of leadership experience, Cynthia knows how your firm can attract and retain more women.


2:15 PM - 2:45PM

Networking Break

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Panel Discussion:
Beyond your firm's door: Create an inclusive culture.

Attract and retain top talent, clients, and choice projects by going outside your firm to create a culture that values diversity. Recruiting, building a pipeline, bringing in role models and mentors from outside your organization, and connecting to your community locally and globally are just a few of the strategies that our panelists will discuss in detail. Hear case studies and specific tactics and creative approaches from industry leaders.

  • Serena Jang, P.E. GE, Langan Engineering. Engineers Without Borders
  • Terri Howard,  Associate Vice President, Director of Equity, 
  • Jason Pugh,  Global Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Gensler
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Networking Break

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Closing Keynote:
"Culture-Shift Driven Growth: How One A/E Firm Prioritized Leadership Diversity and Reaped the Rewards"

Christian Giordano Headshot sqBolanle Williams-Olley SqWhen A/E industry veteran Christian Giordano became President of national design firm Mancini Duffy, and then majority owner, he knew that hitting his aggressive growth targets hinged on landing the most innovative talent, and that meant changing the culture to lift traditionally underrepresented employee groups into leadership roles.

In our closing keynote, Christian and Mancini Duffy’s CFO and Co-owner Bolanle Williams-Olley share fascinating examples of intentional actions and tactics the 100+-year-old firm employed to radically realign the C-Suite with expectations of the new workforce, growing from $5 million to $23 million in under 6 years. Their business-focused approach to leadership DEI holds valuable lessons for all A/E/C leaders.

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

A/E/C CultureSHIFT, A/E/C MarketPRO, and A/E/C THRIVE Reception