What will the new board composition look like? How does it compare to now?

board changes

How will board nominations process work?

  1. Refined nominations processes will be overseen by one nominating committee, resulting in continuity and clarity of role expectations among candidates. A board selection criteria matrix will be used by the committee to aspire to diverse representation of AIA Colorado members: type of practice, geographic differences, demographics, career paths, additional skills and backgrounds.
  2. Our goal is to move from a geographically and constituency-based board to cultivate a competency, strategy and diversity-based board of directors who serve the collective needs of members, firms and the profession statewide.

If we change, what will happen in my community? How can I engage?

There are numerous ways to engage with AIA Colorado and ensure your voice is being heard:

  1. when candidate slates are announced to ensure that your perspectives, beyond geographic, are being heard
  2. In the past we have not done a great job of communicating the various opportunities that members have to engage. But we will do a better job at letting you know about the opportunities to engage with your peers, both within Colorado and across the organization, no matter where you live and work. Volunteer on a committee or task force (meetings are held with an option to conference in). Visit https://aiacolorado.org/volunteer/ to see a current list of volunteer committees and available positions.
  3. Host a local peer network or meetup in your community. Such events enable you to connect with like-minded peers in your community to organize opportunities like hard hat tours, firm roundtables, mentoring circles and design charrettes Once you and your group have organized the opportunity, AIA Colorado will help you to spread the word to members through channels like our all-member newsletter, social media and web calendar. Visit https://aiacolorado.org/connect/ to find information and a step-by-step instructions for organizing one of these opportunities in your area. As this is the pilot year of Local Peer Networks, we’ve identified four different opportunities that members can organize. Throughout the year, we will be collecting member feedback and adapting these opportunities based on lessons-learned and new ideas that may arise. These Local Peer Networks will enable members who have an interest in connecting with colleagues in their area, while allowing AIA Colorado to focus on strategic priorities and opportunities to serve members throughout the state.
  4. Attend a program or, Local Peer Network or meetup.

Local engagement is not the only benefit of AIA membership. Members are part of a statewide and national network of architects, working together to advocate for the position’s relevance, prosperity and resources for professional advancement. Unfortunately, as with any business, it is not feasible to offer exactly the same customer experience within every community. It is commonplace to have to go online, drive or fly to participate in the experience that best suits your needs. In the past year alone, members from Wyoming and Utah have traveled to AIA Colorado to participate in our programs. 200 AIA Colorado members traveled to New York to attend A’18.

I won’t feel represented on the board if I don’t have a local director. Who do I talk to? Who do I bring an issue to? Who advocates for me?

We value all members’ perspectives. The board will regularly establish and communicate processes and opportunities for members to provide feedback and touch base with directors. Each member of the board will become the designated point of contact for regions and groups of members across the state. This might include opportunities to meet with them in-person around the state, town hall meetings, quarterly phone calls and/or online communication channels. We will publish the board members’ scheduled outreach opportunities on https://aiacolorado.org/calendar/ throughout the year. We’ve also published board members’ contact information at https://aiacolorado.org/board-of-directors/. Members can reach out to any member of the AIA Colorado board at any time.

Additionally, members can and should reach out to AIA Colorado Staff.  https://aiacolorado.org/staff/. Staff members are not only happy to help, but they also perform their own outreach throughout the state by visiting firms and attending events across Colorado.

Plus, AIA Colorado’s focus on serving members and advancing the profession statewide means that the organization will intentionally focus on providing opportunities for members to connect, regardless of where they may live and work. Some examples include: The annual Practice + Design Conference, which draws more than 600 design professionals from across Colorado and beyond; the design and honor awards program, which has shifted in recent years to better celebrate the excellent and diverse work happening across our state; code classes, which have typically been held in Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs; and more.

Why sunset the four sections?

Despite shifting to a statewide organization several years ago, sustaining four local sections has the unintended consequence of fracturing the organization into five disparate purposes competing for the same time, energy and resources. Our legacy structure is no longer relevant and is holding us back.

Some sections are struggling to elect new volunteer leaders, causing volunteers to feel obligated to repeatedly fill geographically-defined seats. While their dedication is well-intentioned, it limits new/different members from sharing their perspectives. It creates an “insiders club” perception. Sunsetting the section boundaries and board seats associated with them frees up possibilities for volunteers to rise to the occasion based on current interest and passion.

Members new to AIA Colorado, as well as some longtime members of our chapter, are confused by our layered structure and question its purpose.

Becoming a more cohesive, statewide organization that operates more efficiently and in service of members was voted on and accepted in 2014. Over the last few years we’ve been tracking what has and has not worked, and as a result, we have fine-tuned and developed a structure that will better support and enable this work.

Why do I need to vote on this? Can’t the current board just make this happen?

Per our bylaws, any changes to the bylaws require a member vote. Plus, voting on this change and future initiatives, like who will represent you on the board of directors, gives you more agency as a member. It allows you to ensure that your views and perspectives are represented when major decisions are made for AIA Colorado.

If local section boards go away, what opportunities do members have to develop as leaders?

It is important to AIA Colorado that its members be leaders, both among the profession and in their communities, which is why we’ve established a variety of ways for you to develop as a leader, beyond just local board service. You can develop your leadership skills by applying to participate in the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program or a group mentorship program; you can apply to serve as a member or a chair of an AIA Colorado Committee or Task Force; you can organize a Local Peer Network; or you can become a leader in the profession through advocacy. Outside of Colorado, you can develop as a leader through national AIA initiatives, like the AIA Leadership Institute, participating in the Women’s Leadership Summit, or volunteering on a national committee or member group. You can also act as a leader in your local or state community by representing the architect perspective and serving on a board, commission, or task force. Here are some ideas for how to find a boards and commissions that make sense for you.

What will I lose and what will I gain?

board changes 2

What If the bylaws revisions do not pass?

The board has some flexibility to refine nomination and election processes and still be acting within current bylaws. But, the organization will have to maintain the current local director seats and one-year terms. Sections will be obligated by the bylaws to maintain their boards of directors with narrowly defined positions and manage annual election processes. Local section boards will still not have authority to direct AIA Colorado’s allocation of time and resources outside of decisions made by the AIA Colorado board as a whole. So, the question remains, what is the best use of time and energy by volunteers on the so-called boards, and is it in the best interest of all members to dedicate staff and resources to training and administering five separate boards?

Instead of dedicating time to scanning the horizon for issues standing to affect Colorado’s architecture profession and strategizing how to leverage the collective time, energy, wisdom and resources of 2,400 members to best meet the future, The AIA Colorado Board will be spending a disproportionate amount of time managing an organization that remains fragmented in five parts (four local sections plus state).

To be successful in this structure may require establishing memorandums of understanding between sections and state regarding direction and use of association resources, allocating more staff to section administration, and developing pro-rata budgeting formulas driven by geography over statewide strategy of holistically advancing and protecting Colorado’s architecture profession. While all is possible, it will require significant investment in additional resources or taking resources away from other strategic initiatives.

We believe not passing the bylaws amendment would be a step backwards in today’s environment of accelerated growth and change. Fragmenting AIA Colorado into five separate business units does not position AIA Colorado to efficiently and effectively serve members on key statewide initiatives and prevents the organization from being more future-focused.

What happens if the bylaws revisions are adopted, yet it doesn’t work as planned?

If this does not work after it is approved and voted into the bylaws, there is a provision within the AIA Colorado bylaws for re-establishing sections, in accordance with AIA National bylaws, or members may vote to refine the governance structure again.

Can a member offer a friendly amendment to the board’s proposed restated bylaws at the Member Annual Meeting?

Bylaws amendments to be voted on by members require at least 30 days notice. Prior to that notice, it is best practice to have proposed amendments reviewed by an attorney to ensure they align with Colorado statute and do not conflict with other parts of our bylaws. AIA National also requests to review amendments to ensure alignment with AIA National Bylaws.