Candidate Question Series Volume 6

Recently Candidates for the 2014 / 2015 AIA First Vice President / President Elect were asked to answer a series of questions from the AIA California Council and the AIA Center for Emerging Professionals. Although the questions came specifically from those two AIA components, I believe they’re somewhat universal and may be of interest to our membership as a whole.

Over the next week or two leading up to the National Convention, I’ll publish my answers here in a series called “The Candidate Question Series.” This is the sixth post in that series.

What do you think about my answers? Leave a comment below. I’d like to know how you’d answer them too.

Emerging Professionals

Question: Across all levels of the organization members lament the lack of engagement of emerging professionals both in practice and within the AIA. The decline of a culture of mentoring within firms and the profession is blamed for the correspondingly low numbers of new licensees. What can the AIA do to affect a cultural shift to among experienced professionals and encourage all involved in the delivery of architectural services to stay connected with the organization?

Answer: Architects were taught in school to identify a problem and assess multiple solutions to reach a final conclusion. In addressing the generational expectations problem, AIA leaders must actively acknowledge generational differences to engage them on their terms. Some key generational differences that will impact AIA’s approach:

Traditionalist

Baby Boomer

Generation X

Millennial

What they value

Community

Success

Time

Individuality

Approach to technology

Adapted

Acquired

Assimilated

Integral

Sense of entitlement

Seniority

Experience

Merit

Contribution

Repositioning illuminated what unites architects: We want to make a difference in the world! It’s the value proposition that bridges our generational differences and will be the foundation of our future. And mentoring is not what it used to be. Mentoring is at its best when it spans the generational divide and goes both ways.

I have also witnessed the strength of mentoring across generations when our schools of architecture connect directly with local AIA components. I believe our schools have a responsibility to expose and encourage students to explore their professional institution and connect with professionals. Ensuring AIA is a “known entity” to our graduates is an important step in establishing engagement.

So there are many solutions to this issue. Ultimately, I believe AIA will only secure emerging professional engagement when EP’s witness an organization that respects them and an AIA that is willing and eager to take risks. EP’s are willing to explore new avenues, make mistakes, and classify them as learning experiences. That is their culture. So, the question is, can “we” make the cultural shift?

Join me in transforming an organization that is less about self-promotion and more about attraction. I.e. become the organization that they value and “want to be part of.”

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