NOMA – Upward and Connecting Members

June is the halfway point in the year; a time NOMA reviews their progress against their goals to determine what may need to change or to reset expectations.

NOMA had the opportunity to review our programs and membership status during the May 17th NOMA Town Hall and Board Meeting. Across many NOMA priority initiatives, we’re trending upwards:

  • Increase of more than 300 NOMA professional members from this same time last year
  • Growth of NOMA professional chapters to 43 within the last year – up three chapters (NOMA Nebraska, SC NOMA and MS NOMA)
  • Added seven NOMAS chapters within the last year – a total of 121 schools represented
  • Largest number of NOMAS graduates in history – 211 graduates who requested a graduate package from NOMA
  • Largest number of expected campers across the 2024 Project Pipeline Summer Camps, with average camp size the largest to date at over 50 students. More than 32 camps will be held in 35 cities.
  • Anticipating another sold-out NOMA conference with a 7% increase in registrants in 2024
  • Growth of The Directory of African American Architects to now have 614 female architects and more than 70 newly self-registered architects added April 2023 to April 2024
Noma 143 Membership Chart 20240627
NOMA membership as of June 24, 2024

NOMA is honored to be an organization that sustains growth even throughout challenging economic, social and political times. This speaks to our mission, our leadership and the importance we place on valuable professional member programming.

Aia 2024 Staff
NOMA staff members at AIA’24: Program Manager Tiffany Mayhew; Executive Director Tiffany Brown; Membership Coordinator Yolanda McQueen

On June 6th and June 7th, NOMA membership coordinator Yolanda McQueen and NOMA Programs Manager Tiffany Mayhew represented NOMA at AIA’24, engaging with members and actively recruiting new members and managing renewals. It was at AIA’24 when Patricia Solis, NOMA, AIA, LEED- AP, renewed her NOMA membership:

“As a Latina architect, I feel it is important to increase the representation of people of color in the fields of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning. NOMA is a great mechanism to focus on this goal. As a NOMA member, I hope to be an example to the staff I manage at San Francisco Public Works Bureau of Architecture and encourage them to join NOMA as well.”

I love to hear comments, like from Patricia, as to why NOMA membership is important. The sentiment expressed in her recent comment echoes the feelings of a majority of our membership. In a recent survey findings from our 2023 McKinley Advisors survey of NOMA members, more than half (55%) of respondents indicated they would like NOMA to address the underrepresentation of minorities in leadership roles in the architecture field, followed by addressing education opportunities and access to professional resources. We continue to listen and reflect to ensure the work we’re collectively doing is making a difference in cities around the globe and is inspirational for others to make a change.

2024 Strategic Plan Image
NOMA 2023 member survey results from McKinley Advisors

As such, we have prioritized the following four areas to help empower and engage members in our NOMA strategic plan:

  • Chapter Empowerment: Enhance local chapter engagement and global scalability of NOMA’s portfolio
  • Communication Enrichment: Enhance communication and marketing of member programs and opportunities
  • Education Expansion: Expand education opportunities and career resources to support professional members, society, and community
  • Mentorship Enhancement: Enhance effectiveness and expand reach of existing mentorship and sponsorship programs

NOMA Membership to Leadership – #Whoisnext

Becoming a NOMA member is much more than a credential listed after your name. It has the ability to change your career trajectory. The opportunities to lead, mentor, be a mentee and expand your network are endless, and all support approaches to address NOMA member priority workplace challenges. We have 17 elected leadership positions within NOMA available, and I believe there is a role for anyone interested in leading.

This is what #Whoisnext means to me. Who is ready to elevate through leadership? Who is ready to serve the industry and members of this organization? Who is ready to step into leadership and help us achieve NOMA’s mission? All of us in a NOMA leadership role are happy to share more about what it means to oversee a committee or hold a position. And as we continue to grow, the need for leadership will continue to be important to the future of NOMA. Please reach out to NOMA board members and ask them about their jobs if you are interested in how you could contribute to NOMA as a board member – and remember to renew your membership.

In a few months we will gather in Baltimore for the 2024 NOMA Conference: The eXchange to expand our thinking and engage in important discussions about the industry and celebrate the collective milestones we’ve made. I encourage you to register now to experience our Conference, especially those who are new to NOMA.

I am excited to continue to serve this outstanding organization as I embark on my final six months as your President.

Be Revolutionary,

Pascale Sablan Signature 1

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Chief Executive Officer, New York Studio, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Making History: Record Number of NOMAS Graduates and Project Pipeline Summer Camps

One of the privileges I have as NOMA President is to write a congratulations note to NOMAS graduates who complete their architecture degrees and will receive their NOMAS cord. It is hard to believe the school year has come to an end, with college and university students well into their summer breaks. This year, we had a record number of graduates – 211, the largest in NOMA history. On behalf of NOMA, we congratulate this graduating class on accomplishing a momentous step on their path to licensure.

Summer also means that 32 and counting NOMA chapters are getting ready to kick-off their Project Pipeline Summer Camps, an initiative that began in 2002 when past NOMA President Paul Taylor realized there was not a mentorship program aimed at young Black and minority students to introduce them to the field of architecture and design. This year our first camp of the 2024 season begins June 8, hosted by NOMAUtah. Visit the NOMA website for a full list of camps.

Location of Professional Chapters hosting camps in 2024

In 2006, the South West Ohio NOMA chapter organized the first camp in Cincinnati. Since then, more than 35 cities have hosted hundreds of summer camps, introducing more than 20,000 young people to the career possibilities in architecture and design. Under the leadership of incoming NOMA President Bryan Lee Jr. and many others, we formalized a curriculum to guide host chapters and developed a digital curriculum to expand the availability of the program to students who cannot attend an in-person camp. Each year, this program grows. We’ve nearly doubled the average camp size since 2023, averaging 50+ students per camp. Our goal is to ensure that every chapter organizes a camp, fostering inclusivity in architecture and design for students from diverse backgrounds.

Project Pipeline Summer Camp’s growth is not possible without the dedication and support from our NOMA members who oversee the camps, especially Richie Hands, Project Pipeline Chair, and Bryan Bradshaw, Project Pipeline Co-Chair, as well as partnerships, including General Motors who has supported this initiative since 2017, and the AIA LFRT. NOMA members and partners are proud of the commitment to fulfill our mission to empower young people to effect change in their community through design.

The number of students reached through the camps is one way to measure the impact we’re making, however, hearing the personal success stories from campers who are entering the profession truly demonstrates the power of Project Pipeline.

Derek Davis participated in the week-long Project Pipeline Camp through I-NOMA while in middle school. After participating as a camper, Derek remained interested in architecture throughout high school and recently completed his degree in architecture with a minor in sustainable design from the University of California, Berkeley. He will be a 2024 NOMA Future Faces Fellow (NFF) at LPA Design Studios in San Jose, CA, this summer. When asked how influential Project Pipeline was, he said the camp solidified his interest in architecture and led to him applying to architecture schools across the country.

“What I still remember to this day, years after the camp, is the experience of walking around the city and learning how to sketch buildings and landscapes for the first time. This was the first time I received instructions on what to look for when sketching buildings and led to me looking differently at my surroundings from that point on.”

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Davis giving the undergraduate student commencement address College of Environmental Design’s graduation and commencement at UC Berkeley.
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Davis receiving his NOMAS cords from University Liaison Jamilla Afandi.

We are always looking to capture stories of past Project Pipeline Summer Camp participants. If you have one, please share it with us at

I thank all of you for your support of Project Pipeline Summer Camps. If your NOMA chapter does not currently offer a camp, please reach out to Richie (, or Bryan ( for guidance on how to establish this transformative program. Together, we are making history and growing the pipeline and providing access to all aspiring architects, one student at a time.

Be Revolutionary!


Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Chief Executive Officer, New York Studio, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

You Deserve to be Recognized

To leave behind a legacy means making an impact that lasts long after you are gone, influencing those who come after you. Many of us strive for this in our careers – we want to positively inspire the next generation, create more opportunities and advocate for change to open doors that may have remained shut. We are surrounded by people, everyday, who have a lasting impact on our lives. And while some may have a larger influence than others, it does not diminish their value or contributions. One conversation from a mentor or peer can change your outlook or career trajectory.

Mr. Freelon is one of America’s most prominent and influential Black architects known for both his work as a designer and as an advocate for diversity in the profession, he forever changed the world of architecture and design. His projects celebrated African American history and culture, and his recognition for the lack of diversity in the industry influenced his own hiring practices and educational outreach to focus on BIPOC students and emerging professionals.

Mr. Freelon joined NOMA in 1991 and was an active member whose presence was felt throughout the organization. Many of us had the opportunity to meet him at NOMA Conferences – it wasn’t uncommon for members to sit beside him at conference seminars or play basketball with him at the NOMAS vs. Professionals basketball game. He was always kind, generous and approachable.

Ps Phil Freelon Basketball Game
Mr. Freelon taking time at the conference to enjoy a little recreation.

I had the privilege and honor to meet and have a supportive bond with an industry legacy and NOMA member – Phil Freelon. One of my most fond memories of Mr. Freelon was when many NOMA members from across our nation came to Washington, D.C. to witness the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in 2016. As the lead architect on this project, we gathered at the AIA headquarters for a reception to celebrate with Mr. Freelon on this wonderful achievement.

Ps Phil Freelon
Pascale, her son Xavier and Mr. Freelon in 2016 at the AIA Headquarters during the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture

Since his passing in 2019, NOMA recognizes Mr. Freelon’s legacy yearly when we celebrate the Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards, renamed in his honor. Presented at the annual NOMA Conference, the decades-old design awards recognizes outstanding and exemplary architectural design work from NOMA professional members.

With the opening of the 2024 Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards, we remember Mr. Freelon’s legacy and prepare to celebrate the next generation of professionals who will inspire legacy. Submissions must be made by registered architects who are current NOMA members as of the submission deadline, August 16, 2024, and entries may include new construction, rehabilitation, restorations, additions, adaptive reuse, or conceptual work in the following award categories: Built Work; Unbuilt Work; Vision; Historic Preservation, Restoration and Renovation; and Small Projects. We encourage all of our professional members to submit their work for the opportunity to be recognized for this prestigious industry award.

Be a Part of History and Celebrate Legacy – The eXchange: Local Ideas + National Impact
Phil Freelon Headshot

This July will mark the five-year anniversary of Mr. Freelon’s passing. The 2024 Phil Freelon Professional Design Award recipients will be recognized this October in Baltimore at our annual conference – The eXchange: Local Ideas, National Impact. Baltimore is home to several buildings designed by Freelon and his firm, including the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture, teaching visitors about Black history and culture and demonstrating the belief that architecture is a form of activism and education. Mr. Freelon also designed the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS) at Morgan State University, which is the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Maryland with an accredited architecture program.

Please join us in Baltimore (be on the lookout for early bird registration opening next month), and submit now for the 2024 Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards to be recognized for the outstanding contributions you’re making to the profession. We are fortunate to have outstanding talent within the NOMA members, and look forward to honoring your work.

Congratulations again to the honorees from the 2023 Phil Freelon Design Awards – you can view the list here or watch a short video honoring their tremendous work.

Be Revolutionary!

Pascale Sablan Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Chief Executive Officer, New York Studio, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Breaking Barriers: Celebrating the Rise of Black Female Architects

As an undergraduate architecture student, I encountered a defining moment that reshaped my career trajectory. Two weeks into the semester, a professor singled out another female student and me, asserting in front of sixty peers that we would never become architects because we were Black and female. This statement was not just about me—it was a reflection of broader biases against women, especially Black women, in our field.

This memory drives my commitment to uplift the more than 600 Black female licensed architects listed in the NOMA Directory of African American Architects. Despite the fact that according to NCARB’s 2023 report, there are 119,906 registered architects in the United States, women comprise less than 25 percent of all licensed architects. However, we are making significant strides. Our dreams are achievable, but we need supportive leaders and a community that uplifts those striving for excellence.

The Directory of African American Architects, maintained as a public service, promotes awareness of African American architects and their locations. Initially brought to life by Dennis A. Mann and Bradford C. Grant, the directory has evolved from print to web, earning recognition from the American Institute of Architects for “Collaborative Achievement.”

NOMA is not only hosting and maintaining the original directory but is also developing a more comprehensive, data-rich resource. This next-generation database will include landscape architects, educators, authors, and provide detailed demographics about the multicultural spectrum of architects and will be launching this year.


The directory serves as a crucial tool for industry accountability, tracking the progress of African American architects and highlighting disparities. With 2,556 self-reported licensed Black architects currently listed, we still have work to do in ensuring the database’s accuracy and visibility. I urge all licensed architects who identify as African American to self-report and contribute to our documented history.

The 2030 Diversity Challenge, initiated by NOMA and the AIA Large Firm Roundtable, aims to more than double the number of licensed African American architects by 2030 to 5,000. While this goal will increase representation from 2 percent to approximately 4 percent, it falls short of reflecting the 14 percent Black population in the U.S. Nonetheless, it marks a significant step towards changing the face of our industry.

As the 315th African American female living architect in the directory, I am proud of the 607 fellow architects and am eager to see our numbers grow. NOMA offers numerous tools and resources to support those on the path to licensure. Together, we can shatter the glass ceiling and make history, ensuring a more diverse and representative architectural profession.

This is a pivotal time for the industry that must be recognized and, more importantly, used to inspire the future females of design. #NOMAStandUp and applaud these women for their dedication and determination. I am privileged to lead alongside them and know this is only the beginning.

And finally, there are many firsts happening in the design industry, including a complete slate of African American female leaders. In a unique collaboration between the American Planning AssociationAmerican Institute of Architects and the National Organization of Minority Architects, we asked our current female leadership to answer a variety of leadership questions from our respective roles that resonated with each of us. I hope you enjoy, learn and feel inspired from their responses.

Be Revolutionary!

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Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Chief Executive Officer, New York Studio, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Honoring the Legacy and Contributions of NOMAC


Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926, started by Carter G. Woodson, the “father of Black History” and an African American historian, scholar, educator and publisher. Woodson imagined a week-long celebration to promote and educate people, specifically in the public schools, about Black history and culture. The second week of February was chosen as it coincides with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln and became a month-long celebration in 1976 when President Gerald Ford recognized it as Black History Month. Canada also celebrates Black History Month in February, while countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ireland celebrate it in October.

While the month of February is a time of celebration and recognition, we know Black history is American history, and the contributions and challenges that shaped our country from African Americans should be acknowledged, taught and discussed all year round and not one month a year.

Serving as your NOMA President and former Historian, we commit to always elevating the voices of our members, celebrating our triumphs and documenting our successes. Our organization began over 50 years ago, and recording our history remains important to its preservation. We must document our past and present to ensure its accuracy, so that NOMA’s history is not forgotten but told and understood by generations to come. I am humbled when I have the opportunity to listen and learn from those who advanced the profession. These voices can be heard within NOMAC – The National Organization of Minority Architects Council. NOMAC is an esteemed and dedicated group of NOMA and industry members who continue to showcase organizational leadership to help guide the future of NOMA. As NOMA’s highest honor, accomplished and long-standing members are invited to join NOMAC based on their contributions to NOMA and to the design profession at large, for outstanding volunteer work, dedication to NOMA, academic contribution, built works, business, and social advocacy. We announce and welcome new NOMAC members at our annual conference each October. NOMAC members may be distinguished by two different pins: a black pin with a ruby represents NOMAC members in positions other than President and a purple pin with a ruby represents NOMAC members who served as past Presidents. Today, there are 39 NOMAC members:

  • Andrew Heard, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Andrew Thompson, AIA, NOMAC
  • Anzilla Gilmore, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Brad Grant, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Bryan Hudson, AIA, NOMAC
  • Carla Flagg, AIA, NOMAC
  • Carlton Smith, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Charles Smith, AIA, NOMAC
  • Charles McAfee, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Cheryl McAfee, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Clarence Mobley, AIA, NOMAC
  • Curt Moody, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Daniel Christopher Hall, FAIA, NOMAC
  • David Hughes, FAIA, NOMA
  • Dennis Mann, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Drake Dillard, AIA NOMAC
  • Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Heather O’Neal, AIA, NOMAC
  • Jack Travis, FAIA, NOMAC
  • James Washington, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Jason Pugh, AIA, NOMAC
  • Kathy Denise Dixon, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Kenneth Martin, FAIA NOMAC
  • Kevin Holland, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Kimberly Dowdell, AIA NOMAC
  • Leon Bridges, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Marshall Purnell, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Michael Rogers, AIA NOMAC
  • Paul Taylor, AIA NOMAC
  • R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Richard Franklin, AIA, NOMAC
  • Robert Easter, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Roberta Washington, FAIA NOMAC
  • Rod Henmi, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Ronald Garner, AIA, NOMAC
  • Sanford Garner, FAIA NOMAC
  • Standford Britt, FAIA, NOMAC
  • William Brown, III, FAIA, NOMAC
  • William Davis, Jr., AIA, NOMAC
  • William J. Stanley III, FAIA, NOMAC, Hon. FRAIC

NOMA Council In Memoriam

  • Earl Kai Chan, NOMAC
  • Harold Williams, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Harry Overstreet, AIA, NOMAC
  • James Dodd, NOMAC
  • Jeh Johnson, FAIA, NOMAC
  • John Chase, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Kenneth Casey, NOMAC
  • Kenneth Groggs, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Leroy Campbell, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Louis Fry, Sr., AIA, NOMAC
  • Mortimer Marshall, NOMAC, FAIA
  • Nelson Harris, NOMAC
  • Paul Devrouax, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Pedro Lopez, AIA, NOMAC
  • Phillip Freelon, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Prescott Reavis, NOMAC
  • Robert Nash, FAIA, NOMAC
  • Robert Wilson, NOMAC
  • Wendell Campbell, FAIA, NOMAC

As we celebrated Black History month, we recognize our own history by hearing from several legendary members of NOMAC through video documentation captured over the last few years. I encourage each of you to listen to their narrative as there is much to learn from those who came before us. I treasure their knowledge and advice and respect their tenacity and courage to do what others before them had not done. Listen and learn from the voices of:

  • Mr. Leon Bridges, NOMAC, FAIA, Emeritus and the sole surviving member of the first NOMA organizational meeting in Detroit in 1971, who addressed attendees at the 2022 NOMA Conference in Nashville.
  • Ms. Gabrielle Bullock, NOMAC, FAIA, who describes the moment she knew she wanted to become an architect and how she hopes to be an example for others on how they might not be silent in a video celebrating her 2020 AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award.
  • Mr. David Hughes, NOMAC, FAIA, who shares his journey to become an architect and the need to continue to elevate and advance the accomplishments of African Americans in the field of architecture and the important role of Afrocentric Architecture.
  • Mr. William J. Stanley III, NOMAC, FAIA, FRAIC, who shares perspective on why he became an architect, what his experience has been as a minority architect and how NOMA has impacted his life.
  • Ms. Roberta Washington, NOMAC, FAIA, who presents a robust history of Black architecture in the United States, specifically New York architects, through the American Institute of Architects New York Diversity and Inclusion Committee and nycobaNOMA. Her presentation reinforces the need to always document so no one can be forgotten.

NOMA Historian, Josh Foster, NOMA, Assoc. AIA will continue to document and share insights from NOMAC voices throughout the year. We will always learn, celebrate and commemorate those who came before us, who broke barriers to create opportunities and who fought and risked so much for those of us currently in the profession and entering. We stand on the shoulders of giants, and we will never forget.

Be Revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Chief Executive Officer, New York Studio, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member



The New Year is about fresh starts and new beginnings. While reflecting on the past is important, the start of 2024 is a time to build upon the momentum each of us has created as a NOMA member. Resolutions tend to focus on what to do less of – I ask each of us to think about what we can do more of as a leader in NOMA, our communities and our workplace. Each of our commitments will vary for many reasons, however, if we each attend one more event, join one more committee, mentor or have one more conversation with an emerging professional, it advances our mission.

Leadership is acknowledging that we accomplish more when we work together than we can as individuals. This is the essence of NOMA – together, through our actions, we are here to lead others to transform the industry and world. Working in silos is one approach but it is more effective to work together, as one. While we may all operate as leaders, we need individuals to emerge within the organization to serve in leadership positions. #NOMAStandUp and demonstrate the values and principles that guide us.

We have 17 elected leadership positions within NOMA, including President. These coveted positions are available to be held by individuals who want to serve, lead and make a difference. In turn, NOMA commits to stand by these leaders, elevating and supporting them and providing them with the resources and tools to successfully serve.

As we closed 2023, we developed a NOMA Board Manual that details what is needed to serve. As 2024 begins, we are rolling out NOMA Board of Directors training to help each of our elected leaders understand roles and responsibilities, and the organization’s commitment to each of these roles. Providing transparency and clarity to the roles of each position will allow the Board to work together more seamlessly and help onboard new members to these positions. To perform as the first-class organization that we are means ensuring we have processes and procedures in place for NOMA leadership and staff.

I am grateful to have served with an esteemed group of Board of Directors for 2023 and specifically want to acknowledge Julian Owens, who served as the NOMA National Parliamentarian for the 2022/2023 term. Julian’s contributions and commitment to NOMA were unparalleled, all while managing time zones from Australia for part of his tenure. Julian, with the support of key members of the board, developed New Chapter by-law templates facilitating significant organizational growth, including seven professional chapters, 21 student chapters and one international chapter, all while becoming a licensed Architect.

We have an outstanding 2024 Board of Directors that I am thrilled to partner with, including Brien Graham, Ameera Ashraf-O’Neil and Joshua Cato who are stepping into NOMA leadership roles and to Julia Weatherspoon, for serving an additional term. As we begin 2024, my question to you is #Whoisnext? Who is ready to elevate through leadership? Who is ready to serve the industry and members of this organization? Who is ready to step into leadership and help us achieve NOMA’s mission? There are many NOMA members who I believe can be next – and I’m here to support each of you as we work to change the face of the industry. I believe the answer is you.

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

#NOMAStandUp to Empower Future Architects


As we prepare to end a rewarding 2023 filled with both great accomplishments and challenges, I am filled with genuine hope and excitement for the year ahead. We have created a global professional membership with a strong voice unified by a shared mission to diversify our field, eradicate the lingering effects of racism, and create greater economic opportunities for Black and minority architects.

NOMA provides support to each of us and finds the resources that make change possible in a profession that remains undiversified. We need our collective voices to continue to be heard, and we need the commitment and fierceness of our members, especially the future architects, to feel empowered in this fight. The NOMA legacy does not end and must be carried on, nurtured and sustained. Tiffany Brown and I discussed the future of NOMA and how we can help empower future architects in the “What’s Next With NOMA” video series. We, as NOMA members, are accountable to teach and guide new architects by learning our history and our pronounced impact. As we close the year and look forward to a new one, we are committed to sharing our history, and we encourage #NOMAStandUp by providing mentorship and asking new and emerging voices. We work to ensure all aspiring architects feel limitless, boundless and strong as they move from membership into leadership, receive licensure and beyond. I am proud and filled with gratitude for our organization and its members, and believe in the great future of NOMA. I hope you are just as inspired and excited for 2024 and years ahead.

Wishing your family a healthy and happy holiday season.

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Member Renewal for 2024


We’re nearing the end of 2023, with much to be proud of as an organization. Membership is at an all-time high, 3,581 members and growing, with 42 professional and 117 student chapters. Our increasing size directly correlates with our ability to advance our mission and extend the reach of our programs. We’re proud to share that the 42nd professional chapter and the first European chapter, NOMAuk, officially launched and is accepting members. We’re eager to build upon the established momentum as we work to expand beyond the U.S. and create a global network of minority architects. Stay tuned for a broader update in 2024 on other global chapters.

President Sablan with founding members of NOMAuk
President Sablan with founding members of NOMAuk

Reflecting on the year, I wanted to share the opening remarks made at the 2023 NOMA Conference Member Business Session held the morning of Friday, Oct. 13, in Portland. The sentiment expresses the gratitude NOMA leadership and I have for our members. We are a force that will continue to push boundaries and break barriers to create a more inclusive and equitable future for all. But we can only accomplish greatness with member commitment. We rely on member participation to grow local chapters and harness the energy to increase engagement through mentorship and involvement in existing programs. With 2024 around the corner, I ask each of you to renew your NOMA membership now. Commit to staying involved, serve on a program committee, mentor a rising future architect and explore partnerships to accelerate NOMA’s mission. #NOMAStandUp to continue growing the organization in 2024.

NOMA Annual Business Meeting in Portland,OR
NOMA Annual Business Meeting in Portland,OR
President Sablan’s Remarks: 2023 NOMA Conference Member Business Session

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed guests, and my cherished fellow members of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA),

I stand before you today, my heart bursting with pride and gratitude as we gather to celebrate the extraordinary journey of the past nine months. Serving as the President of NOMA during this transformative period has been an honor beyond words, and I am thrilled to share with you the breathtaking accomplishments we’ve achieved together, championing diversity and excellence in the architectural world.

From the very outset, our mission was clear, our vision resolute – to revolutionize our profession, creating a space that’s not just inclusive but truly representative of the magnificent tapestry of our society, irrespective of one’s background. Today, I want to take you on an exhilarating journey through the incredible milestones we’ve reached as NOMA.

Our journey began with unwavering advocacy. We stood as one, boldly raising our voices against the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action. We understood the seismic impact this ruling could have on minority representation in our profession, and we refused to stay silent. Our voices reverberated across the nation, echoing our commitment to policies that nurture diversity and inclusivity within the education system.

But our journey was not limited to advocacy alone – we took resolute action. Our membership soared, a testament to the profound value our members place on NOMA and its profound mission. We expanded our horizons, welcoming new chapters into our NOMA family, and spreading our influence far and wide. Today, I am thrilled to announce that our membership stands strong, with over 3,000 dedicated members, and we’re boldly aiming for 4,200 members by year-end. This growth has empowered us to amplify our message, ensuring that every voice is not only heard but celebrated.

Yet, our commitment extends further. We’ve tirelessly worked to provide unparalleled value to our members. We introduced the NOMA Jobs Board, provided financial support for the Architect Registration Examination, and forged invaluable networking opportunities and mentorship programs. We understand that our members are the heartbeat of our organization, and our pledge to support each one of you, regardless of your career stage, remains unshakeable.

Education has always been the heartbeat of NOMA, and we’ve never strayed from that path. We recognized the pivotal role educators play in shaping the future of our profession and have proudly celebrated the distinguished academic leaders among us. We are currently hard at work on a groundbreaking academic journal, a platform to amplify the contributions of NOMA members to academia and the architectural discipline, ensuring that our voices resonate powerfully in the world of education.

However, perhaps our most breathtaking accomplishment lies in our unyielding resilience. In the face of adversity, we came together, fiercely determined and united. We navigated through uncharted waters, advocated relentlessly for change, and continued to shine a spotlight on the awe-inspiring achievements of Black and minority architects. We celebrated not just our major victories but the countless small triumphs that collectively make us who we are.

As we stride forward, let us remember – our journey is far from its conclusion. We will stand shoulder to shoulder, advocating for justice, and creating a profession that mirrors the breathtaking diversity of our society. We will remain revolutionaries, never wavering in our pursuit of a more inclusive architecture industry, where every voice is not only valued but cherished, and every talent is celebrated with passion.

Thank you for your unwavering support, and I am bursting with anticipation to share more about our achievements and future dreams in the moments to come. Together, bound by our NOMA family, we are not just shaping the future of architecture – we’re painting it with the vibrant hues of passion, one connection at a time.

Thank you!

Be Revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Bridges Were Built at NOMA Conference


I still feel the energy from gathering together in Portland at the NOMA Conference to exchange ideas, foster meaningful connections with the more than 1,550 registrants, listen to the 50+ engaging lectures and transformative workshops and celebrate the outstanding contributions of our 3,565 members from 42 professional chapters and 117 student chapters. Themed “Building Bridges Towards Just and Joyful Futures,” we are reminded of the remarkable progress we’ve achieved together. We have come a long way since our humble beginnings, and our value and relevance are unmistakable in our growing and dynamic membership. Together, we built a rich legacy, overcame formidable barriers, and created bridges over various forms of oppression. The impact of our conference reaches far beyond those few days, resonating in our local communities and echoing through the halls of history. I can absolutely say we lived up to the theme – bridges were built and crossed.

Speaking with many of you at the conference, I heard the word ‘recharge’ used time and again to describe NOMA’s Conference. It is a moment in time to reflect and recharge on our choices of why we were called to become architects. As architects, we’re often seen as the creators of spaces and designers of buildings, but we are also the architects of change. We are the builders of hope and the creators of opportunities. Our role extends far beyond drawings and structures; it encompasses the responsibility to shape the environments where people live, learn, work, and dream. It isn’t often until we’re together when we remember and realize our magnitude. Each keynote discussion, educational seminar and city tour was powerful and helped us ‘recharge.’ This year’s Barbara G. Laurie Student Design Competition commemorated the 10th anniversary of her passing and naming of the competition in her honor, celebrating Barbara’s legacy as an accomplished architect and a dedicated advocate for diversity and equity in the profession. The competition has a rich history that traces back almost two decades. What began with just a few schools, this year showcased the brilliant work of 38 NOMAS chapters from coast to coast. It’s an event that brings together students from diverse backgrounds to collaborate, innovate, and reimagine the built environment and is one of the only conferences that offer a live jury experience for real-time engagement and interaction. To see the next generation of NOMA members engaged – and increasing – brings hope and is a moment of joy to witness their creativity, teamwork and brilliance.

Creativeness Travel 20231013 03446
Newly Licensed Architects at NOMA Business Meeting

I am filled with pride and gratitude as I reflect on the milestones we’ve achieved as a NOMA community – we are nothing without one another striving for a more equitable profession. We recognized an unprecedented number of recently licensed architects – 29 – at the NOMA Member Business Session. This number matters because it gets us that much closer to achieving the 2030 Diversity Challenge, an initiative established in 2020 under the leadership of NOMA Past President Kim Dowdell (2019-2020) and the AIA LFRT. The challenge calls for us to more than double the number of licensed Black architects from 2,300 to 5,000 by 2030, increasing representation from a mere 2% to roughly 4%. We applaud the licensed architects and all of those in the pipeline as we work to reach this goal.

The Awards Gala was a special moment for member recognition – a night filled with celebration as we recognized members’ achievements. The list of distinguished honors can be found in the press release, including the prestigious Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards (view submission gallery), with winners receiving a newly designed trophy that represents the award-winning work. The leadership honors from the awards gala are highlighted below.

NOMA Awards

  • NOMA President’s Award: Tyrone Marshall, NOMAtlanta
  • NOMA 2023 Member of the Year: Ralph Raymond, NOMAtlanta
  • NOMA 2023 Chapter of the Year – Large Chapter: SoFloNOMA
  • NOMA 2023 Chapter of the Year – Small Chapter: NOMA of Central Texas
  • NOMAS Student Member of the Year: Dana Austin Bass from University of Washington
  • NOMAS Chapter of the Year: University of Detroit Mercy

Barbara G. Laurie Student Design Competition

  • First Place: Cornell University (Reclaiming Albina’s Legacy: Carving as a Catalyst for Healing)
  • Second place: Auburn University (Nexus)
  • Third place: University of Southern California (Growing Forward: Planting Generational Roots)

New NOMA leadership elected results

  • South Region Vice President: Brien Graham
  • Recording Secretary: Julia Weatherspoon
  • Parliamentarian: Ameera Ashraf-O’Neil
  • NOMAS, Student Representative: Joshua Cato

We celebrate all the winners and participants for their achievements and can’t wait to see what the NOMA Conference in Baltimore reveals.

I extend a heartfelt thank you to the NOMA PDX chapter and the entire planning committee for their energy and support in making this conference a resounding success. I also want to express our gratitude to our sponsors and partners who played a pivotal role.

I would be remiss without sharing an update on Sam Gomez, a NOMA presenter and partner who was the victim of senseless gun violence on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Sam was shot in the leg while witnessing a road rage incident in downtown Portland. He was hospitalized and underwent surgery in Portland. He has returned home to heal in Phoenix. Sam, The Sagrado’s executive director, was scheduled to speak at the conference, along with his co-presenter Nakia Neves. Miraculously and courageously, he taped a message from his hospital bed that Nakia played at their session.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Sam and his family, as well as the other victim who passed away, Ryan Martin. Nothing can prepare us for experiencing trauma, however, our NOMA family came together to ensure there was support for Sam, as well as prioritized the safety of all our members attending the conference. As the NOMA community, we all are here to support and uplift one another, to unite, to find hope and reprieve from a world fraught with imperfection and injustice.

Sam’s strength and courage are a testament to NOMA’s mission. We are working with Sam and Nakia to reschedule their conference seminar session and will send more details soon.

As we stride forward, let us remember – our journey is far from its conclusion. We will stand shoulder to shoulder, advocating for justice, and creating a profession that mirrors the breathtaking diversity of our society. We will remain revolutionaries, never wavering in our pursuit of a more inclusive architecture industry, where every voice is not only valued but cherished, and every talent is celebrated with passion.

I encourage you all to get involved with your local chapters. NOMA Conference is one moment in time but we, as NOMA members, have the opportunity to build community. #NOMAStandUp to push boundaries, break barriers, and create a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

Now…be ready to secure your spot when early registration opens for Baltimore 2024 as we anticipate another outstanding sold-out conference!

Be Revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

NOMA Stands for Peace, Justice, and Compassion Amidst Gaza Conflict

The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) issues this statement to unequivocally denounce the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza, which has inflicted immense suffering upon innocent civilians and resulted in the loss of precious lives. We firmly reject any and all forms of violence and oppression. 

At NOMA, our mission is deeply rooted in a legacy of activism, committed to fostering justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence. During these trying times, we stand together in solidarity with all those affected by the conflict and reaffirm our commitment to advocate for peace and justice. 

Our organization believes in the power of architecture to shape not only physical spaces but also the communities and relationships within them. We recognize that architecture is a force that can foster understanding, promote peace, and uplift humanity. Therefore, we call upon all members of our community to extend their compassion and support to those affected by the conflict. 

We reject all forms of hate and discrimination, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia. Furthermore, we categorically denounce any false equivalency between anti-semitism and supporting the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation in their homeland and in diaspora. 

In these challenging times, NOMA will offer space and time for anyone within our network to grieve, care, and engage in compassionate dialogue. We understand the importance of open and honest conversations to foster understanding and healing. 

To make a positive impact in the region, we encourage everyone to consider donating to reputable organizations that are tirelessly working to secure peace and provide relief. Your support can help alleviate the suffering of those affected by the conflict and contribute to building a more just and peaceful world. 

NOMA remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting freedom and justice for all people, and we call upon the global community to join us in pursuing these noble ideals.  

If you are seeking ways to assist those who have been impacted, you can do so at the following links:  

Celebrating our Academic Champions


It’s fall and for more than one-third of our members who are part of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS), it means back to school and campuses. For our NOMA members who are also teaching, it means back to curriculums and leading the way.

According to data from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), it takes Black or African Americans 13.8 years, on average, to be ready for licensure, the longest of all demographics. Nearly half (5-7 years) of that time is spent in academic programs. Most of us spend years and financial resources on education that shapes and influences our perspective even before we set foot inside a firm or organization as a fellow, apprentice or intern.

Once licensure is achieved, education does not end there. Many organizations require a minimum number of continuous learning hours in order to maintain membership status, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

While each of us has our own unique path that brought us into the profession of design and architecture, the time we spent studying and engaging in lecture halls and classrooms has influenced and enlightened each of us as designers, planners and architects. The academic leaders and professors who guided us and continue to support rising architects were and remain a big part of that process. These individuals help build the pipeline, provide words of encouragement and inspiration, serve as mentors and may be the first person(s) who supports your decision to become an architect. These professors and leaders are staying strong to help us build and diversify the profession. We need to acknowledge their successes and contributions and the important role educators play in the development of the pipeline.

I’m pleased to recognize the following educators who received academic tenure over the last few years:

Dr. Kwesi Daniels, PhD, MSc Sust. Mgmt., MArch, BArch, NOMA, Associate AIA, ACSA Department Head and Associate Professor of Architecture at The Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science (TSACS) with Tuskegee University

Dr. Craig Wilkins, PhD, MSc. real estate and urban development, B.A., Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Germane Barnes, Associate Professor and Director of the Community Housing Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University Of Miami School Of Architecture

We applaud this group of esteemed academic leaders in our NOMA community and support the wonderful work they are doing. There may be others we have missed so please email me at so we can recognize all deserving educators.

NOMA Educate pillar focuses on the needs of our higher education professionals while promoting rewarding alternative career paths in the architecture and design industry. A higher education career demands professors to engage in research and creative work, publishing the results widely. NOMA has the opportunity to galvanize the collective effort of our valued scholars and educators at esteemed institutions of higher education across the country by creating a robust platform for professors to collaborate and share their work. Holding true to the mission, NOMA is working with several members of academia to author and publish an academic journal featuring NOMA members contributions to academia and the architecture discipline. The peer-reviewed academic publication is being coordinated by our Educate Co-Chairs Dr. Kwesi Daniels and Annicia Streete, with a stellar team including Dr. Craig Wilkins, PhD, MSc. real estate and urban development, B.A., Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. We will have more to share at NOMA’s conference in October about how academics, including NOMA PhD students, can contribute to this academic journal.


While we celebrate the important role education and educators play in the development of our careers, I must call to attention to the recent legislation, specifically the Supreme Court’s ruling that selectively prohibits the use of race as a factor in college admissions. This decision creates yet another barrier that may further impact the representation of certain minority groups in our field. NOMA issued a statement after the SCOTUS affirmative action ruling. We remain vigilant and committed to speaking out and advocating for policies that promote diversity and inclusivity within the education system.

But it doesn’t end there – censorship rulings on topics such as critical race theory (CRT) are also impacting our NOMA community of professors where our colleagues are having to make hard decisions about leaving universities for fear of censorship or worse, losing a job. This is wrong. We rely on Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) to educate, confer degrees and share our history, and once again, these institutions continue to lead the way in how to create an equitable environment for all. We must expect more from ALL academic institutions.


It’s times of uncertainty where I’m most proud to #NOMAStandUp with each of you. We have an obligation to the industry to ensure that access to higher education and an architectural education from highly regarded professors is available in order to create a more equitable and diverse profession. We are committed to partnering with like-minded organizations that align with our mission. Silence is compliance – NOMA will not stay silent. We continue to raise and use our voices. We will support and stand-by the academics who have influenced and played a leading role in helping each of us define our career. For the NOMAS students at institutions who have banned classes, please ask your college administration about any courses that were omitted and why. Engage in dialogue. For NOMA professional members, steer young BIPOC students to institutions where they will be embraced and feel safe to learn history and explore their future in design thinking.

There is so much more to be discussed about this topic – and many others. I look forward to seeing you at conference next week and having conversations about this topic and strategizing active steps we can take as a community. Please feel free to reach out with your thoughts.

Congratulations again to the tenured educators. You continue to inspire and lead the way.

Be Revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Renew Now for NOMA

When I joined NOMA in 2009, there were less than 500 NOMA members. As of August 2023, we are more than 3,153 members strong, with a goal of achieving 4,200 members by the end of 2023. This growth is an impressive feat, with these numbers representing the commitment, investment and dedication from all the members who comprise this outstanding organization.

Membership Growth

NOMA has experienced steady growth over the last five years despite the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and in direct response to acts of violence against the BIPOC community, a testament to the value members place on the organization and our efforts to advance and fight for the diversification of, and equity in, the profession. We continue to build upon the momentum to drive awareness of NOMA and our purpose, helping grow membership, establish new partnerships, and claim our seat at the table to ensure all voices are represented.

Our size has positively impacted our ability to advance our mission, allowing us to communicate our messages and programs to reach the industry. This is when change happens – how we influence and reframe the conversation to impact the future of design and the communities we live in and serve.

Membership Growth Graphic

Membership At-a-Glance:

  • 41 Professional Chapters
  • 114 Student Chapters with more than 1,000 NOMAS membership (first time reaching this milestone!)
  • The largest professional chapter is SoCal NOMA
  • The largest student chapter is Kean University
  • The West region has the most members
  • The South region has the most student chapters
  • The NOMA chapter added this year is South Carolina (SCNOMA)
  • The NOMAS chapters added this year are Catholic University NOMAS, University of Pennsylvania NOMA, East Los Angeles College (ELAC) NOMAS, Santa Monica College (SMC) NOMAS, University of Washington (UW) NOMAS, Southern California Institute of Architecture NOMAS, Ohio State University NOMAS, University of Indiana NOMAS

We will continue on this growth trajectory into 2024, with expected growth as a result from:

  • Broader awareness of NOMA and support from our partners
  • An increase of BIPOC architecture and design students entering the field
  • Our strategic intent to expand NOMA globally

We rely on member commitment. You can do your part to communicate the value of NOMA membership to peers and colleagues and advocate for interested students to join. I challenge each of you to identify one potential new member – bring them to a NOMA professional event or have them join you at a local social event to show them the value of membership. These individual actions can grow our local chapters and help increase engagement through mentorship and involvement in existing programs, like Project Pipeline Summer Camps. There is a role and opportunity for everyone.

Member Retention

As an existing NOMA member, we value your contributions and participation and want to ensure NOMA is offering valuable and exclusive benefits to every member, regardless of their career level. A benefit of NOMA’s growth is the ability to offer more value to our members. This includes:

We aim to grow existing programs, however, we do ask for member involvement and feedback to ensure you’re receiving the most out of your membership. If you have feedback to share, please email me at

I thank NOMA membership co-chair Bernard Suber, NOMA, AIA, LEED AP and NOMA staff member Yolanda McQueen for their partnership and dedication to member recruitment and retention. This team works endlessly to manage new memberships and renewals, and without them, NOMA would be unable to grow at this incredible pace.

As the summer comes to an end and many of us settle into a new schedule with reestablished priorities, I ask each of you to renew your NOMA membership. Early renewal avoids late fees. Do it early and commit to staying involved. I encourage all of us to #NOMAStandUp to continue growing this organization and change the face of the industry.

Be Revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Stay Involved to Keep NOMA Strong

Welcome to NOMA, where brilliance meets purpose! We are more than just a professional organization; we are a community of distinguished architects and designers, united by our exceptional work that leaves a positive impact on both the industry and communities across the U.S.

Our passion lies in fostering diversity within the architectural world, and we wholeheartedly commit ourselves to increasing the number of licensed BIPOC architects. Through professional mentorship, influencing industry policies, and creating innovative programs, we aim to build a stronger, more inclusive pipeline, propelling the field to new heights.

But what makes NOMA truly special is our incredible members. It’s the synergy of talents, trust, and shared experiences that have forged unbreakable bonds within our ranks. From local chapter events to national gatherings, we come together to celebrate success, support each other, and create lifelong friendships. When one of us triumphs, it’s a victory for all of NOMA!

Our social events are legendary and an integral part of the NOMA experience. Whether hitting the slopes at the exhilarating NOMA Ski Weekend in March, mingling at the NOMA reception during The American Institute of Architects Conference on Architecture, or soaking in the inspiration at the NOMA Conference each fall, our gatherings leave you invigorated and inspired.

These moments go beyond the professional realm; they’re the intangible perks of being a NOMA member. You never know how a single connection at these events can transform your career trajectory and expand your social network. So, I encourage each one of you to participate as frequently as your schedule allows, and don’t forget to extend a warm invitation to fellow NOMA members. Together, we create a vibrant tapestry of innovation and camaraderie.

Step into NOMA’s world, where passion, purpose, and unforgettable connections await you. Join us as we shape the future of architecture, one connection at a time.

Be Revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Recognition Drives Change

Recognition, by its very definition, encompasses the act of being acknowledged and heard, along with the public expression of appreciation for someone’s accomplishments. When it comes to our professional endeavors, recognition plays a crucial role as it validates the significance of our work and the impact it creates. At NOMA, our members consistently receive recognition from their peers and leaders within the industry, shining a spotlight on the remarkable abilities of Black and minority architects and contributing to the transformation of the field. We have triumphed over barriers, breaking through glass ceilings, and witnessing numerous NOMA members being honored with high honors and awards. I am in awe of the professional commitment and excellence displayed by so many of you.  

However, Black and minority architects still remain underrepresented in the industry and thus, also in awards. While this does not mean our individual work is undervalued, it does mean that collectively, there are fewer opportunities to see the work of Black and minority architects highlighted.. We must work hard, fearlessly, and diligently to make certain our voices are heard and to see our names represented in awards and our work and faces displayed in history books.  When we do, we disrupt the status quo and positively impact the industry.  

NOMA awards and recognitions are available to members. Below, you’ll find current opportunities to showcase your own contributions, and also those of others. We encourage each of you to continue to submit and gain the recognition you deserve. We are here to honor each other. 


NOMA National Awards

One of the benefits of NOMA membership is participation in our annual NOMA Awards at the NOMA Conference, held in Portland in October of this year. It is a time to honor the achievements of each other as members, acknowledging the dedication of individuals, and professional and student chapters. Our 2023 NOMA Awards just opened and includes the prestigious Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards recognizing outstanding design work, as well as individual and chapter awards focused on leadership and NOMA engagement. 

Our NOMAS chapters and student members are also honored for their early dedication to the field. One of the NOMA Conference highlights is the Barbara G. Laurie Student Design Competition, where NOMAS chapters compete in a two-day design competition.

I ask each of you to review the NOMA Awards and consider participation through a submission or nomination to lift-up people doing great work around us.


The NOMA Council (NOMAC) is an esteemed group of established NOMA and industry members who continue to showcase organizational leadership to help guide the future of NOMA. As NOMA’s highest honor, past Presidents are sometimes inducted into the NOMA Council upon the ending of their administration. Other accomplished and long-standing members can be invited to join NOMAC based on their contributions to NOMA and to the design profession at large, including volunteer work, academic, built work, business, and social advocacy.  This year, we recognized William M. Brown III, FAIA, Jason Pugh, NOMAC, AIA, AICP, LEED AP, Andrew Thompson, AIA, NOMAC, LEED AP BD+C, as the newest members to the Council.


Emeritus status is an honorary status granted to NOMA members who have made exceptional contributions to the field. It is a mark of distinguished service awarded by the NOMA President for their commitment to the industry. This year, we recognized Mr. Leon Bridges, FAIA, NOMAC, for his appointment to Emeritus. A true trailblazer in the industry, Mr. Bridges became a NOMA member in 1973. He held every elected office, including National President in 1980. We congratulate Mr. Bridges for his years of service. Learn more about this professional journey here.   


NOMA has five variations of the National pin, each with a different significant meaning. We encourage all NOMA members to wear their pins and be able to speak about its meaning:

  • Brown pin: Represents NOMA Members (non-students)
  • Black pin: Represents Licensed Architects 
  • Black pin with a ruby: Represents NOMA Council Members in positions other than President
  • Purple pin: Represents the current sitting NOMA President
  • Purple pin with a ruby: Represents NOMA Council Members who served as past President
Official NOMA Pins


Just as important – we must take the time to celebrate our successes and wins. NOMA members are doing extraordinary things- both within our communities and within the practice. We must support each other and honor all the wins, big and small. Let us all be proud and recognize our greatness to inspire a better future. Below is a sampling of the incredible achievements of your fellow NOMA members:

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Honorary Fellows

David Hughes, FAIA, NOMA, received the Honorary Fellowship of The College of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (HFRAIC) in recognition for his “distinguished scholarly contributions as supported by research, publications or teaching in the field of Architecture or in an allied field.” The highest honor the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) can grant a non-member, the HFRAIC is an Honorary Member of the RAIC who has achieved international professional eminence or has rendered distinctive service to the profession or to the community at large, nationally or internationally. 

American Institute of Architects 

College of Fellows (FAIA)

Eleven NOMA members were elevated to the esteemed American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows for their accomplishments to the profession and society in 2023, the largest number of NOMA members elevated in one year. Fellowship is the highest AIA membership honor an individual architect can receive for their exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society; only 3 percent of AIA members have this distinction. Congratulations to: 

  1. Ronald Abo 
  2. Abimbola Asojo
  3. Sanford Garner
  4. James Garrett
  5. Ravi GuneWardena
  6. Daniel-Christopher (Neil) Hall
  7. Douglas Hanson
  8. Nathan Johnson
  9. Nea Maloo
  10. Kenneth Martin
  11. Brian Tibbs

Young Architects Award 

NOMA members Beresford Pratt, AIA, NOMA, Brien Graham, AIA, NOMA, NCARB and Jason Takeuchi, AIA, NOMA, NCARB were recipients of the 2023 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Young Architects Award. This award recognizes AIA members who have been licensed to practice architecture for fewer than 10 years by the submission deadline for their leadership and contributions to the profession, including environmental advocacy, increasing access to great design, and mentoring future architects.

Whitney M Young Jr. Award

Robert L. Easter, NOMAC, FAIA, was presented with the 2023 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award, an annual award that honors an architect or organization that champions a range of social issues. Learn more about his honor here

We congratulate and honor all of these members for their contributions to their communities and the industry. This is only a small sample of member honors to date, we know there are many more, and would love to see them shouted out! Please promote your professional and member achievements on social media using #NOMAStandUp.

Be revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Follow up actions to the 6/29/23 joint Allied Organizations (AIA, AIAS, ACSA, NOMA) Response to SCOTUS Ruling on Affirmative Action in College Admissions

As our nation celebrates Independence Day, a day symbolizing cherished values of freedom and sovereignty, we are confronted with the harsh reality of a socio-political climate that introduces and enacts legislation undermining the very principles of diversity and inclusivity we strive for. This juxtaposition highlights the inherent contradiction and challenges we face in our ongoing pursuit of true freedom and equality for all. The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) unequivocally denounces the Supreme Court’s ruling that selectively prohibits the use of race as a factor in college admissions. This decision fails to recognize the inherent disparities and systemic biases within our educational systems, representing a significant setback for equity, diversity, and inclusivity in higher education. Its potential impacts will ripple outwards to professions such as architecture, which already grapples with underrepresentation of minorities.

NOMA firmly stands by its mission to champion diversity within the architecture profession by promoting excellence, community engagement, and the professional development of its members. This ruling is undeniably relevant to our organization, as it may further exacerbate the underrepresentation of certain minority groups within our profession. The impact on the future generation of architects who come from these minority communities cannot be understated.

The issue has understandably garnered widespread media coverage and public attention, which underscores the need for organizations like NOMA to voice their stand and influence the narrative. Now, more than ever, we need to advocate for policies that promote diversity and inclusivity within the education system and, by extension, our profession.

This is not just a setback, but also a moment to come together to ensure that access to higher education and an architectural education is a possibility for the next generation of diverse architects. With collective action, resilience, and strategic partnerships, we can make a significant impact in advancing diversity and inclusivity within the architecture profession and beyond. We are committed to partnering with like-minded organizations that align with our mission to amplify our collective voice and provide actionable solutions. The journey towards achieving our mission may have become tougher, but our resolve is unwavering.

NOMA will continue to seek ways to work together with universities where we have NOMAS chapters to navigate the implications of this policy change, and to ensure our NOMAS chapters have the ability to remain strong and diverse.

NOMA will continue to advocate for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive architecture industry. As we monitor and adapt our approach to these challenges, we encourage our members and allies to stand with us and share their ideas for action as we navigate these uncharted waters.

To review the Joint Statement released by NOMA, AIA, AIAS, and ACSA, click the link below.

NOMA Project Pipeline Summer Camps – Inspiring Future Generations of Architects

More than 50 years since our founding, we still face the same challenge our NOMA founding members confronted- a lack of equal representation of Black and minority faces in the field of architecture. As a practicing Black female architect, I continuously ask myself why this is and what actions could be taken to drive a more equitable profession. NOMA members recognize that the essence of our profession lies in its connection to society. It involves actively engaging with all those affected by our designs, fostering collaboration, and incorporating all these voices and valuable insights into the manifestation of our designs. 

NOMA recognizes that mentorship is a critical component for licensureship and is one of our top priority initiatives. To support the next generation and enhance diversity, we must expand our programming and provide increased access to professional development opportunities for minority architects and architecture students. Recognizing that young African American students, in particular, often lack representation and consequently feel disconnected from the industry, we need to actively address this issue, ultimately empowering young, diverse students to envision themselves in the architecture industry and actively contribute to its future. 

Past NOMA President Paul Taylor realized this and began a commitment to mentorship and building the pipeline for minority architects that continues today called Project Pipeline Summer Camps. During the 2002 NOMA Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Mr. Taylor entrusted Mr. Drake Dillard and Mr. David Kirk with the task of researching and developing a program aimed at introducing minority students, with a particular focus on Black students, to the field of architecture. The objective was to cultivate a pathway that would lead to more licensed Black architects. Recognizing the importance of early exposure, it becomes crucial to inspire students from a young age to consider architecture and design as viable career options. By showcasing the impact and influence of design and highlighting the presence of architects who share their backgrounds, we can foster a sense of empowerment and create opportunities that encourage greater representation of Black and minority architects.

In 2006, the South West Ohio NOMA chapter organized the first camp in Cincinnati. Today, more than 20 cities have hosted hundreds of summer camps, introducing more than 20,000 young people to the career possibilities in architecture and design. In 2012, under the leadership of Bryan Lee Jr. and many others, a formal curriculum was established to guide host chapters across the country, followed by a digital version of the curriculum during the pandemic to enable Project Pipeline Virtual Summer Camps. The curriculum acquaints students with fundamental architecture and design concepts, encompassing topics such as comprehending the dynamics of cities and neighborhoods, honing sketching skills, gaining familiarity with basic design software, and exploring the various resources at their disposal to support their ongoing journey in the field of architecture and design. 

Pipeline Texas

Richie Hands, NOMA National Chair of Project Pipeline and Bryan Bradshaw, NOMA, Assoc. AIA and NOMA National Co-Chair of Project Pipeline, oversee this important program that kicks-off in cities across the U.S. from June to August. This year, local chapters will host 27 camps across the country with support from NOMA members, community volunteers and sponsors. 

The successful execution of programs like Project Pipeline Summer Camps relies on the dedication of NOMA members and invaluable partnerships such as the one with General Motors. Since 2017, General Motors has actively supported Project Pipeline Summer Camps and continues to be a committed partner in this transformative initiative. We express our gratitude for their generous contributions and unwavering support on a national level, as well as extend our appreciation to all the local partners who play a pivotal role in bringing Project Pipeline Summer Camps to life within their respective communities. 

Your active participation is crucial now. If your NOMA chapter hosts a camp, step forward and inquire about how you can contribute your time and volunteer to make a difference. In the event that your NOMA chapter does not currently offer a Project Pipeline Summer Camp, do not hesitate to reach out to the esteemed Chair, Richie Hands (, and the dedicated co-chair, Bryan Bradshaw ( They will guide and equip you with the knowledge to ignite this transformative endeavor in your community. Furthermore, your generous donations play a pivotal role in sustaining the momentum of this essential initiative. Together, through your active involvement, we have the power to shape the future and inspire a new generation of architects.

Our collective goal is to ensure that every chapter organizes a camp, fostering inclusivity in architecture and design for students from diverse backgrounds. #NOMAStandUp! Join us in taking action as we collaborate to strengthen our pipeline. Together, we can make a lasting impact and create opportunities for all aspiring architects.

Be Revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

What’s Next with NOMA

Q1 was a busy time for NOMA. Our leadership attended various industry meetings, including the NCARB Board meeting in Tucson, Arizona, and the Architecture Organization Alliance’s Six President’s Meeting in Washington, D.C. Amidst all of these trips, in March I made a special visit to our Executive Director, Tiffany Brown, in Detroit to plan for an incredible year ahead.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new video series, “What’s Next with NOMA” which aims to provide insights into initiatives and events that impact our members and the industry. Our first segment is all about our upcoming conference, “Building Bridges Towards a Just and Joyful Future,” in Portland, Oregon. It’s a can’t-miss event that will be packed with opportunities to connect, learn, and grow as leaders.

In our video, Tiffany and I share our personal experiences and discuss the value of our first NOMA conferences and how they contributed to creating NOMA and industry leaders. We also touch on the impact of the conference on our personal journeys to leadership. We invite you to watch the video and join us in Portland to experience this transformative event for yourself.

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

How Will You Support the Pipeline?

As many of us can attest, receiving licensure in the United States is a long journey – there are years of education, experience, and exam requirements. The latest data from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) shows it takes 13.8 years for African Americans to be ready for licensure– more than a year beyond their Asian counterparts. While we celebrate all demographics that rose in 2021, the proportion of new architects who identify as Black or African American has remained relatively stable in its meager numbers over the past five years. 

I am the 315th Black female architect to receive licensure in the United States.This number is incredibly meaningful to me as evidence of my success through NOMA, yet it is also a reminder of the uphill battle for equity and diversity that remains in our profession.

Thankfully, there are policy changes underway to create a more equitable profession. NCARB recently made a decision to eliminate the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) rolling clock policy. Although this decision will benefit the entire profession, according to NCARB, analysis showed that the policy disproportionately negatively impacted women and people of color. The Baseline on Belonging survey showed that minority architects were 25-30% more likely to fall off the path to licensure than their white counterparts, with the rolling clock identified as one of those barriers. 

While we celebrate this policy change, we recognize more changes must occur in order to further diversify the industry and increase the licensing of minority architects – particularly Black female architects who continue to make up less than .02% of the total architect population in the United States. These infrastructural obstacles include, financial investment, time commitment, a lack of diversity in our education and teaching staff, discriminatory practices and our unjust reputation as a procession to marginalized communities of color.  

Let’s take a moment to expand on four initiatives that can bolster the licensure for minority architects in general, and Black female architects specifically. In order to address these systematic challenges in our industry, we must hold the industry accountable, commit to creating a pipeline of talent, make a push on licensure in academia, and ensure support systems and resources are in place for a successful path to licensure.

Industry Accountability 

To start, we must hold the profession accountable via established metrics and measurement to show where we are and map out where we want to go. Created in 1991 by Dennis A. Mann (University of Cincinnati) and Bradford C. Grant (Howard University), the Directory of African American Architects is a self-reporting database specifically developed to track Black architects who practice in the private or public sectors, teach in higher education, work in associated disciplines, or who have left the field of architecture but maintain their license in the United States. It is also used by architectural press and architectural education to demonstrate the disparities that exist in the industry. It allows us to track against the diversification goals, holding the industry accountable to make changes to positively influence the profession. It’s a powerful tool if we use it.  

NOMA now owns and manages the directory, and we have 2,499 self-reported licensed Black architects listed. Yet many are still unaware of the database’s existence. I encourage you to share this resource with your peers and review your local state to affirm your information is both included and current. If you notice someone missing, please reach out to them to make sure they know about the directory. This metric holds the industry accountable, and we must do our part to ensure the data is accurate. Let’s continue to work together to spread the word. We ask all licensed architects who identify as Black or African American to self-report and be part of our documented history.  

Commitment to Growing the Pipeline

The stagnant numbers speak for themselves. Only 2% of licensed architects in the United States are Black or African American. We don’t want to be the exception– we want to be the norm. 

NCARB reports that in 2021:

  • Of the 60% of new NCARB record holders who identified as a race or ethnicity other than “white, non-Hispanic or Latino,” only 7% identified as Black or African American 
  • Only 6% who took the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) were Black or African American 
  • The proportion of candidates passing the ARE who identify as Black or African American is 2% and has not changed since 2017

The industry must partner with associations, governing bodies, academic institutions, and firms to create a pipeline of talent representative of Black and African Americans. NOMA and the AIA Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT) began working together in 2017. In 2020, under the leadership of NOMA Past President Kim Dowdell (2019-2020) and the AIA LFRT, the 2030 Diversity Challenge was announced. The initiative calls for us to more than double the number of licensed Black architects from 2,300 to 5,000 by 2030, increasing representation from a mere 2% to roughly 4%. While this number falls short of matching the 14% Black population in the U.S., this commitment begins the work to change the face of the industry. We have the pipeline in place to reach this goal.  But it will take the support of our membership and the industry to encourage all those in the pipeline to successfully achieve licensure.

Making a push on Licensure in Academia

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) data shows that over 8,200 new students enrolled in a NAAB-accredited program in the 2020-2021 school year—a 3% increase from the previous school year – with nearly 28,000 students enrolled in a NAAB-accredited program that same school year. In 2021, 6,275 degrees were awarded by NAAB-accredited programs across the country, a 3% increase compared to the previous school year. The profession is growing but is it attracting a diverse set of new candidates?

One programmatic solution to reducing the time from graduation to licensure is the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) which allows students to continue their education while undergoing the internship, shortening the path to licensure. By enrolling in an IPAL option, students in the process of earning a degree from a NAAB-accredited program can complete the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) and the ARE concurrently. IPAL is incorporated as an optional path within an existing NAAB-accredited program, allowing architecture schools to integrate licensure requirements into their own curricula. 

Since the program launched in 2015, NCARB has accepted 31 NAAB-accredited programs at 25 schools to participate in the IPAL initiative. As of the 2020-2021 school year, over 600 students have enrolled in IPAL options across the United States. In 2018, several schools saw the graduation of their first IPAL students, including Boston Architectural College, North Carolina State University, and the University of Florida CityLab-Orlando. This program will appeal to anyone of any ethnicity who wants or needs to become an architect more quickly by reducing the time to licensure.

Support Systems to Licensure: Study Materials and Support

The aforementioned data states only 6% of Black and African Americans are taking the ARE, with just 2% passing. Studies outline the reasons prohibiting the increase of these numbers, including actual time (time to study, prepare, take the exams and for many, retake the exams), support from firm employers, and the financial burden.

According to EduMind, an online provider of training courses, it costs between $2,400-$6,500, on average, to become a licensed architect through the ARE process. This includes the cost of exams, the NCARB initial Record Fee, and preparation materials. NOMA is working with organizations that offer study tools and materials at a reduced rate. 

Mentorship: Supporting Those in the Process 

Finally, one of the biggest obstacles to attracting young Black professionals to architecture is that students aren’t aware that architecture is a profession for them. You can’t be what you can’t see. For those of us who have made it into this profession, we must reach out to those who show talent and an interest in the field to support and encourage exam completion. This is at the heart of NOMA´s mission – to provide support to one another, to find the resources to make change possible, and to work alongside our allies in the field to continue to make policy changes that support diversity in architecture. For those NOMA members who are licensed architects, I encourage you to serve as a mentor to those along the path to licensure. Encouragement and solidarity are important in a profession that remains undiversified.

#NOMAStandUp and help us achieve the 2030 Diversity Challenge. I am unabashedly confident that we can change the face of this industry, but it will take all of us, working together. 

Be revolutionary,

Pascales Signature

Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Associate Principal, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Stand Up: What will you stand for?

In 1976, President Gerald Ford mandated that the month of February would be recognized as Black History Month going forward. As part of the U.S. Bicentennial, this commemoration recognized the contributions of Black Americans, and specifically honored Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained academic and historian. Black History Month replaced “Negro History Week,” which Woodson, in partnership with the organization he founded, The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, conceived in 1925 as a nation-wide commemoration of African Americans.

As an organization committed to diversifying the architecture and design industry, eradicating the effects of racism, and increasing the licensure of Black and minority architects, NOMA serves to propel our profession and diversify the field for the future. Equally important, NOMA acts as a platform for members to address issues of race and discrimination within their local communities. NOMA, take a stand against injustice, use our collective voice, rooted in the knowledge of our past, while understanding our present condition, and take action towards a just and better future.


Recognizing Our Own History

Over the past few years the late and beloved Prescott Reavis (1972-2022), NOMA, NCARB, LEED AP, SEED took over the NOMA social media account and dedicated Black History Month social posts to beloved Black architects in our profession. There is no way for us to fill the void in our lives left by his passing, however, we celebrate and honor his legacy. As the creator of “Looking Black,” a content series celebrating past, present, and future Black architects for Black History Month, Prescott worked diligently to ensure we remember those who pioneered the path.

Today and everyday, we are grateful for his contributions to NOMA and the profession. As a tribute to Prescott and Black architects of our past, we are sharing Prescott’s research work this month. Please keep Prescott and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Prescott, we thank you for always lifting up our voices.

I am inspired by current and historic architects who have transformed the industry. This month in particular, I encourage you to share architects and designers that inspire you to enact the change you want to see on NOMA Connect or on your personal social channels and tag @NOMAnational.


As the 6th member of the Architecture Organization Alliance (ACSA, AIA, AIAS, NAAB & NCARB, NOMA) we are working in partnership to drive change.

Tackling systemic issues requires the collaboration and commitment of professional organizations, businesses, and industry leaders. In 2020, in partnership with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), we developed and launched the Baseline on Belonging survey and resulting focus groups to better understand how to increase the licensure of Black and minority architects. Together, we sought to learn more about the challenges Black and minority architects face in order to develop effective solutions.

This data revealed minority architects were 25-30% more likely to fall off the path than their white counterparts. The research aims to understand why this happens in order to figure out what supports are needed to minimize or prevent this. The survey was distributed to nearly 70,000 individuals. The survey received a total of 6,902 responses (complete and partial). The survey results include over 13,000 open text responses from optional comment questions.

View the full findings 1-5 here. We sincerely thank all who participated in 2020. We encourage the NOMA members to explore the reports and help strategize solutions for the challenges that are directly impacting you and your professional goals. We are working with your local NOMA chapter leaders and our partners of the Architecture Organization Alliance to develop a refined action plan against the findings and look forward to sharing with the organization shortly. Please take this 5 minute survey to let us know how the progress of the study has resonated with you.


We advocate for our members and leverage partnerships to develop programs that directly serve our NOMA Mission.

Established in 2020, our NFF Program (previously NOMA Foundation Fellowships and undergoing new branding in 2023) aids in increasing the number of diverse licensed architects and works to eliminate the barriers to enter the profession. The fellowship program was developed and sustained by our partnership with the AIA Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT), which matches undergraduate students and recent graduates with top architecture and design firms for an 8-week paid professional internship, with the intention of breaking down the barriers to licensure by providing fellows with valuable professional experience and preparation for licensure.

Since 2020, NOMA has:

  • Awarded 81 fellowships
  • Worked with 40+ top architecture firms in the United States
  • Received nearly 200 fellowship applicants

NFF has re-launched and is recruiting for our fifth cohort of fellows. I encourage you to share details about this impactful paid internship program with your network. Active NOMAS students are eligible. The application deadline is March 10, 2023.

Due to NFF’s overwhelming success and a significant expansion, the program will be managed by our incredible NOMA staff going forward. Please join me in thanking Melanie Ray, AIA, LEED Green Assoc., NOMA, NCARB, who previously oversaw this amazing program with support from NOMA volunteers, NOMAS chapters, and the great roster of host firms.

NOMA, leveraging our impact through time, how will you #NOMAStandup with me this month as we collectively work to change the industry? I encourage you to share your thoughts and get involved by emailing me


Pascales Signature
Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Senior Associate, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Happy 2023 and Lunar New Year: Standing With You and Serving With Open Hearts

Dear NOMA family, friends, and partners,

I hope you found time to rest as 2022 ended and that 2023 is off to a wonderful start for each and every one of you.

My year began with the remarkable honor and privilege of leading as your 2023–2024 NOMA President. It is a position I hold with great integrity, and I promise, as the 315th living Black female architect in the U.S., to continue leading the fight for a more just and equitable profession for you and the generations to come – a fight that should be long over, a fight we battle everyday.

In 2021 I received the AIA Whitney M. Young. Jr Award for my advocacy efforts and ascended to the AIA College of Fellows, the youngest African American to receive that honor in the organization’s 167-year legacy. I have been quoted in The New York Times regarding my efforts, and Forbes magazine described me as “the powerhouse woman…actively changing history with a simple mission: women and designers of color must claim and be credited for their contributions to the built environment.” Recently I was featured on Oprah’s Future Rising website for Black trailblazers moving our world forward in the Audacious category. I share these accomplishments with you because 1) NOMA helped me achieve these goals and can help you achieve yours and 2) my purpose is centered around driving change and fueling the flame to help unlock the potential in us all.

The New Year and NOMA: Our Role, Our Futures

The New Year begins with the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service – a day intended to give back to our local communities in recognition of Dr. King’s vision. Participating in a community event in Harlem always feels impactful and meaningful. Beyond this important day of service, it’s triggered a conversation this year centered around our industry of design and art, of memorials and public opinion. The Embrace memorial in Boston was unveiled – a monument intended to celebrate the love between Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King, inspired by a 1964 image of them hugging after Dr. King was recognized as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Design and art need to celebrate and commemorate our legacy. How do we celebrate our history through design and who will tell our story? How do we, as powerful members in the design industry, stand to support fellow designers of culture and artists? How do we share our opinion in a way to drive progress versus create divides? How do we engage local communities in the process so that we educate and inspire future generations?

As we grapple with these questions, we are pausing to grieve as we’ve witnessed several tragedies already in 2023, including more than 40 mass shootings.  A horrific massacre at a Lunar New Year celebration took place Saturday, Jan. 21 in Monterey Park, a city east of Los Angeles.  NOMA’s stand with our Asian and Pacific Islander friends and members, with 15% of our membership identifying as Asian and Pacific Islander. And over the weekend, we’ve learned more details about the unconscionable murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police – police brutality must end and many members took to the streets to show their support. We grieve the loss of life of those impacted by these events and all those lost to police and gun violence. We must acknowledge the traumas inflicted on people and places that leave a barrier for those engaging in these spaces in the future. 

As NOMA members we must activate and engage our local communities using our leadership and problem solving prowess to find solutions that drive policy change and have a lasting impact.

For this reason, NOMA, our members and our work force are at the center of my presidency. We, the industry leaders, have the power to enact the change we want to see. My NOMA journey began in 2009 when I served as NYCOBA NOMA Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, and Chapter President (2015–2016). In 2016, I became the NOMA National Historian, followed by the Regional Vice President of the Northeast and, for the last two years, your NOMA President-Elect. I’ve had the great fortune to work alongside and learn from many incredible NOMA leaders, including Jason Pugh, Immediate Past President (2021–2022), Kim Dowdell, Past President (2019–2020), Executive Director Tiffany Brown, NOMA Council Members and the board members, appointed chairs, staff and volunteers who make our organization’s vision a reality. Witnessing the growth of NOMA from less than 1,000 members in 2009 to 3,400+ members means we are moving in the right direction.

Our Calling and Programs

Today, I share my unwavering commitment for continuing our journey to diversify the architecture and design industry, minimize the effect of racism, and increase the licensure of Black and minority architects. I am energized and ready to work hand in hand with Bryan Lee Jr., President-Elect, and all of you as we keep growing and accomplishing our goals. As NOMA´s president, I am committed to sharing increased transparency and progress reports on the programs that sustain our mission and membership.

For the next 24 months, we will be focused on:

1. Expanding our mission globally.

  • For nearly 52 years, we have made considerable progress in effecting change across our industry in the U.S. We can make even more of an impact with global leadership and a deeper understanding of justice and equity worldwide. It will also provide our NOMA members access to projects and speaking engagements worldwide, where our talents and expertise is necessary. Thank you to the NOMA membership for voting in through the bylaw updates to allow not only international members but chapters as well. Please encourage your global network to join.

2. Advancing and refining existing NOMA programs to move our mission forward.

  • Our Annual Conference is an opportunity to come together, realize our mission, recognize the members who received their license, celebrate the contributions of every NOMA member, partner, and ally, and award those who provide extraordinary work and leadership in our community.
  • Our President’s Circle program is an annual membership that provides specialized diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting services for firms that want to build a more inclusive, diverse culture.
  • We also have unparalleled initiatives and resources that prepare our youth to excel in this industry and become licensed professionals.
    • Project Pipeline—particularly our regional summer camps—introduces middle and high school students of color to the field of architecture and design, where they explore how design impacts their community and what a career in the industry can look like.
    • The NFF is designed for undergraduate students and recent graduates, matching them with top architecture and design firms for an 8-week internship with firsthand experience and preparation for licensure.
    • The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Professional Development Program (HBCU PDP) is in partnership with Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morgan State University, Prairie View A&M University, Tuskegee University, and the University of DC, providing college students with access to networking, job opportunities, and mentors at firms across the country.
    • NOMA Connect is our member-specific communications portal that allows us to engage with and support one another no matter where we are. This is a channel you will hear more about over the coming weeks. We have many programs and look forward to highlighting them so you are knowledgeable about the extent and breadth of NOMA resources.

3. Building community at every level.

  • NOMA is the great organization that it is because of the people—our community, our family. As we focus on you, as your president I ask you to focus on creating meaningful relationships with your local community and society members. We will continue to be a supportive organization that leads by example.
2023: Standing With You and Serving With Open Hearts

This is our renewed beginning – the start to a New Year in 2023. As my 93-year-old grandma says, we must countdown on our feet, with open hearts and cheering in the new year, ready for the adventure that awaits us. We must find that calling in all of us. Thank you for the privilege of serving you as NOMA’s president. I look forward to collaborating with you. I look forward to our collective accomplishments. Most of all, I look forward to standing with you as we change our industry and the world.


Pascales Signature
Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP
NOMA President 2023-2024
Senior Associate, Adjaye Associates
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Recipient 2021
AIA Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee Member

Final NOMA Presidential Address – Jason Pugh

Greetings NOMA members, valued partners, extended family, and friends.

For many this time of year brings restful reflection and peace. We take a pause from our busy schedules and commitments to think about our blessings and fortunes, reflect on the years wins and losses, and try to reset, both mentally and physically, in preparation for new challenges and goals ahead in the new year. As I reflect, I realize I have much to be grateful for as I conclude my term as your NOMA President.

Over the last two years I’ve dedicated my time, energy, and passion towards advancing NOMA’s strategic goals, and pushing the mission of our beloved founders forward. I came into the national leadership role in 2021, amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, and challenged with reconnecting many fragmented NOMA chapters across the country that struggled to remain active once in-person social gatherings and connections were restricted. At that time, it was unclear what life would look like “on the other side,” but it taught me we are resilient and stronger as an organization, profession, and family than we ever knew. To witness the innovative ways our members collaborated across chapters and utilized technology to reengage our valued members was incredible. We saw chapters collaborate with other chapters clear across the country to host joint virtual seminars and events, and the strategic restructuring of national programs like Project Pipeline Architecture Summer Camps adopt virtual formats to better engage youth in both urban and rural communities. The effort and commitment to pivot such programs proved the dedication and strength of our members and has even made us rethink the formats of our member programming going forward.

When travel became safe, I could not wait to hit the road in 2021 to visit with NOMA professional and student chapters – from Seattle to Atlanta, Cincinnati and Houston, just to name a few. I made a commitment to visit all seven HBCU’s with accredited architecture programs together with AIA President, Dan Hart, a first in the history of the joint partnership between both organizations, and regularly made it a point to connect with local chapter leaders and members when traveling across the country on NOMA or work-related business. This was easily one of the best parts of my presidency and when I felt the most inspired – getting out as #yourNOMAprez and interacting with our valued members, on the ground, witnessing firsthand the passion and talent our chapter leaders and members bring to the organization every day.

From celebrating NOMA´s 50th anniversary last year in Detroit during our first ever hybrid conference, to finally reconnecting in-person with our full NOMA family this fall during NOMA UNPLUGGED 2022 in Nashville, there was an undeniable energy created at each conference that we all took back with us to our local chapters. The SAY IT LOUD – NOMA 50th exhibition celebrated the professional achievements of 80 diverse designers that represent the NOMA membership and honored the legacy of our founding members and forgotten founders. Between the inspiring keynotes, educational seminars, awards banquet, and parties, we were all motivated to do more, give more, and be more to make the profession reflective of the communities to which we serve.

Leading the organization as NOMA celebrated our 50th anniversary was a tremendous honor. This historic accomplishment and celebration is a true testament to the integrity of our mission, the unwavering dedication of our membership, and the established vision set by legacy trailblazers who’ve come before us and broke down barriers of entry and advancement into this profession. While there remains much more work to do as we work towards increasing the number of licensed Black and minority architects, we have to celebrate our progress and milestone achievements along the way.  

Today NOMA has tripled in size and grown to be a 3,400+ member organization in just a few years. NOMA would not be the strong organization it is today without our leadership board, appointed chairs, dedicated staff and volunteers who commit their time and energy to serve our valued members. As I reflect on my last President’s Challenge in support of my platform to EDUCATE, ELEVATE & EMPOWER, I encourage you all once again to step up, lead, and be the change you want to see, both within NOMA and the building design industry. This group of NOMA leadership is doing just that – using their energy and talents to leave a positive mark on NOMA, helping fuel its future growth. I applaud and thank each of you personally for your dedication and commitment as we could not be here without you.
Array of NOMA Pins

Over the last 18+ years I’ve have had the distinguished honor and privilege of serving this amazing organization at every level of leadership. First as a Student Chapter President during Undergrad at Howard University – second at the local chapter level as the 2015-2016 President of the Illinois NOMA chapter – followed by the National Executive Board as a Regional University Liaison, Regional Vice President, President Elect, and most recently as the 2021-2022 NOMA President. Thank you for allowing me to humbly serve as YOUR NOMA President. I look forward to remaining active and engaged on the Executive Board of NOMA as the Immediate Past President, and within my new elevated honored roll as one of the newest NOMA Council members.
I would like to congratulate my longtime friends and peer mentors, your incoming 2023-2024 NOMA President and President Elect, Pascale Sablan and Bryan Lee Jr., in their upcoming leadership roles. I leave you all in excellent hands and could not be more excited for both of them and the direction they will take NOMA into the future. They have certainly proven their talents and commitment to the industry and organization, and I wish them all the best.
I remain confident we can continue to move the needle towards the founder’s original mission set more than fifty years ago if we each do our part, and I look forward to the next fifty years ahead as we charge forward towards a more just and equitable design profession and community for all.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year,

Jpugh Signature

2021-2022 NOMA President

Statement on Nashville as the NOMA Conference Location

The NOMA Board and leadership recognize the severe impact of the recent ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization by the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade after fifty years of providing privacy and bodily autonomy in the United States. While the reversal of Roe v. Wade has already proven detrimental in a number of ways to the entirety of NOMA’s membership, no segment of our NOMA family has been more negatively impacted than those who identify as women whose bodily autonomy they now find hindered. The recent ruling is one of many detrimental policy decisions that has ripple affects, and spotlights the responses to this decision, and many other discriminatory policies, occuring in state governments. Related to concerns over state policies, the Board and leadership would like to acknowledge the concerns over this year’s conference location and would like to lay out how we move forward.

The decision of where to host NOMA Conferences includes a variety of factors and is made years in advance of the event to account for the robust planning process. NOMA has commitments for our forthcoming conference that make a location change improbable. We recognize the troubling historical and contemporary human, women’s, and LGBTQ+ rights records of the state and its elected officials that have become highlighted in the wake of recent events. Separate from any Tennessee decisions, NOMA believes and remains committed to human rights.

By hosting our annual conference in Nashville, NOMA is in no way ignoring or supporting the actions, both verbal and legislative, that have been taken by state and local elected officials. We fervently support the rights, safety, and well-being of ALL of our members who live and work in the Nashville area, specifically, and across the state of Tennessee.

We recognize that our organization represents members and students of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic classes, and as such, our foremost concern lies with supporting, defending, and protecting the rights of our members wherever they live, work, and serve. NOMA and NOMAS chapters are situated across the nation; to keep our largest convening accessible to our membership, at times conference is hosted in places that may have laws and policies that are in opposition to those we espouse—we must support our members wherever they are—to show them that they have support in communities where they may face opposition.

NOMA believes that we are stronger together. We must strengthen our presence in communities where the fight is hard and support our NOMA members in their fights, both to show our resilience and commitment, and to demonstrate that we show up for our NOMA family. To reaffirm NOMA’s dedication to defending human rights, we will make a donation of support to a local organization that is fighting for justice in the Nashville area and the state of Tennessee. While this donation will not immediately right the wrongs our members in the city and state face, we hope that it will demonstrate our dedication towards fighting and fixing those injustices.

NOMA Leadership and the Conference planning team understand how the environment in Nashville may be concerning potential NOMA conference attendees. Centering the experience, safety, and wellbeing of our conference registrants and members, we have planned and considered a variety of factors in the execution of our programming. We cannot control the city at large but we can set the expectations in our controlled environments. NOMA Conference is intended to be a safe and inclusive space for all of our members and attendees, ensuring that in our daily sessions, tours, and private social gatherings all are welcome. We have engaged local tourism organizations, NOMA Nashville, and our partners in planning to address concerns of safety across a variety of categories, not limited to race and ethnicity, accessibility, and gender identities to take precautions and be aware of what attendees may encounter as they navigate the city. We have safety plans for all NOMA events and are providing attendee restricted transportation to and from official conference events. NOMA will continue to work through planning to create a list of recommendations to share with attendees as we engage the City of Nashville and locations in the city. We have had shared values, understanding, and commitments from local partners in Nashville to address all of NOMA’s concerns. We encourage any attendees with specific questions or concerns to engage the Conference Team at with any specific questions or concerns.

Nashville is the birthplace of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and is the home of four HBCUs, including Fisk University, Tennessee State University (TSU)—an early school of architectural engineering whose students and faculty members contributed significantly to the design and building of Black Communities across the region—American Baptist College, and the prestigious Meharry Medical College, which graduates the highest percentage of Black PhDs in biomedical sciences in the nation, and American Baptist College. Related to NOMA´s history, NOMA’s last living founder, Jeh Johnson, was born in Nashville, his father a prominent sociologist and president of Fisk University. This past January he was buried alongside his parents and two brothers at the family cemetery in Nashville. McKissack & McKissack, an outgrowth of the oldest known minority-owned architecture/engineering firm now headquartered in Washington, D.C., started in Nashville.

In our 51st year, NOMA´s fight for equal rights for minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ in design is just as strong and committed as ever. We look forward to seeing you at our conference in Nashville on Oct. 26-30, 2022. We hope that you will join us in this important place of history and support the continuing fight of this movement in the community, where we will once again gather to support each other and lift one another up.

2022 Q3 President's Challenge Wide

The New Challenge

Tirelessly championing for JEDI initiatives across the building and design industry is both physically and mentally taxing, especially when its hard to see true measurable progress along the way. DEI fatigue is real for both the limited few minorities across the industry and our white colleagues, partners, and supporters who all champion for our cause. It is critically important we all take time in our busy professional lives to find a healthy work/life balance, and also invest in both our physical and mental health in order to ensure we’re all able to continue fighting the good fight.

I am challenging all NOMA members, professionals and students, to take time to create a healthy mindset and invest in your overall well-being. Let’s not only be mindful of our own mental health and daily stress points, but also of other NOMA members, leaders, and DEI champions as well, and step in aggressively with encouragement and support when we see others in need.

This new Quarterly President’s Challenge is in support of my NOMA Presidential Platform to EDUCATE, ELEVATE & EMPOWER our chapters and membership base. It falls under the EMPOWER pillar, and is intended to not only expand the reach, awareness and impact of minority architects, but also equip them with the mental and physical tools to counteract the inevitable mental and physical fatigue that comes with tirelessly fighting for change in the building and design industry.

“Small individual lifts can have a large collective impact.” ~ Jason Pugh

Jpugh Signature

Gensler Principal – Licensed Architect/Certified Urban Planner; 2021-2022 NOMA President

#yourNOMAprez #NOMAquarterlyPRESIDENTSchallenge #nationalorganizationofminorityarchitects #NOMA#smallLIFTlargeIMPACT #educateelevateempower #worklifebalance #RestandInvestInYourWellbeing #MentalHealth #E3 #EMPOWER

Brave Wide

Two Years Since George Floyd´s Death – We Must Do More

Two years have now passed since the murder of George Floyd. Twenty-four months since the public lynching of a black man finally made headline news. Seven hundred thirty days since the “racial awakening” and recognition of this country’s deeply rooted sins… And it only required a white police officer to kneel on the neck of a defenseless black man’s neck for five hundred sixty-nine seconds.

Since that time, I can only imagine how many civil protests have taken place across this country, or the number of partnerships that have been forged across industries to counteract the impact of systemic racism in our society. Yet we seem to be stagnant, making questionable progress towards change, as we take one step forward and two steps back. Political tension remains high, patience grows thin, and hope seems to be waning as coverage and conversations around potential strategies to resolve these embedded issues have quickly been weaponized into polarizing buzzwords by our local, regional, and national politicians fighting across the aisle. And yet it doesn´t seem to end. Last week, we mourned the death of 10 more Black lives in Buffalo, NY, due to racially motivated gun violence.

It doesn’t help that crime is reported to be up across most major U.S. cities and racially motivated assaults on citizens by citizens are on the rise. The ever-looming COVID-19 pandemic which forcibly shut down the world and brought our busy lives to a screeching halt doesn’t seem to go away, and routinely threatens us with endless variants as we try to gradually return to normalcy. Not to mention the continued senseless police shooting murders of Andre Hill (OH), Daunte Wright (MN), Travon Chadwell (IL), and thousands of others which have all taken place AFTER George Floyd, creates major doubt that real change is near… Yet in this moment, I remain hopeful.

I’m hopeful by what I’ve witnessed within the building and design industry, and the new support and resources dedicated to the planning and development of underserved and marginalized communities. The purposeful tracking of metrics by global firms to increase the low number of minority design professionals beyond administrative roles, and the transparency, by some, in sharing those numbers publicly to track our progress is a step toward realized change. The renewed focus to work and partner with local MBE/WBE firms is inspiring, along with intentional efforts to go beyond traditional project team roles to help grow and build their portfolio of work and expertise. Lastly, the continued growth of NOMA, which was recently recognized as an anchor institution and welcomed into the U.S. architecture alliance organizations, along with our increasing list of partners, supporters, and valued members who continue to inspire us every day with their commitment towards growing Justice, Equity, and Inclusion across the built environment. For these reasons alone, I remain hopeful.

Jpugh Signature

Gensler Principal – Licensed Architect/Certified Urban Planner; 2021-2022 NOMA President

The NOMA Family Grieves

Prescott 2019 Founders award Brooklyn
President Dowdell and Past President Hudson present Prescott with the Founders Award during the Brooklyn Awards Banquet

This one hits particularly hard for me and a lot of the leadership across our NOMA family. My relationship with Prescott (or Master P as I called him), started well before my journey with NOMA, during my time as an Undergraduate student at Howard University. Prescott was one of the first HU alumni I met who routinely came back to the School of Architecture, and he sincerely cared about both the upcoming students and program as a whole. He was a proud HU alumni who generously gave his time and energy to support the next generation, and he would frequently walk through the studios conducting on the spot project & portfolio critiques, sparing no tough words for those students who he believed could push themselves to higher standards, myself included. This always stuck with me, and in many ways inspired me to give back to the school upon graduation, as I tried to emulate the awesome example Prescott set for others to follow.

Years later as a young professional and member of NOMA, I would get a chance to build a deeper bond with him as I became more involved on the national board. I remember feeling so good when he pulled me aside one day and said he was proud of the work I was doing back on campus and the way I conducted myself as a Howard alumni. That really meant the world to me. You will be missed brother – Now and always.

NOMA President,

Jpugh Signature


Happy New Year NOMA Family

I hope this message finds everyone safe, healthy and warm as we close out one of the most memorable years for NOMA.  I truly can’t believe how fast the first year of my two-year presidential term went by, and I’m amazed at the advancements and strides our strong membership and leadership team has accomplished in such a short amount of time.  2021 marked the 50th Anniversary of the founding of our great organization, and along with it came much to celebrate.  Together we paid tribute to the rich history and legacy established by the twelve founders of NOMA, and we came together, both virtually and in-person despite the lingering and ever changing pandemic, for our annual NOMA Conference & 50th Anniversary Gala Weekend in Detroit, MI.  NOMA was formally welcomed by our industry peers as the 6th anchor intuition and collateral, and we hit a record breaking 3,000+ members.

While there was much to celebrate across the board, there was also much sadness and pain with the passing of a few NOMA pioneers.  We unfortunately experienced the tragic loss of NOMA’s last living founder, Mr. Jeh V. Johnson; Mrs. Drucie Chase, (wife of NOMA founder John Chase); along with several lifelong members and cherished leaders across the country.

The leadership team and I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the tremendous impact NOMA has made on the architecture and design industry over the course of the last 5 decades, and we’re excited about what lies ahead as we chart forward towards the next 50 years ahead.  We’d like to thank all of the NOMA and NOMAS chapters across the country for sharing their end of year celebrations, and everyone who has reached out over the past year to connect with national leadership.  Your warmth, talents and ideas are inspirational, and together serves as the heart and soul of NOMA’s present and bright future. 

Year End Presidents Msg

Celebrating NOMA FAIA Members 

We recently celebrated the end of the year in Washington, D.C. at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to induct the 2020 and 2021 Class of AIA Fellows, which included my successor, NOMA President Elect, Pascale Sablan, FAIA, and NOMA’s Midwest Regional VP, Saundra Little, FAIA.  I was also very proud to see a few fellow Howard University School of Architecture alumni also recognized and inducted this year.  Longtime NOMA member, educator and mentor to all, James E. Silcott, FAIA; William M. Brown III, FAIA, who is the proud son of one of NOMA’s 12 Founders, William M. Brown Jr.; and my fellow Chicagoan brother, Renauld D. Mitchell, FAIA.  It’s extremely important to note the high honor and prestige that comes along with fellowship, which is bestowed upon architects who have made significant contributions to the profession and society while exemplifying architectural excellence during their impactful careers.  Less than 3% of AIA members have this distinction, and we’re beyond proud of the growing list of NOMA members who’ve reached one of the highest honors in our industry.

Aia College Of Fellows Induction Ceremony

Achieving Licensure with NOMA 

We made great strides this year towards NOMA’s 2030 Challenge to double the number of licensed black architects.  However at this moment, the percentage of FAIA Black architects is greater than the percentage of total Black licensed architects.  Now while we will take every celebration we can, it’s time to double down on the founders initial mission to increase the number of Black and minority-licensed architects as we embark on our 51st year as an organization.  For those of you pursuing licensure this year, we want to know – email your chapter leaders and the national leadership team so we can provide you the support you need along the way.  

We hit 3,000 NOMA members in December 2021, but let’s not wait until next December 2022 to exceed it.  I will close this year end message with a request for all members to renew or join NOMA today.  As we step forward together into 2022, please ask yourself what one or two things you can do to increase your support of NOMA’s mission.  We are a family – and it takes a village to make the change we hope to see.

Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year – 

Your NOMA President,

Jpugh Signature


The President’s Conference Speech – The Next 50 Year of NOMA

Jason Pugh’s remarks presented October 22nd at the NOMA Awards Banquet and broadcasted live.

So, as most of you know, we traditionally host the Awards Banquet on Saturday night, and it’s always the last main event of the NOMA conference weekend. Which means these closing remarks by the National President of NOMA are usually the last words or remarks shared before we return to our respective cities and homes across the country, and they are typically very reflective and appreciative for the full conference planning team, our sponsors, and of those who’ve attended.

This year is a bit different obviously, considering we still have one more full day left of amazing seminars, speakers, and tours tomorrow, along with the Gala event tomorrow evening at the Garden Theater. But nonetheless, I still wanted to impart my own words of appreciation and inspiration with you all this evening.

This year, as we’ve experienced and seen, has been anything but normal with the ongoing global pandemic, but once again and to no surprise, NOMA’s resiliency holds strong. The national and local conference planning team has had to get pretty creative and flexible in order to support a hybrid experience for the 1,300+ virtual conference attendees across the country, and the 200+ people that are here with us tonight in-person, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of NOMA during our Gala Weekend here in Detroit.

Over the last few days we’ve talked a lot about the legacy of NOMA, and our close connection with the city of Detroit, where twelve Black Architects from different parts of the country came together to form the National Organization of Minority Architects 50 years ago. In honor of this milestone anniversary, we’ve shared ongoing communication and monthly features and spotlights on each of the 12 founders of NOMA, in order to honor the solid foundation they’ve set for all of us to be here and stand strong today. Hosting an in-person Homecoming for our NOMA members this year was very important to all of us… And the full conference planning team has done an amazing job. Can we please give them all one more round of applause for their creativity and resiliency to make this weekend happen for all of us?

Earlier today at the Founders Wives Brunch Drake Dillard stopped by my table as I was eating and asked what I was doing. Before I could finish chewing and swallowing my food he said “this is the NOMA conference… You don’t have time to sit and eat Mr. President.” You know what, he’s right. As a former National President himself, and as any other NOMA President in the room tonight can tell you, the conference is always very stressful, and there are a million things going on behind the scenes… But I must say the team has done an amazing job of keeping us all on track and ensuring I’m where I need to be throughout the course of the day. So once again… Thank you.

I had an interview with a national publication earlier today, and was asked “What does NOMA mean to you?” This is a question that I am often asked by my colleagues and peers, leaders of various allied organizations, and other fellow NOMA members. After careful thought and reflection, I recently realized that both my relationship with NOMA and response to this question has evolved and matured over the years. It has been directly influenced by my own journey and advancement throughout the course of my matriculation and professional career, but has always been one of appreciation, inspiration and love.

As a member of NOMAS at Howard University NOMA provided ACCESS and MENTORSHIP. The organization opened my eyes to the low representation and inequities minorities face across the profession.

As a member of NOMAS at Howard University NOMA provided ACCESS and MENTORSHIP. The organization opened my eyes to the low representation and inequities minorities face across the profession and introduced me to some of the first licensed black architects and professionals I ever met within the industry. NOMA afforded me an opportunity to engage with a broader community of designers beyond Howard’s campus gates and connected me with a long list of inspiring architects and influential leaders that I would soon cherish as mentors and lifelong friends. My classmates and I reactivated the NOMAS chapter back within the school of architecture, and I stepped up to serve as the student chapter President. It was over the course of the first year while rebuilding the dormant NOMAS chapter I realized the true power of attentive mentorship and witnessed firsthand how invested and important my own success and development was to the local NOMA chapter and educators around me.

Years later as a young professional in Chicago, NOMA provided GROWTH and OPPORTUNITY. It served as a springboard for my career, elevated my profile locally across the design industry, and helped to solidify my core values and passion for both mentoring the next generation and developing underserved and marginalized communities. Many doors opened for me once I decided to step up and serve as President of the local Illinois NOMA chapter. My administration focused on strengthening the operational infrastructure and communication lines with our local members and creating tangible value for an I-NOMA membership.


Today after serving on the National Executive Board of NOMA for the last 8+ years, NOMA is now LOVE and FAMILY. I have been blessed to forge some amazing friendships and bonds with an impressive list of architects and designers across the country while serving in a wide variety of leadership positions which have included Regional University Liaison (2013-2014), Regional Vice President (2015-2019), President Elect (2020), and now as the current 2021-2022 National President. I now realize that my evolving relationship with NOMA has been tied directly to my own career advancement and success, and in a lot of ways is very similar to the shared relationships with the majority of our membership base. You see when I found NOMA, I found a home. A home that grounded me with deep roots within its mission and struck a chord with my own core values and soul. I never planned or set a goal to serve this organization at the highest level as the National President. I simply remained engaged, volunteered when needed, and said yes to leadership opportunities as others continued to encourage and cheer me on, serving as my advocates and champions. This type of support is one of the best things about NOMA. It continues to serve as a haven for those who are underrepresented within the architecture and design industry and provides an extended network of supporters who want to see you grow and succeed. Our devoted members carry this spirit deep in their hearts and share it freely with our fellow members and outside guests with warm open arms. This love and infectious energy has been a vital anchor grounding us within the profession, and helps to refill our own spirits and energy, giving us strength to charge forward. For those in the audience who’ve joined us in Detroit for the Gala Weekend celebration, they will attest to the power of this energy and spirit here in the room with us this evening.

As we look towards the next 50 years of NOMA, it’s important we honor the legacy of the organization, and remember the main reasons it was formed by our twelve founders in 1971. We must continue to reflect on our rich history and the trailblazing paths set by those who have come before us. We must also recognize the exponential growth of the organization and the diversity across our membership ranks which has informed who we are today, resulted in new strategic partnerships for tomorrow, and decide who we want to be as we define the trajectory of NOMA for the next 50 years ahead.

Our sheer size, growing influence and powerful reach will no longer allow us to sit in silence amidst the injustices and causes other minority groups face, but rather now requires us to speak out and engage in broader conversations that extend beyond our immediate aims and objectives and work together to amplify the voice and needs of a growing list of other marginalized and underrepresented professionals across the industry.

Now by no means can NOMA become or should try to be all things to all people across our increasingly diverse membership base.

Now by no means can NOMA become or should try to be all things to all people across our increasingly diverse membership base. We must be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that we’ve yet to resolve the original challenges and inequities Black architects faced 50+ years ago which fueled the formation of the organization by our twelve Black founders. This unfortunately is still very evident in the low number of successful Black owned firms, and the historically low representation of licensed Black architects in the U.S. which continues to flatline just below 3%% and has not changed for decades. The advancement, recruitment, and retention of Black architects was and remains one of the top priorities for NOMA and will continue to be so until we can say with confidence that the initial charge and mission set by the founders of the organization is complete. You cannot focus on a new target, until you’ve successfully hit the first.

NOMA must continue to welcome members of all genders, colors, and faiths, and provide a home for those who are in complete support of NOMA’s mission.

We’ve set moonshot target goals like the 2030 challenge to double the number of licensed Black architects within the next 9+ years and continue to expand the talent pool of future architects, designers and urban planners by investing more resources in support of our national Project Pipeline initiatives. However, as many former National NOMA Presidents before me have shared, it would be hypocritical for us to replicate the same discriminatory practices and exclusionary policies that have held us back throughout history, especially when it comes to supporting other marginalized groups who are fighting against the same challenges and ingrained systemic racial injustices that continue to plague communities of color across this country. Let us remember that “a rising tide lifts all ships” and recognize there is strength in numbers and measurable progress with true unity. Within this vein and lane NOMA must continue to welcome members of all genders, colors, and faiths, and provide a home for those who are in complete support of NOMA’s mission.

At this moment in time, NOMA’s size, influence and reach is the greatest it has ever been in the history of our organization, and we continue to shepherd impactful discussions and thought leadership throughout the industry centered around Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. We are now this close to 3,000 members and are perfectly poised for continued growth beyond our 35 professional and 86+ student chapters across the country and have started to set the stage to support an expanded global network of international chapters and foreign members. I am confident we can move the needle in an impactful way towards a more just and equitable design industry for all if we follow our north star and stay true to NOMA’s core values. I am truly excited about what lies ahead for NOMA’s future, and the next generation of growing leaders that will follow and carry the torch even further.

President Pugh Invites You to NOMA’s 50 Anniversary Conference

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Belle Isle, a Detroit gem, another reason to visit Detroit in person!

October 6th, 2021

Greetings to our NOMA family, partners, and friends,

We are exactly two weeks away from the virtual NOMA conference and in-person 50th Anniversary Weekend Gala Celebration taking place in Detroit October 20th-23rd, and I could not be more excited! Excited not only to reconnect virtually and in-person with my extended NOMA family, mentors, and friends, but also the celebration of our milestone 50th Anniversary commemorating the founding of this amazing organization we all hold near and dear to our hearts.

As you all know, 50 years ago twelve African-American architects from different parts of the country met during the AIA National Convention in Detroit in 1971. This was nearly six years after the passing of the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965 which enabled all citizens unrestricted voting rights, and exactly three years after Whitney M. Young Jr.’s speech at the 1968 AIA conference which challenged the industry to act and stop turning a blind eye in the form of our reverberant silence to the inequities plaguing communities of color. Young had an important message for a profession he believed had the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of the marginalized and disenfranchised, but only if architects chose to do so. Luckily there were 12 brave trailblazers in the audience that day that were inspired by his words, and they immediately took action and came together to form the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). Their names were William M. Brown Jr., Leroy M. Campbell, Wendell Campbell, John S. Chase, James C. Dodd, Kenneth B. Groggs, Nelson Harris, Jeh V. Johnson, E.H. McDowell, Robert J. Nash, Harold Williams, and Robert Wilson.

Today NOMA is strong, and the organization has grown to over 2,800+ diverse members in over 120 professional and student chapters in North America. We are established as the national advocate for the advancement of architects of color, and earned a respected spot to serve as one of six anchor institutions and collaterals within the architecture and design industry. The 50th Anniversary of NOMA is an opportunity for us to come together virtually or in Detroit and honor our rich history, relish in our present-day accomplishments, and look towards a brighter future for our profession and our communities as we chart a path forward for the next 50 years.

The NOMA conference team, comprised of national leadership and the local Detroit NOMA chapter, are working hard to plan an amazing conference experience for both our virtual and in-person Gala weekend attendees which includes an inspiring list of keynote speakers and seminar presentations for the virtual conference, along with multiple in-person formal events, banquets, and tours around the city of Detroit for all in-person attendees. Registration for both the virtual NOMA conference and in-person Weekend Gala are still open (you can register here) and I’m encouraging all of NOMA’s valued members, partners, longtime champions and friends to join us in celebration for this milestone and once-in-a-lifetime event.

I truly hope you’ll celebrate with us, and look forward to seeing all of you virtually or in-person in Detroit in two weeks.

Onward and Upwards,

Your NOMA President,

Jason Pugh, AIA, AICP, LEED AP, NOMA President 2021-2022

Updates on the Conference and the Gala

$conference V Galawhite

June 17th, 2021

Dear NOMA Family,

It’s hard to believe what a year brings – one year ago at this time we were reeling from the murder of George Floyd and others, and the uncertainty of the COVID pandemic. While things are more stable, we’re still a long way off from where we want to be and that includes being able to gather in person for our NOMA conference this year.

NOMA 50: 2021 NOMA Virtual Conference: Oct. 20-23, 2021
As we mentioned during the NOMA Town Hall in May, we decided to host the conference online this year. We are working out the registration pricing and will have those available to everyone in early July. The online conference will be held October 20th – 23rd, 2021. and will will include inspiring keynotes, the annual Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards, the annual Barbara G. Laurie student design competition, and a variety of virtual networking platforms to ensure conference attendees are still able to engage, network, and connect with NOMA members all across the globe. Conference registration will be live in July and sponsorships can be purchased at

NOMA Limited-Attendance Weekend Celebration In Detroit: Oct. 21-23, 2021
In addition to online activities, there will be an in-person weekend-long event in Detroit during Oct. 21st – 23rd, 2021, to celebrate NOMA’s 50th Anniversary and honor NOMA’s 12 founding members . This event takes place during the fully virtual conference. It will be limited to 400 attendees, , due to COVID-related hotel safety restrictions, including the current NOMA board and guest and is first come first served. This was a decision made based on feedback received from our membership, and we look forward to reconvening in person if 2022 allows. The special event weekend packages will be made available to all paid NOMA members, students and professionals, in late July. Packages for the NOMA 50 Weekend Celebration will be sold separately from the virtual conference.

Event Pre-Registration: NOMA members who pre-registered for the NOMA 50 conference, will receive $50 off their online conference event registration (no credits will be provided for the in-person gala weekend). We will credit your account when you complete your conference registration.

I’m also pleased to report we’ve have 2,500 NOMA members for the first time ever. Thank you for supporting NOMA and continuing to help us Educate, Elevate, and Empower students and professionals in architecture and design. See you all in October, virtually and in-person!

Jason Pugh, AIA, AICP, LEED AP, NOMA President 2021-2022

2500 Members


NOMA Elevates Justice for ALL

George Floyd

April 21st, 2021

Dear NOMA Family,

On May 31, 2020, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) responded with a tremendously heavy heart in reaction to the murder of George Floyd.  This tragedy was emblematic of a larger system of oppression and injustice in the U.S.  After the release of our B.R.A.V.E. statement, NOMA’s leadership was heartened by the colleagues, friends, and allies that reached out with support and acknowledgment of the long-standing racial divide in the nation and in our industry. 

On April 20, 2021, a jury honored the value of George Floyd’s life with a guilty verdict rendered in the trial of Derek Chauvin – a white man and police officer who senselessly murdered Floyd in Minneapolis. While more discriminate violence at the hands of police continued, the country waited with bated breath and a mix of emotions as the guilty verdict was shared. For most across our communities, our immediate reactions of relief & celebration, quickly turned to reflective sadness & frustration once we realized we were celebrating something that should be so clear and apparent for our legal justice system.

Yesterday’s guilty verdict is NOT JUSTICE.

Yesterday’s guilty verdict is NOT JUSTICE.  Justice comes with the deliverance of quick and fair sentencing, without risk of delays or approved appeals.  Yesterday’s guilty verdict is ACCOUNTABILITY.  Accountability that was long overdue, and required the world’s focus, a national movement, countless protests, and the courage of a select few officers to bravely cross the blue wall of silence against a white police officer who kneeled on a Black man’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Yesterday has the potential to be a turning point – but it’s not a static pivot. The guilty verdict moves us in the direction of equity and the nation’s fight to end white supremacy.  White supremacy’s end simply stands for the start of recognized human dignity for everyone – no matter your race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or economic status. 

Last year was traumatic on many different levels.  At least the outcome of this historic trial begins to relieve the pressure on our collective necks as we gasped for the air of true freedom as equal citizens.  Even though the injustices that ranged from slavery to Emmett Till and Jim Crow to Breonna Taylor remain heavy in our memories, we can begin to point to a precedent of accountability.  This is now the beginning of the healing process.

We – our members, friends, colleagues, families, communities, and nation – have to reflect on the events of the past year, including the continued incidents of violence against people of color, and use this as fuel to move in the right direction, which is towards equal treatment for all.  It is notable that we mark this moment of truth in history during NOMA’s 50th year.  It should not have taken 50 years to have difficult conversations about race in our profession. Now that the conversations have started, we cannot stop until we get it right. 

On behalf of George Floyd, the jury got it right.  As we think about how we can build from the momentum of this historic decision, we challenge everyone to fight all systems of bias, oppression, and prejudice.  As a profession, it’s time to get back to work.

Jason Pugh, AIA, AICP, LEED AP, NOMA President 2021-2022 and
Kimberly Dowdell, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BC + C, NOMA President 2019-2020


Stop Asian Hate Joint Image

March 19th, 2021

Dear NOMA Family,

Recently there have been increasing anti-Asian bias and crime in our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community.  Negative and false rhetoric has created a heartbreaking discrimination toward the AAPI population.  The news out of Atlanta, which has caused renewed anger and fear, compels NOMA to speak out. NOMA joins our Asian American Pacific Islander community in condemning these violent acts.  We are working with other professional organizations and our local and regional chapters to bring education, solutions and a united understanding of the impact of hate. 

It was less than a year ago we issued the following statement:  

The air in our nation is thick with a profound sense of grief and despair. Our collective air is so very thick that it’s literally hard to breathe. We struggle to grasp for air as we all navigate a global pandemic coupled with the deadly and pervasive virus called racism that has plagued America for over four centuries. 

As the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), we are calling on our members and our broader professional community to condemn racism and take an active role in eliminating the racial biases that account for a myriad of social, economic, and health disparities, and most importantly, result in the loss of human lives – Black lives. As architects, we are professionally responsible for protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public. The tragic execution of Black Americans at the hands of people infected by racism has plagued our nation for generations. Click here for the full statement. 

This statement stands true for all as does NOMA’s Mission: NOMA’s mission, rooted in a rich legacy of activism, is to empower our local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development and design excellence. 

We invite those who believe in the ability to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development and design excellence to join us.  

Stay B.R.A.V.E.: Banish racism; Reach out to those who are grieving; Advocate for the disinherited; Vote in every American election; Engage each human as you’d have them engage you. 

Jpugh Signature

Jason Pugh, NOMA, AIA,AICP
2021-2022 NOMA National President
Senior Associate, Gensler

Brave Wide

The End of an Era, Forever in Our Hearts

February 1, 2021

Dear NOMA Family,

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart we announce the recent passing of three important pillars of our organization: NOMA’s last living founder, Mr. Jeh V. Johnson; Mrs. Drucie Chase, (wife of NOMA Founder John Chase); and Mr. Lonnie Hewitt.


Jeh Johnson
Professor and architect Jeh Vincent Johnson passed away on January 27th, 2021 at Vassar Brothers Hospital at the age of 89. In 1971, Mr. Johnson co-founded the National Organization of Minority Architects, along with eleven other fellow members at an AIA conference in Detroit. Johnson received his A.B. degree from Columbia University in New York in 1953 before being drafted to serve in the Counter Intelligence Corps of the U.S. Army until 1954. He then earned his M.A. degree in architecture in 1958 from Columbia University. He also served as chair of the National Committee on Housing for the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 1977, he was elected to the AIA’s College of Fellows.

In 1956, Johnson was hired by renowned architect to the stars, Paul R. Williams, as a young designer. After graduate school, he received the William Kinne Fellows Fellowship and traveled throughout Europe studying architecture. He later joined the architectural firm of Adams and Woodbridge Architects in 1958. In 1962, Johnson co-founded Gindele and Johnson, along with William Gindele, where the focus of their work was on single and multi-family housing, community centers, churches, and schools. Two years later, Johnson accepted a faculty position in architecture and design at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. In 1967, he was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to serve on the National Commission on Urban Problems. More on Mr. Johnson’s vast contributions to the profession and NOMA can be found here. In the coming days and weeks ahead more details will be shared by NOMA leadership on plans to honor both Mr. Johnson and the other eleven founders of NOMA with a new Founders Scholarship.


Drucie Chase
Drucie Raye Rucker Chase departed this life on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 and was reunited with her husband, John Saunders Chase (NOMA Founder), and her eldest son, John Saunders Chase Jr. Drucie was born on August 4, 1931 in Austin, Texas. She was the second oldest child of Beatrice Aldridge Rucker and John Rucker. Drucie attended L.C. Anderson High School and graduated from Huston Tillotson University with a B.A. in English at 19 years old. While attending the wedding of a good friend, fate brought Drucie and John together when John was asked to stand in for a groomsman who could not attend at the last minute. John persistently asked her out on a date several times, but Drucie said she would not go out with him until he first met her father. The two men bonded over baseball and Drucie’ s father quickly gave his overwhelming approval. Soon after, the young couple was married. This happy union lasted for 62 years until John’s death in 2012. Please read more about Mrs. Chase at this link.

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Lonnie Hewitt, Jr.
Lonnie Hewitt, Jr., a native of New Orleans, LA passed away on Monday, January 25, 2021 at the age of 75. Lonnie was an alumnus of L.B. Landry High School (1964) and Southern University and A&M College (1969). He was the President and co-founder of Hewitt-Washington & Associates Architects and Planners (founded in 1978), a member of the AIA (American Institute of Architects), NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects), and The Collaborative—a group of small business owners who advocated for economic parity and equity for all local, small and disadvantaged businesses in New Orleans. Lonnie’s hobbies included cooking, working on home improvement projects, and watching Saints football. As an expression of sympathy in lieu of sending flowers, donations may be made in his honor to NOMA’s Project Pipeline. Please be sure to indicate in the donor comments section, “In memory of Lonnie Hewitt” at the NOMA Project Pipeline Fund. You can read more about his life and legacy here.

NOMA extends our sincerest condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Johnson, Chase and Hewitt family during these difficult times. Collectively we honor the legacy of all three trailblazers who stood as pillars across the NOMA community, and celebrate their tremendous contributions to the profession of architecture. They will be sorely missed by many, but we shall take solace in the fact that their legacy will live on through all the lives they touched, the students they mentored, and the movement they supported across the field of architecture and beyond.


The NOMA Executive Board

Welcome Address from President Jason Pugh

January 1, 2021

Happy New Year to all NOMA members, allied partners, and extended family. As we reflect on the past unprecedented year and bravely step into 2021 with optimistic fortitude, there is much to be thankful for. 2020 was undoubtedly one for the record books. Together we’ve contended a global pandemic, the resultant economic recession, divisive political rhetoric, and growing civil unrest following the senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others. Our lives have been uprooted, our plans cancelled or derailed. Many Americans have lost jobs, while tragically others have lost their lives. The year 2020 was not what we had planned, and for most of us 2021 could not come soon enough. But with the new year comes anticipated change, renewed values, sharpened focus, and new opportunities.

Today marks the first day of 2021, and with it, the start of my two year term as the 34th President of NOMA. I am truly honored to serve our valued members within this leadership role, and humbled by the incredible support, encouragement and mentorship I’ve received over the years leading up to this moment.

President Jason Pugh

NOMA is truly an amazing organization, full of incredible members, inspiring mentors, and endless opportunities for both personal and professional growth. I have been a part of this wonderful family we call NOMA now for well over 16 years, and my journey has blessed me with opportunities to serve the organization in multiple capacities at both the student and professional level. I first accepted the reins of leadership as an undergraduate student at Howard University, where I helped resurrect a dormant NOMAS chapter by serving as President, and years later as a young professional in Chicago as the 2015-2016 President of the local I-NOMA chapter. I have also served on the national executive board for the last 8+ years as the Midwest Regional University Liaison, a Regional VP, and most recently as your President Elect.

My journey and ascension into this position did not happen by my own foresight and accord, but rather through a fortunate series of continued blessings and encouragement by an amazing support network of mentors, family and friends. NOMA is one of those unique professional organizations where if you continue to volunteer, say yes, collaborate with others, and bring fresh ideas to the table, before you know it you’ll look up one day and have countless leadership opportunities at your feet along with a deep cheering section of champions and supporters pushing you to grow and go further.

As such, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge a few important people within my own journey and NOMA family, starting with two members who are unfortunately no longer with us – Our beloved Barbara G. Laurie and brother Kenneth Casey. Barbara was one of the most influential professors I had while studying at Howard University during undergrad. She was the first black female licensed architect I ever met, and instilled the importance of passing the ARE to become a licensed architect with all of her students. She, along with Edward Dunson and Harry Robinson, had a lot faith and confidence in my potential as a young student before I saw it in myself, and were instrumental in my decision to pursue a graduate degree in Urban Design at Columbia University. Ken Casey and I met later in life, once I moved to Chicago and rejoined NOMA as a young professional. He was a steadfast mentor to all, served on the national executive NOMA board across a long list of leadership positions, and strongly encouraged me to step up and serve the organization, both as President of the local chapter, and on the National Executive Board. I truly hope both Barbara and Ken are looking down on me with pride, and I promise to do my absolute best within this role to honor their cherished memory and legacy.

I must also thank my deep support network of former presidents and leadership across the country who have guided me along the way and served as invaluable counsel for all things NOMA related and beyond. Kevin Holland, Steven Lewis, Bill Stanley, Carlton Smith, Drake Dillard, Kathryne Prigmore, Kathy Dixon, Michael Rogers, Anzilla Gilmore, and Rod Henmi, just to name a few – Along with the former Immediate Past President, Bryan Hudson, who single handedly pulled me onto the national executive board, and encouraged me to ascend within the leadership ranks of this amazing organization.

As I take this next step forward to serve as your next NOMA President, I’d like to first acknowledge the incredible work and accomplishments of our Immediate Past President, Kimberly Dowdell. I believe everyone both internal and external to NOMA would agree that Kimberly has done an amazing job “flying the plane” as she often called it, and leading this great organization during one of the most difficult and unprecedented moments in the history of our country. I’m looking forward to building on the strong operational foundation she has constructed during her tremendously impactful administration, and expanding NOMA’s list of sponsors, resources, programming and allied partners in the years to come.

The last two years Kimberly and I have worked together in lockstep to ensure the new programs and initiatives created will be carried forward and expanded in creative ways to meet the growing needs of our devoted members and reinforce the value in being a part of NOMA. In support of that tradition, I plan to maneuver in a similar fashion and partner with my all-star successor, Pascale Sablan, and collaborate with the new incoming NOMA executive board to collectively expand impactful programming by our student and professional chapters at the local level, and ensure it dovetails with our new expanded national platform to EDUCATE, ELEVATE, and EMPOWER our membership base and chapters across the country.
I strongly believe there needs to be just as much concentration on our retention efforts as there has been on recruiting new NOMA members. Over the course of the next few months NOMA leadership will roll out high quality programming focused on expanding our introductory K-12 initiatives, higher education development, ARE preparatory training, membership spotlights, and economic growth opportunities for our members, all with an overarching focus aimed to reinforce tangible value in your NOMA membership. The national executive board and I look forward to working closely with both our student and professional NOMA chapters across the country to develop these initiatives effectively during my administration.

Onward and Upward:

Jpugh Signature

Jason Pugh, NOMA, AIA,AICP
2021-2022 NOMA National President
Senior Associate,Gensler

Farewell Message from President Kimberly Dowdell

December 31, 2020

My 731 days as NOMA President will draw to a close today. What an adventure this has been! It is bittersweet to write to you one last time in my capacity as the leader of this incredible organization. As we embark upon NOMA’s 50 year anniversary in 2021, I am proud that we are collectively characterized by our resilience, creativity, and perseverance toward a more inclusive profession. While my presidential administration represents just a small window of time that builds up to this rich five decade legacy, I trust that our work together over the past two years would have made our founders proud.

As I began my term in January 2019, I acknowledged that I stand on the shoulders of giants. Inspired by past presidents, founders, fellow board members and chapter leaders, I have been propelled forward by the fortitude and strength of those who have come before me. My accomplishments as NOMA’s 2019-2020 National President were chronicled in ARCHITECT Magazine recently, however, what you may not know is why I embarked on this journey in the first place. In short, I was asked.

Past President Bryan Hudson asked me to consider taking on a position that I questioned my readiness for at the time. He assured me that it was my time. I didn’t respond right away. I thought about it, prayed about it and finally determined that I would need to get ready. I could not have imagined all that came about during my term as NOMA’s 33rd President. From building organizational infrastructure and raising the organization’s profile in 2019 to all that embodied 2020, I don’t know that anyone would really be prepared for that on day 1. Here I am on day 731, and the primary word that comes to mind is: grateful. I’m grateful to our members and supporters. I’m grateful to my family, friends and firm. Of highest importance, I’m grateful to God. My faith has strengthened over these two years in ways I could not have imagined. A mantra that I began summoning this year in particular is, “breathe in faith and breathe out fear”. It has really helped me lead with a steady hand, even in the most turbulent times.


When I am required to rise to the occasion and speak on behalf of NOMA, even when I’m personally at a loss for words, I am very grateful to be able to dig deep into a reservoir of God-given ability to find the words to uplift and empower. From the NOMA B.R.A.V.E. public statement after the murder of George Floyd, to the New York Times ad in support of Black livelihood, to the Moonshot article in ARCHITECT Magazine, asking our profession to join us in our efforts to diversify our field, I am grateful for the inspiration that has helped open new doors for our organization and our members. It has truly been a privilege to give voice to the diverse perspectives represented in our industry. I would also like to thank my many co-authors, collaborators, editors and advisors for supporting these important endeavors.

The work continues, even on day 732, which is day 1 for Jason Pugh as NOMA’s 34th President. I am delighted to support Jason’s administration in my new capacity as Past President on the NOMA Board. I’ll be especially excited to welcome you all to my hometown and the birthplace of NOMA at next year’s homecoming conference in Detroit. Save the date: October 20-23, 2021!


In closing, please know that it has been my great honor to serve and I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and encouragement. Thank you so very much for being #ALLinforNOMA!

Happy New Year,

2019-2020 NOMA National President
Principal, HOK

Black Spectacles Partnership and More – A Message from President Dowdell

December 18, 2020

Dear NOMA Family,

NOMA is proud to announce that we’ve teamed up with Black Spectacles to offer deeply discounted ARE study resources for our members on the path to licensure. This exciting news means that we have taken a major step toward supporting our commitment to the 2030 Diversity Challenge (in partnership with the AIA Large Firm Roundtable) to double the number of Black architects in the United States by 2030. Our goal is to reach 5,000 Black architects in the Directory of African American Architects by 2030.

Because we are ALL in for NOMA, these study resources are available to ALL of NOMA’s paid members, regardless of racial/ethnic background. Please be mindful of the fact that we are ALL in this together and need to support one another through the licensure process. We encourage our licensure candidates to form study groups and help one another while tapping into the resources that NOMA has to offer, both formally and informally via mentorship.

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As NOMA celebrates our 50th Year Anniversary in Detroit next year, we would like to see 50 newly licensed NOMA architects get pinned at our licensure pinning ceremony in October 2021. We’re calling this our 50 x 50 Challenge. So, what are you waiting for? Get in there and finish those exams! We’re ALL rooting for you!

More details about the program will be shared with paid members in the New Year. Please join or renew today! We are aiming for a February 1st launch date, so get ready. We hope this is just the kind of motivation you need to get licensed and take your career to the next level! Contact for details on these initiatives.

In Solidarity,

Build Back Better – A Message from President Dowdell

November 7, 2020

Dear NOMA Family,

Today, I greet you with thoughts of well-being and peace. November has not only brought us a very close U.S. Presidential race, it is also bringing COVID-19 back to many of our communities in full force. Please follow all of the safety protocols that were communicated when we experienced our first wave earlier this year. Your health is of utmost importance, so please take good care of yourself and your loved ones. We want to be able to see you in Detroit next year at NOMA 50, October 20-23, 2021.

Between now and then, I would also like to see NOMA continue to grow and flourish as an organization, advancing our mission. While my presidency will be coming to a close at the end of next month, I’ll remain on the board as Immediate Past President to support Jason Pugh in his duties to lead us into an even stronger future for the next two years. Since I’ve been in this leadership role on behalf of NOMA, I have learned a lot about what it means to represent a group of people who have many things in common, while also having different and sometimes competing interests. Regardless of these differences, what ties us together as NOMA members is so much stronger than anything else.

This same notion applies to American citizens. We have seen how divided our nation is on certain issues, but it has become less clear how our interests and passions align. There has been a lot of focus on counting red votes and blue votes lately for obvious reasons. We need to exercise democracy and this is how it works. However, now that the counting of votes has yielded a result, it is vital that what we count on now is each other. Let me be clear in saying that NOMA is a professional organization and is non-partisan. We have members who voted blue and red. I have family members who voted blue and red. Now that the tallies have totaled in favor of blue, we must put aside our partisan differences and unite around our commons ties. We must communicate with one another, support one another and build bridges to a more peaceful and prosperous future, united.

We must unite as a community to support healing our nation and building a better future. As NOMA has been encouraging throughout the year, we appreciate all of you who voted in this election. You can clearly see why that was important. Every single vote made a difference this year. Please always remember this and vote in every election with the same level of vigor and determination. Nearly half of the U.S. voted for someone who you didn’t vote for. This means that you don’t always know another person’s opinion or perspective, but you must always treat everyone with dignity and respect. When your opinions vary, find the common ground first. There is always common ground and that is where peace can prevail over turmoil.

Brave Wide

2020 has magnified so much about our nation, from disaster response readiness to racial relations and our stark political differences. While so many things remain troubling for communities of color in this nation, it is now time to Build Back Better. Rebuild your relationships with people who don’t always think like you, rebuild your companies and organizations to be more resilient, and let’s rebuild our country so that we can all live in a more perfect union. The key word here is union, which will require the intentional work of reuniting. If any group of people can lead this charge, it is architects. We have the privilege of working for people from every walk of life. Believe it or not, we are all public servants and we are called upon to protect everyone’s health, safety and welfare. This is our moment, NOMA. We must lead, serve, design, protect and unite our communities and our great nation.

Thank you in advance for all that you will do to create a better reality for those who you serve in your work. Many thanks to each and every one of you who have taken up the charge that I put out to be BRAVE on May 31, 2020. Thank you for actively working to Banish racism. Thank you for Reaching out to those who are grieving. Thank you for Advocating for the disinherited. Thank you for VOTING in every American election. Finally, and most importantly, thank you for Engaging each human you meet as you would want to be engaged. I believe that being BRAVE is the foundation for that better future we all hope for. Standing united on this foundation will make NOMA a beacon in our industry. Thank you for leading by example as the work of rebuilding ensues.

In Solidarity,

NOMA Acceptance Speech – Jason Pugh, NOMA, AIA, APA

October 17, 2020


Thank you… I am truly honored to be elected and serve as your next NOMA President, and humbled by the support, encouragement and mentorship I’ve received over the years leading up to this moment. 

I’ll try to keep my remarks brief this morning as I step into this new role as the 34th President of NOMA, but given both the amazing increase of our NOMA membership base, coupled with the record breaking attendance at this year’s virtual conference, I would imagine that there are still a few people in the virtual audience watching this morning who don’t know much about me. 

Jason Staff

For those whom I haven’t had the pleasure to meet, my name is Jason Pugh, I’m a licensed architect, certified urban planner and Associate at Gensler’s Chicago office.  I was born and raised in Denver CO., matriculated on through Architecture school, first at Howard University in Washington DC, followed by Columbia University in New York City, and I have been practicing now in Chicago, my second home, for over 13+ years.  I have been a part of this amazing family we call NOMA now for well over 16 years, and my journey has blessed me with opportunities to serve the organization in multiple capacities at both the student and professional level.  I first accepted the reins of leadership as an undergraduate student at Howard, where I helped resurrect a dormant NOMAS chapter by serving as President, and years later as a professional here in Chicago as the 2015-2016 President of the local I-NOMA chapter, which has grown to become one of the largest and most successful NOMA chapters in the country.  I have also served on the National Executive Board for the last 8+ years as the Midwest Regional University Liaison, a Regional VP, and this past year under Kimberly’s strong administration as her second in command, President Elect. 

Thank Yous

My journey and ascension into this position did not happen by my own foresight and accord, but rather through a fortunate series of continued blessings and encouragement by an amazing support network of mentors, family and friends.  I’d be remise if I didn’t take a quick moment to acknowledge a few of these important people and NOMA family.  

I’ll start with two members of my core NOMA family, who unfortunately are no longer with us… Our beloved Barbara Laurie, of which the student design competition was renamed in her honor, and our brother Kenneth Casey.  Barbara was one of my most influential professors at Howard University, she was the first black female licensed architect I ever met, and she was truly instrumental with drilling in the importance of getting licensed with all of her students.  Ken and I met later in life once I moved to Chicago.  He was an amazing steadfast mentor to countless young architects, served with me on the National board in a laundry list of positions, and was one of the main Chicago leaders who encouraged me to step up and serve, both as president of the local board, and on the National Board.  I truly hope both Barbara and Ken are looking down on me with pride, and I promise to do my absolute best within this role to honor their memory and legacy. 

The next group of mentors I’d like to acknowledge are active mentors and leaders within the organization.  Kevin Holland, Steven Lewis, Carlton Smith, Drake Dillard, Kathryn Prigmore, and Rod Henmi just to name a few… But I’d particularly like to thank our former National NOMA President Kathy Dixon, a fellow HU alumni, and one of the first professional NOMA members I met in DC who helped me revive the Howard Student NOMA chapter.  

Edward Dunson and Harry Robinson, two more amazingly influential professors at Howard who had faith and confidence in my potential, and were instrumental in my decision to pursue a graduate degree in Urban Design at Columbia University. 

Henry Hardnett for serving as one of my first professional mentors, and taking a strong interest in me as a young professional attending my very first NOMA conference, and proceeded to check in on me every year like clockwork to see if I had kept my word and completed my ARE exams. 

My firm, Gensler and both the FW and Chicago office leadership, who’s unwavering support over the years has allowed me to dedicate my time and energy to NOMA, but during and after 9-5 work hours. 

And last but not least, another former national NOMA President, Bryan Hudson, who single handedly pulled me onto the national Executive Board, and provided countless opportunities for me ascend within this amazing organization, which I’ve come to love and adore… Once again THANK YOU, to everyone I’ve mentioned, and a list of countless others, family and friends who’ve supported me in a million and one ways. 

Transition of Leadership

As I take this next step forward to serve as your next NOMA President, I’d like to first acknowledge the incredible work and accomplishments of my predecessor.  I think everyone within NOMA would agree that our current NOMA President Kimberly Dowdell has done an amazing job steering the ship and leading this great organization during one of the most difficult and unprecedented moments in the history of our country, and I acknowledge that despite her small stature, I have some tremendously large shoes to fill.  I’m looking forward to building on the strong foundation she has solidified during her administration, and expanding NOMA’s list of sponsors, resources, programming and allied partners to create more value in being a part of this organization. 

ALL in for NOMA

By now everyone should know the current 2019-2020 NOMA platform ALL in for NOMA. ALL is an acronym for ACCESS, LEADERSHIP AND LEGACY, and it was created by Kim and our current administration to promote more diversity and accessibility, cultivate new leaders amongst our ranks, and reinforce NOMA’s rich history.  The acronym ALL is also used as a sign of inclusivity, a signal to ALL, that we’re stronger together than divided, and we need help from ALL people in the industry to make an impact and move the needle forward during this pivotal moment. 

One of my main goals for the next two years as the next NOMA President is to build upon these very same ideologies, and the great work and progress Kimberly and the current National Board and staff have accomplished during her tremendously impactful administration. 


Over the last few months, everyone has anxiously asked me what my presidential platform will be, and where do I plan to steer this organization.  My response has been consistent and I’ve reassured inquiries that we most certainly are STILL ALL IN, and we’ll carry forward the initiatives and programs created by Kim over the last two years. 

Over the last year Kim and I have worked in lockstep to ensure the new programs created during her administration will continue on and be expanded in creative ways to meet the needs of our valued members and reinforce the value in being a part of NOMA.  We want to find ways to bolster the programs and initiatives launched by both the National Executive board and our local NOMA chapters to date, and ensure it dovetails with our expanded platform to Educate, Elevate, and Empower our membership base and chapters across the country: 

  • Expand & Rebrand PROJECT PIPELINE 

An overarching expansion and restructuring of NOMA’s PROJECT PIPELINE initiative to include all K-12, higher education and young professional programming to produce more licensed minority architects. 

  • Create an HBCU Advisory Committee 

Increase the support network and resources for our valued HBCU Architecture programs with oversight by a new HBCU Advisory Committee composed of faculty, alumni, and students equally from every school 

  • Track Metrics Towards Licensure 

Establish a formal system to track and measure our recruitment and retention strategies to ensure we’re marking quantifiable advancement towards increasing the number of minority architects. 

  • Increase the number of Licensed Minority Architects 

As a professional based organization, NOMA’s top priority will continue to focus on increasing the number of licensed minority architects and representation across firm leadership and ownership. 

  • Strengthen NOMA Chapters at the Local Level 

Increase the VALUE of our NOMA membership by strengthening the programming, engagements, and resources of professional and student chapters at the local level. 

  • Celebrate and Promote our NOMA Members 

Broader marketing and national spotlights to promote the accomplishments of our valued members and chapters while celebrating our rich history and stories. 

  • Create more Economic Opportunities 

Provide focused resources and growth opportunities for both NOMA’s legacy firms and young entrepreneurs and expand the number of MBE and WBE firms within the organization. 

  • Foster Strategic Partnerships 

Create more local and national partnerships with allied organization across the industry that align with NOMA’s mission, core values, and strategic plan. 

  • Advocate for a Just and Equitable Profession 

Create a formal advocacy committee at the local and national level to fight against racism and discriminatory practices and policies restricting the advancement of minority architects within the building and design industry. 

graphic slogans: ALL in for NOMA, Be Visible, Be B.R.A.V.E.

NOMA’s Public Statement Regarding Racial Injustice

May 31, 2020

The air in our nation is thick with a profound sense of grief and despair. Our collective air is so very thick that it’s literally hard to breathe. We struggle to grasp for air as we all navigate a global pandemic coupled with the deadly and pervasive virus called racism that has plagued America for over four centuries.

As the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), we are calling on our members and our broader professional community to condemn racism and take an active role in eliminating the racial biases that account for a myriad of social, economic, and health disparities, and most importantly, result in the loss of human lives – Black lives. As architects, we are professionally responsible for protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public. The tragic execution of Black Americans at the hands of people infected by racism has plagued our nation for generations.

On this day 99 years ago, the racially motivated burning of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma claimed the lives of over 300 Black residents who were thriving independently in their own community. Just this week, our nation is grappling with the senseless murder of George Floyd, and all of the countless names of Black men and women who have recently lost their lives as a result of hatred, sparked by the color of their skin.

Image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and allies marching for civil rights

As architects, how can we protect the health, safety and welfare of the public if our country is not properly including Black Americans as full members of our society? Black Americans and other people of color have been subjected to injustice and inequality for far too long. NOMA was founded in Detroit by twelve Black architects in 1971 on the heels of one of the most racially challenging eras in American history. Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, NOMA was formed for the purpose of minimizing the effect of racism on our profession. Today, NOMA must call for more. As an organization, we must BE more.

Over NOMA’s five decades of existence, we have borne witness to the seemingly endless tragedies perpetrated against Black Americans and people representing other communities of color. After careful consideration, NOMA has determined that this moment is ripe for us to take a far stronger stance. We have been advocating for justice throughout our history and now is the time to clearly articulate what matters to us the most.


Our existing mission is to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of our members. While these issues remain important to us, we acknowledge that those words feel hollow in times such as this. Unfortunately, these trying times of racial unrest occur too frequently. While the recalibration of our mission has been in the works for quite some time, our national board has voted to enact NOMA’s new mission statement, effective immediately:

NOMA’s mission, rooted in a rich legacy of activism, is to empower our local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development and design excellence.

To be clear, there is power in words and we did not simply rush to react to the current state of affairs. We have been in the process of adopting a new strategic plan for the past several months. In the near future, we will engage our local chapters to establish a revised set of aims and objectives to support our updated mission. NOMA’s mission had not changed in over a decade, and we are doing so today in order to better equip our members to be the change that we seek to design for our society. We are taking a stand, and we hope that you will stand with us.

With just over half a year left of my two year term as NOMA’s president, I am asking everyone to dig deep and help us battle the circumstances that not only result in racially motivated violence against people of color, but also prevent people of color from entering into and thriving in the profession of architecture. As a professional organization, our primary focus should be on supporting and serving our members. Right now, our members are hurting. This is traumatic. NOMA is here to address this pain in the best ways we know how. Before we can confidently advocate for greater economic opportunities for architects of color, we need to ensure that those very people are first able to breathe.

It so happens that my NOMA presidential platform for 2019-2020 is ALL in for NOMA. ALL is an acronym to promote diverse Access, Leadership and Legacy in the context of the profession of architecture. The other reason for using the word ALL is to signal that this is an effort that we need ALL people to join in. Broadly speaking, we should ALL be struggling to make sense of how our fellow humans are being mistreated. I encourage our White members and allies to take the lead in dismantling racism whenever you see it emerge.


We must all leverage our positions of privilege to help our most vulnerable citizens, neighbors and colleagues strive for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I urge you to consider what’s happening right now as an American problem that we must all face together. Can we collectively be ALL in for NOMA? More importantly, can we all be BRAVE, as in committing ourselves to the list of items below for which BRAVE is an acronym?

B.R.A.V.E - banish, reach, advocate, vote & engage

If we can promote these basic ideas in our firms, our organizations and in our communities, our nation will be better for it. Perhaps then, we can all breathe a little bit easier. Only then, can we target our energy and creativity towards designing a better world for all.

In Solidarity,

Kimberly Dowdell
2019-2020 NOMA National President

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