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Building an Inclusive Future: Embracing the Power of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


By Shana Broback, Partner, Director of Human Resources, Rowland+Broughton Architecture, Urban Design, Interior Design, Aspen and Denver, Colorado

In today’s rapidly evolving world, organizations everywhere are realizing that embracing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) is not only a moral essential but a strategic benefit as well.

Committed from the top down to JEDI in our values and principles, our team believes that focusing on inclusive and equitable practices in the built environment elevates diversity and justice. Internally, we believe that fostering a culture that values and celebrates individual differences can unlock a wealth of benefits, ranging from enhanced creativity and innovation to improved employee morale and overall organizational engagement. Ultimately, we believe that achieving deeper levels of individual satisfaction allows the entire team to thrive and projects to be balanced.

Building a Just, Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive organization is a journey that requires ongoing commitment and effort. Authentic leadership plays a pivotal role in setting the tone, prioritizing JEDI in strategic plans, allocating resources, and holding team members and others accountable for progress. Leadership commitment to JEDI initiatives builds trust, inspires employees, and reinforces an organization’s commitment to creating a more inclusive future.

Championing the Importance of Justice

Justice is made by dismantling barriers to opportunities and resources in society so that all individuals and communities can live a full, dignified, and respected life. This encompasses the whole self and a sense of belonging. By championing justice, fostering equity, embracing diversity, and cultivating an inclusive culture, organizations can unlock the true potential of their employees and create a thriving environment that drives innovation, productivity, and success. R+B is committed to supporting professional growth through a variety of programs offered whether it be our bi-monthly lunch and learns, our first-year mentorship program, and by providing a professional development benefit which is intended to encourage team members to attend educational conferences or events of their choice.

The Power of Equity

Equity focuses on allocating resources to ensure everyone has access to the same opportunities, removing the barrier that creates disparities for the assets, providing the means to achieve success by leveling the playing field for all individuals, and addressing systemic barriers and biases that prevent marginalized groups from thriving. Building an equitable workplace involves implementing fair and thoughtful policies, removing bias from decision-making processes, and providing resources and support to underrepresented employees. Embracing equity fosters an environment where all individuals can reach their full potential, contributing to a stronger, more resilient organization. R+B supports promotions first from within while providing salary transparency through strategic bandings. Annual pay evaluations ensure pay equity.

Understanding the Value of Diversity

Diversity extends beyond surface-level attributes such as race, gender, and age. It encompasses the broad range of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds that individuals bring to the table. Research consistently demonstrates that diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones in problem-solving, decision-making, and generating innovative ideas. By recognizing and appreciating diverse perspectives, organizations can tap into a wealth of knowledge, enriching problem-solving capabilities and driving competitive advantage. Our position descriptions, handbook, policies, and interviews are gender neutral to advocate the individuality of each team member and we actively promote gender equality and diversity through our promoting practices, hiring initiatives, and female representation.

Creating an Inclusive Culture

Inclusion is the active and intentional effort to ensure that all individuals feel valued, respected, and included in decision-making processes. An inclusive culture promotes psychological safety, allowing employees to feel secure expressing their opinions and ideas without fear of judgment. Organizations can cultivate inclusivity by fostering open communication, implementing inclusive hiring practices, and providing diversity training. An inclusive culture not only boosts employee morale but also attracts top talent and enhances retention rates. Through extensive leadership training, we approach with a mindset of listening first, providing intentional and supportive feedback, and championing flexible schedules to support and respect the team’s life needs.

Roadmap to JEDI in Leadership

Leaders play a pivotal role in setting the tone and driving JEDI efforts within organizations. To that end, they must prioritize JEDI in their strategic plans, allocate resources, and hold themselves and others accountable for progress. Authentic leadership commitment to JEDI initiatives builds trust, inspires employees, and reinforces the organization’s commitment to creating a more inclusive future. Through applying for our JUST Label, we were able to measure and identify areas of focus to ensure a socially just and equitable organization thus creating the tools for improvement and awareness.

In our pursuit of creating an environment that leads with JEDI, R+B takes pride in creating a firm of 51% females, 40% female executive team, with 37.5% of female ownership. As thought leaders, we believe it is our responsibility to advocate for JEDI and inspire organizations to take meaningful action towards building an inclusive future. Creating workplaces that reflect the richness of our global society and setting new standards for excellence and equality can help create a more just and beautiful world.