More than 10 thousand architecture, engineering, and construction professionals will congregate in New Orleans September 27-29 for one of the industry’s premier educational conferences, Autodesk University. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn and network during dozens of panels and classes, including Bridging the Diversity Gap Through Inclusion and Belonging, which will include Asia Johns, National VDC Specialist, as a panelist.
“I graduated from North Carolina A&T State University, an Historically Black College and University (HBCU). My experiences at NC A&T and my work since graduation have combined to make me a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the construction industry,” said Johns.
Johns uses Autodesk products such as Revit, AutoCAD, Navisworks, BIM 360, and Autodesk Construction Cloud in her role on Aptitude’s Design Phase Services team daily. She regularly attends the Autodesk conference as part of her job, and as an AEC professional who is also an active DEI champion, she welcomed the opportunity to share her experiences advocating for inclusion and belonging with fellow conference attendees.
The construction industry has made some strides with its focus on DEI initiatives in recent years, but as in every industry, there will always be room for improvement as our cultures evolve. Johns notes that she has enjoyed being a part of Employee Resource Groups at JE Dunn such as Moment Connection for women in the construction industry and Blacks United in Learning and Development (BUiLD), which hosted its first Juneteenth event in 2022 to celebrate African-American culture. She has also represented JE Dunn as a campus lead on HBCU campuses to attract talent and provide scholarships for minority students. And while each of these DEI initiatives are steps in the right direction, Johns believes that its important to make sure that all companies do as much as they can to make sure every employee feels a sense of belonging.
“It’s one thing to attract diverse talent, but the real work is to retain that talent by continuously evolving to ensure we create and maintain a workplace where individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds feel valued and are empowered to be their authentic selves,” said Mishaune Sawyer, JE Dunn Senior Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager. “Creating thriving and diverse workplaces is not one-and-done work. This work requires daily ongoing communication, listening, learning, and educating.”
Read more about the Autodesk University Bridging the Diversity Gap Through Inclusion and Belonging panel in THIS INTERVIEW with the panelists.