ARIDO publishes Diversity and Equity Workplace Audit by Matrix360

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 Chandy Principle Workplace Audit Report

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.

The DEWA 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.

ARIDO strategic plan bold statement
The Bold Statement

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.

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

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.

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.

For any questions or comments, please contact Sharon Portelli, Executive Director & Registrar at

ARIDO releases DIV.e.IN Survey Insights Report and the Chandy Principle™, Phase One Report

Earlier this year, ARIDO hired Matrix360, a third-party talent management and workplace strategy organization to lead the Association and the Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Advancement Committee (EDAA) committee with our work. This work included diversity training, a survey that engaged the ARIDO membership, and an initial recommendations report identifying a roadmap for ARIDO’s next steps.

ARIDO is pleased to share with the membership the results of the DIV.e.IN Survey Insights Report and the Chandy Principle™, Phase One Report.

The Matrix DIV.e.IN™ Survey Insights Report

The Matrix DIV.e.IN ™ survey system 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.

The Matrix DIV.e.IN™ survey was sent to all 2,753 ARIDO members in spring 2021. That 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.

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 multigenerational membership that acknowledges there is room for improvement for access to opportunities for diverse equity-seeking groups.

Champions of Diversity and Equity

We encourage members to review the full report. Pages 8 to 13 of the report contain highlights of the examination and 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

The Chandy Principle™, Phase One 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.

Image with the cover of the Chandy Principle Report

Next Steps

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

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

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 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

EVENT: CREED Council ‘The Dawn of a New Era’

Join CREED Council (Commercial Real Estate Equity and Diversity Council) and their esteemed panelists in an intimate discussion on why diversity and inclusion are essential for our industry’s future success. These CRE leaders spotlight how to move from words to meaningful change in our workplaces and communities. Now is the time to change the way we acquire, manage and develop our investments including human capital.

DATE Thursday, June 17, 2021
TIME 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
FORMAT A live webinar on Zoom

This event is eligible for 1 GE CEU for ARIDO members.


Sonny Kalsi, CEO, BentallGreenOak (BGO)

Andrea Del Zotto, Director and Executive Vice President, Tridel

Pino Di Mascio, Head of Impact Strategy and Delivery, Dream

Sunita Mahant, Head of Global Initiatives, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Sr. Director, Legal Affairs, Ivanhoe Cambridge and member of CREED Council


Celina Caesar-Chavannes Business Consultant, International Speaker and Sr. Advisor, EDI Initiatives and Adjunct Lecturer at Queen’s University

CREED Panelists
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