It isn’t often that you have the unique privilege of watching a superstar grow before your eyes, close-up and personal. I met one several years ago at a conference in Chicago. He had just been selected as what was then called, the Intern Development Advisor for the Commonwealth of Virginia. We quickly became close friends; he came to my office to introduce my employees to the IDP process and later came to Hampton University to share the nuances of the IDP with my students. He and his amazing wife became supporters of our program and efforts to advance opportunities for them in our profession. I tried to hire him, but he turned me down and, instead, took a position with AIA Virginia.

Robert Easter, FAIA

Later, he convinced me that I should get involved in the leadership of AIA Virginia, and after I succumbed to his prodding, he soon afterward shared that he was ‘moving on up to the east side.” Yes, R. Corey Clayborne has been a superstar in the making from the moment I met him. To borrow a verse of the Bible, “eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of humanity, what God has prepared for [Corey].”

I didn’t want to wish him well before he left us, because, with each passing day, I hoped that he would change his mind and continue his journey with AIA Virginia, at least for as long as I had this role. But truth be told, Corey is destined for stardom, because he is a man of vision, passion, and leadership that should be allowed to grow and impact as large an audience as possible. At AIA, he has a platform that will allow the work he has done in Virginia to touch more lives and influence our profession and our organization to a higher level of service and responsiveness.

So with this month’s newsletter, I want to give Corey a presidential farewell for a job well done and offer the wishes of our state component that he achieves the success and fulfillment associated with his massive potential to do good and great things. We have been well served by Corey, and his service has provided him with a stepping-stone to do more and better.

AIA Virginia will continue to flourish because we are blessed with talented and capable leadership at every level, and in every component.  No other state can boast that they have a Helene Dreiling, FAIA to fill the gap and help us discover the next superstar. She was at the helm when we found the last one!

We are going to miss Corey’s involvement at AIA Virginia. On behalf of the AIA Virginia, I wish my dear friend and brother, along with Sara and their two children, great days, months, and years ahead. Our only demand is that he never ceases being a superstar in servant leadership. We are proud of you.

Robert L. Easter, NOMAC, FAIA
2022 AIA Virginia President