President's Message: 2018 and the Importance of Relationships

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Katie Nichols, AIA

President’s Message

2018 and the Importance of Relationships

Dear friends and colleagues,

I look forward to a productive 2018 and I hope this message finds you already enjoying progress toward your professional and personal visions for the New Year. I welcome this time of year and use it to reflect and to focus on the things that bring joy, energy, and meaning to my life.  

This year I’ve spent time reflecting on the relationships that provide me guidance and support. My partner, Peter, and his interest in the daily ins-and-outs of my work life, along with his creative insights into people and how we communicate, has helped me through stressful and challenging periods with a dose of humility and calm. Our young son, Oisin [O-sheen], is quite simply joy embodied and having time to play and explore with him is a huge gift. In my work life I have been fortunate, and am grateful for a number of wonderful mentors and lasting friendships. These relationships have both nurtured and challenged me to develop professionally.  

For me, relationship is what practicing architecture is about, in one way or another. We design places for relationships to take form and find life among civic, religious, commercial and business groups. Our work can shape so many facets of life. When we take time to understand and regard our projects as places of human relationship, in addition to understanding their financial and environmental performance, we make greater progress toward building healthy, vital, and sustainable communities.  

My involvement with AIA Kansas over the past decade brings me back to a similar appreciation of relationships. This year, AIA Kansas will continue to advance its strategic plan. The goal of this work is to elevate the quality of services to the membership while reaching out to connect with more members than ever before.  

Goals for 2018

Among my 2018 goals for AIA Kansas include the following:

  • Re-energize the committee and board organizational structure to create a framework for tracking on-going progress against measurable goals, with an emphasis on decision making supported by data and analysis.  
  • Continue progress in improving the core areas of Programming and Education, Communications, Advocacy, Membership Outreach, and Finance.
  • Secure leaders willing to champion work in these areas and support the growth of our chapter.
  • Re-evaluate our budget relative to strategic goals and commit funds, as able, to help ensure success.

I’m particularly pleased to propose to the board an assignment of funds that supports leadership training at all levels of our organization, including committee volunteers, board members, and staff. This initiative comes with the recognition that while we need to continue to find and welcome new leaders into our chapter, it is essential to provide current leadership with meaningful opportunities to grow and develop their skill sets. We hope this investment will nurture long-lasting relationships and create renewed energy in the work of AIA Kansas.  

Additional 2018 Plans

I can also share information on a few special projects in 2018 , including:

  • A plan to re-establish the Kansas Architectural Foundation,
  • An outreach initiative to connect and support members practicing in rural areas, and
  • A coordinated approach to advocacy that reaches more decision makers at regional and local levels, develops stronger ties amongst our members, and bolsters the great work we are already doing at the State House.  

I invite you to lend your voice to our growing community. Please reach out to me directly if there’s anything you’d like to discuss. I welcome your insights and thoughts. AIA Kansas needs your leadership and presence this year to advance its vision and goals.  

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful year. Let’s stay connected and keep in touch.

Very truly yours,

Katie Nichols

Image credits

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