July 26, 2013

2012_eben_174By Jerome Leslie Eben, AIA

AIANJ Regional Director, ’11-‘13

Right up front, I want to recognize and proclaim my heartfelt thanks to AIANewark and Suburban Architects for helping build leadership, through great support for  OUR Emerging Professionals and next generation of architects!  Just before the Convention, I delivered a substantial check from this AIA Section to the Board Class of ’13.  This class as a project during our time on the National Board has championed the EP’s. With the help of this donation, the Original Thirteeners as we are fondly referred by will allow this now continue to raise funds after we leave our service on the National Board.  Last month we were able to fund the cost of 6 EP’s to the Convention.  AIA Newark and Suburban’s donation is making that possible for the future and I wanted to publicly thank them here.  Should any members or remaining sections of the Chapter, or the Chapter itself wish to do the same, please do not hesitate to contact me.  It would be my extreme pleasure to deliver checks at the September and December Board Meetings.

I am a fan of the author David McCullough, who has spoken at a previous AIA Convention and is an award winning author of American History.  His books have spotlighted many of the early leaders of our great country.  The underlining premise of these men and women has been the leadership they exhibited, sometime under great problems before them.  A favorite quote of mine comes from our 6th President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, and is as follows:

If your actions inspire others to dream more,

learn more, do more, and become more,  you are


This just past Convention was about BUILDING LEADERS and nearly 90 AIANJ members attended.  Mickey Jacob, FAIA as the current AIA President said it best in the Convention’s brochure: “Leadership speaks to the core values of our profession….the daring to dream of more livable, safe, and sustainable environments…the learning of new skills to turn dreams into something that captures the hunger of our clients and the public for a better quality of life…and the passion to transform concepts into action that makes a positive difference.”

The American Institute of Architects is all about leadership and that is why I have been a strong supporter of our Sections and the Chapter to send as many of their officers and directors to the annual AIA Grassroots Conference which normally occurs early in the year in Washington, DC.  Here in AIANJ, the President-elect has his or her own leadership event, normally just before their installation as President. I would urge the Sections to send as many of your emerging leaders to this event as well.

Leadership can be defined as follows:

  1. An opportunity  for you  (every member) to combine your expertise, experience and ethics to lead a team toward a successful outcome around positive actions
  2. A development of a set of traits skills that include, but are not limited to exemplary professional behavior, effective communication skills that includes active listening, collaboration and thoughtful decision making

The AIA mission is to advance leadership development across the full spectrum of individual architects over the course of their careers. Organized leadership events support, connect and mobilize the members in taking on or expanding current roles of leadership within the AIA and hopefully extend to the communities in which they live and work.  The opportunity one gains in getting involved, leads to leadership to serve the profession. This means that as a leader you can guide, mentor or educate another colleague within the organization.   You can extend the leadership learned skills to help others outside the profession recognize the value and expertise an architect brings to the table in community discussion.

In over 40 years as a member, I have found that leadership is diversified and in the continued commitment developing this skill has deepened my passion for a lifetime of leadership in the profession and in my community.

While I have numerous certificates of appreciation, the one I appreciate most is entitled Judy’s #1M.  It was awarded to me in 2010 by Judy A. Donnelly, AIA, at the end of her term as President of AIANewark and Suburban Architects.

I cannot promise certificates, but I can promise that by taking the challenge to build your leadership skills with involvement at whatever level you choose in our organization, you will find a unique and very personal journey to professional achievement.

Thank you,


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