Virginia Society AIA members and staff collaborated with AIA California Council to deliver a session at AIA’s Grassroots Leadership conference in March. The seminar, entitled Emerging Professionals: Grooming Our Future Leaders, was intended to provide examples for the attendees about initiatives that components are undertaking to encourage involvement of emerging professionals in the AIA.
California Council representatives Jason Silva, AIA, and Alexander Tsai, Assoc. AIA, described the Council’s Academy for Emerging Professionals, which provides for an infrastructure within the existing framework of the California Council. This infrastructure gives emerging professionals a voice at all levels of the organization; sets up a communications network to more readily reach emerging professionals; and provides for readily identifiable roles that can be filled by interested members.
Society speakers Brian Frickie, AIA, Christopher Kehde, AIA, and Wayne Conners, provided a detailed look at the Society’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program. Frickie described the background and philosophy of the program in detail. ELA recruits the best and most promising young architects from across Virginia, including participants from each architecture school. The primary goal of the program is to “jump-start” the careers of the participants through a rigorous program designed to immerse them in knowledge and skills they might not otherwise get for years. Conners gave an overview of the topics and structure of the program, which includes monthly day-long meetings and out-of-class work. A class project with a real-world focus and client provides participants with the opportunity to develop their own leadership skills and apply the concepts being discussed during the class sessions. Kehde then gave a detailed look at the 2011 class’ project “What Do You See?” which was a kiosk designed to inspire residents of the Manchester neighborhood in Richmond to describe their vision for the neighborhood. The kiosk was installed at three different locations in Manchester and then exhibited at Architecture Exchange East. It will also be exhibited at the Virginia Center for Architecture in the fall of 2012.
The Grassroots session was very well received, and generated questions and discussion afterwards — as well as requests to share information with other components interested in developing similar programs.
Applications for the 2013 Emerging Leaders in Architecture program will be available in August on the VSAIA web site. For further information, contact Wayne Conners at email@example.com or (804) 237-1769.