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Looking Forward

By Sean Stadler, AIA

The year 2010 started in a manner that can only be described as challenging! With the reorganization of the National chapter of the AIA late in 2009 we found ourselves with a steep hill to climb. Fortunately, the Young Architects’ Forum Advisory Committee and its network of Regional Liaisons are committed to pushing forward a strong agenda and to make sure that the young architects still find value in their organization.

Continuing to draw from the strategic plan that was crafted during the 2007 YAF 15 Summit, the Advisory Committee is working hard on three major initiatives that revolve around Mentoring, Leadership and Human Capital. While the plans are moving forward we have had to make adjustments and reprioritize the initiatives.

First and foremost the Advisory Committee has been working hard on our Mentoring Initiative. In 2009 the Advisory Committee wrote and solicited a RFP to hire a consultant to guide and help us develop a National Mentoring Program. This program is intended to create a resource for local chapters to look to for help with designing and creating successful mentoring programs for their membership. We received four extremely competitive and great responses to the RFP. In the end the Advisory Committee felt that The Coxe Group led by Hugh Hochberg and Peter Piven, FAIA, was the right fit to work with the committee and meet the goals that we had set for this program.

In February of this year, with the help of The Coxe Group we kicked off the mentoring initiative at the AIA’s Grassroots Leadership Conference. The YAF and The Coxe Group provided a workshop for the pre-conference entitled “Designing an Effective Program for Mentors.” With over sixty participants from all over the nation, this program was an extremely well received workshop. The dialog and information that was exchanged and gathered from this workshop will serve as a foundation for the program moving forward.

The second initiative that the Advisory Committee has been developing is a return of the Leadership Institute. A successful program developed by Linda Hopper when she was AIA National staff in the 90’s, this program centers on developing leadership skills essential to young architects whose calling is to engage in public service and leadership positions within the profession. Realizing young architects are the future leaders of the Institute, the community and the profession, the YAF believes we need to help, train and prepare young architects for these roles. 2010 will be a planning year for this program intending to host a main Leadership Institute in Washington, DC with five remote locations throughout the country in the fall of 2011.

Last but not least, the third Initiative that the Advisory Committee is focusing on this year centers on the Human Capital theme in which the talent, strength and quality of the young architect provide great value to the profession. For this initiative, the Advisory Committee is in the midst of sponsoring the first ever National Young Architects Forum Ideas Competition in partnership with the Committee on Design. This competition will be open to all architects but recognizes that young architects are a significant number of submitters in any design competition, and that it is one way emerging professionals gain recognition for their design abilities and talent. The registration for this competition will open in March and will be announced at the National Associates Committee and Young Architects Forum joint reception at Convention in Miami this June. Stay tuned for how to register.

In closing, 2010 looks to be a productive year despite the current economic outlook. We are looking forward to finding creative ways to accomplish our initiatives and know how important it is for all of us to continue to provide programs that center around the needs of our membership. It is our organization and we have the ability to accomplish anything we set our minds to. We look forward to serving you all in 2010.


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