Ashley McGraw’s core mission is to create architectural projects with a positive impact, and we measure this through the triple bottom line of environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Achieving this requires a passion for exploration and a deeply collaborative spirit. We believe in the power of great design to create buildings that are beautiful, enhance the lives and work of their inhabitants, are economical to build and operate, and move us in the direction of net-positive environmental and social impact. Our explorations and processes include Regenerative Development, Passive House, Living Buildings, net-zero energy design, and a passion for building science.
HOW HAVE THE EMPLOYEES RESPONDED TO THE JUST PROGRAM AND THE WILLINGNESS OF THE FIRM TO DEMONSTRATE TRANSPARENCY ON THESE SENSITIVE ISSUES? HAS THIS PROCESS AND JOURNEY HELPED ELEVATE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT LEVELS?
We are a professional services firm with a highly educated staff, who expect their workplace will be JUST. Operating as a JUST organization does create a more engaged and progressive work environment.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST VALUABLE BENEFITS TO ANY ORGANIZATION PURSUING THE JUST LABEL?
The exercise of putting into writing a firm’s social justice philosophy and practices clarifies what the culture already in place actually is, while highlighting areas that need to be strengthened or introduced into the firm’s practices.
LEVERAGING THE LABEL
IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU LEVERAGING THE JUST LABEL? ARE YOU USING JUST IN YOUR SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING, BLOG ARTICLES, SOCIAL MEDIA OR CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS?
As the Architect of Record on a Living Building Challenge project, our JUST label allows the project to meet one of the requirements of Imperative 18. We have a blog for our Living Building Challenge Project and we have posted information about our JUST status and the purpose of the JUST program.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTS
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE PROSPECTIVE JUST ORGANIZATIONS?
Take the time to complete a JUST application. It’s a great baseline to compare to your firm’s personnel policies, and a starting point for creating a better, more inclusive, and equitable work environment.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION AS A RESULT OF THE JUST APPLICATION PROCESS?
The application process validated that our company policies and culture are headed in the right direction. It also encouraged us to consider what we can do to improve our score on those indicators where we gained only one-star recognition.
CHANGES IN POLICY
CAN YOU DESCRIBE SOME OF THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL CHANGES TO ORGANIZATIONAL POLICIES AND PRACTICES AS A RESULT OF JUST?
Researching and applying for JUST helped focus our attention on how we can better improve our community and civic profile and become more engaged in city affairs. We are doing more pro bono project work.
WHAT WORKED WELL
ARE THERE SPECIFIC POLICY CHANGES THAT HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY WELL RECEIVED? PLEASE DESCRIBE.
We have not yet introduced specific policy changes following the award of our JUST label.
PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THE FIRM INTENDS TO USE JUST AS A MANAGEMENT TOOL AND FRAMEWORK MOVING FORWARD.
We will continue to refer to the categories on the JUST label as guides to where to focus our employee benefits and pay policies, especially in the Gender Pay Equity and Family Friendly areas.