Takeaways from NOMA Unplugged

Members of our team recently attended NOMA Unplugged, the annual conference presented by the National Organization of Minority Architects that was held in Nashville, Tennessee at the end of October. In celebration of diversity in the architecture industry, the conference was filled with engaging speaking sessions and workshops, networking with industry leaders, as well as various acknowledgments of outstanding design work. Over 1,500 architects, designers and industry professionals attended the event in the Music City.

A project designer at SHP, Samuel Tibbs has led discussions about getting NOMA Columbus more involved in the design community and strategizing ways to help local minority-owned firms in the Columbus Metropolitan Area. In addition to his role with SHP, he is also a talented photographer (check out his work here) and shared these incredible pictures with us. The corresponding messages with each picture below summarize his 11 key takeaways plus one concluding thought that were inspired by the conference.

“Express your culture, it's part of your story.”
“Don't fear failure, make room for it. Innovation is driven by failing, learning and improving.”
“See the future of the industry with you in it.”
“Don't let the fear of offending others keep you from telling your history.”
“The solution to inequity requires intentionality and investment: physically, mentally and economically.”
“Take no L's other than to Learn.”
“We must create spaces that are not psychologically demeaning.”
“Do everything in your power to promote yourself. Make the world see the value you bring to the table.”
“We can be great by being who we are, not by being what others expect of us.”
“Have an attitude of pure relentless manifestation. Maximize the time and energy you have left.”
“Vibe with your people.”

Concluding Takeaway

“The history of the land has created a gulf of mistrust that must be rebuilt. Trust is not rebuilt by promises, but by hard work and accountability. Accountability means that we understand who we are answering to – the community. It is important not to simply ‘work for’ or ‘do to’ the community but ‘work WITH’ and ‘do WITH’ the community.”

“When you meet with the community, don’t show up with finished renderings. Show up with a pen and let them draw the future that they want to see. Co-create with the community and let them see their vision take shape…”

“... I see this as one of the roles of minority leaders in design firms. It's about building relationships with a community and being unafraid to tell our shared story through design. I believe there is power in recognizing our history and who we are. There is power in telling stories. For me, that's what being a designer is all about.”
– Samuel Tibbs, Project Designer at SHP