Perkins Eastman Names Emily Pierson-Brown as PEople Culture Manager

New role will enable Pierson-Brown to guide the firm’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion goals and initiatives

Perkins Eastman is thrilled to announce that Emily Pierson-Brown, AIA, AICP, LEED Green Associate, has been named the new PEople Culture Manager for the global architecture and design firm. In her new position, Pierson-Brown will steer the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) goals and initiatives of the firm, a task that plays to all her strengths—in fact, her fervent passion for amplifying the voices of marginalized groups has been instrumental in the DE&I space for several years.

“At its essence, ‘Human by Design’ is about how our work is inspired, shaped, and informed by who we are as people. Taking on the role of PEople Culture Manager, a continuation of the work I’ve been doing with our dedicated DE&I team and leadership for the past two years, is a reflection of my and the firm’s commitment to expanding the architecture industry to include more diverse voices, building equity in our practices and projects, and modeling an inclusive approach to placemaking,” says Pierson-Brown. “I am honored to represent our firm in this role. I look forward to leading in this space and supporting our studios in living out our ‘Human by Design’ ethos.”

With an established design career spanning more than twenty years, six of which have been spent at Perkins Eastman in Pittsburgh, Pierson-Brown is an expert not only in the intricacies of the architecture and design world, but also in the firm’s very philosophy of ‘Human by Design.’ She blends a thoughtful balance of design and empathy to her work in our Senior Living practice, expertly weaving a client’s mission and organizational goals into impactful, placemaking buildings and experiences. Thanks to her background in planning and residential architecture, Pierson-Brown displays a keen ability to interact with a wide variety of people, a quality both colleagues and clients consistently praise.

Pierson-Brown has a sincere passion for bringing a sense of belonging to Perkins Eastman’s work and its studios. She has served as firmwide leader of Perkins Eastman’s Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) since 2018 and has been a member of its DE&I Operations Team since its inception. In 2019, she attended the AIA Women’s Leadership Summit, thanks to the Sho-Ping Chin memorial grant; in 2020, she attended the AIA Minnesota-sponsored National Intercultural Leadership Program, a ten-session program that seeks to bring more cultural competence to the architecture industry. She earned a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, adding onto her already-impressive academic credentials (a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and both a Master of Architecture and a Master of City and Regional Planning from Catholic University). She is also the co-author of a paper titled “Inclusive Communities in Senior Living,” which she wrote alongside Perkins Eastman’s Brianne Pham.

Pierson-Brown’s work outside the studio is equally impressive, as she is an active member of the Pittsburgh architecture community. Pierson-Brown is a co-founder and leader of Women+ in Design PGH, board member of AIA Pittsburgh, and adjunct studio instructor at the University of Pittsburgh architecture studios.

“Emily is a natural choice for this role,” says Nick Leahy, AIA, co-CEO and executive director of Perkins Eastman. “I personally have enjoyed, valued, and learned a lot from working with her, as she is a terrific listener and communicator. Plus, she understands us from within; she knows we need to be constantly evolving to live up to our ethos of ‘Human by Design.’ Her work in the DE&I space is inspiring, her talent impressive, and her genuine interest in and passion for diversifying and broadening the world of architecture is admirable. We are confident she will excel as PEople Culture Manager for the firm.”

Perkins Eastman is looking forward to working with Pierson-Brown to continue building and refining its ‘Human by Design’ culture through DE&I efforts.


Perkins Eastman is a global design firm founded on the belief that design can have a direct and positive impact on people’s lives. The firm’s award-winning practice draws on its 1,100+ professionals networked across 24 studios worldwide. By keeping the user’s needs foremost in the design process, the firm enhances the human experience across the spectrum of the built environment. For more information, visit