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26 - 29 November 2024

Dubai World Trade Centre

Meet our Award for Inclusion and Diversity 2022 Winner


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

In today's competitive business landscape, companies and individuals are constantly searching for ways to stand out from the crowd. One effective strategy that often gets overlooked is entering industry awards. Awards not only provide recognition for exceptional achievements but also offer a host of other benefits that can positively impact your business.

To shed light on the importance of entering awards, we had the opportunity to interview Skidmore, Owings & Merrill an industry-leading architectural, urban planning, and engineering firm that recently won one of our prestigious Big 5 Global Impact Awards for inclusion and diversity. Their experience and insights highlight why participating in awards can be a game-changer for businesses of all sizes and sectors.

What motivated your company to enter the award?

As one of the most reputable awards in the region, we entered Big 5 Global Impact Awards because we wanted to benchmark our approach to inclusion and diversity against some of the best practices in the region. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is hugely important to our firm and we knew that by entering the awards, we would be assessed to a high standard. If the result went either way, we knew we would be afforded with meaningful feedback to help us further develop and shape our strategy.


How has winning the award impacted your business?

The success of the award has helped us to double the size of our Dubai-based team and communicate the fact that we’re serious about equity, diversity and inclusion in our workplace. As our team has grown, so has the multiculturalism in our office given that Dubai and the Middle East region at large is such a melting point of people from different backgrounds and cultures. Published annually in report form on our website, we use our firm-wide DEI strategy to affect greater equity in our firm, in our industry, and in the built environment which we shape through our work.

What specific benefits have your company seen as a result of winning the award?

In addition to helping us attract some really talented individuals through hiring who are like-minded in valuing DEI, the award has helped us to promote and position our local presence here significantly. SOM is a global firm with studios all over the world however sometimes regional offices are incorrectly perceived as satellite offices. This is not the case; each of our studios are made up of experts across architecture, design, engineering, and planning. As a result of winning this award and its help to elevate our profile here in the Middle East, we’ve managed to win several new and large-scale projects across the region which utilize the brilliant expertise of our Dubai-based team.


How have you leveraged the award to improve your marketing and sales efforts?

As mentioned, the promotion of our firm through winning the award has helped to grow our marketing and sales efforts significantly. We’ve won new projects, we’ve grown our networks in the region and we’ve been able to demonstrate the success of our DEI approach in a way that is fair and meaningful.


What advice would you give to other companies/individuals considering entering
the awards?

Of course, when you enter an award, your hope is always that you’ll win but I think the benefit of awards like those offered by Big 5 is that they also afford the ability to benchmark your efforts alongside competitors. In this way, they’re a useful tool in being able to understand what you might need to improve and how. This is only a good thing when you’re entering categories like those associated with diversity and inclusion as we can always do better in this respect. In this sense, I’d encourage anyone thinking about entering the award to do so.