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Julianne Scherer, AIA

Employment Experience: please provide a 50-word summary of your work, highlighting your current professional roleand primary focus.

I have been practicing architecture for 29 years, 23 of those years in Chicago and currently in Denver. In Denver, I lead HDR’s architecture practice that includes architects, interior designers, landscape architects and urban designers as the Vice President/Managing Principal. I focus on community architecture, community engagement and curating teams for success. I am driven by the success of others to impact the whole.

Please describe your current or prior volunteer service within the AIA or at other architecture related organizations. 

I have been an active AIA member since I entered the profession. I currently serve on the Board as the Denver Director though over the years have chaired or co-chaired several knowledge communities or committees including two board appointments (one in Chicago and one in Colorado).

In Denver, I’ve held the following positions: 

• 2017 – AIA CO 10 Jury
• 2017 – AIA CO CKLDP Presenter
• 2018 – AIA CO Practice & Design Conference, Panelist on Diversity, Inclusion, Equity; Design Awards Committee Chair
• 2019 – AIA CO Design Awards Committee Chair
• 2020 – AIA CO Practice & Design Conference Committee Chair (virtual conference)
• 2020 – AIA Baltimore Design Awards Jury Member
• 2021 – AIA Alaska Design Awards Jury Member
• 2021 – AIA Baltimore Design Awards Jury Member
• 2021-2022 – Denver Director, Board of Directors, and Honor Awards Juror
• 2022 – AIA National Credentials Committee • 1998-present – American Institute of Architects, member

In Chicago, I was engaged in the following activities:
• 2016 – AIA Chicago CIC, Panelist, Designing the 21st Century Public Library
• 2014-2016 – AIA Chicago and AIA Illinois Board of Directors
• 2012 – Panelist, AIA Illinois President’s Panel Discussion, AIA Illinois Leadership Institute
• 2010 – AIA Illinois Leadership Institute, Participant
• 2005-2009 – AIA Chicago Design KC, Member, Co-Chair, Chair and Past-Chair
• 2004 – Juror, AIA Toledo Design Awards

In Chicago, I received the following AIA awards:
• 2009 – AIA Illinois John Wellborn Root Award – impressive service and dedication to the profession
• 2009 – AIA Chicago Firm of the Year Award 

Please provide information about your volunteer experience outside the architecture arena that may be helpful in the role(s) you are seeking. 

Outside of AIA and architecture focused organizations, I have been involved in the following, starting with my time in Denver then previous activities in Chicago: 

In Denver:
• 2018-2022 – American Heart Association, STEM goes Red Chair, working throughout the year towards a fall conference for 150 teen girls to share with them the opportunities in STEM careers for women. Presenter and Facilitator for several events throughout the year and at the conference. 

In Chicago:
• 2015 – 46th Ward Good Neighbor Award recognizes an outstanding individual that has made a positive impact in the 46th Ward
• 2010 – Named one of ENR Midwest Construction Magazine’s “Top 20 Under 40” Community-Building:
• 2012-2016 – Founder, Annual Sunnyside Mall Art & Music Festival, Started annual community art and music festival.
• 2012-2016 – Founder, Sunnyside Mall Committee
• 2012-2016 – Wilson L Public Space Committee, Co-chair and co-founder, created master plan and community engagement process to implement the design for public land.
• 2012-2016 – 46th Ward Development and Zoning Committee
• 2012-2016 – Graceland-Wilson Neighbors Association, Board Member and Committee Chair
• 2012-2016 – Community initiative to design a public plaza in lieu of a parking lot –
• 2007 – Cool Globes, “Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet”, Public art design and build exhibit on global issues installed in Chicago and Washington, DC.

Non-profit Affiliations:
• 2012-2016 – Uptown United Development Partners Advisory Council
• 2013-2015 – archi-treasures Board President
• 2006-2012 – archi-treasures Board of Directors and Junior Board
• 2014-2016 – League of Women Designers Chicago (LAWD)
• 2015-present – International Project Management Association
• 2015 – National Association of Professional Women

Professional Activities:
• 2015 – Juror, Illinois Association of School Boards Educational Environments
• 2015 – Panelist and Moderator, League of Women Designers, The Missing 32%
• 2014 – Juror, School of the Art Institute Chicago
• 2014 – Juror, Judson Univeristy
• 2012 – Panelist, “The 21st Century Library and its Role in Chicago’s Communities and Schools” sponsored by United Neighborhood Organization and UrbanWorks, Ltd.
• 2011 – Presenter, CAF Skyscrapers presentation to Latin Lower School 3rd grade students
• 2007 – Presenter, “Green Architecture and Roof Design,” Latin Middle School students
• 2001 – Presenter, “The Future of Library Design”, Newberry Library Teachers Consortium

Through these years of experiences with a variety of non-profits and community groups, I can add value to AIA by bringing a fresh perspective and share lessons learned.

Why are you interested in this leadership position? What unique skills and attributes would you bring to your role? 

My interest lies in the duty to give back and to be actively engaged in my professional organization. If we want architecture to be valued, our professional organization must be strong. Its strength will impact the future of the profession. I lead with love and kindness. For it’s the values I believe bring about the best in people and the best in design solutions. This leadership style allows me to make difficult decisions through a lens that is inclusive and that others know is authentic and comes from a good place. 

“Julianne Scherer, AIA is a paragon of leadership; she is empathetic, creative, and visionary. She builds consensus precipitating actions that benefit communities in practice and in service. In 20 years of working together, there is no collaborator I’ve enjoyed working alongside more.”  — Peter Exley, FAIA RIBA NOMA. 97th President of the American Institute of Architects

What do you feel are the top challenges and/or opportunities facing the practice of architecture in Colorado and the role AIA can play in addressing them? 

Top challenges are environmental stewardship and JEDI. As our world evolves, our impact on the environment is crucial and our profession must reflect the communities we work in, and the perspectives others bring to build a more inclusive, equitable world. AIA CO can continue to influence these challenges and change them to opportunities through our advocacy and connecting other organizations together, infiltrating the universities and schools as well as empowering others that may not look like us to find a successful pathway in the profession. 

How do the AIA Colorado mission, vision and values resonate with you? 

I love that we start each board meeting with these reminders. Understanding purpose, is vital to the success of an organization and gives it’s volunteers a reason for engaging and belonging. To connect, celebrate, catalyze, advocate, and advance are five pillars to embrace. I will flex my leadership style to make sure our approaches, as the organization evolves, will be stable upon this foundation. 

In what ways have you demonstrated a commitment to the organizational imperatives of a culture of belonging, environmental stewardship and justice, equity, diversity and inclusiveness? 

Culture of belonging – As Denver Director, I worked with our leadership team to create a mentoring program called Ascend, to engage those in the practice of architecture at the formidable years an individual enters the profession. If we can capture members early, can we keep them through the life of their careers – I think so. This early engagement will yield value to the AIA and to the members. We piloted the program in Denver and next year all chapters are on board to run the program.

Environmental stewardship – As architects, we leave a footprint/fingerprint on this world for years to come. It is our responsibility to design a world that will be grateful to the environment, give back and work towards doing no harm. It is the only way our world will live longer than we do and can begin to heal itself from all the irresponsible acts of the past that have negatively impacted our environment. How? This is something we continue to practice and improve upon.

JEDI – As a woman leader, I hope my legacy I leave on this profession is one of equity. Being able to make critical decisions about salary, project engagement, client relations etc. is a privilege I now have as a managing principal. I can bring those to the table, have their voices be heard, provide opportunity, and call in rather than call out. I have been on panel discussions and have lead discussions regarding JEDI in the profession. 

Is there anything else you would like the nominating committee to know about you that has not been previously stated? 

This is a logical and important step in my advocacy and dedication to our profession and our professional organization. I will be honored to serve alongside a board of diverse thinkers and committed staff. I look forward to the opportunity to lead with love and kindness towards a more inclusive and environmentally thoughtful organization that reflects and welcomes our members. What we do is a practice. We will continue to be curious, try new things, and learn, all built on the foundation of our values. 

In addition, HDR fully supports my nomination – “All of us at HDR are proud to support Julianne’s efforts to serve the AIA Colorado. As managing principal of our Denver studio, Julianne has inspired not only her immediate colleagues but others around the world with her passion and steadfast belief in the power of design to make positive impacts on communities everywhere. Her ability for seeking out new experiences, her joy in discovery and her thoughtful investigation of opportunities in all scopes and sizes has laid a strong foundation for growth and set forth a strategic vision for the greater good. Above all, Julianne’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has helped countless practitioners realize the best in themselves and in each other, creating a workplace where all can thrive. I am confident that Julianne will bring her best self to this role for AIA Colorado, and the profession will be better because of it.” — Doug Wignall, FAIA, HDR President of Architecture

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