Sherry D. Snipes
Director, Diversity & Inclusion
The American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C.
Just as architects design and build bridges, Sherry D. Snipes is a viaduct of sorts in her role as director of human resources and diversity and inclusion at the American Institute of Architects. “I want to change the world. Each day, I try to contribute to how mainstream [America] views the diverse population,” Snipes says.
One way Snipes does this is by challenging, and occasionally uniting, the opinions and dichotomies between various groups. She says, “It’s important to expose people to other ways of doing things and alternate viewpoints.” Sometimes, she adds, being a diva and making yourself visible in a roomful of people without uttering a word can also be an effective way to spark a lively discussion among peers, colleagues and even strangers.
With a background in human resources, management, marketing, and diversity and inclusion that stretches back to the early 1990s, Snipes believes in the reach and influence of the social media. She describes herself as a “social network addict.” “I tweet, Facebook and blog regularly. I also helped my two sons start their own blog,” she says. As further proof of her “addiction,” she’s preparing to launch a private social network dedicated to diversity and inclusion.
Snipes is a voracious reader and takes her credo from William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, which reads, in part, “All the world’s a stage… And one man in his time plays many parts.” She graduated from Hampton University with a bachelor’s degree in business management and took graduate courses in human resource management at the University of Maryland. She insists that she owes much of her personal and professional success to her parents, whose words of wisdom guide her to this day. “My father would say, ‘Sherry, you can’t change anyone, you can only change how you react to them.’”