Publisher’s Message: October 2020

Anastasia Barnes

Fall has arrived. There’s something comforting to me about the changing season, especially after the challenging summer we’ve all had.

The pandemic has made us stop and look at who we are and how we function, as individuals and as a society.  Although our daily routines have been drastically altered due to COVID-19, we have also no-doubt evolved as professionals, as parents, and as people.

There is a profound shift among us. The Black Lives Matter movement has demanded systemic change. We, as a nation, are being asked to act on what we believe, and to make necessary changes at home, at school, and at work.

John F. Fish

It’s happening in our very industry. We’re seeing exciting changes. The Real Estate Roundtable (RER), a group comprised of 24 leaders from different disciplines across the nation’s commercial real estate industry, recently established an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, being chaired by Jeff T. Blau of Related Companies. The group also recently named John F. Fish as the chair-elect. Fish will succeed current Roundtable chair, Debra A. Cafaro, who comments that “John’s emphasis on labor force issues, infrastructure, and the need to level the educational and economic opportunities for all Americans are particularly relevant as The Roundtable develops and advocates fact-based policies that create jobs and inclusive economic growth.”

On page 29, Alondra De Leon, a project manager for Gilbane Building Company, writes about her experience as a woman of color in the industry and the impacts of representation and inclusion within a firm or organization.

Alondra De Leon

I highly recommend you listen to our second episode of season two of the Build Better podcast. I had so much fun interviewing Yiselle Santos Rivera. Yiselle, a senior medical planner at HKS, Inc. in Washington D.C. also serves as the firm’s global director of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She explains that “leaders need to be vulnerable, welcome the opportunity to be challenged, and not be afraid to make mistakes.” She challenges us all to ask, “Are we representing our communities right now? Are we really representing the people who will be impacted by our designs?”

This desire to improve our communities is contagious. The vice president for clinical affairs at U of M Twin Cities, Jakub Tolar, mentions that part of his school’s new initiative is to “develop new collective values, a shared recognition of the importance of diversity, new strengths in problem-solving, and a system that rewards courage above conformity.” Read more on page 40.

October marks our annual focus on the corporate and interiors world. IIDA New England held its 13th Annual Virtual Design Awards on Sept. 16. Check out all of the award winners on page 13!

Thursday, Nov. 6 is the Construction Institute’s Leadership Conference. I’m excited to be moderating a panel that focuses on leading a team in the face of challenges. Check out our calendar in the back of this issue to learn more, or visit our events page on our newly-designed website! We’ll be making a bigger deal out of it next month!

ABX 2020 will be held on Dec. 2-3, and it will be virtual this year!  Check out our weekly newsletter or look out for more info on HP’s social media channels.  Oh yeah, follow us on social media, would’ya?

The focus for our November issue is on life science facilities.  Break out the lab coats, folks!

Enjoy the read!

Anastasia Barnes

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