Photos from the National Broadcast:
Over a month ago, the AIA Center for Civic Leadership hosted a revamped version of the decade old Leadership Institute. This was a significant event, not only for the importance of leadership training but for the team of people that pulled off the inaugural nationwide program.
Using Adobe Connect, AIA Leaders around the nation were able to connect with an outstanding group of speakers hosted in Washington, D.C. I attended the AIA Leadership Institute in Phoenix, AZ where we broadcasted into DC and had a few presentations from local leaders. I questioned the ability as an attendee to be engaged through a screen but realized that with a group of people who were participating in the same manner, we were totally engaged through a shared discussion in Phoenix.
Over the past few months I have also been volunteering on the Planning Committee for the Leadership Institute. The planning for this event has been years in the making. Needless to say, I had my questions and concerns about another conference on leadership but as in most situations, instead of standing idly by and questioning, I dived in head first and started to help out with the planning and organization of this extensive one-day conference. My assignment was assisting the content team, made up of a diverse group of architects and aspiring architects from around the country tasked to collaborate on what the idea of a great speaker means. Who are experts in leadership? What types of leaders are our members interested in hearing? How are the speakers for this event different than those from other events? We compiled a large list of great speakers and sorted them into the categories we sought to have presented at the conference.
If you participated, you know that the speakers were exceptional. They touched on topics that get to the very core of why architects aspire to be leaders. The speakers encouraged the attendees to get involved at whatever level they could to become better leaders in their communities and in the profession. Because of the multiple time zones participating in the program, we had to arrange the DC speakers to speak at a time that was convenient for all of the country to tune in. For Phoenix, this meant we started our day with the DC speakers and ended with our local speakers. Coincidentally or intentionally, the national speakers honed in on how to become a national leader, while the local leaders spoke specifically to leadership in a contextual and regional sense.
As a committee member and an attendee, this conference was about more than just hearing from speakers. This was about engaging with leadership and how to become more effective leaders. It spoke to what the AIA does best, and that is it created a community for leaders interested in civic engagement. Ultimately, when we become better leaders in our communities, we become a stronger leaders in our firms and the profession. This was pivotal in the success of the event. It showed me that there is a network of people out there that are already leaders in the industry but are interested in becoming leaders of their communities, cities and country.