April 22, 2021
OTJ Reaffirms Commitment to Social and Racial Justice through Creation of Strategic Leadership Role
OTJ Architects is pleased to announce the appointment of Alvia Howard, NCIDQ, CID, Associate AIA, as firmwide Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access. In this role, Ms. Howard will lead the development of strategic, actionable, measurable, and time-based initiatives that advance the firm’s commitment to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. In partnership with Chief Human Resources Officer Jordana Coppola, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Ms. Howard will work to develop educational tools and lead firmwide learning efforts on this vital topic. Ms. Howard will also work to increase OTJ’s recruitment of minority and diverse staff members and serve as the firm’s DEIA ambassador to clients and the industry at large. Ms. Howard will be supported in her efforts by OTJ’s existing Diversity Task Force, launched by the firm a year ago.
Recognized as a premier national design and architecture practice active across a broad spectrum of practice areas and geographical markets, OTJ is also distinctly diverse in its DNA. Yet CEO Lance Jaccard, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, adds: “While we pride ourselves on having built a company culture of diversity, inclusiveness, and respect, we also acknowledge that we must continue to ask difficult questions. The appointment of Ms. Howard to this new leadership position is an important step in support of our efforts towards championing the greater social good.”
Since joining OTJ as Design Director, Ms. Howard has been instrumental in the success of many of the firm’s most distinguished government projects including workplaces for the National Institute of Health, the Department of Justice, the Department of Interiors, Department of Treasury, and Department of State. Ms. Howard previously served as Design Manager for a Service-Disabled Veteran Minority-Owned Small Business where she recognized the importance of establishing strong DEIA guiding principles both for architecture firms and their clients. Adds Ms. Howard: “I am excited to embrace the challenges of this new role and look forward to continued honest conversations that will better our workplace, clients, and our communities.” Ms. Howard holds a Bachelor of Science, Interior Design from Drexel University as well as a Master of Architecture from the University of Miami.
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