This year was my fifth consecutive attendance of the AIA Conference on Architecture, not including the last two years when it was canceled. Between the pent-up demand for connection, climate change, economic and industry upheaval due to the pandemic and supply chain issues, and national conversations around equity, diversity, and inclusion, this year felt different. This year was a clear departure from a simple collection of seminars to get CEUs (though you could still do that). The AIA Conference on Architecture and the new CEO, Lakisha Woods, have embraced these national conversations and tackled them head-on. The energy was high and left me feeling invigorated and excited for the future of my profession and my role within it. I hope that all emerging professionals and young architects look into attending next year in San Francisco. These are my recommendations for programming that are good for EPs and YAs:

  • Mini MBA – Co-hosted every year by the YAF and Large Firm Roundtable (LFRT)
  • Tours
  • Emerging Professional and Young Architect networking events
  • Keynotes with well-known speakers on topical issues (this year we had Barack Obama!)
  • You can volunteer a minimum of 8 hours to get free registration if cost is an issue

I also attended sessions and roundtable discussions on practice innovation, design for climate action and climate justice, and heard Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED in an empowering discussion of dismantling injustice in the industry and celebrating great works of women and diverse designers and architects. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report has listed “youth disillusionment” as one of the “top blind spots” that could cause significant negative impacts in the coming years. But we are in a unique position to make things better as architects, designers, critical thinkers, and community change makers. Join me in pushing forward. 

In case you missed it:

  1. COF Quarterly publication
  2. “Now YA Know”, the YAF newsletter attached
  3. Get to know your YAR / YARD on our social media channels is live! Remember to follow us below.


  1. AIA Young Architect Award call for submissions (open now thru 9/15/22)
  2. Connection call for articles Due 7/29
  3. Call for Volunteers (YAF Advisory Committee – coming out soon)

Follow the YAF:

Stay up to date on the latest news:

  • Twitter: @YAF
  • Facebook: @AIAYAFNational
  • Instagram: aiayaf
  • Linkedin: AIA YAF
  • AIA Knowledge Net (most comprehensive) 
  • Quarterly YAF Publication “Connection”. Links from Knowledge Net, also available HERE.

Feel free to connect with me, too. What are some ways your firm is working with emerging professionals and young architects? Send me an email or a message on LinkedIn!
As always, I’m here for you.

Carrie Parker, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Associate Vice President at CannonDesign
Young Architect Representative for Virginia to the Young Architect’s Forum, 2022-2024