Diversity & Inclusion: A Panel

14 February 2018

Who knew that the topic of Diversity & Inclusion was so entertaining? The three invited panel members at the panel event last night - Felicity Evans GM of HR at ANZ, Russell Windsor Partner & Culture Leader at PwC, and Kirsten Te Wao Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Vodafone - were all informative, interesting, inspirational and often absolutely hilarious. Natasha Markham navigated the conversation, adding the architectural slant to an issue affecting every aspect of people's working lives. We feel confident that everyone in attendance learned something new, as well as having instincts and anecdotal observations confirmed.

One of many gems was the clarity around diversity and profitibility of an organisation - if you don't believe the business case for increasing your pool of talent selection base by now, you are apprently at least 10 years behind. The research and observations have established that diversity is good business, as well as just being the right thing to do. (Organisations with gender diversity across leadership levels out-perform equivalent companies by 15%, organisations with ethnic diversities across leadership levels out-perform equivalent companies by 35%)

Increasing the breadth of conversation amongst organisation members (in our case, architectural staff at all levels from graduates to leaders) quite simply leads to better outcomes and possibly more engagement.

Targets were discussed - are they effective or are they symbolic, tokenism, and possibly insulting? The panel's verdict? Effective. Targets force change. One of the many quotes of the night came from Kirsten te Wao on her response to this topic:  "I am not a token, I am a taonga." (There were several moments throughout the evening of spontaneous applause from the audience and this was one of them.)

Institutional targets also show publicly what is regarded as important and what is valued by that company. Legitimising policy such as (gender-neutral) flexible hours and (gender-neutral) paid parental leave shows that companies/practices value family units - desperately needed in the culture of architectural practices which have long subsisted on long-hour habits.

The audience were reminded that everyone involved with your organisation - from clients to incoming staff - are critiquing your organisation profile - do you reflect them?

The evening was opened by A+W NZ Secretary Divya Purushotham followed by a beautiful waiata by Amber Ruckes, with moderator Natasha Markham taking over to ask the architecturally-focussed questions of the incredibly diverse, capable, fascinating and humorous panellists. Questions from the floor capped off the evening and we were lucky enough to continue the conversation with some of the panellists at the post-event drinks. For those who missed out, a video link will be available on this page once material is edited.

A big thank you to the three panellists, Natasha Markham, sponsors Warren and Mahoney - and WaM principal Andrew Tu'inukuafe for instigating this event.

A+W NZ Organising Team;  Divya Purushotham

(This article was re-published by ArchitectureNow on 3 April 2018)


Booked Out!!! (Venue limit = 100)

(email us if you wish to be on a 'wait list' - and please let us know if you have booked but cannot make it so we can release your ticket to others).

What does Diversity and Inclusion even mean for architectural practices? We're doing pretty well, aren't we? How do we do better?

Let's listen for a while to those who have been making headway in answering these kinds of questions in other (very large) organisations. A+W NZ and WaM are hosting a panel where we can hear how barriers are reduced in other workplaces - following the research and conscious addressing of issues of diversity and inclusion in their own companies.
To ask the architectural questions, Natasha Markham will be moderating the panel.

'Inclusive' is one of our two core aims as an organisation - we are passionate about working towards shaping a profession that doesn't overlook talent.

Felicity Evans GM of HR at ANZ
Russell Windsor Partner & Culture Leader at PwC
Kirsten Te Wao Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Vodafone

Moderated by;
Natasha Markham Director, MAUD / 76 Small Rooms

Where:  Warren and Mahoney, Auckland
  Ground Floor, Mason Bros Building
             139 Pakenham Street West, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland
When:   22 March, 5:30pm drinks / 6pm Panel start
Cost:     Free
Please register at Eventbrite for catering purposes - note that the venue limit is 100, and tickets are booking fast.

Because tickets will book out, please bring tickets on the night.
Thank you to sponsors Warren and Mahoney