More Information About the Collective


The intended audience of the program will be all AIA emerging professionals, with a preference given to those who have worked 3 to 7 years in the field. The class of 20 participants will be selected in order to achieve as diverse of a group as possible in the knowledge and insight they bring to the table.


The Leadership Program arose as one of multiple initatives to move the needle on addressing the lack of representational equity at leadership levels in the profession during the Women in Architecture (WiA) Committee’s “Shape the Conversation” Exhibit. The exhibit generated a portion of proceeds for the Leadership Program, and a steering comimittee was formed from within WiA.

Planning Committee

An AIA Committee comprised of an 8-12 person Leadership Collective Planning Committee will be responsible for the development and execution of the leadership sessions and application review. Each Committe Member will arrange logistics, work with consultants to develop the content, and serve as a liaison to speakers. The Steering Committee will coordinate with the committe memebers and consultants to ensure cohesive transitions between sessions and that the overarching goals of the program are met. Committe Members will be selected from firm leader nominations and the community at large to provide a deep, diverse knowledge base. Following the first year, several alumni will be selected for leading the committee to build upon lessons learned and encourage improvement annually.

Expert Consultant

An outside consultant with expertise in developing similar leadership programs will be contracted to lead Committee Members work sessions to create program content following session topics, which has been approved by the board and vetted in community forums open to Emerging Professionals, and to generate shared training material to transform Committee Members into thought leaders on session topics.

Ambassador Model

Participants will be expected to serve as ambassadors, immediately applying and growing their leadership skills by leading their own training sessions for a group of 4-5 peers. The ambassador model not only strengthens skills learned through practice but also amplifies the program’s impact by extending the knowledge to a wider audience to extend the long-term benefits to the entire professional community.

Leading Self / Leading Others / Leading through Systems

The progression of the program will expand in scale through the principal topics of Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading through Systems. Each session will be at least half active learning and target the development of one immediately executable skill. This model aims to equip participants with the skills and networks needed to encourage larger systemic impact in the professional community.

Leading Self sessions will guide participants through self-assessment exercises to set preliminary benchmark metrics and identity leadership goals as well as teach the skill of effective feedback and communication. By setting these topics early, the program aims to encourage ongoing, effective feedback both among participants and with regard to the program content and delivery.

Leading Others will focus on participants’ interactions with others including topics covering Negotiation, Networking, Team Building, and Effective Communication. Some of these sessions will be held jointly with allied organizations including engineers, contractors, and other designers.

Leading through Systems will focus on building systems to create greater change and include topics such as Implicit Bias as well as Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. These will include keynote speakers sessions that will be open to the community. Participants will work in guided breakout discussion sessions following speakers to focus on skills and encourage discussion.