American Institute of Architecture Students. Executive Director Position Profile

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1 American Institute of Architecture Students Executive Director Position Profile April 2010 This profile provides information about the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and the position of Executive Director. The profile is designed to assist individuals in assessing their interest in and qualifications for the position. Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to: Pamela Kaul, President Association Strategies, Inc North Fairfax Street Alexandria, VA Telephone: Website:

2 Executive Director Position Profile For the American Institute of Architecture Students Profile Methodology The profile for the position of Executive Director of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) was developed using organizational data and specific feedback from an online survey of current and former members of the Board of Directors and staff; officers; members of the Council of Presidents; Search Committee members; chapter presidents and other student leaders; representatives of related organizations; corporate partners; committee members; and consultants. The survey was conducted to identify and prioritize the skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications and qualities required and desired in an Executive Director. Information regarding organizational and cultural factors, strengths and accomplishments, and challenges and opportunities for AIAS was also developed from the survey responses. About the Organization AIAS, a 501(c)(3) organization located in Washington, D.C., is the professional organization and official voice of architecture students throughout North America. AIAS is a grassroots, studentgoverned association with more than 6,500 members. Through a variety of programs, activities and resources, it enriches the educational experience of architecture and design students of all ages and provides opportunities to influence and demonstrate leadership in the profession of architecture and design. Founded in 1956 as the National Association of Students of Architecture under the auspices of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the organization was renamed the Association of Student Chapters/AIA in In 1985, it was reincorporated under its current name as a separate legal entity from the AIA. In 2006, AIAS celebrated its 50 th anniversary a significant milestone for any organization but particularly for a student-run association. Page 2 of 13

3 AIAS membership is open to high school and college/university students, educators, interns and professionals with an interest in the architecture and design profession and support of education in the field. Mission: The mission of AIAS is to: Promote excellence in architecture education, training and practice; Foster an appreciation of architecture and related disciplines; Enrich communities in a spirit of collaboration; and Organize students and combine their efforts to advance the art and science of architecture. AIAS conducts much of its activity through a robust structure of approximately 130 campusbased chapters throughout North America. Chapters are chartered at colleges and universities that offer pre-professional programs, as well as at high schools. AIAS supports a broad range of chapter and national activities and initiatives that promote collaboration, networking, public speaking, design practice and skill development, leadership development, and experiential activities outside the traditional classroom setting. On the local level, chapter activities include educational meetings and programs, community service projects, conferences, lectures, field trips and social events that prepare students to contribute to the field of architecture and design. AIAS supports chapter activities by providing a variety of member recruitment resources and a resource handbook for chapter leaders. Governance, Staff and Key External Interactions: AIAS is governed by a 10-member Board of Directors that meets at least four times annually. The Board and the activities of the organization are also guided by input from the Council of Presidents, which comprises one delegate from each of the 130+ chapters and meets twice annually. The organization has 7 staff: 2 contract staff, 2 FTE s, 2 volunteer leaders and the Executive Director. Page 3 of 13

4 AIAS enjoys strong relationships with and support from the AIA; the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture; the National Architectural Accrediting Board (which provides opportunities for AIAS student members to serve on its board and on its visiting accreditation teams); and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. In addition, the Executive Director will interact with other related professional organizations (including the U.S. Green Building Council, the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the International Facility Management Association); government leaders and legislators; corporate supporters and sponsors; and high school and college/university leadership and faculty. To learn more about AIAS, go to Programs and Services The premier events of AIAS are FORUM the annual global gathering of architecture and design students and Grassroots Leadership Conference, the annual leadership development conference for chapter presidents and other emerging leaders. FORUM has been held annually since 1955 and provides students with opportunities to learn more about the issues facing architectural education and the profession; to meet other students and professionals with common interests; and to interact with leading architects and designers. Grassroots Leadership Conference, conducted annually since 1985, offers instruction in effective leadership; managing a successful AIAS chapter; motivating and organizing students, and networking with other chapter leaders. In addition, eight quad conferences are held each year, in the spring and fall in the West, Midwest, Northeast and South regions of the country. Quad conferences focus on a variety of themes and topics and are hosted by an AIAS chapter in the respective region. They provide additional opportunities for students to gather regionally, learn about architecture outside of the classroom and participate in social and networking activities. Page 4 of 13

5 One of the most highly valued and visible AIAS programs is the Freedom by Design TM initiative, a community service program through which students use their talents to positively impact the lives of low-income and disabled citizens in their local communities through modest design and construction solutions. Designed to improve the safety, comfort and dignity of the homes occupants, the program allows students to gain practical experience by working with a client and to be mentored by local architects. AIAS also supports and sponsors a number of popular annual design competitions that contribute to the education, professional development and recognition of students. These competitions provide a unique opportunity for students to work with various building materials and design techniques and receive evaluations from juries of experts, and they assist educators in developing curricula and design challenges to use in course instruction. In 2006, upon its 50 th anniversary, AIAS launched its first major capital campaign, Beyond Architecture, to create an endowment to support the program goals of Freedom by Design TM as well as the expansion of efforts in membership development and initiatives for emerging leaders. To date, AIAS has raised $1.1 million. AIAS is now focused on implementing its annual giving and planned giving campaigns. In addition, AIAS programs, services and member benefits include the following: 1. Development of public policy statements on issues related to architectural practice, education and professional development. Such policy statements guide AIAS Board and staff in developing activities and programs to serve the membership and influence the future direction of the organization; 2. The opportunity to be published in Crit, the Journal of AIAS, the only international journal of student design work; 3. AIASinfo, a monthly electronic newsletter to inform members of events, news and opportunities; 4. A robust offering of social networking opportunities, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and a series of podcasts of opinion, news and ideas from and for students; Page 5 of 13

6 5. Specialization areas to which members can subscribe to supplement their membership and further their interest in the areas of historic preservation, sustainability, and urban design and planning; 6. Access to the Intern Development Program, which is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and provides opportunities through training in architectural firms, continuing education and professional practice. The program includes the Emerging Professionals Companion, a web-based professional development resource to improve the quality of intern training; 7. Opportunity to attend the annual Architecture College + Career Expo, where members meet with architecture firms, graduate schools, product manufacturers, professional associations and other organizations to explore educational and career opportunities; 8. Discounts on registration fees to attend the AIA Conference and Exposition, and complimentary membership in the AIA for graduates with an accredited degree in architecture; 9. The Honor Awards program, through which AIAS recognizes and rewards excellence in several categories, including chapter contributions and achievements, chapter leadership, community service, educational innovation, student research and special accomplishment; and 10. Numerous discounts on the purchase of and subscriptions to publications and resource materials. Challenges and Opportunities Survey respondents cite the following as being exceptionally valuable to their development and education: FORUM; Freedom by Design TM ; Grassroots Leadership Conference; Crit, the Journal of AIAS; quad conferences; design competitions; leadership development activities, and networking opportunities. At the same time, there are a number of areas that members and stakeholders suggest could be strengthened and that present both significant challenges and opportunities. While the downturn in the economy has affected the organization, the growing demand for talented professionals in Page 6 of 13

7 the industry presents a unique opportunity for AIAS to influence the next generation of the profession; strengthen membership; expand services and programs; and address critical skills, competencies and practices for emerging leaders: 1. Chapter resources: Chapters represent the foundation of the organization, and stakeholders suggest that AIAS would benefit by providing additional resources for chapter leaders that would lend more consistency and stability in form and content. With the annual turnover in student leadership, there is a need for access to more historical data; additional avenues and forums for sharing ideas and successful initiatives; more tools and training for chapter leaders in the practical aspects of managing a chapter (e.g., program management, fundraising, and member recruitment and retention campaigns and activities). 2. Web-based tools and programs, and increased digital presence: A redesigned website could facilitate greater on-line interaction, provide more web-based learning opportunities, increase member-to-member communication, and improve historical/transitional information for both national and chapter leaders. The latter is seen as particularly important to the long-term stability of the organization in view of annual leadership changes that have the potential to slow momentum and obscure historical perspective. 3. Member recruitment and retention: Given that there are an estimated 30,000 architecture students in North America, there is a significant opportunity to increase membership through sustained, focused recruitment strategies, and to retain members by shifting the message from member discounts to membership value. Some respondents note that greater attention should be paid to recruitment of and services for those on either end of the membership spectrum that is, high school students and graduate students/young professionals starting out in the industry. The universe of international students also represents a membership growth opportunity. 4. Career search and development: More structured programs to provide assistance with career searches and early career development guidance would fulfill what some believe is an unmet need. These would perhaps take the form of a formal voice/platform and Page 7 of 13

8 enhanced services for emerging professionals in the period of time between internships, graduate studies and licensure. Stakeholders also cite the following as important challenges to and opportunities for the continued growth of the organization: Generation of new revenue sources; Stronger relationships with related organizations in the industry; Greater support from and involvement by the national office staff in chapter activities, in order to enhance continuity and momentum; Creation of additional avenues for critical and engaging discourse among students and young professionals by expanding conferences and developing more issue-based events on such relevant topics as social equity design and sustainability; Greater efforts to engage AIAS alumni on a long-term basis as an important means of support, internships, mentoring, revenue, leadership training and networking; and More formal relationships with high school guidance counselors and college/university programs and faculty. Organizational Culture Key stakeholders describe the organizational culture of AIAS as vibrant, energetic and empowering, which is reflective of its status as a student-run association. Because the leadership changes annually, there are significant leadership opportunities in governance and chapter activities, which results in a culture that values creativity and collegiality. Such changes also create what some call semi-organized grassroots chaos, but members take great pride in being able to accomplish a great deal with limited resources. Members are passionate about the industry of architecture and design, and their ability to make a mark on the profession; serviceoriented; socially conscious; eager to embrace challenges and to experiment; and supportive and inclusive. Executive Director Position Responsibilities: The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for implementing all programs, services and activities, as directed by the Board; leading, supervising Page 8 of 13

9 and motivating the staff; overseeing the organization s daily operations, programs, initiatives and services; developing, recommending and managing the $1 million operating budget; and working closely with officers to establish and implement the strategic direction of the association. In addition, the Executive Director will: Build and strengthen alliances and partnerships with collateral organizations; Develop and implement a plan to increase membership and non-dues revenue; Oversee the Beyond Architecture capital campaign and other fund-raising efforts; Maintain, manage and protect the financial resources of the organization by aligning the annual operating budget with the board s strategic goals and objectives; Oversee the development and implementation of sponsorship programs to encourage support from corporate, commercial and education groups with an interest in reaching AIAS membership base; Oversee the development of sources of non-dues revenue and other funding resources for conferences and events; Support the operations and administration of the Board of Directors and committees, and provide historical information to ensure the progress of the organization; Serve as the associate publisher of Crit, Journal of AIAS; and Direct the public relations, promotions and marketing efforts of the association. Education and Experience: The successful candidate will have six to 10 years of management experience in a professional membership association and/or experience in nonprofit association management, and demonstrated leadership in program development and operations management. A Bachelor s degree is required; a Master s degree is considered optimal, and the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is a strong plus. Knowledge and general understanding of the architecture profession and/or educational process is helpful. Previous experience as an Executive Director is preferred but not required. The following experience is essential to the position of Executive Director: Successfully developing and managing an operating budget; Page 9 of 13

10 Developing and implementing strategic plans and initiatives, and identifying and prioritizing short- and long-term organizational needs and resources; Developing sources of non-dues and other funding through a variety of processes and/or campaigns; Maintaining the fiscal integrity and financial resources of an organization through the implementation of sound business systems and adherence to legal and professional standards of fiscal responsibility; Enhancing and increasing the number and value of member benefits; Serving as an effective advocate for diverse stakeholders and constituencies within an organization; Enhancing the visibility, reputation and prestige of an organization through effective public relations; Developing and implementing campaigns and strategies to increase membership and member retention; and Hiring, developing and motivating a talented professional staff, and creating a work environment that empowers staff to creatively lead in their areas of responsibility. The following experience is highly desirable: Experience in fundraising through a variety of processes; Serving as the public voice of and spokesperson for an organization and experience in public speaking; An understanding of technology and its role in advancing organizational goals; Overseeing the management of conferences, meetings and expositions; Managing activities and programs in a complex and changing governance structure; Managing public policy issues and advocacy efforts; Developing, supporting and managing activities and functions of a Board of Directors and others in leadership positions; Working collaboratively and productively with chapters, affiliates and/or interest sections; and Building and strengthening teams of staff and volunteers as an ongoing process. Page 10 of 13

11 Skills and Abilities The following skills and abilities are essential: Ability to learn about and understand emerging trends in the profession and how they will affect both current and future operations of the organization; Exceptional visionary leadership in order to capitalize on opportunities, identify challenges and develop resources necessary to meet those challenges; Ability to build and strengthen effective networking systems, alliances, partnerships and opportunities with related industry organizations and key stakeholders; Effective, clear and concise communication, both orally and in writing; Managing and leading an organization, staff and volunteers through important change; Consensus-building among diverse constituencies and interests in order to further common goals and objectives; and Thorough understanding of nonprofit accounting principles. Personal Characteristics and Behaviors: The Executive Director will possess the following personal characteristics and behaviors: Energetic, optimistic and enthusiastic about the mission and activities of the organization; Able to relate well to and interact positively with students, and with other diverse constituencies and stakeholders; Outgoing, confident and possessing a sense of humor; Patient, understanding and able to provide sound guidance and mentoring for students and emerging leaders; Able to balance the relationship of serving as a professional mentor while respecting the authority and responsibilities of the student officers and Board members to whom the position reports; Highly organized and efficient, with the ability to handle multiple and sometimes competing priorities and activities; Able to provide leadership and inspire others; Page 11 of 13

12 Capable of providing stability, continuity and sustained progress toward established goals in a leadership structure that changes annually; A open-minded listener, with the ability to demonstrate tact and diplomacy relative to all aspects of an issue; Able to adapt to continuous changes in leadership and to work well with a variety of leadership styles; Creative in finding solutions and efficiencies to achieve great results with limited resources; Collaborative and teamwork-oriented; Focused and skillful at managing time and diverse responsibilities; and Demonstrating the highest standards of honesty and integrity in all matters and actions. Measures of Success The Executive Director s success in the position after the first year will be measured in part by performance evaluations from the Board of Directors, other volunteers and staff, and by demonstrated progress in the following areas: Improvement in the motivation, engagement and performance of staff; Establish a clear staffing plan supported by strong office management procedures; Development of a clear, cohesive strategic plan for the organization; Successful integration into and understanding of the profession of architecture, design and key issues; Development of strong and collaborative relationships with collateral organizations, partners, and other key constituents; Continue to grow the organization s finances and membership, and the identification of revenue sources to support both short- and long-term goals; Demonstrated willingness to embrace change, and to critically assess the relevance and value of programs, services and activities; The development of supportive, respectful and collaborative relationships with members, the Board of Directors and chapter leaders; Effective and efficient operation of conferences, events and programs; and Page 12 of 13

13 Accomplishment of short-term (first-year) goals, and a plan to further develop and solidify longer-term strategic plans. Future Expectations Respondents to the survey cite the following when asked about their expectations for AIAS three years after the transition to the new Executive Director: A strong, growing organization, both financially and in terms of membership, with increased membership; Diversified revenue streams and consideration of ways to achieve financial independence; Increased activity in the area of career assistance and development; Improved communication with, and support and resources for, chapter leaders, including a new website; A clearly articulated and ongoing communication of member benefits and value; Increased participation in conferences and events; and Progress toward increased visibility of the organization in the profession and as a stronger voice for socially relevant practice and universal design. # # # The search for the Executive Director of AIAS is being conducted by Pamela Kaul, president of Association Strategies, Inc., 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA Telephone: ; Website: Page 13 of 13

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