Airports Blog

Ziba Ghassemi, URW Airports’ Vice President of Design, joined an engaging panel on building diverse teams at the Encompass: Inclusive Architecture conference in April.

Encompass is an AIA|LA conference to promote greater diversity and inclusion in design and architecture. Ghassemi’s panel, called Personal Perspectives: “Walking the Talk” & Building Diverse Teams,” was moderated by Leslie Sydnor, an AIA|LA Board Member. She joined architects Carmen Suero, Amy Pokawatana, Elise McCurley and Michael Owh for a deep dive on their personal experiences in the profession. The conference was held at the California African American Museum.

Ghassemi is an Iranian-born architect who has been with URW Airports since 2004. Ghassemi’s mother (and role model) worked as an interior architect at a time when the profession was almost exclusively male, and she helped Ghassemi develop an early affinity for the profession.

“I feel like my knowledge of different cultures from my own history and travels and the challenges I’ve faced as a woman have given me a foundation on which to be a mentor to others,” Ghassemi says. “It’s so important to see the big picture and cultivate a diverse team that can contribute innovative ideas and unique perspectives.”

This was the third year of the Encompass: Inclusive Architecture conference for architects, designers, urban planners, engineers and other builders, contractors and developers.