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ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB ANNOUNCES PROMOTION OF ALICIA ZARO TO DIRECTOR IN LOS ANGELES OFFICE Ware Malcomb , an award-winning international design firm, announced Alicia Zaro has been promoted to director, interior architecture and design in the firm’s Los Angeles office. In this role, Zaro is responsible for the growth and management of the interior architecture and design studio and oversees all interiors projects for the Los Angeles office. Zaro joined Ware Malcomb in 2014 and was promoted to studio manager in 2018. Zaro brings extensive interior architecture and design expertise to the Ware Malcomb team, contributing strong design influence, team leadership, and devotion to client services. Zaro has worked on a variety of interiors projects including creative office, renovation, education, retail, hospitality, public, financial

and entertainment. Over the last few years, her role has grown to include business development, managing the studio and project oversight. “Alicia has built a great team and a large network of loyal clients and industry partners,” said Radwan Madani, principal of Ware Malcomb’s Los Angeles office. “Her excellent design talent, combined with her strong leadership abilities have been instrumental in expanding our Los Angeles interiors practice and delivering amazing designs for our clients, including many creative end-user spaces. We look forward to her continued success and leadership of our interior design practice in the Los Angeles market.” Zaro is a graduate of the highly selective NAIOP So Cal Young Professionals Group,

an industry-leading professional development and leadership program. A Certified Interior Designer, Zaro holds a bachelor’s degree in interior architectural design from the University of California, Davis. She is also an active committee member for CoreNet Global, Southern California. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is an international design firm providing planning, architecture, interior design, branding, civil engineering and building measurement services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. With office locations throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/ educational facilities and renovation projects.

MITCHELL SHOPE, from page 9

and creates comfort. In the more specific sense of hiring, staffing a panel with a range of backgrounds to conduct interviews as well as being specific as to what characteristics constitute a “cultural fit” for your company help balance the effects of affinity bias. ❚ ❚ Attribution bias. Attribution bias encompasses a wide array of misjudgments when people try to find reasons for their own or for others’ actions or behaviors. Our thoughts or opinions about behavior are rarely unbiased and are not representative of reality. Effects: One of the most common manifestations of attribution bias is called “Fundamental Attribution Error,” which is the tendency for individuals to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for negative behaviors observed in others while simultaneously over-emphasizing these explanations for positive behavior in themselves. In other words, when we are successful, we perceive it as a result of our own intelligence or moral character, while when others are successful, we perceive it as a result of the circumstances surrounding them that put them in that position (and often our own contributions to these circumstances). Mitigation: The best mitigation against FAE is simply to acknowledge that it exists and ask yourself if you may be falling prey to it. Raising your emotional intelligence will also greatly influence your ability to identify and combat FAE as well as any other cognitive biases. Particularly important elements of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy. Empathy breaks down the assumptions that accompany FAE and will allow you to see your coworkers and employees as complete individuals instead of a set of predisposed experiences. Other common biases are the contrast effect, halo effect, and conformity bias. Each of these biases influence every thought and judgment that occur in our minds. Educating yourself about these biases as well as potential strategies for mitigation can help you avoid prejudice in your decision-making and better develop a truly rational, impartial, and unbiased perspective. MITCHELL SHOPE is a senior project engineer with JQ Engineering in Dallas, Texas. He holds a Master of Engineering degree from MIT in structural engineering and an MBA from the University of Texas. Contact him at

conclusions and to consistently attempt to prove yourself wrong. When gathering and assessing a data set or problem, seek out facts and underlying circumstances instead of trying to generate hypotheses from incomplete information. By pivoting your position and seeking data that proves your initial guess wrong, you can flip confirmation bias on itself and become more objective. “Bias is simply a prejudice or judgment made unfairly in favor of one path of thinking compared to another. Biases may be held by individuals, teams, or entire firms, and these biases typically fall into two categories, conscious (explicit) bias and unconscious (implicit) bias.” ❚ ❚ Affinity bias. The inclination for people to connect more strongly with others who share similar backgrounds or experiences. Effects: This bias manifests itself most frequently in the hiring process as individuals are much more likely to prefer candidates with whom they resonate, regardless of the candidate’s unbiased merit. A recent study by Harvard Business School shows that minority job applicants that “whiten” their resume by deleting any references or allusions to their race have more than double the number of callbacks compared to the same “unwhitened” resumes. These results shed a disturbing light on our hiring practices throughout the United States: there is a strong and deep bias against minorities. It is up to each individual executive to course correct and identify this issue at its root – hiring. Mitigation: Because affinity bias runs far beyond the hiring process and influences closely held emotions like trust, friendship, and vulnerability, it is one of the most difficult biases to alleviate. The first and easiest recommendation is to take the time to establish common ground. First impressions are made swiftly and brashly, so suppressing initial impressions and searching for commonalities reduces tension

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