Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement work at ARIDO

ARIDO's work in Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement started in 2020 and has continued throughout 2021 and 2022. ARIDO is committed to pursuing this work and is currently following the Action Plan outlined in the The Chandy Principle™, Phase One Report report which was published in September 2021 and was followed up by the Chandy Principle Diversity and Equity Workplace Audit published in November 2022.

This work is being led by the Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement Committee which has also established four Affinity Group Subcommittees composed of ARIDO Members and members of the Ontario design community to move this work forward.

The Chandy Principle™ Diversity and Equity Workplace Audit (DEWA) - November 2022

As ARIDO’s work with Matrix360 continues towards advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility continues, we are pleased to share the results of an organizational audit recently conducted into ARIDO’s internal governance, marketing, communications, leadership processes, and policies through an equity lens. This audit supports the recommendations outlined within the Phase 1 report released by Matrix360 in fall 2021 which was in response to the Matrix DIV.e.IN™ survey results obtained Spring 2021.

The audit, designed and executed by Matrix360, is the The Chandy Principle™ Diversity and Equity Workplace Audit (DEWA). It was undertaken in Phase II of ARIDO’s work and uncovers insights through an examination of the organization’s culture, demographics, leadership teams, employee and member perspectives, and policies and procedures.

The DEWA audit provides a holistic perspective of organization’s diversity and equity progress, as well as opportunities to create processes and policies that further expand an organization’s commitment to a culture of excellence. The DEWA process carefully reviews, evaluates, and provides commentary on the current state of the organization’s workplace and framework through uncovering any hidden gaps, blind spots, and victories that are built into it.

DEWA Report findings

The audit has revealed that ARIDO’s current state is similar to many other organizations in relation to diversity, equity, and accessibility: improvements are needed to its existing infrastructure and culture, and these improvements must be a priority in order to truly advance the current state for the entire ARIDO community.

Throughout our journey, we have learned the need look inward, as needed, and identify where we can do better while also learning to reflect and have meaningful discussions to increase our collective awareness and actions. This has helped us to foster more thoughtful discussions and decisions that can positively impact the future of the organization, leadership, our members, and the broader community.

ARIDO’s 2022/2023 Strategic Plan is centered around a Bold Statement which confirms the organization’s commitment to honouring its responsibility as an industry leader to forge a new pathway to advance equity and diverse representation through actionable programs and policies.

Sharing the DEWA Report

We share this audit report and action plan with our members, design community, and the public at large to demonstrate our commitment to equity, transparency, progressive change, and leadership growth across the entire community.

While ARIDO continues its journey and work, we recognize the audit results reflect that we are in the early stages of our work, but we remain committed and invested to reinforcing value, fostering community, and inclusive engagement. We have much work ahead of us and are excited to continue our journey of growth and pave a pathway for others to join us.

Read the The Chandy Principle™ Diversity and Equity Workplace Audit (DEWA).

We encourage our members and community to review the audit report including the multi-year action plan that outlines our steps for progress. This action plan will form priorities for our Annual Strategic Plan over the next several years in combination with the ongoing work and initiatives of the organization’s programs and services.

It is highly encouraged to review the previously shared Matrix DIV.e.IN™ Survey Report and The Chandy Principle™ Phase One Report to better understand the demographics and perspectives of ARIDO.

The Matrix DIV.e.IN™ Survey Insights Report - September 2021

Champions of Diversity & Equity, The Matrix DIV.e.IN™ Survey Report was published in September 2021 and survey system created by Matrix360, the consultants who were hired by ARIDO to support this work. The framework is designed to provide an effective overview of member demographics, perspectives and attitudes, and a comparative analysis of key factors that are connected to diversity, equity and accessibility. The survey measures all aspects of the organization that includes valuable intelligence for blind spots, hidden gaps, and growth opportunities that directly impact members and the organization.

Surveying the ARIDO Membership

The Matrix DIV.e.IN™ survey was sent to all 2,753 ARIDO members in spring 2021. The participation rate for the survey was 35%. The data collected is reflective of the overall membership and ARIDO recognizes the need to consistently collect, measure, and report on an annual basis.

Survey Insights from the Membership

For ARIDO, the data reveals an association where a strong majority of members are highly committed to diversity, however, are unsure if ARIDO’s business framework and foundation is currently diverse and equitable. The vast majority of members believe that in interactions with the association and events they can expect to feel safe, and where a large majority of members have not experienced any form of discrimination, harassment, bullying, or stereotypes.

The overall framework of ARIDO seems to reveal a progressive, committed, and multi-generational membership that acknowledges there is room for improvement for access to opportunities for diverse equity-seeking groups.

We encourage members to review the full report. Pages 8 to 13 of the report contain highlights of the examination and are categorized in the following areas:

  • Demographic Overview
  • Diverse Representation
  • Perspectives for Advocacy and Communications
  • Perspectives for Initiatives and Events
  • Perspectives Related to Workplaces in the Industry

Read the Champions of Diversity & Equity - DIV.e. IN Survey Insights Report.

The Chandy Principle™, Phase One Report
Image with the cover of the Chandy Principle Report

This report was developed following the results of the DIV.e.IN Survey, organization wide sensitivity training, and through ongoing discussions between Matrix360 and ARIDO representatives. The report identifies a strategy roadmap for the association which outlines categories of actions. The ARIDO leadership, Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement Committee, and ARIDO Board of Management will all be involved in the action plan to lead ARIDO through next steps.

The next steps within the action plan started in fall 2021 and will continue for a 36-month period. As ARIDO begins this work with Matrix360, it will report back to the membership updates on the progress of this work.

Read The Chandy Principle™, Phase One Report.

We encourage members to read these reports and provide any feedback directly to ARIDO leadership via Sharon Portelli, Executive Director and Registrar at sportelli@arido.ca.

Affinity Groups

As part of the The Chandy Principle™, Phase One Report, the ARIDO Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement Committee established 4 subcommittees which will form ARIDO’s Affinity Groups.

These groups create opportunities for connecting members based on their commonalities while intentionally embracing differences. This will strengthen what diversity is within ARIDO, and recognize the value of each members’ experiences, identifies, skills, and competencies.

Currently, there are 4 subcommittees who are assisting with the design, development, management, and execution of the Plan of Action: the Foundation Subcommittee, the Education Subcommittee, the Awareness Subcommittee, and the Community Outreach subcommittee.

The complete information on each subcommittee is available at this link.

The Power of Colour Panel Series

In June 2021, ARIDO's Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement Committee held a panel series The Power of Colour: Being Black in Design. It was a first of a series of exploratory town hall conversations led by our diverse members to share their experiences and perspectives working in the interior design field.

It aimed to address the barriers, challenges, and issues in the industry experienced by Black professionals and newcomers. Further, the series identified tangible actions, on how to begin a journey to address, cultivate, and build better opportunities that welcome and advance the richness of diversity.

Session 1: Diversity in Interior Design and the Education System

The first of two sessions featured panelists Alyssa Griffith and Robin Fraser, ARIDO and was moderated by Chandran Fernando of Matrix360. A welcome and introduction message was presented by Golnar Raissi-Dehkordi.

Session 1 focused on the lack of diversity in the Interior Design profession and vendor pools, as well as the challenges and barriers Black professionals face in the educational system, access to professional networks, and employment opportunities in the industry.

How can the Interior Design education system better support Black professionals experiencing financial scarcity? How can structures be established to better integrate, support, and advance Black professionals?

Session 2: Hiring Practices & Newcomers to Ontario

The second session featured our Panelists Yasmien Fadl, ARIDO, and Siné-Tibeb Workneh, ARIDO and was moderated by Chandran Fernando, Matrix360. Welcomes and Introductions were performed by Mahesh Babooram, Hon. ARIDO.

The second session addressed the limitations of current hiring practices in the industry and the investment and commitment required to attract, support, advance, and grow Black professionals and newcomers. The Panelists also examined barriers and challenges that exist and how ARIDO can address and create better solutions for opportunities within the industry.

The 2021/22 Diversity and Inclusion Committee Members are:

Golnar Raissi-Dehkordi, co-Chair
Mahesh Babooram, co-Chair
Amy Pothier
Kathryn Lawrence
Lucia De Biasio
Luipa Tamanna
Maia Roffey
Sine-Tibeb Workneh
Farida Sadliwala
Jaenelle Murrell
Maridee Osolinsky
Marina Fensham
Sharon Portelli
Irma Kemp
Ali Moenck