The Women’s Business Development Center-Midwest (WBDC-Midwest), a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), has certified MSR Design as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE). WBENC is the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women. To be certified by WBENC, women owners must have at least 51% ownership, unrestricted control of the business, a demonstrated management of day-to-day operations, and a proportionate investment of capital or expertise. The meticulous certification process involves an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. WBENC has validated that MSR Design is 62% owned, controlled, managed, and led by women.
“According to the AIA Firm Survey Report 2020, only 21% of firm leaders in the architecture profession in the United States are women. We are proud of the evolution of our practice, which was founded by three men and is now majority women-owned and led,” says MSR Design CEO Traci Engel Lesneski, CID, LEED AP, Associate AIA. “Women make up half our staff. We received the highest Just label score (4 out of 4) on gender pay equity. As a practice focused on creating inspiring, sustainable, human-centric places, we understand that incorporating diverse perspectives into our projects brings value to our clients and their communities. This certification demonstrates our full commitment to this approach.”
WBENC-Certified WBEs gain access to a vast network of support, including targeted business opportunities, increased visibility in corporate and government supply chains, education and development programs to spur growth and increase capacity, and networking and mentorship opportunities.
MSR Design principal Paul Mellblom, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, states, “I am thrilled that we are now a WBENC-Certified WBE. This accomplishment reflects our firm’s current and future leadership, especially the success of our CEO and president Traci Engel Lesneski, who has worked tirelessly to bring excellence to everything she touches.”
“When those shaping the built environment better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve and diverse perspectives are incorporated into design, everyone benefits,” explains Traci. “We are committed to leading the change in our profession and, in the process, building more just and equitable communities.”