This Fresh Take interview featured Diane Hoskins, Co-CEO of Gensler. JB Holston and Diane discuss the future of talent, Gensler’s goals as an organization, and their commitment towards inclusive growth within the Capital Region.
Hosted by JB Holston. Produced by Jenna Klym, Ramir Cena, Christian Rodriguez, and Nina Sharma. Edited by Christian Rodriguez.
Learn from leaders doing the work across the Capital Region and beyond. These conversations will showcase innovation, as well as history and culture across our region, to bridge the gap between how we got here and where we are going.
About our guest:
Diane Hoskins is one of two Gensler co-CEOs whose collaborative leadership is fundamental to setting the company apart as a leading design firm. For her innovative leadership, Diane, along with Co-CEO Andy Cohen, ranks on Business Insider’s elite “Creators” list, a who’s who of the world’s 100 top creative visionaries. As a hands-on leader, Diane oversees Gensler’s global platform and its day-to-day operations, with some 6,000 people networked across 50 offices, serving clients in more than 120 countries. Diane is focused on Gensler’s global talent strategies, performance, and organizational development to ensure that we serve our clients with the world’s top talent. She is the catalyst for Gensler’s Research program, for which Diane is committed to delivering value to clients through strategies and innovations like Gensler’s Workplace Performance Index® (WPI).
A registered architect, she graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA. Diane received an Outstanding Impact Award from the Council of Real Estate Women and is both a Regent of the American Architectural Foundation and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Her insights have appeared in the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, the Washington Post, and The Economist; and she was a featured speaker at Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s CEO Conference.
In her role, Diane serves as a key contributor to what is acknowledged, by its peers, as the most admired and largest architecture firm in the world, pioneering project types and design innovation strategies for the next century and acknowledged by Fast Company as one of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies.”
JB Holston 0:14
Hello, everybody. I'm JB Holston. I'm the CEO of the Greater Washington partnership. And my guest for today's fresh take is Diane Hoskins, who's the CO chief executive officer for Gensler. Diane. Good morning. Thanks for joining us.
Diane Hoskins 0:28
Morning, JB. Great to be here. Looking forward to the conversation.
JB Holston 0:33
Great. So so my, well, I'm gonna ask you a couple of things about you to start. But before I do that, let me give share some information about your background with folks so that they've got it, you're co CEO, for the organization, the organization has, if I recall, something like 5000 or so maybe 6000. Now employees across 50 global locations, I think I read somewhere that you have 98 Different non English languages spoken somewhere across the organization, which is phenomenal for a creative innovation oriented design firm, clearly leading around design around the world. And your responsibilities include Guinnesses, global talent, strategies, performance, organizational development, you're also Board Chair of the Board of Directors. And you're an MIT grad, and you have an MBA from UCLA as well. And then decided that the weather in Washington was much better than any of those locations, of course, and your region of the American architectural commendation and a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. You're You're widely quoted, and I will read, quote some of your wide quotations when we talk today. But thanks again for joining us.
Diane Hoskins 1:43
JB Holston 1:45
Great, well, let's talk a little bit about the journey that took you to this role. We were talking a little bit before this call about sort of both sides of the brain. And certainly, you've got you know, MIT, UCLA, art, architecture, all of that brought together but love to hear a little bit more about what brought you together? And what brought you to this role again, sir.
Diane Hoskins 2:06
Sure, you know, it's funny, people always ask me, you know, how did you why did you become an architect or, you know, what was your career path and becoming an architect, and, you know, I was born and raised in Chicago, and one of five. And I always feel that, you know, being in that environment, where you have, you know, tallest buildings in the world, and an incredible kind of legacy of architecture and architects, it just somehow was kind of in the air. And, you know, so I really literally from, you know, being a kid, of course, I was doing all the Lego blocks, and all of that sort of thing. But I really early on, I would say at about eight years old or so, declared that I wanted to be an architect, knowing a whole lot about it, other than, you know, had something to do with all those buildings. And, you know, prior to that, I was, you know, very interested in arts, even as a very young child, you know, my mom had her training and art. So, I think there was always a little bit of that art spirit in the house. And, you know, I was always shuttled off to art classes, even as a really young kid. So I, you know, that art and creativity side was nurtured, you know, at home and in classes, but I really kind of connected to the the notion of buildings, these kinds of purposeful places that it was sort of art brought into this practicality, and also the great impact that that buildings have on people, I was always intrigued by that. So, you know, when it came time to go to college, you know, I did a lot of research, and MIT was one of those schools that had one of the top architecture programs. So, you know, decided to, to go to MIT, I also would say, you know, through high school, I was always, you know, kind of into math and science, as well as music, and played the French horn, through most of high school. But, you know, I felt like, you know, MIT would be a great place for me because of the kind of coming together of the science and technology aspects, along with design and architecture. So that's, you know, again, it was a great, you know, place for me, in many ways, it kind of mean, you went to Stanford, I mean, a lot of these schools, they're there, you know, they really challenge you, I think I've kind of got comfortable with being outside of my comfort zone. And I think I've stayed in that mode ever since, you know, just always move into those places where you're going To be challenged, and it kind of set that pace for me, and I think that's something I really value about that experience was just getting comfortable being outside of the comfort zone, left, you know, there and went to work for Sol am in Chicago, which at that time was one of the largest, you know, firms in the world and, and known for, you know, doing highly innovative, innovative, you know, tall buildings and other types of buildings. And I think that's where I really develop my, my excitement about, you know, commercial buildings, buildings that are, you know, kind of shaping our cities, and are of a certain scale and complexity that it takes a team to create them. And, you know, that whole how you work together in collaboration with others, just kind of set in my mind, as you know, the excitement about being an architect, and, and that really, you know, moved me in a direction of being very interested in, you know, how buildings, you know, get to be what they are, and I decided to go get my MBA, so I could really understand more about, you know, the drivers behind our buildings, the why the who, the what, and so I did my MBA at UCLA, and kind of focused or majored if you will, in real estate. And actually, right after that, you know, went to work in real estate development for a firm called Olympian York, which at that time, was designing Canary Wharf in London and had done the World Financial Center in New York, and I thought, you know, again, was a great opportunity for me to kind of learn that, you know, really the why, and the decision making and in the context of, of our buildings and our built environments, and that was, again, an incredible experience that stretched me. But I knew that my where I really wanted to be was, was on the creative side of the table, and I went back into architecture and design. And, you know, in Los Angeles, actually, and started to lead a small practice there. Had that, you know, that experience of, of leadership of the practice, which I, you know, found that that was something I really enjoyed. Victor and I moved out here in 95. And I had the opportunity to work with Gensler here in Washington, DC, and was asked by art Gensler to lead this office. So you know, that's kind of what brought me to Gensler and, you know, had the opportunity to grow this office. And then eventually, in 2005, Art asked Andy Cohen, my Co Co partner, who lives in Los Angeles and myself to to be the, you know, the CEOs of the firm. And that was, you know, close to 17 years ago now.
JB Holston 8:21
That's great. Well, it's a great story, thank you for for sharing that. I think it's interesting to see the through line for you of your interests. And in the early interest in STEM, or the early willingness to, you know, engage in that I think that's a big hurdle oftentimes for for folks who, who have an artistic side of themselves, but are interested in in getting them on some of these in some of these disciplines. Two quick things on Gensler, then we can move on, but the company has been in a really big growth curve since you since you arrived. And so it's got to be a much more broad spread and, you know, diverse and complex organization than it was love to hear your thoughts on that. And then also, how do you how do you function as a co CEO, that's a pretty rare construct, and love to love to hear about how you've, how you've thrived through that.
Diane Hoskins 9:10
Let me hit that one first. Because I always get that question actually. And, you know, I always get that question. And, you know, really, I frankly, feel that, that this is the future, you know, we all are working in collaborative environments and and I think the world has changed since kind of the old models of hierarchy in organizations, our organizations are much flatter, more networked time has collapsed. You know, we are now all global. So we're, you know, working across geographies around the world with time zones that are you know, round the clock. And so I always like to say you know, for for us, you know, We have, you know, 48 hours, because there's two of us. And we have the bandwidth of two people to, to really move things forward with speed. And I think that is one of the biggest issues is in the pace of change and the pace of innovation of opportunity, that, you know, the faster you can move forward, the more you can be successful. And I really believe very strongly, that has been one of the great benefits, you know, we are very different people, which has been fantastic. So we have this diversity of thinking that we bring to the table. And, you know, and we have really used that to, to be a great strength for our firm. So I, you know, I could go on and on about this CO CEO, and collaborative leadership, you know, sometimes I think a lot of organizations, you know, tried to have maybe tried this model, but they put two people who are virtually the same, you know, that's like one plus one equals one, you know, we like to say one plus one equals five, you know, that we bring so many different strengths. Because of the fact we're so different from each other, but we also have, you know, rock solid alignment around our values, and our principles. And so, you know, working from that, and then really being able to stretch each other, as well, as you know, bring a full 360 into our decisions, you know, has just been very, very powerful for our organization, again, that operates as a network that is not hierarchical. And to answer your first question, that's, I think, we feel that collaborative leadership has been a key part of why we've been able to be so successful. You know, as you mentioned, we have grown tremendously over the last, you know, 1520 years, you can look at our firm in relation to the other large firms in architecture, and where we might have tracked very similarly in our growth, you know, over the last 15 or so years, you know, we have just, totally, you know, 10x and beyond of any other firm, you know, we reached 1.4 billion in annual revenue. I think in 2019, we're, you know, on track back into that mode this year, obviously, COVID kind of put a dent in that, and we've seen that V shape recovery, because so many clients, you know, there's so much pent up of, you know, people wanting to get moving, that we've had a massive growth spurt in the last year, with, you know, people joining us. So, you know, again, but it's that we believe, and it's not just at the CEO level, it's frankly, every key leadership position in our firm is a CO is very much so, you know, co leaders of our region's co leaders of our offices, you know, we really believe very strongly that, you know, to focus on our clients and focus on our people. And, and, and, and that we've got to really be able to have these amazing partnerships that are accountable, fully accountable. And it goes back to, you know, great design comes from collaboration. And so every day of the week, our people are collaborating with each other, whether it's, you know, with their, their team members that are sitting near them, or team members that are sitting across the world from them. And so this, how we lead is also a demonstration of that collaboration. You know, maybe as, as human beings, it's a little, you know, it's that growth, it's saying, you know, let's listen to each other. Let's hear what other people are saying. Let's take seriously the ideas of every person around the table. That's real collaboration. And that's what we do as CO leaders, and there's a discipline around it. And there's a real respect that you have to have for each other as CO leaders. And that just you know, we can talk all day and night about collaboration, but when you're demonstrating it every day with how you lead and how you behave. It's it helps our organization To, you know, seize that incredible opportunity of how collaboration unlocks so much potential in what we can do. We're all you know, again, we hire smart people, everyone here is great, but none of us is as great as all of us. And, you know, again, you start sharing ideas, you start being open to what people are doing in other places. It's unbelievable what happens. And that's what we've seen this, you know, we call our culture, the one firm firm, which is, you know, we are one firm, even though we're in different places, where a we versus AI organization, you know, all of this links back to this idea of collaboration. It all goes back to even as we talk about, you know, Equity and Diversity and that, you know, in this environment, diversity is not only celebrate it, but it's necessary. You know, we, it's, it's the fact that, you know, it's not just collaborating, but it's collaborating with people that aren't same as you. That's where the power is. That's where the strength is. And so that, you know, again, is our DNA as a firm it again, links straight up to that CEO, co CEO model, where every single day we demonstrate what that means.
JB Holston 16:23
Oh, that's great. Well, thank you for taking the time to walk us through that it is a unique construct. And, and particularly, the fact that it's endured, as long as it has is, is extraordinarily impressive through the growth cycle. That's great. I wanted to go back to one comment you made you were talking about buildings, shaping our cities. And you know, part of what inspired you to get involved in the work was growing up in a city where that was so so true. In Chicago. Obviously, there's a lot of hand wringing about what this new world of more hybrid work, work from home, etc, will do to downtown's will do to commercial real estate, etc, is the era of building shaping our cities changing changed in light of this new phenomenon of working from home to a much greater degree.
Diane Hoskins 17:12
You know, one of the things we've heard over and over again, through the pandemic is that the pandemic was an accelerant to trends that were already happening that we were already seen. And I think we, I think this is true, as it relates to our cities. You know, there had been kind of a definitely a long trend that we all experienced of kind of the rediscovery of our cities, the recognition that kind of mixed use this idea of live work, play in, you know, in a walkable environment, that this was kind of the, you know, the Holy Grail, the thing we all are trying to create, and you're seeing that in many places. I mean, I think the wharf development here in DC is a great example. But we've seen it even in places like 14th Street, it's always been kind of the magic of Georgetown, you know, maybe the West End is trying to get that vibe, you know, again, I think we know that, that is what what creates a vibrant, vibrant city, and you're seeing that all over the country, and you're seeing it globally as well. This, you know, the COVID experience, which, you know, we're all learning so much as we're in it, as we're coming through it as we reflect on it. You know, there's so many lessons and I think the the key is for us to learn, you know, from this experience, what are those things that that we need to take forward, what were just more temporary. And, and I think that's the part that's hard to quite get, but, you know, this, this issue of wanting to, to kind of have an integrated life, that brings my work, my where I live, where I, you know, go out to eat and all those things, you know, that that integration is what people are really looking for. Not all at home, maybe not all sitting in the office, but the the idea of an integrated life. And that's what makes use and in this live work, play has always been about. So I really believe that this has been an accelerant around that and I think that our cities are really starting to come to grips with this issue of walkability. You're even seeing many cities, keep the want to keep some of the things that were put in place. I mean, even in Georgetown over here, and you know, 14th Street where they've kind of taken these, you know, parking lanes out, and it looks like I don't know if it's permanent, but it certainly looks like there's still going to be these wonderful, you know, places where when the weather turns we're going to see See outdoor eating, and certainly a wider walking space place for people to be. And we're seeing that in other parts of our cities we're seeing in other cities where whole streets that were cut off or going to stay cut off from kind of, you know, transformation back into more walkability is something we're literally watching happen. And COVID was a bit of the experiments, and I think everyone's kind of voted with their feet, that these are good things, and we want to keep them if we can. And so I, you know, I do think that, you know, these kinds of transformations are something that we're going to see more and more often a recognition that we want to be in greater proximity, you know, there's an idea of, you know, the 15 minutes city that they talk about in Paris, the 20 minutes city, I mean, it's all in that kind of idea of a city where, you know, I can get to my job in 15 or 20 minutes, right. I can get to, you know, I don't have think this, this challenge of the long commute is probably if I were to just put some words to it, it's probably the the issue, ultimately, that we're really talking about. And I do believe this is kind of an evolving story. So, you know, the, the, again, this accelerants around that conversation, the accelerants around? How do we create more walkability? How do we create more mix of uses? How do we take down some of the barriers to the kind of development that we need, that does bring, you know, the kinds of mixed uses in our cities? I really believe at the end of the day, that that's, that is the that's the message that is going to, you know, carry forward more strongly.
JB Holston 22:04
Yeah. That's great, let, why don't we jump into inside one of the buildings then today, like, if you're, you know, if one of your clients, maybe it's a large insurance firm, or a financial services firm, or a professional services firm, and, you know, now they understand that, you know, they're going to have people in for different periods of time doing different sorts of things than was the case maybe they're going to have less, you know, business travel than was the case. And I know, you recorded with some research that talked about, people spend 55% of their time in an office building individually focused 45% doing collaborative kind of work, but, you know, are your clients? Or Should your clients design the interior spaces differently in light of what we've, what the last few years have accelerated for us?
Diane Hoskins 22:50
You know, this is the million dollar question, right? And we've all been trying to predict. And, you know, I think if we looked at the predictions from, you know, 18 months ago, say, oh, my gosh, we were kind of wrong, or even a year ago, so I do think that we're still, we're still probably six months, eight months away from having more solid conviction around, you know, what these changes are going to be? You know, we have a, I think what is happening from the design standpoint is there's a lot more exploration at the outset. And I would say, or I would advise anyone who's looking at, you know, taking new space or renovation to allow enough time to explore what is the right solution? You know, it's not so much just let's do what we've done in the past or even, you know, what might you saw in a picture or a great, you know, photograph, but to really explore, you know, what is right for your organization? And, you know, we could talk about what what we're doing here at Gensler, but you know, what we're seeing in terms of our clients is a very wide range of answers to that question. I'll say this, they're really, you know, again, we haven't seen clients saying, Look, everybody's going to work from home 100% of the time. And I do know, there are companies out there doing that I could name you know, a couple of names. And I think, you know, again, they have figured out that that is what will work for them. So I, the range, you know, of possibility might have been pretty tight before. Now, that range is broad. So, you know, the fact that now there's so many more options and alternatives means more time needs to be spent upfront, to determine what the right answer is, and I can't stress that enough. You know, because sometimes we're working with schedule That might have been okay. Four years ago, three years ago before COVID. Now they're not okay, we need, you know, there needs to be three, four months of real exploration, even setting up some betas, even setting up some, two or three weeks of experimenting with a configuration or an approach. But this also means that there's going to be tremendous innovation. And so that is, I mean, that's what really is so exciting right now, from a design standpoint is that there is, you know, this opportunity to craft what is the right answer, rather than something that might feel like a one size fits all, which I do think was starting to be a little bit more than thinking pre COVID. You know, there was a lot of companies going into we workspaces or all the other spaces that were just kind of, you know, built for anybody. And, you know, at the end of the day, again, there's a lot of study that was done on those kinds of spaces. But I think what we're finding out, as now we've gotten the voice of the worker more clearly, that it's not a one size fits all, frankly, it's never been a one size fits all, but we hadn't had the opportunity to really, you know, listen to what people's real concerns and needs are. And frankly, I'll say, you know, a lot of employers weren't necessarily open to some of that input. So the fact now that it is a conversation where more stakeholders are at the table, I think we all know that, that's when you get the better solutions. And to not be afraid to engage those stakeholders is Look, your, your your folks to people that are working for you want to do great work. And you know, where they can do great work is the question. And then what is the right answer from an organizational standpoint as well? At Gensler? Look, we have not been shy about saying we do our best work together, that the creative process needs people being present with each other having a collaborative dialogue. And also with the number of decisions that were involved with as a team, there has to be a huge amount of synchronicity around how we all know what each other is doing. I would also say because we are, you know, professional services, working with clients, and I'll say from, you know, being an architect and more, you know, involved in the day to day of doing projects, you have to be with your client, you have to go to their offices, you have to spend time there, you have to understand the people that work there for you to be able to design for that client, it's not going to come through on a, you know, video cam, it's not going to come through, you know, just a bunch of surveys, you've got to spend time there, you're going to pick up what's going on with you know, different types of configurations, you're going to see people and, and how they've, you know, created workarounds for problems that are happening. You're going to see what's going on with lighting, you're going to understand what's going on with, you know, privacy, things going on with sound, all of that you're going to gain from being in these spaces with people and hearing people and talking to people. So, you know, again, our work, you have to connect with your clients, really to understand and you've got to connect with your team members to be able to work together on a you're working on the same thing together. And so, you know, again, those are those require being together and being present now, can people you know, have some of that some of their work be from their home or another environment. Absolutely. And so we're here at Gensler, we're working on, you know, an approach that is basically setting up key days that we are all here, and then teams basically having days that they have they are all together, and really starting to migrate back to, you know, whatever is the right balance of, you know, time in the office. So, you know, we were going to be starting that full on journey in January, but now we're kind of pushing that back a bit into February. But you know, again, every organization is going to have to really understand how they're at their best because It's a competitive world out there. And you know, as much as it is about each individual, it's also about the overall organization, and everybody being on the same team.
JB Holston 30:13
And I'd like to talk to you a little bit about talent you've been referring to, you know how critical it is you have a diversity of talent within the organization in order to do the work that you do successfully. And the data is clear that the more diverse the project team, the better the outcome by by pretty much any measure. But I was intrigued that, if I recall correctly, I think it was June and 20, that you folks published your strategic plan for fighting racism. And then subsequently, you've issued a, you know, a tracking report about how the firm is doing, etc. Can you talk to us a little bit about that journey? How did you decide to how did the firm decide to approach that at that point in time? And what was the maybe some of the elements of the strategy and what you found out since then?
Diane Hoskins 30:57
Sure. You know, I think everyone in July, you know, June, July of 2020, had this wake up, if you will, with the murder of George Floyd. And, you know, I will say, as a firm we've been talking about and being, you know, celebrating diversity, if you will, for years, and certainly as CO CEOs, that has been, you know, a theme that, you know, we had been integrating into our overall messaging of being a people first organization, and, you know, the diversity of thought, and, you know, again, collaboration, but the George Floyd moment, I think, really was a moment where we needed to go beyond that, and to really recognize that the situation outside our doors, in the world, in our country, in our cities, needs, you know, every firm and again, we're accompanied for, you know, every company to do their part that this wasn't, you know, again, it's so complex, and so challenging, and, and has to be solved, but it's going to happen, because everyone does their part. So we had to look at ourselves and say, so what is our part? What can we affect as an organization, and we came up with our five strategies to fight racism. And it really is a spectrum that starts with ourselves, and moves all the way into our interactions and our work with our clients. And so, you know, we felt like strategy one, which is kind of the bedrock strategy is really about, you know, our own diversity as an organization and our commitment to grow our black community within Gensler. And so that meant we also needed to understand our own demographics better. And we, you know, we have done that, back in 2020, we released our first you know, diversity survey across our US population to really understand how people identify, and this good went from race, to language to gender orientation. And, you know, veteran status, disabilities, etc. And, as you said, we were able to publish at the end of that year, our diversity report, which, again, in a very transparent way, you know, showing who, what our demographics were as a firm. And you know, at that point in time, we were 3%, black, and, you know, 10%, Asian, and I can't remember all of the other demographics. Overall, we are, you know, more than 50%. In the more in the diverse populations. But again, what we saw was, our black population is the community that we needed to bring greater focus on based on our own data, even though you know, at the end of the day, if you were to compare us to the other architecture firms out there were on par, or doing maybe a tiny bit better, but you know, that's not exactly the benchmark that we need to be looking at. So, you know, again, our commitment was to grow our population within the firm. And I want to say we just have, you know, revisited those metrics and actually, we've increased from 3% Black to 4%, black and one year and we intend to keep that pace going, you know, as we continue each year, and there's a huge effort to recruit and retain our black community, I won't, you know, continue to talk about, you know, maybe all the pillars. So the second is it relates to the first because one of the first aspects that you hear and that we experienced was, wow, you know, are there? Where are we going to find, you know, black architects and designers, etc, etc. And, you know, frankly, in our recruiting, I think we've started to uncover a much broader way of approaching that, that efforts, and also networks we weren't part of, and, you know, again, communities that we needed to engage in that we weren't before. But we also recognize that the pipeline needs to be addressed. And that's, you know, how, again, sort of like myself, right, I wanted to be an architect from being a young person. That's when people make decisions about their career. So how do we get involved with middle schools and high schools and college level to increase the number of, you know, black young people that are interested in architecture and design, and frankly, the creative professions. And so that's been a huge focus, working with, you know, all seven HBCUs that have accredited architecture programs, working with schools in our communities, working with ace, which is an incredible program that works in the high schools on architecture, construction engineering. So really, you know, doubling down and focusing very strongly on increasing the pipeline, that's, you know, critical, not only for us, but for our entire profession. Also, you know, the third strategy is working is, is this whole issue of, are we creating equitable design? Are we, in our own design efforts, really addressing the question of all stakeholders on the project? And are we working in all parts of our cities. And, you know, a great example of this is a project we just recently finished in the city of Chicago, on the south side of Chicago, it was a basically an abandoned target, big box store that was picked up by discovery card, financial services organization, to be a call center. And, you know, again, huge, huge recognition to discovery for saying, Look, we're, we're going to put our money where our mouth is, we are going to not just locate call centers all over the world, we're going to locate locate a call center, in, you know, on uninvested in communities. And so we did the design of this call center, you know, with Discovery Channel, I mean, Discovery card, and, honestly, there's a great video that is that shows, you know, when the folks that are working there, the first day of work, and just incredible excitement that people have, they interview several of the people, you know, one of the folks, the young man that was interviewed said, you know, I used to work, you know, way out in outside of the city have to take a bus and a train and so forth to get there and back. I didn't even see my children in the morning, I didn't see him at night, because they were already in bed when I got home. Now I get to have breakfast with my daughter and my son before coming to work, and I have dinner with them after work, because he's only like 15 minutes from from where he lives. And, you know, it just spoke to this point about not just inclusive design, but what we were talking about before the walkability and the proximity of live work and play that goes for, you know, our our areas where which have not been places where we have normally located jobs and how we are, you know, again are thinking about our cities as not only employment in the downtown, but how do we make sure there's employment across our cities when incredible development opportunity. This also means we got to think about our zoning differently. And you know, because you know, we're we're basically forcing people to those kind of commutes and the disconnection of them and their families. And you know, can a what our city He's mean to us. And again, think about the retail, the restaurants and other kinds of opportunities that are emerging around that facility which employs hundreds of people on the south side of Chicago. So from, you know, design across our communities to working with our, the associations within our profession, and then also partnering with our clients, work with, you know, great companies, across the US and beyond. And all of all of our clients, I would say, have goals in the eye. And so we talk about our shared objectives and how we can do things together. And I will also say, and to the credit of so many of our clients, now, they want to hear about our DNI initiatives, during, you know, the interviews when they are selecting architects. And so it matters, it matters to them, that they're working with a firm that is committed to change.
JB Holston 41:01
That's great. That's a great story, we'll look for that video, I'd love to love to see that. That sounds exciting. Well, as is always the case with the sadly, we're gonna run out of time. But I did want to talk a little bit about the region, as you know, of course, the partnership is, is defined its footprint as Baltimore to Richmond, it's the third largest, depending on how you measure it. tech economy in the country has some great access attributes, including potentially having three primary cities that are reasonably walkable compared to a lot of others. Of course, there are issues. But I wanted to you and Victor been here now for about a quarter century. And and you both have, you know, very high profile profile roles in the in the region. What observations would you make about how the region has changed in that time? And, you know, for good, or where there's work still to do?
Diane Hoskins 41:52
Wow, you know, so we got here in 1995. And it was probably the point in time where there was just really significant growth. I mean, we were very fortunate to land in a moment. You know, this was kind of the.com, you know, you're coming out of the SNL, you know, recession. And so it was like, you know, eating kids in a candy store. It was, you know, an incredible time. I think what we love about this region is the level of professionalism, especially in real estate and development. There's just incredible sophistication. And, you know, again, significant ambition as well. You know, so much has changed. I think the the kind of get it done attitude of this region is really remarkable when you think about National Harbor, what right, I mean, look at that it's gotten done. And, you know, we did the Gaylord hotel. And I remember, you know, walk in that site when they were first starting to dig and it was just emptiness everywhere. And to see, you know, what has not just, you know, completing Gaylord, but what has transpired there as an overall the bridge, I mean, none of that was there when we came here in 1995. I mean, again, looking at DC and, you know, there was a short stint where Victor and I lived at 1499 Mass Ave, which is right around the corner from, you know, P Street and 14. And I will tell you, that was nothing, I mean, the the Whole Foods was there, and that was pretty much it. And we wouldn't run around the corner to the whole foods going home, you know, but none of that amazing explosion of just an incredible walkable community and incredible, rich, diverse community, live work, play, walkable, amazing, even Georgetown, you know, I would just say, you know, it has really become, you know, I, it's still kind of anchored by the university, but it's really become, you know, an amazing environment, the waterfront, none of that developments are that, you know, improvements there, which made that such a destination now as well. The wharf which I, you know, again, we were just down there, two or three weeks ago, just hanging out and, you know, the phase two is, the whole thing is just an incredible achievement in this region, you know, kind of the region, really kind of discovering the waterfront, I think the Gaylord was maybe the beginning, though, you have to say with Baltimore with the Inner Harbor, you know, that was probably the first you know, we got some waterfront here, let's build something. Moments and you know, it's great to see how DC and Virginia are also discovering this, you know, great waterfront coming from Chicago waterfront is everything, you know, the lake, every The lake is your whole orientation to life. Living in LA, you know, you always know where the ocean is. And it's such a orienting and defining part of living in Los Angeles, I do think we're starting to feel more, you know, these places that connect us to to our waterways. But I guess I you can hear my enthusiasm, you know, we love this area. We love the fact that, you know, you can get to know, your public officials, you know, you know, the governor, you know, the mayor, you know, you know, the people who are making key decisions, and, you know, in other parts, places we've lived, you know, so many of those relationships very, very hard, very distant, I think, in our communities, people are much, much more accessible, and, you know, people as people, and not just as a role, or, you know, high office that someone may have. So we've, you know, we feel like we've been able to thrive here, but we've seen, you know, so it's been a place to thrive, and I really believe our region is thriving. Yes, there's challenges. I, you know, I think we both see just massive potential. Again, you know, we came here from Los Angeles from the LA, you know, area, which, you know, is massive in many ways. And then we came here, we were like, wow, you know, I don't think these folks know what they have out here. Because, you know, the quality of life is so brilliant. The opportunities to kind of have urban, suburban, old, urban, suburban, or whatever. The Mark train, I mean, you know, just assets upon assets, three airports, it just goes on and on. So we feel like you know, it, we've had an incredible stint here, we feel like we got here at the Philemon Yan this place, but we also believe that, you know, even greater days are ahead.
JB Holston 47:25
Great, well, certainly we share that view with the partnership, I think, you know, this there's a there's a phrase in the Midwest about humble bragging, this region doesn't even humble brag about itself, no less. Tell people all about the one of the things one of which, of course, is the diversity of the population, the strength of the higher ed resources, etc. And, you know, this new world that we're moving to maybe one which is prevent presents differential advantage for this region for a host of reasons. And we're at the top of the hour, so I'm afraid we're gonna we're gonna have to end it. But I did want to thank you for joining us. And also, thank you for working with us on the inclusive growth strategy Council, that work with all the organizations across the region to really continue centering on this notion that inclusion drives competitive advantage and growth is important and your voice has been really critical to that. So thank you for that. And thank you. My guest has been Diane Hoskins who's the CO Chief Executive Officer of Gensler and really appreciate your sharing your insights and excitement enthusiasm with us today, Diane.
Diane Hoskins 48:25
Thank you, JB and thank you for your fantastic leadership.