Written by Mindy Cooper
January 26-27 was the inaugural session of AIA Austin’s Leadership Collective. As a member of the planning committee, I had the honor of being involved in this kick-off event with the 20 program participants at UT’s School for Architecture.
The mission of the Leadership Collective is “to support visionary, diverse leadership for a more sustainable, equitable future in our profession.” This initiative was born out of the 2017 Women in Architecture (WiA) Committee’s “Shape the Conversation” Exhibit. With funding from both the exhibit and several grants from AIA, a robust program has been developed with the guidance of Committee Co-chairs Shelby and Diana Su, with 2017 WiA Committee Chair (and current AIA President) Wendy Dunnam-Tita’s guidance.
Over the next 10 months, the 20 interdisciplinary participants selected for the program will attend one session per month, led by a combination of peers and experts. The subject matter will start close to home with topics related to self-assessment and interpersonal communication, and will expand to encompass leading teams, leading systems, and leading change in general.
While the initial weekend was largely about establishing a great working relationship with the program participants, it was also about doing some real work. All participants and planning committee members took the DiSC assessment, facilitated by leadership consultant Judy Le. The groups worked together to understand the different strengths and working styles that the DiSC assessment helps individuals identify.
But the learning doesn’t stop there! The program participants will be expanding the reach of their learning by participating in the Leadership CoLab – a learning lab that they will lead between program sessions. They’ll be practicing the things they learn, getting feedback from their peers, and hopefully teaching others some great tools to expand their own leadership potential.
So watch out, world: I’ve seen the next generation of A/E leaders and they have the potential to seriously shift the traditional view of leadership in our profession. To all of my fellow Gen-X + older firm leaders, please find ways to engage with these program participants through the CoLab program this year and soak up all of the leadership knowledge you can get (before you get left behind!).