The AIA Strategic Councilors’ March Report Is Available

April 10, 2024

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The AIA Strategic Councilors’ March Report Is Available

Jessica O’Donnell, AIA 
Strategic Councilor, At Large Director

Verity Frizzell, FAIA
Strategic Councilor, AIA New Jersey Representative

Mission: The AIA Strategic Council advances the architectural profession by informing the AIA Board and other Institute bodies about
critical professional issues, opportunities, and threats. The Council has an outward and forward-focused vision emphasizing long-term goals and outcomes.

What Does the Strategic Council Do? To learn more about the role and activities of the Strategic Council, click HERE.

Work is progressing on the four Design/AI subgroups. Teams hold bi-weekly meetings to flesh out ideas and work with a Mural board to catalog thoughts and ideas. Our group will report in June.

The Value of Architecture group has been divided into three subgroups, each exploring a different lens of ‘value.’ We have identified several committees and organizations to connect to enhance our efforts and avoid duplicating work elsewhere. One group will continue to explore ways to expand outreach with internal (architects, firms) and external (building owners, clients, state and local leaders, etc.) audiences to help architects provide greater value to clients and others who engage with them. Another group will investigate ways to redefine/expand the traditional practice model to incorporate the needs of today/tomorrow and soon-to-be available technology through a service delivery model that properly values services at various points in the process. The final group will engage in research efforts to identify “what could the role of an architect in the future look like?’ Where and how will architects practice? What are architects building? What skills do architects need? Architects used to be referred to as ‘Master Builders.’ Is it time to rebrand to something else, like ‘Master Strategist?’ Add your voice to the conversation by answering eight questions in THIS GOOGLE FORM.


Our first Council Assembly of 2024 was held on March 4th, allowing the Council to revisit the work done so far this year. During this Assembly, the study group co-chairs presented the current status of their topics and the goals they aim to achieve. We heard from the Best Practices Committee leaders who provided examples of Council communications, including a planned discussion with AIA Ohio
component leaders being coordinated by Hallie Crouch and strategies for At-Large Councilors to share with their social media networks shared by Jessica O’Donnell. Thanks to all for the hard work to date.

A group of Councilors actively participated in the AIA Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, engaging in Capitol Hill meetings and attending lectures, dinners, and social events. A recap of Council activities and takeaways from the Summit is available HERE.

As discussed during Governance Week, the Council is trying to diversify the study groups by welcoming members from the Young Architects Forum, with plans for the National Associates Committee to join soon. This strategic initiative aims to incorporate a spectrum of voices in each study group, establishing a pipeline from the younger professionals to the Council and ensuring the vision of the future
includes the next generation.

Graciela Carrillo, AIA 2024 Moderator + Josh Flowers, FAIA 2024 Vice Moderator
Special thanks to our Steering Committee members who help guide our work and inform our decision-making process: Brad
Benjamin, AIA (Best Practices Committee Chair), Alyssa Murphy, AIA (Communications Chair), Bruce Herrington, AIA (Elections

The 2024/2025 liaison between the Strategic Council and the Young Architects Forum (representing all architects in their first 10 years of licensure) is Michigan Councilor Patty Boyle, AIA. In this role, Patty will advise and support YAF leadership and connect the Strategic Council. The 2024 YAF focus groups of Advocacy, Communications, Community, Knowledge, and Strategic Vision have themes of leadership
development, ownership transition, and changing models of practice & compensation. This year, we are excited to have 10 YARs connecting their perspectives to the five SC work groups.

The 2024 Associate Representative to the Council is Alyanna Subayno, Assoc. AIA. In this role, Alyanna will work to find common goals between the National Associates Committee and the Strategic Council and bridge the two groups together where possible. The 2024 NAC work groups: VALUE (EDI), Strategic Partnerships, Knowledge, Climate Action, and Advocacy. With much overlap between the NAC and the
Strategic Council’s focus areas, there is great excitement in joining forces on the Council’s work groups.


The College of Fellows is AIA’s highest membership honor, with only 3% of members achieving this distinction. The bar is justifiably high, and the jury deliberates on the hundreds of applicants for days. The 2024 Jury of Fellows concluded its review of the applications for Fellowship and recently announced the elevation of 96 members and two international architects to the College of Fellows. Two current Strategic Councilors were elevated this year: Abi Brown, FAIA (Washington DC Councilor), and Shannon Christensen, FAIA (Montana Councilor).

The genesis of the current Chief Architect initiative began in 2016 as a topic for the Strategic Council to study. The intention is to advocate for mayors to include architects in cabinet-level positions as advisors. AIA President Kimberly Dowdell championed this initiative this year and wrote about it in her recent President’s Statement. The Chief Architect initiative is an important communication point for the Strategic Council because it encompasses many of our study group topics where architects can advise mayors on climate, public health, equity, value, and quality of life.

The 2024 AIA Leadership Summit, the premier advocacy and leadership training event for AIA chapter leaders, took place February 27th-March 1st in Washington, DC. In addition to the annual “Hill Day,” when AIA members visit their representatives on Capitol Hill to advocate issues that support our profession, attendees also participated in education tracks focused on advocacy, membership, governance, and
association management.

In a new initiative for 2024, the last session block of Friday morning was dedicated to three separate Leadership Retreats:
• AIA Component Leadership Retreat – Building Strong Foundations for Success was a deep dive on association best practices designed for collaboration, skill-building, and strategic visioning.
• The AIA Volunteer Leaders Retreat ensured synergies between the AIA Board of Directors, Board-level Committee Chairs, and volunteer leaders from the Strategic Council, NAC, and YAF.
• Knowledge Community Leaders Retreat fostered dynamic dialogue between AIA Knowledge Community leaders and members of the Board Knowledge Committee.

The Member and Volunteer Engagement Priority Project is a series of initiatives that will position the organization to engage better, serve, and communicate with a broader set of AIA members. As a result of the work, AIA will be able to modernize our membership structure and operationalize new engagement, experience, and involvement strategies. This work will give AIA and its components a more robust understanding of our members at a deeper level, better activate current members, and recruit and serve more diverse members.

No change is proposed to the Architect, Honorary, or Fellow designations; however, new categories include Internationally Licensed Architects, Academic, Student, and Allied Membership, and Senior Associate designations that recognize Associate members after 10+ years of association.

New membership categories will be addressed in a Resolution and Bylaw change that will come up for a vote at the AIA Annual Meeting on June 5th. AIA Board Secretary Britt Lindberg, FAIA, will host a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, May 1st, to present all resolutions and amendments to the AIA Bylaws in preparation for the Annual Meeting. To review and discuss all proposed resolutions, please register here.

Upcoming Events: 

May 1, 2024, Town Hall Meeting – 2024 Resolutions
June 6-8, 2024, Conference on Architecture & Design 2024 Washington DC

For more events, visit the AIA events page at:

We value your input! If you have questions or ideas for the Strategic Council, email us at
To learn more about the work of the Strategic Council, please visit the Strategic Council webpage at

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