New Brunswick, NJ / Philadelphia, PA – Founded on a commitment to combat inequality within the architecture, construction and engineering (ACE) professions, DIGroup Architecture (DIG) is being recognized with NJBIZ’s 2023 Empowering Women Award for its efforts to lead the way in supporting and elevating women. The inaugural honor from the business magazine is designed to showcase tangible and innovative efforts to advance female professionals and those traditionally underrepresented in the workplace and community.
“At DIG, we define our firm as a place where women are valued and celebrated, praised and recognized,” said Principal Swarupa Samant, the firm’s first minority-female principal and a widely acknowledged industry leader who has managed $200+M in construction projects. She is also instrumental to earning coveted LEED certification on behalf of the firm’s education clients throughout New Jersey.
“As a matter of practice, we provide aspiring females from high school to post-collegiate and in-house career development with the necessary mentorship and tools to help close the gender gap,” she added, noting women account for 53% of DIG’s entire staff. “In doing so, DIG is cultivating the next generation of architects, interior designers and environmental graphic designers to reflect societal demographics, particularly among those that have long been underrepresented in the profession.”
DIG Surpasses Industry Standards
According to the American Institute of Architecture (AIA), 17% of all registered architects nationwide are female. At DIG, this benchmark is 20% and on an upward trajectory thanks to the firm’s inclusionary business practices that connect people, improve lives and enrich and strengthen communities – all while creating building blocks for women through community-based mentorship, licensure development, career experience and networking.
“These are the areas that have traditionally fueled a disconnect between the number of females enrolled in college and university architectural programs and those that have gone on to earn their license and practice,” added Samant. “We are dedicated to increasing the number of all women – including those of color – in the industry and at our firm. As an MBE/DBE/SBE certified firm, DIG is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, gender identification and backgrounds and all of these cohorts are represented within the firm and at its highest levels.”
DIG advances female visibility, leadership, representation and advocacy through active involvement in organizations like AIA’s New Jersey and Philadelphia chapters and Professional Women in Construction. The firm also engages in championing diversity as board members, team leaders and advisors at the high school and collegiate levels through the ACE Mentor Program of NJ; NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological & Scientific Olympic (ACT-SO) Program; and National Organization of Minority Architects.
“At DIG, we recognize underrepresentation limits inclusiveness and creativity of the built environment and for this reason, we have embraced the fact that much more work has yet to be done to achieve gender equity in our own industry and greater society,” said Principal Jeffrey Venezia. “We will continue on our path to forge new relationships and actively shape a gold-standard model for mentorship and career success; connect with young women and help them consider traditionally male-dominated STEM careers; and lift up other women as they transition from their architecture studies to internships and licensure.”
DIG will be presented with the Empowering Women Award tomorrow at The DoubleTree Hilton Somerset. Both Samant and Venezia will be among those in attendance.