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NBBJ and ESI Design Form Anti-Racism Task Force

Posted June 17, 2020

The group is comprised of colleagues from around the firm who will make recommendations on changes for prompt implementation to strengthen and build our anti-racist policies, procedures and strategies.


Since the tragic death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the many other victims who came before them, we stand in solidarity with the Black community in the fight against systemic racism. We are encouraged that the movement to eradicate systemic racism is taking shape in the United States and around the world. We recognize that in our own profession – and importantly, in our own firm – we can do more to help eliminate racism.

Starting immediately NBBJ and ESI Design pledge to turn our conviction for change into increased, proactive action.  Today, NBBJ is forming an Anti-Racism Task Force that is comprised of colleagues from around our firm. This task force will be organized around three phases of work:

Conversations Forums: While we seek fast action, we also understand that solutions cannot be developed without first giving everyone a chance to be heard. We also recognize that in a predominately white industry, we need those most impacted by injustice to help lead and shape the path forward. These forums will be a place to share stories, pain and ideas.

Insight Harvesting: As the task force synthesizes what they’ve heard from colleagues, they will conduct  outside research and discuss ideas with experts in our industry and beyond. Their work will include benchmarking of policies and structures enacted outside our organization that could lead to meaningful change within.

Forward Action: The task force will present recommendations to firm leadership. These solutions could range from rethinking mentorship opportunities and charitable giving to recruitment priorities and promotion criteria. We recognize impactful solutions will need to tackle both the long-term systemic nature of racism and also policies more easily changed today.

At the same time, we will press forward with our existing commitment to diversify talent via:

NBBJ and ESI Design’s Workforce

  • A proactive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion program as part of our comprehensive strategy to attract talent, enable a better hiring process and support a thriving workplace, while ensuring we foster creativity and empathy. Diversity is part of investing in a company that is built to last.
  • Recruitment programs designed to increase staff diversity at all levels of the firm
  • Contributions to the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).
  • Unconscious bias education.

College and Graduate Students

  • Engagement with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for internships and recruitment.

High School Career Exploration

  • Contributions and participation in the ACE Mentor program and Hip Hop Architecture to encourage minority students to consider careers in architecture, engineering and construction.

Like many of you, NBBJ and ESI Design see this as a moment to commit to a better future. We approach these efforts with urgency, humility and hope while taking the necessary time to listen, learn and then act. We look forward to sharing our progress as we go forward.

ESI Design

ESI Design, an NBBJ studio, transforms places into experiences that seamlessly weave the physical and digital worlds together.

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