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Nov 23, 2021 By IIDA HQ
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The Conversation Continued
Christina Peter, Co-Chair of DEI for Southern California continues the conversation on starting DEI initiatives at the chapter level, and collaborating with other chapters to create consistent messaging.
By IIDA HQ Nov 23, 2021
Published in Advocacy

IIDA’s Advocacy Workshop provided our member advocates two days of engaging programming celebrating legislative wins, and an inside look at success stories across our chapters. Each session was hosted by IIDA Advocacy and Public Policy Manager, Janella Curtis, and featured members and lobbyist panelists, and keynote speaker Tonika Lewis Johnson.

The “Advocacy Case Studies” session gathered members from the IIDA Northern California, Southern California, and Hawaii chapters to lead discussions about their initiatives in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), sustainability, and highlighting advocacy before and after the pandemic. Christine Peter, IIDA, president and owner of Kaleidoscope Concept and VP of Advocacy and Co-Chair DE&I, IIDA Southern California introduced attendees to the work that the Northern and Southern California chapters have achieved working together to launch a DEI committee in each chapter, that would work together in the state.

The session had so many good questions that we didn’t have time to get to them all—the discussion continues below with Christine Peter.

What was the catalyst for creating Southern California’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and what role do you play?

As a board we felt that we needed to be the change we wanted to see in our industry. My role is leading the charge in the DEI efforts for not only my chapter, but also for the DEI California initiatives that we’ve developed with Northern California IIDA.

Can you explain the makeup of IIDA SoCal’s DEI Committee?

We have two co-chairs for the Southern California chapter DEI efforts who lead the charge with our Northern California chapter co-chairs. Then we have committee members made up of IIDA members from both our Southern and Northern California chapters that break off into supporting the California initiatives at the chapter level. These sub-committees ensure our California DEI initiatives are completed, and our committee sees these goals through.

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Christine Peter, IIDA
Christine Peter, IIDA

What successes can come out of an IIDA Chapter that decides to embrace DEI?

Creating a more diverse industry for our future. Break the glass ceilings. Show that all voices matter and should be in the “C” suites. Embracing the true make up of the community that we design in. And allow design to be reflective of what is needed for healthy environments.

How can collaboration in DEI efforts between IIDA chapters advance the interior design industry as a whole?


Our Southern California DEI committee has been talking to other chapters about how we started our DEI initiatives, and how we keep our committee going. We are also looking at starting DEI pledges with other chapters as well. These collaboration efforts help with learning what works and what doesn’t work., but joining forces with other chapters can help with accountability, and creating roles. When you start sharing ideas with others, and are willing to learn from each other, only good can come from these collaboration sessions. You just need to be open to listen and share.

How does Advocacy benefit from incorporating DEI?


DEI efforts really are the heart of Advocacy. When we advocate for our industry through legislative efforts or advocate to elevate design, we are advocating for change. The DEI efforts need advocates to not only support the efforts, but to work towards the changes we want to see in our industry and in our communities.

What have you achieved or gained towards your goals through partnering with the Northern California chapter?


We have gained so much by joining our DEI efforts with the Northern California chapter. First off, we have been able to create one voice and one message across the state which allows our reach for change in our industry to be a solid message—a message that we at IIDA are going to be about change on the DEI front. And with the support of our members we can create a better future of diversity, equity and inclusivity in our industry through education and open dialogues. In turn, our designed spaces will reflect this as well.

What would you recommend to other chapters just getting started in this work?


Ask your members what they feel needs to happen in the efforts of DEI in the industry, and specifically for the members in your chapter. Start the discussions.


View the full discussion, and learn more about the CEU opportunities from the IIDA Advocacy Workshop here.

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