Courageous Conversations / Talking Across Difference – The Language of Racism

May 12, 2021
10:45 AM - 12:45 PM


Once we have an understanding of our perception based on our identities, as well as a knowledge base about systemic racism, we can move into navigating difficult conversations. In this session attendees will focus on courageous conversations around difference. We will discuss common terms and misconceptions in our conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion. We will practice navigating uncomfortable scenarios across differences with the goal of building understanding and relationships.

Goals of training:

  • To practice having difficult conversations in role playing scenarios
  • Learning key terms and vocabulary to discuss race

After our keynote presentation, local firms, Lever Architecture and Bassetti Architects will share their internal DEI programs and best practice for starting courageous conversations in our industry.

We will prelude the event with some musical tunes and good vibes provided by our keynote speaker so sign on a little early if you can. The main event will kick off at 11:00AM sharp.

This event is free to SMPS OR members, members from other SMPS Chapters and DMWESB firms. Tickets are $15 for nonmembers and all proceeds will be donated to Albina Vision, a local organization focused on honoring the history of the Albina community that once was, while remaining focused on the brighter future to come. By restoring the name “Albina," their endeavor is to help bring back the sense of community to the neighborhood, as well as evolve its story.


10:45 – Listen to some music and network before the event
11:00 – Introduction, welcome and housekeeping items
11:10 – Meet Albina Vision
11:15 – Key Note: Teela Foxworth
12:15 – Local DEI efforts: Bassetti and LEVER share best practices
12:30 – Q&A

Keynote Speaker

Jen Newman Ignite Coaching & Consulting

Teela Foxworth
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Teela Foxworth is a dedicated member and leader in her community. Foxworth’s career in higher education began in 2010 when she started her teaching at Oregon State. From there, Foxworth has worked at the university and community college level from Corvallis, OR to Seattle, WA, educating over 2,000 students in communication studies (interpersonal, intercultural, mass media, public speaking) as well as racial studies. She currently serves as the Department Chair of Social Sciences and Humanities at Portland Community College’s Southeast campus.

Foxworth wants to continue to be a change agent for a better Portland. Her passion comes from a devoted family background with a deep connection to serving their community in health, safety and education. Her mother is a retired nurse; her father was the second Black police chief of the Portland police bureau; and her brother currently is a Sergeant in Human Trafficking and SWAT officer for the Portland police.

Firm & Speaker Profiles

Jake Rose headshotBassetti Architects
Since 1947, Bassetti has designed places where people learn, work, play, and connect. Bassetti believes that architecture is most successful when it reflects client goals and thoughtfully interacts with the surroundings. The firm’s mission is to foster healthy communities through learning and design. With offices located in Portland and Seattle, they work primarily on academic, civic, and cultural institutions for public and non-profit clients. In 2017, Bassetti received a JUST label through the International Living Future Institute, which allows the firm to demonstrate leadership in many areas of corporate social responsibility, including the equitable treatment of employees, diversity and inclusion, local sourcing and purchasing, worker benefits, workplace safety, and community stewardship. It allows for a transparent workplace and serves as a tool by which the firm can evaluate and improve practices. Last year, Bassetti formed an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) group to guide the firm in EDI efforts and facilitate conversations among all staff about how Bassetti can improve EDI practices. In addition, Bassetti has recently signed the NOMA NW Call-to-Action Pledge. This pledge provides a framework for Bassetti to identify and improve practices that focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Jake Rose is a designer pursuing architectural licensure at Bassetti Architects in Portland, Oregon where he has worked on K-12 educational projects for the past two years. He holds a Masters of Architecture from Kansas State University and is a LEED AP BD+C accredited professional. He is passionate about sustainability and social justice and the many ways the two issues intersect. He was an integral part in the formation of Bassetti’s EDI group.

LEVER is a Portland, Oregon based design practice that was founded by Thomas Robinson in 2009. The firm brings design excellence to buildings and spaces for mission-driven organizations and creative companies. LEVER is internationally recognized for material innovation and for pioneering work with Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). Their projects encompass first-of-their-kind timber buildings for clients such as The Nature Conservancy and Adidas and include more than $1M in research to develop and test wood building assemblies. LEVER was recently recognized by Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovative companies; and in 2017, was named to Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard and to the Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices. The firm’s work has been published in the Atlantic, the New York Times, Surface, and Dwell, among others; and was featured in Timber City, an exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Pamela is Chief Operating Officer of LEVER Architecture and leads the firm's DEI initiatives. She currently serves on the Education Committee for the Architecture Foundation of Oregon (AFO), and prior to joining LEVER, spent 20 years leading marketing, strategy, and operations for growing companies. Pamela holds an MBA from the Haas School at the University of California, Berkeley and a BA from Dartmouth College.


$0.00 Other SMPS Chapter Members

$0.00 Member Registration

$15.00 Non-Member, Non-DMWESB Registration

$0.00 DMWESB Firm


Refund Policy

Refund requests must be received at least 48 hours prior to the event. No refunds can be given with less than 48-hour notice. No shows will be charged. 

Registration Help

If you are a new or reinstated member, please email Membership Director Leah Lukrofka at [email protected] for assistance completing your registration. 

Industry Events

CREW Portland - Public Speaking in a Virtual World

Thursday, February 25, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

In this practical and lively online event, Gigi teaches participants how to show up at your online meetings with confidence, authenticity and power.

Gigi Rosenberg is Portland’s public speaking coach. She brings 25 years of experience in corporate communications, storytelling, and video/film production and specializes in working with CEOs, introverts, nonprofit leaders, and women on the rise. You’ll leave this workshop with techniques for keeping the audience engaged, ideas for how to transfer in-person meeting skills to the virtual world, tips for looking and sounding your best on camera and more!

Learn more about Gigi at

Cost for registration:  $10/member, $25/non-member.