The Candidate Question Series Volume 2

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 second 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.

Question: What do you perceive to be the cultural and generational differences between Emerging Professionals’ and your own generations within the profession? How have you encountered these differences, and how can the Institute begin to bridge the gap particularly at the leadership levels of the organization?

Answer: In a recent client meeting, there were differing opinions about the goals of the project. We didn’t ignore the differences nor did we try to dissuade opinions. We found common values, which became the foundation for the solution.

AIA leaders must actively acknowledge generational differences to bridge the gap. Some key differences that will impact AIA’s approach:


Baby Boomer

Generation X



A Dream

A Birthright

A Way to Get There

An Incredible Expense

What they value





Approach to technology





Sense of entitlement





Differences can generate conflict, and conflict can be o.k. when members show respect for each other. Emerging Professionals are great collaborators, and we must meet them where they are, seeking out our shared values, and building upon them. While acknowledging our differences, we must also continue to challenge each other.

Fortunately, 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.

Question: What changes do you think need to be made in education of new architects in school to prepare them for effective careers in Architecture today?

Answer: Preparing students to be practicing, licensed architects must continue to be the foundation of our educational system. However, architectural educational institutions and the AIA need to recognize the many hats an architect may wear and the diversity of roles they will play. Architects make an impact not only through their built forms, but also through their dialogue, planning, and societal contribution.

Architectural students will benefit from increased training in communications skills, outreach skills, and immersive learning opportunities within their communities and around the world. We must graduate well rounded leaders who will actively contribute and solve some of the world’s greatest challenges: aging infrastructure, climate change, obesity, water shortage, demographic changes, consolidation, restoration of neighborhoods, globalism, and education…just to name a few. We shouldn’t overlook the need to think and act locally to impact globally.

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