AIA Austin Leadership Collective Celebrates Graduation

AIA Austin’s Leadership Collective supports visionary, diverse leadership for a more sustainable, equitable future in the architecture profession. The first class welcomed 20 individuals chosen through an application process and celebrated its graduation last week.

Participants attended a series of two-part sessions, with the first section led by local professionals and the second part led by the participants themselves. Session topics included cultivating self-awareness, communication, negotiation, teamwork, equity/diversity/inclusion as well as diagnosing and mobilizing for systemic change.

Pagers Shelby Blessing and Diana Su worked with a leadership consultant for more than one year to develop the Leadership Collective program. Wendy Dunnam Tita acting AIA Austin President and Page Principal served an advisory role and Page Designer Julie Pizzo was responsible for the branding of the program, including its name. Pager Jonathan Schwartz is among the first class graduates. 

“The order of sessions was intended to start with a reflective inward audit and then move outward in scale to conclude with community participation,” notes Diana who says she is proud to be part of a group actively engaged in identifying and removing the barriers to success for everyone. “The name ‘collective’ is appropriate,” she says, “because it acknowledges that is a group of people doing the hard work and not a single organization.”

The Leadership Collective is the result of input and efforts of its participants, planning committee members, firm leaders, fellows, directors, academics and sponsors.

“In every aspect of its design, this program seeks to make leadership not just a buzzword reserved for a select few,” emphasizes Diana. “Leadership is something tangible that is accessible to anyone who believes in change and rooted in empathy, respect and community.”

Congratulations to AIA Austin’s Leadership Collective first graduates and their firms: Doug Becker, The Lawrence Group; Amanda Dees, Structures; Charles Franck, Miro Rivera Architects; Justin Garrison, Lake Flato; Nkiruka N Gelles, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture; Stephanie N Guariglia, Sixth River; Andrea Hellerman, WJE; Kelly Henson, STG Design; Molly Hubbs, McKinney York Architects; Chase Humphrey, Andersson-Wise Architects; Jamie Kerenksy, Furman + Keil Architects; Erin Kozuh, Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects; Matthew Michalak, Gensler; Marsi Puente, Urban Foundry Architects; Jonathan Schwartz, Page; Jenna Steinbeck, Lake Flato; Elizabeth Sydnor, Alterstudio Architecture; Christy Taylor, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture; Mike Troop, Datum Engineers; and Bradley Wilson, Clayton & Little Architecture.

Applications for the second class will be available through AIA Austin's website at the end of October / beginning of November.