Event Invitation – The Power of Colour: Being Black in Design

The Power of Colour Being Black in Design Panel Discussion
The Power of Colour Being Black in Design Panel Discussion

ARIDO’s Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement Committee is pleased to announce the panel series, The Power of Colour: Being Black in Design.

It is the 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. The three-part series will address the barriers, challenges, and issues in the industry experienced by Black professionals and newcomers. Further, the series will identify 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 will focus 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, and when accessing 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?

July 14, 2021 – 4:30 PM – 6 PM – 1.5 hours

Panelists: Alyssa Griffith (Designs by Alyssa) and Robin Fraser, ARIDO (Fraser Design Studio)

Moderator: Chandran Fernando, Matrix360

Welcome and Introductions: Golnar Raissi-Dehkordi, ARIDO (Mayhew)

This session is eligible for 1.5 GE CEU credits.

Our Speakers

Robin Fraser, ARIDO is a self-described interior conceptualizer. This all-encompassing designation is a much more apt description of her approach to and relationship with design than that of an Interior Designer. For over 37 years, Robin has developed a distinguished international resume with work in Asia and Canada. A belief in the process and in function has garnered Robin a reputation as thorough, informed, and relevant. Her impressive inventory of skills, her conviction, and intimate rapport with design and food can be seen in her featured appearances on the Food Network’s television series “Restaurant Makeover”.

Recognized for her decisive, risk-taking and imaginative role on a project; Robin’s work encompassed both hospitality and commercial. An animated, colorful visionary, she maintains that not only does she love what she does and she’s good at what she does. Robin prides herself on the ability of bringing the conceptual into reality, likening her approach to that of a filmmaker who “works in frames”. Robin Fraser challenges space, frame by frame, leaving it simple yet complete.

Alyssa Griffith is a Toronto based designer who earned her Bachelor of Interior Design at the International Academy of Design and Technology. She has 10 years experience working in the interior design industry with a focus on residential design.

She began her career as a Junior Designer working closely with residential builders, millwork companies and high end design firms. Alyssa continues to work in the industry as a freelance interior design consultant.

Moderator: Chandran Fernando, Matrix360

Headshot Chandran Fernando

Chandran Fernando is the Founder and Managing Partner of Matrix360, a boutique diverse-owned talent management and workplace strategy firm.

Matrix360 has been engaged by ARIDO’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee to advise and guide their work.

Welcome & Introductions: Golnar Raissi-Dehkordi, ARIDO

Golnar Raissi Dehkordi

Golnar Raissi-Dehkordi, ARIDO is a Senior Registered Interior Designer at Mayhew Inc. She has been with Mayhew for 6+ years with focus on workplace and higher education interior design. She established her Residential Interior Design practice in 2016 as a side hustle and has been working on residential projects since then.

She first joined ARIDO as a student member in 2010 and since then has completed all the steps and requirements to become a voting member of the Interior Design community. In 2017 she completed the requirements for the NCIDQ certification and continues to keep abreast of developments within the industry.

Session 2 – Save the Date!

Session 1 will be followed by a discussion on Hiring Practices & Newcomers to Ontario. Save the Date for July 21st -you won’t want to miss this important conversation.

July 21, 2021 – 4:30 – 6 pm

Event Invitation: The Power of Colour: Being Black in Design – Session 2: Hiring Practices & Newcomers to Ontario

The Power of Colour: Being Black in Design with Session 2: Hiring Practices & Newcomers to Ontario

ARIDO’s Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement Committee is pleased to continue the panel series, The Power of Colour: Being Black in Design with Session 2: Hiring Practices & Newcomers to Ontario.

The second session will address 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 session will examine barriers and challenges that exist and how ARIDO can address and create better solutions for opportunities within the industry.

What are the current barriers that limit the recruitment and growth of Black professionals and newcomers in the design industry? What role can ARIDO play in addressing the limitations for opportunities for Black professionals and newcomers?

July 21, 2021 – 4:30 – 6 pm – 1.5 hours

4:00 PM – Event Platform open for Networking
4:30 PM – 6 PM – Panel session (read about our Panelists below)
6:00 PM – 6:30 PM – Wrap Up and Networking

Welcome & Introductions: Mahesh Babooram, Hon. ARIDO

Panelists: Yasmien Fadl, ARIDO and Sine-Tibeb Workneh, ARIDO

Moderator: Chandran Fernando, Matrix360

This session is eligible for 1.5 GE CEU credits.

Accessibility Notes: Members with disabilities who wish to request accommodations or who have questions about access, please contact communications@arido.ca in advance of the session.

Our Panelists:

Yasmien Fadl, ARIDO

Originally from Sudan, Yasmien grew up in the in UAE & Canada. She is a creative strategist with 17 years of multi-disciplinary interior design, thought leadership, workplace strategy, change management and project delivery experience on the consulting and client side. She has worked overseas and in Canada in multiple design sectors (mainly retail, hospitality and workplace), and is currently the Head of Workplace Design, Experience & Change Management for TD Enterprise Real Estate. Her core focus is crafting people-centric workplace experiences that are resonant, inclusive, responsive and meaningful: “The workplace experience should be the product of thoughtful, proactive decisioning that meets the moment – Diversity is our collective strength, and our workspaces, policies and leadership should reflect that.”

Sine-Tibeb Workneh, ARIDO

Sine-Tibeb started her higher education in Civil Engineering at the University of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, then proceeded in Interior Architecture at FH Coburg, Germany. In 2002, she graduated with Bachelor’s Degree and won the award of Outstanding International Student by DAAD, (German Academic Exchange Service) During her education, she had the opportunity to do internships in Coburg, Belin, Addis Abeba, and Kumasi, Ghana. These international exposures played a vital role in her innovative furniture design presented in Furniture Fairs in Cologne and Milan. In Canada, she has 16 years of experience in the cabinet industry. In December 2012, she joined the team of Lucvaa Kitchens in Toronto, where she enjoys designing for direct clients and collaborating with Interior Designers, Architects, and Builders. Her works are mainly residential projects, designing millwork for living spaces, kitchens, bathrooms, or anywhere where cabinets are needed. It is essential to her to listen to clients and focus on the fine detailing that results in aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces.

Chandran Fernando, Matrix360

Welcome & Introductions:
Mahesh Babooram, Hon. ARIDO

Call for Panellists- The Power of Colour: Being Black in Design

This spring, ARIDO will host the first of a series of exploratory town hall conversations led by our diverse members to share their experiences working in the interior design field.

Our first conversation is to explore and understand the Black experience in Design, and access to career opportunities in the field. We invite our members from the Black communities to participate and share their experiences and insights as panellists.

Hosted by Chandran Fernando of Matrix360, this virtual conversation is a first step in identifying and acknowledging systemic barriers that exist, to identify tangible solutions, and begin a sustainable journey to address and eradicate these barriers.

Members at all levels of their careers are invited to put their name forward.

Please submit your name to the Diversity and Inclusion Committee via the link below.

ARIDO’s Statement on Black History Month

ARIDO has recognized that throughout our tenure, we have failed to embrace the contributions of Black communities and the importance of the month of February-as Black History Month in Canada. We are committed to progressive change and doing better.

We have begun the work in identifying key areas of improvement that we can make as an organization to represent, engage and partner with Black communities and the many diverse communities we serve. Our first step is to acknowledge that the celebration of Black History should not be limited to 28 days, but must be celebrated 365 days a year.

We will hold a town hall conversation- The Power of Colour: Being Black in Design later this Spring. We are reaching out to the membership with an open call inviting those members who have an interest in participating in this panel, to do so.

As we ramp up our dive into areas of change, we encourage our members to join the conversation and the journey.

ARIDO Diversity and Inclusion Committee Formed

The ARIDO Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been formed with the following mandate:
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee will support ARIDO to further its continued commitment to foster and uphold diversity and inclusion in the interior design profession. ARIDO values each of its members, their qualifications, and their right to practice Interior Design in Ontario. This Committee will review all upcoming priorities and initiatives, as well as identify activities that do not currently exist, in order to determine where we can enhance and raise the association’s commitment to accessibility, equity, diversity, and inclusion for all.
The Committee will focus on four distinct areas:
  • the profession of interior design currently practicing in Ontario
  • potential or emerging designers and increasing their inclusion into the profession
  • supporting ARIDO staff within their workplace and their interactions with others
  • public education around the value of interior design services and their accessibility to clients of all needs.
The Committee’s work has begun and they will provide updates to the membership as their work progresses, along with opportunities for the membership to provide feedback.
If you have a concern or suggestion to raise with the committee, or something you want them to address, please contact one of the committee Chairs.
Golnar Raissi, co-Chair | goli.raissi@gmail.com
Mahesh Babooram, co-Chair | mbabooram@officesource.ca
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is:
Top row: Golnar Raissi, co-Chair; Mahesh Babooram, co-Chair; Lucia De Biasio, Kathryn Lawrence, Amy Pothier. Bottom row: Maia Roffey, Luipa Tamanna, Sine-Tibeb Workneh, Sharon Portelli, ARIDO staff; Irma Kemp, ARIDO staff.