48 interiors+sources march2018 interiorsandsources.com
Discomfort is often necessary for growth and the struggle for equality continues. Platforms like #metoo and #timesup empower many to take a stance by sharing their personal experiences. The collective battle cry is that the status quo
is no longer acceptable. And even the term “diversity”—which is essentially
defined as “differences”—is not always met with positive reactions. The
2016 IIDA Industry Roundtable explored the broader definition of diversity,
from value systems to work styles. The report
concluded “myriad studies conducted across
all industry sectors have demonstrated that a
diverse and inclusive workforce is a competi-
tive advantage, a driver of innovation that’s
good for creativity and for the bottom line.”
IIDA has always made diversity a priority.
While women are a majority in the interior
design profession, there aren’t many women
of color and women hold less than 25
percent of leadership positions in design
firms. To imagine possibilities, young people
need to see examples, such as design
educators and mentors. And firms should take a look at their recruiting
strategies—sometimes achieving diversity simply requires thinking differently
and getting out of your comfort zone.
“We all have unique experiences and viewpoints,” said Gabrielle Bullock,
IIDA, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP BD+C. “Diversity is not limited to race or gender;
it also encompasses creeds, talents, thoughts, ideas, sexual orientation, and
religion, as well as physical and mental abilities.” Bullock is the president
elect of the IIDA International Board and a principal at Perkins+Will. She
joined the firm more than 26 years ago, first in New York—she was born and
raised in the Bronx—and later relocated to the firm’s Los Angeles office.
Bullock splits her time between managing complex, civic-focused
projects around the world and serving as the director of Perkins+Will’s global
diversity, inclusion, and engagement program. She evaluates challenges faced
by the firm’s individual offices, gathers feedback from staff, and develops
strategies to address them, such as leadership training that confronts
unconscious biases or retooling recruiting and onboarding processes.
Throughout her career, Bullock has surpassed several milestones: She
was the second black woman to earn an architecture degree from the
Rhode Island School of Design, the first black woman to hold the position of
managing director of the Perkins+Will Los Angeles office, and she is one of
only 404 black women who are licensed architects in the U.S. Yet Bullock
doesn’t want those numbers to define her. As the IIDA International Board
president, Bullock will draw upon her experiences to build a platform
focused on inclusivity. Before she takes any stances, Bullock will seek
data on demographics and statistics related to timely topics, such as
licensure and certification.
“The interior design profession includes many people who are positive,
engaging, and energetic,” Bullock noted. “But beyond the fabulous parties,
we need to celebrate that by engaging our communities, emphasizing the
importance of design, and telling our personal stories that convey the
inclusivity and diversity within our profession.”
She’s already setting an example: Bullock was recently profiled in a Los
Angeles Times article highlighting her career path and leadership accomplish-
ments. She looks forward to working with IIDA leadership and staff to assess
the priorities of members and identify ways in which to continue to improve
the profession from the inside out.
As the Executive Vice President and CEO of the
International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Cheryl
Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, is committed to achieving
broad recognition for the value of design and its significant
role in society through both functionality and engagement
in everyday workspaces and the built environment.
By Cheryl Durst | Photography courtesy of IIDA
DIVERSIT Y ISN’T
A DIRT Y WORD
IIDA is making strides to cultivate a more inclusive profession for the design world.
Diversity is not limited
to race or gender; it also
encompasses creeds, talents,
thoughts, ideas, sexual orientation,
and religion, as well as physical
and mental abilities.
—Gabrielle Bullock, IIDA, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP BD+C