Leading with the Future: Educate, Elevate, and Empower
NOMA President Jason Pugh (‘06 MSAUD) and President-Elect Pascale Sablan (’07 MSAAD) presented on their work and activism as designers and were joined in conversation by immediate past President Kimberly Dowdell to discuss what is next for NOMA upon their 50th Anniversary as an organization and what it has meant for them to ‘lift as they rise’ in their careers focusing energy on the development of the next generation of designers.
Jason Pugh, AIA, AICP, NOMA, LEED AP, is the 2021-2022 President of the National Organization of Minority Architects. He is both a licensed architect and certified planner, and a Senior Associate Architect and Urban Designer at Gensler’s Chicago office. His architectural and urban design portfolio includes both domestic and foreign projects, ranging from small mixed-use developments to extensive urban in-fill and greenfield master planning sites with extensive programs covering over 2,500+ acres. Architectural projects include various mixed-use residential developments with ground-level commercial and retail programs, hospitality, senior housing, science and technology research labs, corporate office headquarters, and university campus medical facilities throughout the country.
Despite a diverse educational base and professional resume as an Architect and Urban Planner, Jason considers himself first and foremost a designer. He is constantly exploring new methodologies, technical and abstract, that will lead him towards creating stronger designs and solutions at multiple scales. His favorite projects directly engage with the extended community and end-users as he oscillates between the macro and micro scales to progress projects from preliminary master planning concepts through full construction documentation and CA.
Pugh also has a passion for developing underserved communities, which is translated beyond the scope of Architecture and Urban Planning. He is actively engaged in several community-based programs and organizations on both a local and national level which are centered on education, mentorship, diversity, and community service. He currently serves as the 2021-2022 National President of NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects), a nonprofit organization with a focus on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of minority architects and students within the field. He also currently sits on the Associate Board for the Chicago ACE Mentorship Program, a national organization that provides workshops, education, and community service projects for high school students throughout the country.
Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, Associate at Adjaye Associates, has been on the team for a variety of mixed-use, commercial, cultural & residential projects in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, India, & UAE. Pascale is the 315th living African American female architect in the U.S. Pascale has given lectures at Institutions, such as the National Museum of African American History & Culture and the United Nations Visitor Centre. She lectured and engaged students at Universities and Colleges all over the nation.
She is the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond the Built Environment, (BBE) positioned to uniquely address the inequitable disparities in architecture by providing a holistic platform aimed to support numerous stages of the architecture pipeline.
BBE elevates the identities and contributions of women and BIPOC designers through exhibitions, curated lectures, and documentaries that testify to the provided value of their built work and its spatial impact. Pascale curated 24 SAY IT LOUD exhibitions which were all paired with relevant programming speaking to the mission. The SAY IT LOUD - United Nations Visitors Centre, exhibition created a tremendous opportunity for exposure and echoing the call to action to the leaders of our world. The UN generously offered to transform this exhibition into posters, translated into 8 languages, and distributed to their information centers worldwide.
She has been recognized for her contributions to the industry with several awards, including the 2021 AIA Whitney M. Young. Jr Award for her advocacy efforts and ascended to the AIA College of Fellows, the youngest African American to receive that honor. In 2020 Pascale was voted President-Elect of the National Organization of Minority Architects, the 5th woman to hold this position of leadership in the organization’s 50-year legacy. Pascale holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.
Kimberly Dowdell, AIA, NOMAC, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, collaborates with other members of the leadership team in HOK’s Chicago studio on strategic business development and marketing initiatives. In addition to cultivating and maintaining relationships with clients and partners, she is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events and a mentor to HOK’s emerging leaders. In 2021, Kimberly joined the board of directors of the Architects Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). She also joined the board of the Chicago Area Central Committee (CCAC), which works to shape the city’s growth, equity, and quality of place. She has been a board member of Ingenuity Chicago, which increases arts education access, equity and quality, since 2019. Kimberly is the immediate past president (2019-2020) of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and a 2020 AIA Young Architects Award recipient. She was recognized for her activism efforts by Architectural Record’s 2020 Women in Architecture Awards program. Kimberly is a member of the Urban Land Institute. She initiated the concept behind Social Economic Environmental Design, an organization that she co-founded in 2005, and was a “40 Under 40” honoree in both Crain’s Chicago Business and Crain’s Detroit Business. In 2019, Kimberly delivered the 19th Annual Dunlop Lecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.