Ashleigh Walker, Associate AIA

As a newly appointed AIA Virginia Board Member, I find myself contemplating the idea of “new beginnings” throughout the start of the new year.  My focus has been on not only how to represent the current group of AIA Virginia Associate members, but who am I representing? Who are my colleagues, and what are their backgrounds? What are the different aspirations we as a collective group share for growth in the profession, and what are we looking to get out of our AIA memberships? Above all, how can I help support these goals and requests, and better serve as an ambassador to young professionals in Virginia?  

The task at hand is not easy or simple, but as complex and unique as the group of individuals represented. I am reminded of the ever-present motto from my alma mater, Virginia Tech, as “Ut Prosim” or “That I May Serve”, and hope over these next 2 years as your Associate Director, I can do my part to serve.   

To better understand how I can achieve this, I need to look outside of myself and go directly to the source – Associate members! – and ask “What can I do for you?”. At our recent Board of Directors meeting, we discussed goals for the year as well as challenges facing the chapter, the state, and the profession at large. Over the 2 days of collaboration and problem-solving, my mind kept wandering to my specific task at hand – make sure Associate members are represented, and feel that they are heard, valued, and helped. 

I begin my journey with a simple set of 15 questions for Associates (or non-Associate members) to fill out, and hope it can start me in a direction toward growth and service. 

Will keep you posted! – A