As the Associate Director of AIA Denver, their Board of Directors sent me to this year’s Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference in Washington DC. The conference made a lasting impression on me with its programs on Leadership, Advocacy and Communication, and gave me a better understanding to what AIA does at the national level for its members, especially for Emerging Professionals. (By the way, the AIA is THE ONLY professional organization representing Architects on The Hill, no one else. It is an act which benefits members and non-members alike.)
At first, I didn’t know what my experience would be this conference. I did have a focus though. In attending, I hoped to learn best practices from other emerging professional leaders in the country and evaluate how AIA Denver and ACAD compare in our service to our younger membership.
My apologies dear reader in delaying my Friday post deadline, but it was Friday’s workshops that truly pertained to my mission as Associate Director. One session in particular was the Lessons from the YAF20 Summit. The Young Architects Forum, YAF, is in its 20th year and every 5 years they bring leaders from all levels of the profession together to define the issues that matter most to young architects today.
My report here is a sneak preview of what YAF will be announcing in mass to the membership soon. When the summit began there were many topics given by the membership for YAF20 to focus on. Through group discussion they were able to narrow down the topics to the top six most important issues that will guide the mission and programming for YAF components throughout the country. Below are the topics and my notes.
- CAREER ADVANCEMENT
- About how to keep adding feathers to your hat.
- Professional Soft Skills
- You’ve got your license, now what?
- ADVANCEMENT OF THE PROFESSION
- Educating the public about the diverse skill sets architects have
- VALUE OF DESIGN
- The AIA should be the connectors that bring people together
- Setting the example within our communities
- “Ideas” competitions are wasteful because the design energy is not built upon.
- STARTING YOUR OWN FIRM
- Providing relevant resource for individuals to make an informed decision about starting a firm
- Through further discussion at the Grassroots workshop, the conclusion was to adjust this issue to focus on all professional practice issues, whether an Associate within the firm ownership or having your own shop.
- VALUE OF LICENSURE
- It is important because it ensures the competency of our professionals to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
- Informing the public about what architects really do
- Instilling this value by approaching high school students about architecture.
- Celebrating the value of licensure within AIA by having all new architects cross the stage at national conference
- Celebrating firms that value licensure by creating a YAF firm award
- ECONOMY & CHANGE
- Creating a stronger profession out of lessons learned
- Inclusive and mindful of the past.
- Nurturing the profession.
So how did we, AIA Denver and AIA Colorado, stack up in delivery programs which fall into these topics? I’m proud to report that we already have some programs in place like: AIA Colorado Professional Development Series, Doors Open Denver, Box City, Architecture Month, and AIA Denver Habitat for Humanity Design/Build
But we could certainly do more. What is clear from my attendance at Grassroots is the AIA is ready to listen and act. As they say in DC, if you’re not at the table, you’re lunch.
Perhaps at AIA Colorado we do honor the newly licensed architects within the pass year by presenting them on stage at our fall conference? Maybe each local component develop an ARE bootcamp which provides the structure and accountability for associate members to complete their testing and get licensed?
So fair reader, what do you want to see happen? We want to know. It is one thing to complain about the problems … but it’s much more constructive to voice solutions.