SMPS Chicago March Program Diversity and Inclusion: More than Checking a Box

March 10, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Zoom (Virtual Meeting)

In 2019, the Chicago Chapter of SMPS held a panel discussion on diversity in the A/E/C industry and at the conclusion of the program, many questions were raised with no clear answers available. What steps could be taken to address the lack of students of color who were enrolling in A/E/C industry professions? Are firms taking intentional steps to seek a diverse workforce? Once recruited, is the work environment one that supports a diverse workforce?

Less than two years later, and with the events of 2020, continuing the discussion about diversity and inclusion has become more of a focus than ever before, not only in the A/E/C industry but as a nation. Our panelists will discuss their own path in the A/E/C industry, their view on the renewed conversations that are happening now, and where can we improve.


How to Join the Program

The day before the program you will be emailed instructions for joining the program via Zoom.

  • Please make sure to add SMPS Chicago emails to your approved senders list and verify your email with SMPS Chicago.


About Our Panel


Kendahle Artis, Director of Human Resources, Primera Engineers

Kendahle Artis is the Director of Human Resources for Chicago-based Primera Engineers. Her expertise is the result of more than 15 years of human resources experience, including payroll, employee relations, benefits administration, talent management, training, performance management, and process improvement. She’s spent the past decade honing her HR craft in the AEC industry specifically. In her time with Primera, she’s taken a people-firm approach to HR, implementing a wellness program, flexible work policies, new recruiting and performance review processes centered around culture and character traits, and helping to formalize Primera’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is an active member of Chicago United and was recently included among Crain’s Notable Leaders in HR for 2021.


Magdalena Aravena, ASLA, PLA, Landscape Architect, Lamar Johnson Collaborative

Magdalena Aravena is a Landscape Architect at Lamar Johnson Collaborative in Chicago, with seven years of experience in Landscape Architecture, and is an engaged volunteer and leader in the American Society of Landscape Architects. Driven by her experiences as a first-generation immigrant from Chile, she is passionate about exploring the role of designers in improving disadvantaged communities through education, advocacy, and collaborative design. She actively pursues opportunities through volunteering, outreach programs, leading and participating on professional educational panels, and through her leadership in various local and national ASLA committees. Aside from her volunteer role in several local committees, she is currently serving as the Illinois ASLA Chapter President, and representing as the Chapter’s first Latina to serve in the role. Nationally, she is invested in representing Illinois through her more recent roles in key national committees such as the ASLA Finance and Investments Committee Member, and as one of six members of the ASLA CEO Search Committee, which led to the recent hiring of Torey Carter-Conneen as the ASLA CEO and Executive Vice President.

Tamarah Begay, AIA, NCARB, AICAE, CDT, LEED AP BD+C, Principal / CEO Indigenous Design Studio + Architecture (IDS+A)
Tamarah is the Founder of Indigenous Design Studio + Architecture (IDS+A), a 100% Native American Woman-Owned architectural and planning firm. Ms. Begay is a member of the Navajo Nation, the first Navajo woman registered architect and has over 15 years of experience working in Native American tribes with connecting culture, language and tradition through design. Tamarah is committed to educating clients on the importance of embracing Indigenous values of design and planning. She is also committed in supporting minorities in particular Native Americans in architecture & planning and related fields, through business opportunities and professional development. Ms. Begay is currently the President of the American Indian Council of Architects + Engineers (AICAE).

Santos A. Torres, Founder & CEO, MEPIS
Santos Torres is the Founder and CEO of M.E.P. Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. (MEPIS), a Chicago-based engineering company. Mr. Torres has over three decades of Electrical Engineering experience. Throughout his career, Mr. Torres has been integrating technical disciplines and managing complex designs for Hospitals, Universities, Research Facilities, Corporate, Institutional, Municipal, Hospitality and Industrial clients throughout North America. Mr. Torres’ professional work has garnered him numerous honors and recognition, including being Awarded the recognition of “Outstanding Service 2017” by the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Professional Service Diversity Symposium, nominated for the 2017 Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) Professional Services of the Year Award; selected for Chicago United’s prestigious Five Forward 20/20 Program; and, being featured on the cover of “Negocios Now 2016 Supplier Diversity Special (National) Edition”.


A recording of this session will be emailed following the live stream.

CPSM CEU Credits: 1

This is a Programs event.


$20.00 Members

$30.00 Non-members

$20.00 Out of State SMPS Members