Updated: Jan 4, 2021
I am grateful to the membership for the opportunity to be the Chapter’s president in 2021. As challenging as 2020 has been, I am inspired by the creativity, effort, and unity put forth by the board, committees, and membership. Although the pandemic forced radical changes to our Chapter’s delivery of services, the creative and operational outcomes have been remarkable.
I believe we have all learned new ways of doing more with less. I do not feel diminished because we did not have a traditional awards gala, or that Swinging for Scholarships changed, or that most of our educational content was delivered online. The chapter is stronger, and we have some new tools at our disposal as we work back to “normal”.
We will always remember where we were, and where we were not, in 2020. I did not see the multitude of life altering events coming - certainly not the magnitude of the challenges that we continue to face.
We have all been limited in our ability to be with one another this year. When I have had the chance to be with family, friends, community, and neighbors I have noticed moments that I might not have noticed in the past. I ask myself, “How can I move the needle?” As a nation can we come together to be more accepting, more equitable, and more respectful of our differences? It is our differences that can and should make us all better.
I have hope that we will be more tolerant, not less. What can we do, as architects, to drive change? I encourage all of us to embrace and nurture our courage. If you see something that needs changing, speak up with those around you. What can we do together, not just individually?
As architects, we should aspire to design memorable public spaces. Create environments that lift all people up. Be active in the public arena. We have influence through our designs, our words, and our participation. Change needs to be intentional. Commit to a plan and follow through.
I received some advice prior to putting my thoughts to paper to consider the Chapter’s Strategic Plan in my remarks. As the chapter president is only in the position for a single year, the direction of the plan is necessary to impact change.
The Strategic Plan advocates for the profession and our members through outreach and education. Our current initiatives build the profession through strengthening the overall community and are particularly compelling. Our Education efforts offering mentorships, supporting ACE and Girls in Architecture programs, and providing opportunities for all high school students to shadow architects are exceptionally valuable and meaningful.
2020 has taught us that Advocacy for architecture should start with advocacy for the communities where we live and practice. Now as much as ever, our communities need our special consideration and support.
Through strong Governance, the Chapter has always been fiscally responsible. No matter the curveball, we end the year on or near budget. The results in 2020 will be the same but the path was unique. If we can take some of the stress off this operational task, we can focus more energy and resources on providing services.
The opportunities are numerous and the challenges daunting. Experiencing AIA Rochester’s response to 2020, I look forward to the future, to 2021, and to the change that we can influence in our profession, our lives, and the lives of everyone around us. I am excited to continue to pursue our potential together. Thank you.