By Drew Allen, AIA 

Rachael Johnson, AIA Colorado President

Who represents the AIA Colorado Board of Directors? How does their work advance the profession? And what are they working on in 2021? To get a better look inside the Board of Directors and the year ahead for the architecture profession in Colorado, we caught up with President Rachael Johnson, AIA. Read on as she shares more on the “north star” and turning imperatives into action.

A BOARD PRIMER

The AIA Colorado Board of Directors is comprised of members and represents all four corners of the state. Board members, who are selected by a nominating committee, serve between one and three years, depending on the position. You’ll find opportunities no matter your geography or career stage, with Directors representing each geographical region, a seat specifically for an Assoc. AIA member, and even At-Large seats, this year representing higher education and the newly formed Colorado Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). Meet the 2021 Board of Directors.

Regarding day-to-day operations of the organization, the Board “sets the north star and big picture strategic thinking,” said Johnson. “We are responsible for keeping the train moving and not necessarily getting into the minutia of what the tracks look like or what each car contains.”

THE BIG PICTURE

In 2020, under the direction of Past President Adam Harding, AIA, the Board revised and launched a new mission, vision statement, and values, with the aim of charting a clearer path for AIA Colorado to move into the future—and align with current-day needs.

The new mission is to, “activate Colorado’s architecture community to advance positive change.” This charge is bolstered with three new imperatives, which were also established in 2020. The AIA Colorado imperatives are as follows:

  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.)
  • Creating a Culture of Belonging

However, more important than naming these imperatives is putting them into action.

WHAT’S NEXT

Aligning with National’s naming conventions, the Committee on the Environment (COTE) will continue as an active AIA Colorado committee to help to advance the Environmental Stewardship imperative, and the ongoing work of the J.E.D.I. Committee helps to advance that particular imperative. Creating a Culture of Belonging supports inclusivity of members across the state and ensuring that all members are represented and heard, regardless of geographic location. That was solved this year by way of newly formed Local Advisory Councils from each region.

When asked what concrete items will be rolled out and how success will be measured, Johnson added, “We are mostly looking at committee structures and how to combine forces” to streamline efforts. Additionally, these committees are cross-pollinating this year in order to create efficiencies and minimize doubling efforts. In doing so, the goal is to create a structure within the organization that better serves members and the overall vision of AIA Colorado. With regard to the imperatives, she said, “I don’t think these will get done in one year; they’re going to take many years of work.”

Because these imperatives are grand in scale, this will be an ongoing effort that needs to be continually reevaluated in order to make sure that the committees, the Local Advisory Councils, and Board of Directors are continuing to live up to the imperatives that have been set forth.

While there may not be an exact metric to deem an imperative a success or failure at the end of the year, the task of establishing a new mission, vision and values; restructuring committees; launching Local Advisory Councils; and developing imperatives was no small undertaking. Your AIA Colorado Board, committees, volunteers, and staff have been hard at work to lay this foundation for this year—and years ahead.

Whether or not they are successful is yet to be determined, but one thing can be certain: the ideals and drive are in place to reform the structure of AIA Colorado and more clearly steer the organization into a position of even greater leadership within the AEC industry.

 


 

 

About the Author

 

Drew Allen, AIA, is Project Architect at AECOM. He serves as Chair of the AIA Colorado Editorial Committee.