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Kimberly Dowdell


Kimberly is an architect with a passion for creating remarkable places where people can sustainably flourish and thrive. A native of Detroit, Kimberly grew up with an ambition to revitalize cities using design as a tool for progress. Today, she is realizing her vision as a Principal at HOK in Chicago. Kimberly was also the 2019-2020 National President of NOMA.

Over the last two decades, Kimberly’s educational experiences at Cranbrook, Cornell and Harvard, coupled with her work as a young professional in Washington, D.C. and New York, have shaped her early career toward a goal of facilitating transformative urban development projects. In graduate school, Kimberly was in the inaugural class of Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellows at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership.

As a mid-career professional, Kimberly returned to her hometown in 2015 to support urban revitalization efforts. In an effort to broaden her impact, she took on a global role with internationally acclaimed architecture and planning firm, HOK, where she spent several of her formative years from 2008 – 2011.

In 2008, Kimberly established the annual community service project for the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), which has now hosted projects in eleven cities throughout the U.S. In 2019, she became the first Millennial President of NOMA.

In 2005, Kimberly co-founded SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) to identify, measure and address “Triple Bottom Line” issues during the design process. Kimberly’s contributions to public service were honored with her recognition as one of the top 100 national leaders in Public Interest Design, 2012, by (now named Her career was also profiled in the 3rd Edition of Dr. Lee Waldrep’s acclaimed book, Becoming An Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design, 2014.

Kimberly’s overarching professional mission is to improve people’s lives, by design.


Chicago, IL


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