About the award
AIA recognizes the notable contributions and service of people outside of the architecture profession with Honorary Membership.
For more than a decade, Becky Magdaleno, Hon. AIA, has had a profound impact on Florida’s design professionals as the leader of AIA Florida. Since becoming the chapter’s chief operating officer in 2011, she has leveraged her considerable experience in political campaigns and the state’s legislature in the annual advocacy efforts she spearheads.
Upon her arrival, Magdaleno was charged with overseeing a significant public relations campaign as the chapter celebrated its 100th anniversary. Because of staff attrition, the chapter’s communications position was open, but Magdaleno oversaw a successful campaign that included gathering more than 2 million ballots from the public as it voted for the state’s best architecture. As a part of the program, she developed the chapter’s first mobile app, which is still used for streamlining its banner events.
Throughout her tenure, Magdaleno has overseen numerous successful advocacy campaigns, most notably in 2013 when personal liability protection for architects was codified in the state. She was pivotal in producing a video that clearly articulated the complex subject, which Florida architects played on their mobile devices when engaging with lawmakers. In a more recent legislative session, the language was under threat of removal due to loosely related legislation. However, Magdaleno and the chapter’s team were able to thwart the removal.
Magdaleno’s engagement with architecture and AIA extends beyond Florida, and she has been a critical member of CACE throughout her career, serving as its president in 2019. Her involvement has reinforced her commitment to the profession and strengthened her leadership as a component executive. As president, she focused on preparing her peer components to survive the Great Recession and natural disasters. She was instrumental in the creation of Economic Resilience for the AIA Component, a guide that proved prescient during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, Magdaleno was elevated to be AIA Florida’s executive vice president and chief executive officer. Under her guidance, the chapter established an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council and conferred its first Honor Award for the Social Advancement of the Profession. She has also overseen the implementation of a new three-year strategic plan and met with Florida’s chief resilience officer, a permanent position in the governor’s executive office created by legislation that passed last year because of the chapter’s advocacy.
With her positive attitude and collaborative style, Magdaleno is a role model for her fellow component executives. Her drive and passion for architecture demonstrate how one person can make a tremendous impact on an organization’s success.