Reflecting on Our Accomplishments

As the end of the year approaches, it is timely to reflect on accomplishments. This was an extremely successful year for AIA Virginia. For example, Architecture Exchange East had more programs, attendees, and exhibiters than previous years; but even more importantly, there was a new spirit present. There were lots of little changes to the program which together created an event that felt more engaging than ever.

It was an honor to serve as president of AIA Virginia. I was blessed with an energized board of directors that understood the importance of leveraging the strength of AIA Virginia committees. Through a change in our structure, committees now have direct liaisons on the Board. AIA Virginia committees and councils are the backbone of program development.

Valerie Hassett, FAIA. photo by Stephanie Yonce
Valerie Hassett, FAIA. photo by Stephanie Yonce

Please take a look at our committee list and thank the volunteers. The Board has also made improvements to many important governance elements of the organization. Our new fiscal year will facilitate better budgeting; and our new name, AIA Virginia, brings us into alignment with the Institute’s branding strategies.  In addition, this year saw the creation the Large Firm Roundtable and the John Braymer Leadership Circle (for past presidents). Both of these new groups have met multiple times and have developed their respective visions and goals.

I also appreciate having received support and fellowship from all of the Virginia chapter presidents. We met throughout the year to discuss challenges and share stories of successes. We have also found new ways to work together to make the AIA a stronger organization. Together we are starting a program by which chapter and state leadership will meet with firm leaders, in their offices, in order to strengthen connections.

In this year of change, the staff members have been stalwart supporters of AIA Virginia’s programs. Our new EVP has provided not only leadership but fostered a culture among the staff of enthusiasm and commitment to member service. Along with the existing programs, this year there have been special projects that the staff has taken on–including a renewed effort to build a closer relationship with the state licensing board. There has also been outreach to schools of architecture so that the design principles of The Virginia Accord can continue to set an agenda which encourages healthy and sustainable built environments.

As a result of the work of many people, this has been a highly successful year. Together we have moved boldly forward from our first century as an organization.

Valerie Hassett, FAIA
2015 President
AIA Virginia

Virginia’s Women in Design Lean In

RWiD Lean In Event
Lori Garrett, AIA introduces Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, at Richmond Women in Design’s “Lean In” event. Photo by Jeanne Lefever, AIA.

Mary Cox, FAIA, and Valerie Hassett, AIA, were invited to participate in presentations inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” at the AIA National Convention in June. The informal discussions focused on workplace concerns and pathways to leadership.

On Wednesday, July 10, Richmond Women in Design hosted a talk by AIA President-elect and Virginia member Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA.

Through personal antidotes, the architects explored the challenges of combining professional achievement and maintaining personal fulfillment.