CACE Leadership Retreat & Annual Meeting

August 10-12



The Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE) is the association of AIA chapter executives. While it is an independent organization, CACE is closely aligned with AIA. AIA provides staff and financial support for CACE. To a large extent CACE success if measured by the success of AIA chapters.


The day before the CACE conference kicked off, a leadership retreat was conducted among CACE and AIA executive and elected leaders. 2016 AIA President Russell A. Davidson, FAIA, invited me to observe.


Gwen Berlekamp, CAE, long-time executive director of AIA Columbus, Ohio, has taken a position with AIA national staff. Due to her CACE leadership position, Gwen was in line for the CACE seat on the AIA Board of Directors in 2017. Torrey Stanley Carleton, Hon. AIA, who serves on the 2016 Board, will continue for another year. Heather Koury, Hon. AIA will immediate take Gwen's place on the AIA Strategic Council and remain in that position through 2017.


Harrison Coerver, author of Race to Relevance, and nationally recognized expert of association management, provided the keynote address. Many associations face challenges familiar to those confronting AIA. Associations are finding it harder to attract volunteers as competition for time of busy professionals intensifies. Significant demographic and generational change are affecting associations. AIA is not alone in its challenge to engage younger professionals. Just as non-traditional competition is impacting the professions, associations are experiencing similar mission erosion. Online presence is becoming increasingly important; for example, online advertising has surpasses TV ad revenue. Undertaking governance streamlining was an important first step, but, the challenge continues to streamline priorities and resource allocation. How many things can AIA do well? Potential roadblocks are both internal and external.