The Global Design Alliance is an international network of design, planning and construction firms who are committed to fostering dynamic growth and change. We are a living 27-year experiment in transparency, resource- sharing, authenticity and creativity that builds trust and develops not only people, but whole companies, who truly are “Better Together.” The GDA intentionally brings together a diverse group of companies to facilitate trusted partnerships and knowledge sharing amongst the most forward-thinking leaders in the AEC industry. Our vision is to:
skate to where the puck is going;
nurture familiarity by prioritizing trust and respect;
engage in provocative and inspiring dialogue;
seek out diversity of thought;
and create a safe place to explore new ideas and initiatives
What our members say
“What I love most about the GDA are the personal relationships. I’ve had the opportunity to develop with inspiring practice leaders from across North America. I learn something new whenever we come together. And whenever I need advice, I know that I can pick up the phone or send out a quick note, and within the hour I’ll have the benefit of their friendly, practical wisdom. Extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally!”
– Jeff DiBattista, DIALOG
“Alliiance has been a long-term member of the GDA. Throughout the years, our firm has formed strategic partnerships and we have benefitted from many collaborations with other GDA member firms – and I personally have gained many deep friendships. We constantly have been able to access a deep bench of experience in all practice areas because of the diversity of members within the GDA. Even more so, I have had shoulders to lean on and people to look to for advice during these uncertain times.”
– Tom Hysell, Alliiance
“I am fascinated and enriched by all of the different ways that the companies within the GDA have chosen to organize themselves. While addressing the same big-picture industry issues, we are each working in a different organizational model. That combination of similarity and diversity enables us to have both well-informed and changeful conversations, tackling topics such as leadership, diversity and inclusion, structure, succession planning and culture in unique ways.”
– Melissa Marsh, Plastarc
GDA by the numbers
Spring Symposium 2021
GDA member firms will explore critical issues surrounding the built environment during our Spring Symposium. The semi-annual symposium of the Global Design Alliance is an intimate gathering where firm leaders from across North America collaborate to seize opportunities and tackle challenges related to the AEC industry and the strategic practice of our firms. In the upcoming symposium, we come together to think boldly and build back better.View program
Past EventsSee all Events
GDA member firms will explore critical issues surrounding the built environment at our first-ever virtual symposium. The semi-annual symposium of the Global Design Alliance is an intimate gathering where firm leaders from across North America collaborate to seize opportunities and tackle challenges related to the AEC industry and the strategic practice of our firms. In the upcoming symposium, we come together to seek understanding; prepare to pivot; and to connect for the future.
People & practice; designing for resiliency. The semi-annual symposium of the Global Design Alliance, hosted by SHoP Architects as well as co-hosts Entro and Plastarc, is an intimate gathering where firm leaders from across North America collaborate to seize opportunities and tackle challenges related to the design industry and the strategic practice of our firms.
Gender parity, ethnic & racial diversity, local resources & talent, and "green practices". The fall symposium brings a debate on integration, trends in construction law, discussion on the Climate Change Emergency and workshops surrounding leadership behaviors & core values, BD collaborations, and diversity, equity & inclusion.
Change, relevance & expansion.
Resilience, disruption, and convergence.
Members meet monthly to discuss critical leadership and human capital issues that our firms are facing. Topics range from transition and succession planning to professional development to talent recruitment and retention.
This knowledge community shares in the deep commitment and fervent desire to bring diversity, equity and inclusion into each of our member firms. The group meets monthly to openly discuss best practices, challenges and also set collective goals that can be brought back in-house of our individual member firms.
Employees of member firms have access to key training opportunities organized by the Global Design Alliance. Recent workshops have included: Total Leadership by Stew Friedman of the Wharton School of Business.
Saskia Dennis-van Dijl joined the GDA as Executive Director in 2016. Saskia has served as a practice management consultant to the AEC industry for the past two decades advising firms around the US in the areas of marketing, practice management and strategic planning. In recent years, Saskia has focused extensively on leadership development in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry including a deep commitment to concerns related to diversity equity and inclusion. She was a founding member of the 2014 Equity by Design research project sponsored by AIA San Francisco and now works with companies around the nation on culture and policy development to achieve goals of diversity and inclusion in all aspects.
Brook Wyntergreen first joined the Global Design Alliance in 2014, having served as former Chair for the GDA Marketing & Business Development Community. In 2016, she accepted the role of Associate Director for the GDA, supporting the Board and Executive Director to manage the day-to-day operations of the consortium. With nearly 15 years in the design industry, Brook has led marketing & business development departments and also worked in project management & project scheduling for large healthcare and public projects. Brook holds a Masters in Business Administration and Bachelors of Architecture. "The people that make up the GDA are genuine friends as well as inspirational leaders. I continue to learn new ways of thinking and interacting with the built environment through the many different lenses of our consortium."
Patti Harris is the Founder of LicenseSure LLC and a nationally-recognized expert on the complex licensing and compliance requirements faced by construction and design professional firms. In addition to her work through LicenseSure, as Special Counsel to Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, Patti advises design and construction industry clients on mergers and acquisitions, ownership transitions and business formations, and is particularly well-versed in how to structure such transactions in light of state licensing laws and minority and women-owned business requirements. Zetlin & De Chiara has been a Member of the Global Design Alliance and Patti has been the firm’s appointed Director since 2005; she has served on GDA’s Executive Committee and as its Treasurer. GDA has benefited Z&D and LicenseSure in so many ways over the years – from sharing business management best practices to taking deep dives into current issues affecting our industries to giving and getting client work to, at its core, having strong and reliable friends throughout North America.