Diversity, Equity + Inclusion

Diversity, Equity + Inclusion

Where "Human by Design" comes to life.
We celebrate the rich diversity of our people at Perkins Eastman architects. This photo collage shows them at the Pride Parade celebration in New York and Pittsburgh; our Mumbai studio celebrating Diwali; and People Culture Manager Emily Pierson-Brown hosting during her visit to our Stamford, CT, studio.

Our people, located in 24 studios across the globe, represent 53 nationalities and speak just as many languages.

Our Commitment


Nick Leahy, co-CEO and executive director at Perkins Eastman

Nick Leahy
Co-CEO | Executive Director

Design demands perpetual observation, listening, learning, and refinement. It involves broad vision and open minds. It requires sensitivity and awareness of differences, where we’re valuing, respecting, and learning from each other to continuously strive to be the best we can be.

Central to an inclusive design culture of trust and collaboration is the principle that we’re open to all individuals and their identities, perspectives, methods, and ideas. Diversity is the life force of our organization, the work we do, and the foundation upon which we thrive.

We all play a part in fostering a truly inclusive design culture, where diversity is a dynamic force for innovative design.

Emily Pierson-Brown is the PEople Culture Manager at Perkins Eastman

Emily Pierson-Brown
PEople Culture Manager

When I graduated from college in the late 1990s, most of the people I interviewed with at architecture firms didn’t look like me. I couldn’t feel a sense of belonging from the cultural markers that were communicated to me in those conversations. I left architecture for 10 years shortly thereafter. As a young adult in Washington, DC, I had to look elsewhere to understand who I was as a person, as a professional, and ultimately as an architect and planner. While I don’t regret that detour, I don’t want others to feel they don’t belong in the design professions.

The industry has changed dramatically. The conversations we’re having now, the focus on supporting leadership goals for women and people of color, and the importance placed not just on the outcomes of design but the people and processes that get us there are all aspects of architecture I was hungry for 20 years ago.

As we distinguish our “Human by Design” culture both individually and collectively, we at Perkins Eastman have a unique opportunity to learn from one another, honor our backgrounds and heritages, and help each other form our professional identities in ways that will celebrate us all. In so doing, we’re reasserting the firm’s commitment to include more diverse voices across the architectural and design fields, building equity in our practices and projects, and modeling an inclusive approach to placemaking. As PEople Culture Manager, I’m honored to represent our firm in this role.

In Pursuit of Progress: A Timeline

The timeline of DE&I at Perkins Eastman: 1968: Whitney Young is the keynote speaker at the AIA Convention in Portland, Oregon. In his provocative landmark speech, he challenges, “you are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights,” setting the course for better representation and advocacy in architecture. 1971: Mary-Jean Eastman (Perkins Eastman co-founder) graduates from McGill University in a class that is comprised of fewer than 10% women. 1971: The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) is established in Detroit during the AIA National Convention, recognizing the need for greater advocacy for Black and other non-white architects. 1981: Mary-Jean Eastman joins with Brad Perkins to establish a new firm, one of very few at the time co-led by a woman. 1990: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) becomes law, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. 2004: The first woman, Zaha Hadid, is awarded the Pritzker Prize, the architecture industry’s highest honor. 2013: The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) at Perkins Eastman is instituted to increase gender equity at all levels of the enterprise. 2017: The PEople Mentorship Program begins, supporting staff across the globe and encouraging people to share knowledge and experiences. 2019: The AIA publishes its “AIA Guides for Equitable Practice” to support architects and firms in increasing the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the profession. 2020: The 500th living Black woman architect is licensed in the United States. 2022: The NOMA Conference is held in Nashville Tennessee; Perkins Eastman sponsors at the Gold level, a $10,000 commitment with six employees in attendance. 2022: The AIA Women’s Leadership Summit takes place in San Jose, California, with 17 Perkins Eastmanattendees, our largest cohort to date. 2022: The PEople Culture Manager role is created. Emily Pierson-Brown is promoted to lead the diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative firmwide.


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 9

(source: Perkins Eastman 2023 State of Sustainability report)

Our Leadership and Promotions Progress

Diversifying Our Leadership

Our principals and associate principals lead project teams, build client relationships, and set the tone for our studio cultures. It is critical that our leadership reflects the diversity and complexity of our staff. The current cohort of leadership is more diverse than ever in Perkins Eastman’s history and we are continuing to focus on increasing this diversity every year. This data reflects our leadership statistics as of April 2023.

Amplifying Excellence

In 2022, we promoted 131 staff members to associate, senior associate, associate principal, and principal in our most diverse cohort to date. As this next generation of Perkins Eastman leadership continues to evolve and grow our practice, we look forward to the ways in which they continue to make our projects more inclusive and our internal processes more equitable.

Demographic Data of Associate Principals and Principals at Perkins Eastman as of April 2023: 65.3 percent male, 34.7 percent female, 0 non-binary 76.2 percent white, 23.8 percent non-white Demographic Data of Perkins Eastman Promotions Cohort from 2022: 41.2 percent male, 58.8 percent female, 0 non-binary 58 percent white, 42 percent non-white

(source: Perkins Eastman 2023 State of Sustainability report)

Perkins Eastman’s Diverse and Inclusive Culture

DE&I Steering Committee

We’re continually reaching out to the next generation.
Click on our Intern Recruiting Brochure:

Cover image for Perkins Eastman's Intern recruiting brochure


Learn more about our guiding principles
Perkins Eastman' Human by Design logo with graphic background