Hosted in celebration Pride Month, the office celebrated at our Pride Panel & Happy Hour event. We listened and learned from a remarkable panel of industry leaders including Mithun Associate Interior Designer & Researcher K Kaczmarek (he/they), One Workplace Experiences + Engagement Manager Matt Thompson (he/him), and our very own principal Jeremiah Bowles. These leaders discussed their careers, queer advocacy at work, and experiences cultivating a more inclusive AEC industry.

Key Takeaways:

  1. You have the power to transform situations.
    The panelists shared experiences of facing difficult situations, such as being tokenized or asked to perform extra emotional labor. They highlighted the importance of transforming these challenges into opportunities that align with your values. Matt Thompson recounted a moment in his career when his queer advocacy efforts were questioned at a new company. He used this experience to educate people on his terms and established his company’s LGBTQ employee resource group.
  2. Lead by learning & observing objectively.
    Navigating the industry involves managing and mentoring your team, as well as responding effectively during conflicts. As the principal of Lund Opsahl, Jeremiah Bowles acknowledges how frequently he has learned from his employees about being a better leader. He emphasized that he continues to learn how to navigate conflict every day and stressed the importance of learning to set aside your ego.
  3. If we have such an expansive ability for change, so can the industry.
    K Kaczmarek, reflecting on their journey of change in both career and gender identity, marveled at how profoundly people can transform. They acknowledged how minuscule and slow change can feel in this industry and draw back on their own lived experience to maintain hope that change is possible, and the industry can be so much more expansive than it is now.

Happy hour and networking followed the discussion, giving attendees a chance to connect with panelists and amongst themselves.

Happy Pride! We owe an immense thank you to our panelists for their vulnerability and insights. Read more stories from our LGBTQ employees sharing their journeys and what it means to feel included and celebrated at work.