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Sheva Willoughby, AIA


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

I have a background on historic preservation, healthcare, education and cultural projects. I have extensive knowledge of Living Buildings and a deep passion for biophilic design. Currently, I am the lead architect at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo where I oversee all design and construction projects at the zoo.

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

I have volunteered with AIA in many capacities since 2010. I have held nearly every position on the local level ranging all the way from Associate Director to President. I’ve had the privilege to help organize and execute many of the events and initiatives in the South Section over the last 6 years. I was involved on both the State and Local levels during the repositioning of the organization. Since then, I have been involved on the State Board as a Section Director and Treasurer.

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

I have recently been appointed to the Green Scientific Advisory Group for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It has been a fascinating role so far, to be involved in a sustainable group that is really approaching sustainability from an encompassing, holistic standpoint. I have also marveled at how important and fluid the information and data sharing is between members of this association. Perhaps this gives me some different perspectives to bring to the board. 

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

I am very interested in staying active on the Board because I love the synergy that the group has. We have a great team and have gained some momentum over the last few years that I would like to continue. I am excited to more fully utilize the experience and wisdom that both Mike and Amy bring to the organization. This is the strongest leadership I have had the pleasure of working with at the Board level. I am equally excited for the opportunity to work closely with such an amazing woman and leader, our new incoming President, Sarah Broughton. Sarah is, simply put, a bad-ass. I love her tenacity and her ability to be decisive and execute. Although Sarah would leave extremely big shoes to fill, it would be an honor to work alongside her. The Board has been making progress on clarifying roles and responsibilities of AIA, of the Board, of the committees, of the Sections, etc. which is an area I feel strongly about feel I would be leaving unfinished work (although in good hands) by stepping off the board now. Its extremely important to me that clear expectations are laid out for the Sections so they can push toward the mission and vision of AIA Colorado in a way that makes sense on a local level, activating their local design community. It has always been my goal that the entire state feels included and represented; that there is some level of autonomy in the Sections, but that we are all working together sharing the same mission and vision with our members in a consistent and cohesive way; for the Sections to truly feel we are all on the same team. That ‘same team’ feeling is critical to our success as an organization. That is what will help with engagement, dissemination and sharing of knowledge, the rising tide that will lift all the boats. 

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?

Rising to the occasion and leading the charge in sustainability and the 2030 Challenge call to action. 

Recruiting, maintaining and mentoring a diverse group of future leaders, both as firms and the profession as a whole. 

Responding to the ever changing and unpredictable construction market. 

AIA’s role is to connect, advocate and catalyze the professionals in Colorado so that they can advance through these challenges and opportunities, together. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. If AIA can be the conduit, the glue that binds all members together, we can make great strides in tackling what lies ahead. 

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

As an architect, I feel I have a personal and professional obligation to inspire positive change in the world however I can – leave it better than I found it – and my skillset happens to be in architecture. It is my obligation to use and share the knowledge I have to make a difference, however small it may be and I believe that we can achieve far greater success by acting together and when we don’t care who gets the credit. And, if you’re not having fun along the way, you’re doing it wrong! 

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?

I initially got involved on the State Board because the South Section was not feeling like the organization was inclusive of all regions and firms and I wanted to be part of that shift. I have been working with the Board to refine and strengthen the communication amongst the Board, AIA Colorado and the membership at large. Additionally, I have mentored serval young women about how to advocate for themselves (inclusion and equity) as they transition to motherhood and navigate the working-parent life in a very demanding profession. Finally, working on and advocating for sustainable design in all the work  and project sectors I am personally involved in. 

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

On a scale of 1-10 I’m probably a solid 8.97 in terms of fun! 😉

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