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New Partnership: Female-Owned Architecture Firm Breaking Down Barriers

In a groundbreaking partnership, Daryl Williams-Dotson, chief executive officer of WDi Architecture Inc., is teaming up with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to break down barriers.

“For me, the importance of this endeavor extends beyond professional achievements. Young African-American children must witness successful professionals who look like them, providing tangible examples of what they can aspire to become,” Williams-Dotson said. “Inclusion goes beyond a checkbox; it creates an environment that affirms different approaches, styles, perspectives, and experiences.”

WDi Architecture is one of several dozen XBE firms across the community winning contracts to help IPS upgrade 20 elementary and middle schools as part of the $410 million Rebuilding Stronger initiative.

“Working with IPS holds significance for both a minority and woman-owned business,” Williams-Dotson said. “Inclusiveness is at the core of our values, recognizing that diverse workplaces enrich our professional environments and foster innovation and creativity.

“Historically, minority-owned businesses, particularly in the architectural field, have been underrepresented,” she said. “By working with IPS, we are breaking barriers and serving as a testament to the capabilities of minority and women-led enterprises.”

WDi is one of the vendors representing businesses owned by women, veterans, recognized minorities, and socially and economically disadvantaged people joining IPS for one of the nation’s largest current capital improvement projects centering on K–12 education.

WDi is providing architectural and engineering services for the interior renovations of William Penn School 49 and Washington Irving School 14. This will be the third IPS project for Williams-Dotson, who moved to Indianapolis in 1991.

Williams-Dotson calls the early 1990s a challenging time for female architects, which were few not only in Indianapolis but across the nation.

As the principal architect of WDi, she leads the team and manages projects in space planning, sustainable building design, and construction.

“My commitment to community engagement stems from a desire to ensure that the struggles I faced as a minority architect are minimized for the next generation,” Williams-Dotson said. “I envision a future where the architectural profession sees a more diverse representation of talented minority women. We are paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future in the architectural field, where the voices and talents of all are acknowledged and celebrated.”

As WDi Architecture and IPS join forces under Rebuilding Stronger, they are constructing not just buildings but a future where diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront.