Leadership education


What is Leadership to the AIA?

To meet the complex demands of this fast-paced environment, leadership is the most critical component for success. Through seminars, workshops, certificate programs and online resources, the AIA prepares architects and emerging professionals to advance the architecture profession.

Whether you are a partner in a large firm, an emerging professional in your first project management role, or an elected official on a municipal council, AIA leadership programs will develop your potential and provide you the tools to lead the profession into the future. AIA leadership development programs—in tandem with AIA components across the country—help shape the minds of architects of all experience levels.

Four key leadership tracks:

Fundamentals: Discover behaviors, attitudes, and expectations that characterize leadership culture, and  learn organizational theory and skills and abilities needed for successful leadership at any career stage.

Community: Find effective methods for sharing and conveying ideas to different audiences beyond architects through civic engagement and government service, advocacy skills building, philanthropy, pro bono, and public policy. Gain competencies demonstrated within public settings and new markets.

Firm: Build leadership competency related to people, teams, and firm settings and enhance personal and organizational leadership effectiveness within design and practice.

Professional: Expression of leadership gained through engagement across the industry, within the AIA and affiliated professional organizations to advance the impact architects have on the future of the profession.

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Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program

Host: AIA DC

LUs: This program qualifies for X credits*

The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program is a year-long series of sessions designed to prepare professionals for future leadership roles. It consists of nine individual half-day sessions attended and organized by the sixteen selected participants. The curriculum focuses on core skills that are not necessarily a part of an emerging professional’s typical work day, including business development, management, marketing, professional ethics, and philanthropy. The program targets emerging professionals who are within the first ten years of their professional licensure and applicants do not need to have completed licensure for consideration, however, active pursuit of licensure is encouraged for unlicensed applicants. Since starting in DC in 2013, CKLDP has been expanding to other AIA chapters, including AIA Colorado in 2016, AIA Detroit and AIA Miami in 2017, and will likely begin in Indiana and Houston in 2018.

Civic LAB

Host: AIA Baltimore

CivicLAB is a series of participatory educational sessions that will help to mobilize members interested in taking on or expanding leadership roles in their communities, their professional lives, and in academia in order to help guide and implement public policies that ensue healthy, livable, sustainable, and high quality built environments for future.

This program’s primary focus is emerging professionals; from current architecture school graduate students, recent graduates of architecture schools, Associate Members, to full AIA members within their first 10 years of licensure. Participants are sponsored by a member firm or self-nominate. Scholarships are available for graduate students as well members who are unemployed.

Leadership AIA

Host: AIA Central Oklahoma

Leadership AIA is a program lead by AIA Central and Eastern Oklahoma to help grow leaders so they can lead in AIA and in their communities.

VISION: Architect’s Leadership Forum

Host: AIA Cincinnati

VISION’s core purpose is to support emerging architects and architectural firms in Cincinnati with programming that addresses professional advancement, firm development, and community outreach. Throughout the program, participants are asked to consider the challenges Cincinnati’s architectural firms face in terms of legacy, design, project delivery, politics, management practices, community, education, and economics. The program is designed especially for emerging professional architects who want to gain the skills necessary to advance to higher levels within the architecture profession and the greater Cincinnati community.

Advanced Executive Leadership Program

Host: AIA Dallas

The Advanced Executive Leadership Program is an advanced, executive leadership program recognizing the need for architect-leaders, based on the fact that, while professional education is starting to address this issue, leadership development is generally left up to the professional to learn, succeed, or fail on their own. The problems faced by firm and studio leaders are more complex and demanding and need a higher level of engagement than traditional management programs. The program includes a one-day introductory seminar on general knowledge of leadership and basic strategies of influencing professionals and organizations; followed by five half-day seminars held each month to introduce new concepts and practices and extend knowledge; and one concluding session.

Emerging Professionals Leadership Development Program

Host: AIA Triangle

The AIA Triangle Leadership Forum connects a select group of area emerging professionals with successful principals, community leaders, business coaches, and consultants from across the Triangle and the state. The mission of the AIA Triangle Leadership Forum is to expand participants' understanding of successful leadership, encourage the cultivation of a healthy and successful career within our industry, and assist each individual in developing a leadership style that maximizes their success. There are three rotating areas of focus: general leadership, civic leadership, and business leadership.

Emerging Leaders in Architecture, an Honors Academy

Host: AIA Virginia

The AIA Virginia ELA program develops future leaders in architecture firms, communities, and the profession. It accelerates architects' growth, provides information needed for the successful practice of architecture, service to society, and community leadership. There are seven intensive, day-long seminars focusing on essential, professional skills such as financial management, presentation and communication skills, negotiation techniques, legal requirements, ethical issues, and community service. The program also incorporates a year-long project with three, dedicated work-days, all concentrating on a real-world project with a real client so that the participants learn to apply the knowledge and skills from the sessions.

Build Yourself+ Workshop

Host: Boston Society of Architects

The Build Yourself+ Workshop is a highly personal training in the skills and inner confidence that female designers need to succeed in the industry and allied professions. This program is a six-week boot-camp to learn the skills and frameworks necessary to face this challenge. During these practical sessions, female designers will learn to celebrate their value, how to communicate and negotiate with confidence, and be proactive about career ambitions.

Women’s Leadership Summit

Host: AIA

Women's Leadership Summit is a two-day event focused on supporting women architects, creating new paths to leadership, and providing a forum to recognize and champion their work.

Next to Lead

Leadership Track(s): Fundamentals, Professional

Next to Lead is a new pilot association leadership program that removes barriers to AIA leadership positions for ethnically diverse women. It's part of AIA's commitment to advancing racial equity in our organization, in the architecture profession, and in our communities.

Women's Leadership Edge

Leadership Track(s): Fundamentals, Professional

In partnership with the University of California-Hastings' Center for Worklife Law, AIA now provides members with access to Women's Leadership Edge, a resource that will help take you and your firm's commitment to advancing tomorrow's leaders to the next level.

Pillars Leadership Program

Host: AIA Kansas City

The Pillars Leadership Program prepares a representative cross section of the chapter’s emerging leaders for their role in shaping the future of both the architectural profession and the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. The training program includes active participation in programs and exposure to community leaders and issues. The benefits of the program include: development of relationship skills, skill development, team performance, and chapter and community leadership.

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