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Agency’s Change Agents of 2020

We have always believed that planning and design are powerful tools to help communities make purposeful, positive change. This year brought us plenty of it. And while change is necessary for long overdue and hopefully lasting cultural, environmental, racial and economic justice, we also recognize that some of the hardest parts of 2020 were felt unequally. Women, for instance, experienced a disproportionate amount of pandemic related job loss while also being responsible for 70% of the world’s caregiving hours.

We are grateful to have the chance to reflect on inequality in our work and proud to work alongside clients, communities and collaborators to do our collective part in making change the best possible kind.  In this spirit, we close 2020 recognizing that this tough year also broke barriers, shattered glass ceilings, and showed us what inspired leadership, compassion and excellence looks like. Agency celebrates these – and all! – Change Agents who saw 2020 as an opportunity for purposeful change …

  • Kamala Harris – for dancing her way to become the first Black, Asian American and woman Vice President-elect
  • Jacinda Ardern – New Zealand Prime Minister, for modeling leadership to protect her constituents during the pandemic
  • Dolly Parton – for supporting, among other great causes, vaccine research 
  • Nasha McCray – for leading the amazing Greensboro Parks & Recreation team to win the Gold Medal for Excellence at the NRPA
  • Sarah Whiting – the GSD’s first female Dean, for transparency and strength 
  • Deb Haaland – the first Native American / Indigenous Cabinet secretary, for being selected to head the Interior Department
  • Naomi Osaka – for using fashion and sport as activism
  • Cheri Ruane – for winning the Boston Women In Design Award of excellence, and founding her own face mask company
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Carol Johnson – for their lives’ work 
  • Pascale Sablan – 315th licensed Black woman architect and AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. award winner, for championing diversity and inclusion in design 
  • Stacey Abrams – for getting out the vote, together with many others, in Georgia
  • Kizzmekia Corbett – for her role in developing the Moderna vaccine
  • Phoebe (Xiao) Chang – for her award-winning project about the edge of Franklin Park
  • Emily Harrington – for reminding us to “be less afraid to be afraid” with her historic El Capitan climb (we’re still very afraid)
  • Taylor Swift – for making this time creatively productive, twice
  • Diana Fernandez – for being the first ASLA Emerging Professionals Medal recipient!
  • Brie Hensold – for receiving Honorary ASLA membership

We know there are so many more. Let us know about your favorite game changers as we gather ourselves for 2021. May the new year inspire you with many more reasons to bring about positive change! 

Agency will be closed December 25th through January 4th. We hope you too have a chance to rest up for the year ahead.