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We Practice DEI Principles

We are passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) advancement and believe that it’s essential for our success as a company and as a force for positive change in the world. We value the diverse perspectives, experiences, and identities of our employees, clients, partners, and communities, and we work hard every day to create a culture where everyone feels welcome, heard, respected, and empowered.

We operate with the belief that DEI is not a destination but a journey that requires constant learning, action, and reflection. That is why we have integrated DEI principles into our core values and vision for Ascent, and we have established clear goals and metrics to measure our progress. We are committed to advancing DEI in every aspect of our work, from hiring and retention to project delivery and engagement. We believe that by embracing DEI holistically, we can unleash our full potential for innovation, creativity, and impact. After all, the true potential of a team is realized when its members can be their authentic selves. We invite you to learn more about our DEI vision, initiatives, and achievements in this page.

Ensuring Fair and Equitable
Compensation for Employees

We recently implemented a new job classification system that identifies clear and objective criteria for evaluating the impact and complexity of different job responsibilities. This system reduces the occurrence of discrimination, bias, favoritism, and pay disparity within our organizational structure.

We also conduct regular and transparent pay equity analyses to ensure that everyone is compensated fairly and equitably for their work and contributions to Ascent.

Learning, Growing, and
Leading with DEI

We offer our employees various learning opportunities on topics such as unconscious bias, inclusive meetings, and inclusive leadership. These offerings help them develop the skills and knowledge to work effectively across differences and create a respectful and empathetic work environment.

We also empower our leaders to promote and practice DEI in their teams and across the organization by providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools.

Creating Spaces for Sharing

We are committed to creating spaces for our employees to share new ideas in a safe and inclusive way. We believe that diversity of thought and perspective is essential for innovation and creativity. 

We encourage our employees to voice their opinions, suggestions, and feedback, whether it’s in an open forum or an anonymous channel. We also ensure that these spaces are respectful, supportive, and free of judgment and bias. We value the experiences and insights of our employees, and we seek to learn from each other and grow together.

Building a Diverse and
Inclusive Workforce

We adopted a Hiring Guide that provides fair, consistent, and inclusive practices for our hiring process. By mitigating bias and integrating DEI principles, we can attract and retain a more diverse and talented workforce.

We also partner with other firms to offer the Environmental and Planning Diversity Internship (EPDI), which provides access and opportunities to diverse students in the environmental and planning industry.

Shaping Our Culture of DEI

We communicate regularly with our employees through various channels and platforms, where we share information, insights, and experiences on DEI topics and issues. For example, we publish a monthly newsletter that features awareness holidays, social events, inclusive reminders, and media resources.

We also host an annual Unity Potluck to commemorate Diversity Month, where employees are encouraged to share dishes that are culturally significant, family traditions, or just a dish they love. Moreover, we organize and encourage our employees to participate in various volunteer opportunities to support and strengthen our diverse communities.


In our ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability in our diversity, equity, and inclusion journey, we are publishing workforce demographic data for the first time. The following represents baseline data on the composition of our employee population across key dimensions such as gender, generational representation, and race/ethnicity as of November 2023.

Environmental Justice

Low-income households, communities of color, indigenous peoples, and tribal nations have experienced disproportionate environmental effects, pollution burdens, and related health impacts. Environmental justice elements address the environmental health impacts of land use decisions on disadvantaged communities.

Equitable Climate Planning

Although climate change affects everyone to some degree, not everyone is affected equally. When equity is put front and center, climate action and adaptation strategies can address and lessen existing social, racial, and health disparities.

Inclusive Community

Inclusive engagement ensures that the voices of all community members are heard in the decision-making process. By engaging with diverse and underrepresented groups, Ascent’s planners work to create more equitable and inclusive plans that reflect the values and aspirations of the people they serve.

Affirmatively Furthering
Fair Housing

AB 686 requires cities and counties to promote fair housing and avoid actions that would undermine it. This means taking actions to reduce segregation, address housing disparities and opportunities, and foster inclusive communities.

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