Announcement | June 19, 2020

CRTKL on Systemic Change

From Kelly Farrell, CEO

Hi Everyone,

We are halfway into 2020, and the resilience of our global community is inspiring.  Our ability to lean into conversations, listen and learn, makes us stronger as we move forward.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the benefit of listening and learning from many people about our role in fighting racism, sexism, and bias.

Through dialogue, we are all able to learn and influence. We make progress when we take personal inventory, make purposeful commitments, and advance actions.  Today, I want to talk in detail about CRTKL and the actions we are taking.  There is a lot to share here, and I thank you in advance for your time.

As a firm, we recognize the inherent value in a diverse workforce and an inclusive work environment –more holistic and equitable decision-making, higher performance and more innovation, and greater employee connection and engagement. We know we can do more as a team than as individuals. Our global reach and influence allow us to make substantive progress as we amplify our efforts and channel them toward progress.

We value the differences among people and the contribution these differences bring to our business. It is everyone’s responsibility to live and endorse a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at CallisonRTKL.  Collectively, we must actively work against racism, sexism, and other forms of bias.

We recognize that certain groups are underrepresented in our workforce and our industry. We are working to make waves here as we believe that a focused commitment to implementing practices and actions will help us continue to create a strong and dynamic company and industry.

Much of our influence moves at a generational pace.  Diversity in our industry needs to move faster.

CRTKL continues to advance our commitment to a just workplace and world through:

  1. Transparency in our operations, policies, and procedures
  2. Developing equity through our benefits and programs
  3. Partnering with diverse businesses that reflect our communities
  4. Creating resilient and equitable design solutions in our cities and communities.
  5. Recruiting Black, Indigenous, people of all colors, and the LGBTQIA community partnering with institutions who serve to advance mentorship and industry connections
  6. Using our global platform to impact and advance societal issues.

Transparency in our operations, policies, and procedures

In August 2019, we started a serious review of our operations, policies and procedures using the International Living Future Institutes (ILFI) JUST platform.  ILFI provides transparency to both employees and the market about our treatment of employees, where we make both financial and community investments.

As social infrastructure systems and benefits vary by region, we worked through the North American submission first and will move to other regions around the globe next. Our US submission is almost ready, and while we would typically wait for final approval to celebrate this with you, it only seems right that we share where we are now and what we want to focus on for advancement in the future.  Make time to attend one of the JUST presentations in the upcoming weeks; share your thoughts and feedback. CRTKL (US), once approved, will represent the largest organization in the program. We are calling on our industry counterparts and partners to join us in this move toward transparency. Thank you, Yarden Harari, Joey-Michelle Hutchison, Pablo LaRoche, Anna Leach and Sandra Whipp for heading this initiative.

During the JUST presentation, you will hear much of our benefits and programs, which have gained us a strong status under the rating system.  Our global Human Resources team actively responds to employee feedback, and addresses individual needs as personally as possible, evolving our benefits through time based on your feedback.  Our benefits program is designed to support our people and provides much more than an annual physical.  From adoption benefits and infertility support, to mental health benefits and gender transition, to counseling and a prescription drug program that supports serious ailments regardless of costs. I encourage you to take a moment to review the benefits to best use them.  While we can’t do everything, we do our best to continue to find solutions that fit your needs and those of your loved ones.

Partnering with diverse businesses that reflect our communities

Our current policies affirm our position and bring conviction to action on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Affirmative Action, Anti-Discrimination, and Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking in our supply chains.  Many of you have provided feedback around these policies so that they can reflect our active commitment to fighting racism and discrimination in both our business operations and our work.

We are analyzing the data in our consultant and vendor supply chains to make certain that CRTKL partners and supports diverse businesses that reflect our communities.  Once we establish the baseline, we will share our commitment metric with you, and we can hold each other accountable for the results.

Creating resilient and equitable design solutions in our cities and communities

Policy affects our work as much as it does our people. As planners, architects and designers, we know that both projects and community policies have intended and unintended consequences.  Through our work and partnering with our clients, CRTKL will more actively pursue equitable design solutions in our cities and communities. We will leverage the global scale of our firm and use that platform to influence change and action.

Using our global platform to impact and advance societal issues 

We have long held a conviction that real action and real change come with doing the work—not just cash donations. CRTKL is reinforcing our commitment to diversity in our workplace and is working with firms around the industry to create opportunities for marginalized professionals through various programs.

We are committed to what we endorse, and last year, senior levels of the firm participated in mandatory Bias training to expand their views, reflect on our beliefs, and advocate for action. This year we are extending training across the entire organization, focusing on unconscious bias, microaggressions and bystander intervention. Take the time to complete this training, do the work, and make our culture stronger for all.

Many CRTKL offices work with the ACE mentoring program to help introduce high school students to the architecture, construction and engineering fields before they enroll in college.  This exposure has made progress in the pursuit of increasing diversity in our industry.

Today, CRTKL represents a diverse community of people; you can see our diversity data here.  While diverse, we recognize that certain groups are underrepresented in our firm and throughout the industry, especially Black professionals, with Black architects comprising only 2% of all practicing architects for years.

Earlier this year, we joined the President’s Circle of NOMA, the National Organization of Minority Architects, as a patron member to have a stronger voice and a more substantial impact – NOMA partners with organizations that are committed to the advancement of minority architects. NOMA is committed to strengthening the DEI efforts we support.  They have a broad network of professionals for us to both engage with and recruit into CRTKL.  Our research intern is joining us through NOMA this summer. I look forward to all of us engaging with NOMA through recruiting, networking, and their Project Pipeline initiatives, as they move the next generation of students into the profession.

Last fall, we began our engagement with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in concert with the AIA Large Firm Roundtable.  Our recruiting teams will take part in the HBCUs 20×20 interview program.  We are committed to collaborating with HBCUs in the advancement of programs and in supporting students and alumni.

CRTKL has additionally committed to the NY-based Build Out Alliance, which promotes and advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people serving openly and with pride in all roles within the building design and construction industry. Alliance members strive to make the industry more welcoming to LGBTQIA professionals. Much progress towards greater inclusivity has been made in our industry over the past decade, and more needs to be done. Research has shown that many LGBTQIA employees are not comfortable being open about their sexual orientation in the workplace and still face harassment on active construction sites.

We are committed to funding a formalized CRTKL Social Action Committee that allows people at all levels of our practice to use corporate funds to make social change in their communities.  The program will roll out through INET, so please stay tuned for further details.

There are many advancements we, as a community, can make and many that we, as individuals, must own.  I ask everyone when you are selected for a panel or asked to offer your expertise, take the time to make sure the voices joining you reflect the diverse race, sex, and age of the community we want.  Be bold, use our platform, and advance the standing of others.  Action starts with all of us.

The CRTKL platform has a broad reach; our social and media channels are responsible for promoting CRTKL’s position to the market.  I encourage you to share your voice through our external communications channels.  Firmwide communications is working to make sure our platform reflects more than our position on the work; we will use our platform to reflect the opportunities and challenges of our communities and people.

Leadership is all of our responsibility, not just a management position.  Let us step up as leaders, take care of our people, our communities and become the change we want to see. Thank you all for your honesty, your participation and engagement. I sincerely look forward to continued dialogue and progress.

Kelly Farrell AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, CEO