The AIA Tri-States Small Firm Symposium Registration is OPEN

March 20, 2024

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The AIA Tri-States Small Firm Symposium Registration is OPEN

April 2, 9, 16, 18 & May 2 | 11:30am-1:00pm ET

Virtual Program

Earn CES credits | Flexible schedule | Affordable registration fees

The 2024 Small Firm Symposium, hosted by AIA NY, NJ, and PA, offers a dynamic five-part online series focused on ownership transition, expansion, enhancing visibility, AI in design, and business development for small architecture firms. Industry professionals will lead discussions on relevant trends and challenges, providing actionable strategies. You can join the entire series or choose specific sessions, making it a flexible and valuable opportunity for firm leaders seeking to innovate and grow their firms.

Registration fees
 AIA member (all states): $175 entire series | $45 per session
 Non-member: $230 entire series | $70 per session

Registration link:


Tuesday, April 2 | 11:30am – 1:00pm ET
Part 1: Preparing for Successful Ownership Transition and Expansion | 1.5 LU
Rena M. Klein, FAIA, Senior Partner, CVG

How do firms succeed in transitioning ownership and leadership? When should firm leaders begin thinking about ownership transition, and what options are available to firm founders approaching retirement? How can successors truly leverage the knowledge and connections of
the founder?
Planning for leadership transition raises many questions and few answers. This two-part series will explore how existing and future firm leaders share equal responsibility for a successful ownership transition.
Part 1 of this series will focus on demystifying ownership transition and expansion, specifically how the mechanics of ownership transition work, including valuation, financial exchange, business operations, and firm governance. Different options will be explained, such as pursuing an internal or external transition, a merger or firm sale, or simply closing the business. We’ll present case studies of different transition “road maps” that align emerging leaders’ expectations and changing roles with those of current owners.

At the end of this session, you will be able to:
1. Develop clear goals and outcomes to begin planning for ownership transition or expansion.
2. Examine options for ownership transition pathways depending on the timeframe to retirement and openness to sharing leadership.
3. Implement multiple strategies to identify one or more successors for your business.
4. Explore case studies that show different approaches to ownership transition and/or expansion.

Tuesday, April 9 | 11:30am – 1:00pm ET
Part 2: Preparing for Successful Ownership Transition and Expansion | 1.5 LU
Rena M. Klein, FAIA, Senior Partner, CVG
Sun Joo Kim, Senior Management Consultant, CVG

Part 2 of this series bridges the generation gap between retiring firm owners and emerging leaders. Often, retiring partners focus exclusively on their retirement goals without factoring in the mentorship (and time) required to transfer knowledge to the next generation. However, if a
firm leader intends to transfer ownership to the next generation, emerging leaders need mentorship, tools, and skills to succeed.
This session will outline structured stages of professional development in the context of a “career ladder” for emerging leaders as a key component to effective ownership transition.
We’ll explore how focused leadership training should incorporate management, communication, and decision-making skills, emphasizing managing self, others, and the business.

At the end of this session, you will be able to:
1. Clarify structured stages of professional development to prepare rising leaders for future
2. Outline changing roles and responsibilities for both exiting owners and emerging leaders.
3. Discuss how successors can leverage the knowledge and connections of the founder.
4. Recognize opportunities to develop the softer skills of firm leadership, such as
management, communication, and decision-making skills.

Tuesday, April 16 | 11:30am – 1:00pm ET
From Unnoticed to Unforgettable: Mastering News-Driven Strategies for Your Firm’s Visibility | 1.5 LU
Kelly Donahue, Communications Director & Founder, Trifecta Collaborative
Katie Alessi, Marketing Director & Founder, Trifecta Collaborative

Are your exceptional designs and project solutions going unnoticed? Do you struggle with getting your work published and reaching potential clients? In today's competitive digital landscape, firms must stand out and capture the attention of their target audience in multiple
ways. An effective content strategy is one powerful tool for achieving this, with your website’s news page playing a central role.

Join us in this dynamic session as we delve into the untapped potential of news in amplifying your firm’s visibility strategy. Discover the secrets of crafting compelling news articles, blog posts, and updates that captivate your audience and leave them craving more. Learn how to
harness your clients’ content and turn it into a mutually beneficial opportunity. Unleash your firm’s unique voice and demonstrate your expertise through engaging and informative content.
This session will equip you with practical tips, real-world examples, and actionable strategies to elevate your content strategy to new heights.

Upon attending this session, participants will be empowered to:
1. Utilize their news page as a platform to showcase project highlights, industry insights, and thought leadership, enhancing their firm’s visibility.
2. Craft attention-grabbing headlines and content optimized for maximum search engine visibility, boosting the firm’s online presence.
3. Explore effective methods for disseminating news across social media, email, and even to journalists, expanding reach and engagement.
4. Implement strategies to analyze and measure the impact of their news-driven content, enabling continuous refinement and improvement of their visibility efforts.

Thursday, April 18 | 11:30am – 1:00pm EST
AI Image Generation – Prompt Design and Engineering (Submitted for AIA CES credits)
Brian W. Penschow, AIA, NCARB, CSI, Principal Architect, BWP Architecture Firm
William J. Martin, AIA, P.P., LEED AP-H, Owner, WJM Architect, Co-chairperson, AIA NJ Public Awareness Committee

The Tri-States are thrilled to announce the launch of a new and pioneering program, highlighting the boundless potential of Artificial Intelligence within the visionary field of Architecture.
In this interactive experience, you will gain invaluable insights into the strategic art of crafting prompts that harmonize with your architectural vision and style. Explore the depths of prompt design, from refining parameters to orchestrating intricate input specifications. We are committed to demystifying the complexities, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of this cutting-edge integration.
Our course is meticulously designed for real-world application. You will have the opportunity to translate theory into practice, applying AI architecture directly to your projects. Witness the transformative impact as AI-generated visuals seamlessly merge with your designs, elevating your presentations to unparalleled levels of sophistication.

At the end of this session, you will be able to:
1. Deploy the Art of Strategic Prompt Design: Develop the ability to craft prompts strategically, aligning them with specific architectural visions. Understand the psychological nuances behind effective prompts and their impact on the output of AI Image Generators.
2. Refining Prompt Design Techniques: Acquire advanced skills in Prompt Design, including parameter adjustment and fine-tuning of input specifications. Learn how to navigate the intricacies of AI algorithms to optimize the output for precise and desired architectural
3. Ethical Considerations in AI-Enhanced Architectural Creativity: Explore the ethical dimensions of using AI in architectural design and presentation. Gain insights into responsible practices, ensuring alignment with ethical standards and promoting a thoughtful approach to AI-enhanced creativity within the architectural community.
4. Practical Integration of AI Architecture in Architectural Projects: Apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios by integrating AI architecture directly into architectural projects. Develop hands-on skills in seamlessly incorporating AI-generated visuals into presentations, enhancing architectural narratives’ overall impact and storytelling capabilities.

Thursday, May 2 | 11:30am – 1:00pm EST
Building a Culture of Business Development in Your Architecture Firm 
(Submitted for AIA CES credits)
Kelly Klopfer, Principal and Owner | Kelly Klopfer Consulting, LLC
Susan Radzyminski, CMO & Leader, CMO for Hire | BST & Co. CPA’s, LLP

Ideally, everyone in your firm should be responsible for stewardship of business development (BD). How do firms build an engaging, efficient, and effective BD culture? What is the roadmap of tactics, who is responsible, and how do you measure the outcome of these efforts?

Creating a sustainable business development culture is an investment. It takes time, learning, listening, and sometimes coaching. Whether you are a sole proprietor or a small to medium-sized firm, you can develop a team of champions and partners to nurture and advance your
goals and create a framework to keep you focused and accountable.
In this seminar, we will discuss and identify the key components of a BD framework to foster a successful and strategic BD culture.

Upon attending this session, participants will be empowered to:
1. Identify the top 5 factors in creating a healthy BD culture.
2. Explore strategies to build your core BD team, define your ideal clients and integrate regular BD activities into day-to-day operations.
3. Implement the BD tasks required in a productive BD framework.
4. Consider the key performance metrics (KPIs) to measure and how to build accountability into your BD culture.

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