By JP Arnold, LEED Green Associate, APR

Mentorship and professional development with emerging professionals is invaluable—a must. AIA Colorado is grateful to provide its emerging professionals a pathway in career development while honoring the legacy and contributions of the late Christopher Shawn Kelley, AIA, a Washington, D.C.-area rising star who passed away suddenly in 2012.

The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) started in Washington, D.C. in 2013 and expanded to Colorado in 2016 by way of AIA Colorado President Rachael Johnson, AIA. Johnson is a CKLDP founding member and a scholar of the 2014-15 D.C. class. She saw, firsthand, the benefits for members and architectural firms. With great vision, Johnson influenced AIA Colorado to be the first expansion location for the CKLDP.

This past year, 16 emerging professionals were selected as CKLDP Scholars. An emerging professional is defined as someone who has graduated from college with an architecture degree and is not yet licensed or within 10 years of receiving their professional license.

Apply soon if you meet the aforementioned criteria and want to expand your architectural horizon in 2022. Applications are due by December 6, and a detailed application timeline is below.

CKLDP applicants need to submit four different items: 1) a written application, 2) a recommendation, 3) your resume, and 4) a short-answer form. A fifth item, the Tuition Assistance Form, is optional. Tuition for AIA members is currently $450 and for non-members $650.

A unique and fun aspect of each year is every class of scholars collaborates and plans out the details for their upcoming schedule. Speakers, topics, and locations are defined by the scholars themselves. This tailored approach makes this year a win-win for each individual class.

During this webinar, recent scholars shared takeaways from this past year’s CKLDP (see below). Of course, COVID made an impact, but this class was steadfast and adaptive. AIA Colorado CEO Mike Waldinger said, “This class was inspiring at what was learned and how to head forward thanks to their resilience.”

What should upcoming CKLDP Scholars expect?

  • A diverse, quaint environment enriched for learning.
  • Learn from industry leaders in architecture and other career sectors.
  • Gain lifelong friends.
  • Grow and be challenged.
  • Discuss latest architectural trends.
  • Become a better architect and understand business/leadership.

What session topics were noteworthy?

  • Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusiveness: getting out of one’s comfort zone and learning from others.
  • Contracts and negotiation: very timely topic that can be scary, yet very important to an architect.
  • Environmental threat analysis software: view upcoming challenges and how to establish mitigation protocols.
  • National/International Architects: Moshe Safdie, Peter Gluck, Grace Kim, Jonathan Segal, Enoch Sears and Jaron Lubin.

For those emerging professionals, please consider applying for this distinct professional development program. Understand the application process and the important dates below. Let’s honor Christopher Kelley by learning from each other as we design buildings for a better Colorado.

2022 Application Timeline / Schedule

  • Applications Open: November 1, 2021
  • Applications Due: December 6, 2021
  • Bootcamp Session: January 21, 2022

For more information or questions, please contact CKLDP Chair Mark Bever.


About the Author

JP Arnold, LEED Green Associate, APR, is Marketing and Business Development Manager at Bridgers & Paxton. He is an Allied Member of AIA and sits on the 2021 Editorial Committee. He is a retired U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer (PAO) and Signal Officer. As a PAO, he worked over 150 media engagements around the world to include The New York Times, CNN, BBC, Newsweek, NBC News, along with Seattle and Colorado Springs media markets. He worked on the National Army Marketing and Advertising Recruiting Campaign alongside Weber Shandwick PR and McCann Erickson Ad Agency. Arnold is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mass Communication from Ouachita Baptist University and Middle Tennessee State University (Phi Kappa Phi Honors). He has been married for more than 20 years to his wife and they have two children and several pets.