Every other year, AIA Virginia convenes a diverse cadre of decision-makers, from firms of all sizes, for a one-day forum designed to cultivate strong leaders and advance business practices. With a focus on creating and fostering a healthy firm culture, both seasoned and emerging leaders will come together to share and learn best practices, be challenged, and be celebrated by their peers.

headshot of Sonya Ravindrath Waddell

The 2023 Art of Practice will take place on Friday, June 23, at Common House Charlottesville. This year the theme will revolve around the concept of stress. Of course, there are various forms and degrees of stress, and they’re not all “bad.” Maybe your firm is stressed by having more work that your staff can manage! Our focus will include assessing your readiness for and planning for times of economic stress, as well as considering the range of factors “stressing” our members. For example, some have observed that the private sector is being shepherded into a kind of recession, while those in the public sector are awash in unprecedented funding. 

Our keynote speaker is Sonya Ravindranath Waddell, vice president and economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. She will provide a macroeconomic view of where the practice of architecture fits into the U.S. economy and how federal policies impact Virginia firms.  

headset of Joseph Cooch

Attorney Joseph Cooch of Lee/Shoemaker PLLC will dig into issues of liability and risk management. How can firms gain resiliency through flexibility? What safeguards can be built into contracts?  

Matt Laird from Atlantic Union Bank will address the specifics of readying a firm’s financial position, from securing lines of credit to paying down or eliminating existing debt. Attendees will learn how banks assess their businesses when considering making loans.  

Take a look at what the day holds on June 23:


  • Breakfast and welcome
  • Poll of participants regarding economic outlook
  • Macroeconomist keynote: the broad perspective
  • Banker keynote: how to prepare your financial posture
  • Lawyer keynote: what’s your liability?

Midday Lunch


  • Panel discussion: Battening down the hatches, featuring Charles Piper, AIAJeanne LeFever, AIA, and Stephen Halsey, AIA
  • Roundtable discussions by firm size, led by Maggie Schubert, AIA, (small); Andrew McKinley, AIA, (mid-size); and Charles Piper, AIA (large)
  • Reports back to the group

Register today for the fourth biennial Art of Practice business symposium!
Earn 6 elective LUs.

Art of Practice is generously sponsored by Bamforth, Gropen, Keith Fabry, Lee/Shoemaker PLLC, McGriff Insurance, Moseley Architects and O’Hagan Meyer PLLC

If you would like to sponsor the Art of Practice conference, contact Jody Cranford.