Principal, Global Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion  |  HKS

Yiselle Santos Rivera


Originally from San Juan, PR, Yiselle Santos Rivera, AIA, NOMA, LSSYB, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, is a Principal and Global Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at HKS. Santos Rivera is an activist architect who works to dismantle barriers and amplify underrepresented voices in design. As medical planner, Yiselle designs processes of co-creation that provide equitable access to care for those that need it most. As a trusted advisor, she also helps clients and firm leaders build more equitable, diverse, and inclusive organizations that are just and welcoming to all.

She co-founded the Latin American Interior Designers, Engineers, and Architects (LA.IDEA) DC Committee and founded the “Women Inspiring Emerging Leaders in Design” (WIELD), which received the 2019 AIA Diversity Program Recognition Award. Yiselle served on the 2015-18 AIA NAC, 2019 AIA Strategic Council, 2020 AIA National Board, and the 2021-22 NOMA Board as R&D Chair. As an AIA committee member, Mrs. Santos Rivera led the creation of the Ethnical Diverse section of AIA’s Alternative Care Site Preparedness Assessment Tool V2.0, contributed to AIA’s Equitable Development Frameworks, and as an AIA “Equity and the Future of Architecture” Committee, she supported the development of the AIA Guides for Equitable Practice Executive Summaries. She now serves on the NAAB Board and the AIA DC Chapter as Board President empowering the DC community to design a better future.

Yiselle is a storyteller and lectures on inclusive design, intercultural competency, and LGBTQIA+ issues in design. She is a “Latinas in Architecture” book author, 2015 CKLDP scholar, recipient of the 2018 AIA Associate Award and 2022 AIA Young Architect Award, and was named one of 2022 Top 50 Women Leaders in DC.