AIA Leadership Institute

November 18

Washington DC


For the second year, I had the opportunity to attend the AIA Leadership Institute in Washington DC. The LI is a program of AIA's Center for Civic Leadership and supported by the AIA College of Fellows. Simultaneously, LI events were conducted in Charleston, South Carolina; Dallas, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; and San Francisco, California. The day-long event was comprised of both a segment produced by each local component and a national simulcast from Washington.


This year's LI was co-chaired by Michelle A. Stotz, Assoc. AIA, and Jamie Crawley, AIA, with 2014 AIA President Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, serving as Honorary Chair. The Washington DC session was co-chair by Leah Ijjas, AIA, and Ryan McEnroe, AIA.


Speakers and panelists for the DC session included Shannon Kraus, FAIA, who presented the opening keynote, and a panel moderated by Ryan McEnroe with Ashley Clark, Assoc. AIA, Klause Philipsen, FAIA, Paola Moya, Assoc. AIA, and Leah Ijjas, followed by breakout sessions. The national program included opening remarks by the co-chairs, introductory comments by Helene Dreiling, and keynote addresses by Roselinde Torres, of the Boston Consulting Group, and Katherine Darnstadt, AIA. Michael Strogoff, FAIA, and Stephen Epstein conducted a session based on the publication of the third edition of AIA's Living Your Life as a Leader.


Speakers and panelists addressed leadership qualities and conduct, exemplary leaders, and anecdotes of both good and bad leadership. There was also a lot of attention paid to today's changing social and economic landscape and resulting leadership challenges.


The LI is doing important work by helping people entering architecture seize opportunities through leadership to have greater impact in the profession and their communities, and also advance their careers. Roselinde Torres began her presentation with a summary of the benefits of what she characterized as 21st leadership using clear illustrations that AIA should emulate as it makes the broad social and economic case for architecture.