Leaders are Everywhere


Leadership has been on my mind since I joined the planning committee for this year’s AIA National Leadership Institute. I am viewing everything in my life through a new lens. Recently, I was awe struck by two women who proved to me leaders are everywhere.

My first example is a student leader I had the pleasure to work with on a project at the University of Florida. Her leadership began by simply raising her hand to volunteer. Since that day she’s been instrumental in mobilizing her peers to provide feedback and gain consensus on the direction of the project. Her leadership ability was evident when she moderated the groundbreaking ceremony for this project in front of the University President and Administrators, Alumni and students.

Another example comes from a woman I barely know. We both took part in a 6-week transformational fitness challenge. From day one she encouraged her fellow participants to meet daily goals and make the time to work out. She encouraged and offered help to those struggling to rise to the challenge. She could have participated and only concentrated on her goals, but instead she put herself out there and encouraged others. She rallied 15 fellow participants around her and helped all of us meet our goals.

The beauty of leadership is it’s all around us. Anyone can lead. Leadership is more powerful when we work together and collectively work towards a common goal. People crave good leaders and we all have something in our lives we can lead. You don't have to wait for someone to dub you a leader. Find your passion and lead today.

Embrace Quiet Leadership

BY Lindsey Piant Perez, AIA, GGP, DLR Group

For the longest time, I understood leadership to mean someone who would willingly take center stage, martyring themselves as the loudest voice in the room. They communicate their thoughts and ideas to direct a team toward a designated goal. As an introvert, a blinding spotlight and a riveted audience are not exactly appealing—they're downright terrifying. You can imagine why I found myself hesitant about embracing the role of “leader.” I hadn't learned the true definition of leadership.

Leadership isn’t about being the sole provider of ideas or having the loudest volume within your peer group. Rather it's about having ears for all ideas and being their advocate, giving voice to every member of the team, and working alongside them to accomplish a common goal. Leadership isn’t about giving directions and pointing with a big stick; it’s about rolling up your sleeves, listening more than speaking, and joining hands to help everyone advance forward. A true leader doesn’t fear the success of their teammates; they celebrate it!

As a result of my self-reflection and personal edification, I’ve learned to be more comfortable with my leadership style and embrace who I am as a person. I've stopped purporting a persona that’s not true to my character. Fortunately, it was at the 2015 AIA Women’s Leadership Summit (thank you Wendy Ornelas, FAIA) that I learned I'm not alone in my leadership style. There’s a term for those, like me, who find themselves reflective, collaborative, and eager to achieve proactive solutions instead of reactive fixes. We are the quiet leaders, and we're vital to our industry’s success.

Leadership through the eyes of Emerging Professionals


What does it mean to be a leader? How can we build a better society through leadership?

Our profession faces these questions every day. We shape our world through architecture to enhance society, but how does leadership inform our role?

Leadership occurs at every level of experience, throughout all generations. Creating opportunities for professionals to bring out the best in one another allow experiences to generate in our society. Leadership is not about titles or seniority. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality,” as Warren Bennis states. As design professionals, our vision shapes our communities.

Providing a better society for our community is leadership.

At the Leadership Institute, there’s a sense of expertise and collaboration with leaders across our design industry. It provides professionals, regardless of their career level, an opportunity to learn from others and grow holistically as emerging leaders. Promoting leadership education through the Leadership Institute at both the national and local levels strengthens the connection between our diverse communities.

“...the way people live can be directed a little by architecture.” – Tadao Ando

Sponsor the Next Generation of Leaders

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The Leadership Institute is a movement. The programming and speakers every year have you leaving invigorated and brainstorming of where you can push your career next. The Leadership Institute is important to me because it equips professionals to build the profession they envision.

James Yankopoulos, Past attendee and 2018 Committee Member


Our sponsors have pledged to support leadership education for architects and emerging professionals across the industry. The Leadership Institute brings together 300+ new and veteran leaders from across the country to promote and inspire individuals to progressively advance into more complex leadership roles within their firms and communities.


Sponsor opportunities

  • Web presence

  • Print presence

  • Marketing and Communication

  • Live event

  • Registration


Full sponsorship details are including in our Sponsorship Prospectus. Partner with the AIA Leadership Institute and sponsor the next generation of leaders today.


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It’s time again to register for the AIA Leadership Institute ‘18! In its fourth year, the AIA Center for Civic Leadership is hosting this premier leadership training opportunity designed to connect diverse leaders and emerging professionals in a national discussion. Register at our national location - Washington D.C. or one of our regional venues; Nashville, Orlando or San Francisco. If you can’t make it to one of our regional venues, you can participate remotely as a Virtual Attendee, either by yourself or with a group (up to 10 people).


  • Produce a leadership development culture

  • Prepare veteran and next generation leaders

  • Promote leadership in community engagement

  • Proliferate equity, diversity, and inclusion through leadership

If you have attended before, you know you won’t want to miss this dynamic event! If you haven’t attended, hear from some of our past participants on why this event is critical to attend:

“Within our field, leadership permeates all levels. We continually work in diverse teams to coordinate/design and understanding how to lead even at the lowest levels is imperative to personal and project success. Events like the Leadership Institute provide a platform to both teach and learn from others’ experiences which become invaluable in strengthening leaders at all levels. As an emerging professional, I got involved with the Leadership Institute to help continue to develop programming which provides tools to not only help lead from the top but empowers future leaders to challenge and advocate in their current positions." - Marisa Nemcik, 2018 AIA LI Committee Member

“The Leadership Institute is a movement.  Its priority is to inspire and promote the emerging class of young professionals to step up to the plate and pursue leadership roles.  To become leaders of their practice, in the profession, and within their communities. The programming and speakers every year have you leaving invigorated and brainstorming of where you can push your career next.  The Leadership Institute is important to me because it equips professionals to build the profession they envision.” – James Yankopoulos, Past attendee and 2018 Committee Member

“Being involved with the Leadership Institute has helped me learn how to become a stronger leader and how to get involved at a local, state and national level. After attending the 2016 Leadership Institute in Indianapolis, I was able to help put my newly refined skills to use to serve as a regional associate at the national level. The Leadership Institute gives emerging professionals the tools and resources to help them become advocates within the profession and to their community.” – Ashley Thornberry, 2018 Committee Member

Get ready to get inspired, blur boundaries, and find out what’s at stake for the profession.

Register before September 14 to get the early bird prices!


Welcome to AIALI18

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Moving strongly into its fourth year, the AIA Leadership Institute 2018 is co-chaired by emerging leaders, Korey White and Sarah Wahlgren. As passionate leadership advocates, Korey and Sarah’s collaborative drive bring the Leadership Institute to a year defined by applicable learning objectives that attendees can implement immediately in their own personal and professional lives.

Learning objectives encompass:

  • Professional and Industry Leadership
  • Design and Business Leadership
  • Community and Citizen Architect Leadership
  • Leadership Fundamentals

Both Korey and Sarah have benefited from leadership experience early in their career.

An alumnus of University of Illinois with a Bachelors of Science in Architectural Studies and University of Colorado Denver with a Dual Masters of Architecture and Urban & Regional Planning. Korey recently transitioned from Washington, D.C. to Chicago to start a new position as Project Architect at BKV Group. White’s advocacy efforts have propelled her to involvement with the AIA at all levels. In 2016-2017, Korey served as the National Associates Committee chair, having previously served as Vice Chair and Regional Associate Director. Most recently, Korey was awarded as one of the AIA Young Architect Award recipients for 2018. In her commitment to architecture and her community, Korey has forged a legacy of leadership that will provide countless benefits for the architecture profession well into the future.

After graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Interior Architecture, Sarah served as the 2016-2017 AIAS National President and 2017 AIA Student Director. In these roles she represented the voice of architecture students on a national platform. In August 2017, Sarah began working in the Washington, D.C. office of Perkins+Will. In the office, she serves as a licensure mentor, student outreach advisor and co-chair of her office’s Diversity Committee. Sarah plans to be licensed by the end of the summer and will continue working to tie education and the profession even more closely together to create a strong and relevant architecture profession.

Korey and Sarah invite you to join them on November 9 to advance your leadership network and toolkit for achieving any goal on your horizon.

Call for proposals: Leadership Institute 2018

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Speak at Leadership Institute 2018!

Help shape tomorrow's leaders at Leadership Institute 2018. This powerful one-day training event equips architects and emerging professionals with essential skills to lead in their firms, communities, and the architecture industry. If you're a subject matter expert with a great concept for an education session, we invite you to submit your proposal by March 5.

Volunteer or host
Every year this dynamic event is hosted in multiple cities and across four time zones.

  • AIA chapters: Apply to be a regional venue and host this event for your chapter. Find out more > 
  • Volunteers: Help us run the event, or volunteer with the Center for Civic Leadership, an AIA member group, and you'll be engaged in a national effort to connect the many diverse groups within the AIA advancing opportunities for members to lead...Find out more >

Becoming a Sponsor of AIALi17


We're seeking champions of leadership! Consider becoming a sponsor of the AIA Leadership Institute 2017 and join our pledge to bring leadership education to architects and emerging professionals across the industry. 

Benefits include: web presence, print presence, being featured during the broadcast on November 16, marketing & communication with our participants, access to our live event, and complimentary registration.

Full sponsorship details are including in our Sponsorship Prospectus.

Early Registration extended through Sept. 15!

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The leadership event of the year is coming to a venue near you. Join us November 16 for Leadership Institute 2017, a powerful one-day leadership training event for architects. Earn up to 6.25 LU|HSW by participating at one of our five Regional Venue locations. 

You'll learn essential leadership skills that will equip you to take on a larger role in your firm, business, community, and the architecture industry. 

  • Keynotes by Sally Blount, dean of the Kellogg School of Management,Steven Lewis, FAIA, urban design director for the Central District at City of Detroit Planning and Development Department, and Vaki Mawema, project architect at Gensler
  • Sessions, workshops, and networking at five regional locations, plus special programming at each venue  
  • Topics include pipeline development, creating and leading high-performance teams, driving the future of your firm, strategies for working with public officials, and more

Save on registration with special early bird rates for AIA members, through September 15th.

Register now >

2017 AIA Women's Leadership Summit

Je'Nen Chastain and Georgia Cameron will be speaking on behalf of the AIA Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) at this year's sold out AIA Women's Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Their session takes place Saturday morning and is entitled 'Training Architects to be Leaders'. As co-authors of the AIA workbook 'Living Your Life as a Leader', this presentation is based on their research through the process of creating the workbook. More details here.

Starting Your Path as a Citizen Architect

On July 8, 2017, AIA Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) Past Chairs Michael Ayles and Je'Nen Chastain presented a workshop at the Grassroots Leadership Conference of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). The session was named 'Starting Your Path as a Citizen Architect', and provided student leaders an overview of how to move into the industry of architecture from a leadership mindset. Each student received a copy of our recently completed workbook, 'Living Your Life as a Leader'.

Partner With Us

Our national planning team is busy working on the 2017 AIA Leadership Institute, and encourage you to consider partnering with us! The year's event promises to be the best year yet. We have just uploaded our 2017 Sponsorship Prospectus, now offering Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum Level sponsorship. In the first two years this program has attracted over 600 participants, making it a great event to get in front of a large audience of industry leaders.

#AIALi17 Honorary Chair: Clark Manus, FAIA


The #AIALi17 team is thrilled to announce this year's Honorary Chair for the AIA Leadership Institute!

Clark Manus, FAIA, is CEO of Heller Manus Architects and served as the 87th President of The American Institute of Architects (AIA). In his role as a design principal and citizen architect, Clark’s 35-year career has influenced the character of San Francisco’s built environment. Following the 1989 earthquake, Clark chaired successive Mayoral Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) over two decades, resulting in the removal of the damaged Embarcadero Freeway in 1992, and setting the stage for the rebirth of the downtown Rincon Hill and Transbay Transit District. His experience encompasses a wide range of new and reconstruction projects including residential, commercial, hospitality, civic, rehabilitation/adaptive re-use, performance facilities, retail, and urban design plans in the San Francisco Bay Area and China. In 2016, Clark was appointed as a Planning Commissioner with the City of Oakland, where he continues his work as a citizen architect.

Many thanks to Clark for his support of #AIALi17 and setting an example of what it means to be a #citizenarchitect. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more information about this year's program and speakers!


Going to A'17 in Orlando? Be sure to sign up for Creating Impact as a Citizen Architect pre-convention workshop on Wednesday 4/26/17. Together we'll explore leadership, civic engagement, and hear from architects creating change in cities across the US. Here is the full program description: