Donovan Olliff Outlines HOK’s Approach to Diversity and Inclusion
Donovan Olliff, chair of the Diversity Advisory Council and assistant general counsel at HOK, participated in Boutique Design’s survey of how industry leaders are approaching the critical issue of diversity.
“HOK’s Diversity Advisory Council is a firm-wide team founded in 2010 to explore and take action on issues affecting diversity and inclusion across our 24 global offices. In 2013, Jan Harmon, HOK’s director of human resources, and I saw an opportunity to reconstitute the council as a truly representative body reflecting HOK’s rich diversity of age, gender, experience, expertise and geography. Today, there are 14 council members, including nine women and five men, whose professional experience ranges from just a few years to more than three decades. These people represent HOK’s major offices in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.”
“Our Commitment to Opportunity work plan helps HOK connect the priorities of the council to the business case for diversity and inclusion. Priorities are set annually and progress is discussed and evaluated on a quarterly basis.”
“As part of our ongoing initiatives, we recently asked all 1,800 of our staff members to participate in an anonymous, online HOK Workplace and Opportunity Survey. Though our committee is still compiling the results, the 37 questions we posed were designed to help us continue to build a diverse, inclusive workplace. HOK is also a sponsor of the AIA’s Equity by Design committee, which seeks to advance the national movement for equitable practice across our profession. All of our firm’s graduates of US architecture schools had the opportunity to participate in EQxD’s Equity in Architecture Survey 2016, which was open through April 1. We will have access to the aggregated large firm survey results, which our Diversity Advisory Council will use to inform our continually evolving diversity programs.”
“One of the council’s most important initiatives has been the implementation of a firm-wide mentoring program. We created a Mentoring Task Force that facilitates communication among local offices and that shares what each office is doing to create mentoring relationships.”
“The pace of change: This evolution requires patience and persistence. We are measuring outcomes in terms of years, not days or months.”