August 22, 2017 / President's Letters

September 2017 President's Letter – Leadership

aia women's exhibit

The Early Women of Architecture in Maryland exhibit being installed at The American Institute of Architects headquarters in Washington DC.

Although I have previously written about leadership in some fashion, it has been on my mind a lot lately. Perhaps because of the things going on in our country and around the world, or because I know I am on the downhill slope of my term as your chapter president, or because I often think about what I do and how I affect others.
I don’t always embrace leadership. I am quite content to help and work for others, but leadership doesn’t always mean you are spearheading or taking charge. There are countless essays, papers, and TED talks out there about what makes an effective leader and everyone has their opinion. To me, leadership is about bringing out the best in your team and setting things in motion. It is giving people the tools they need to take ownership of what they are doing and seeing how they contribute to the whole.
AIA provides opportunities for leadership, and not just being president. Our committees are the place to begin. Delve into a subject you are passionate about and meet others with similar interests. There are many opportunities to volunteer, be part of organizing a program or chair/co-chair the committee. This involvement and engagement can lead to serving on the Board of Directors. Our call for nominations for the Board of Directors is open to all members until October 1.
The Practice Management committee recently started a book club and read the book “Living Your Life as a Leader.” This is an AIA publication that was developed as a training tool for architects to be effective leaders in your firm, the profession, and your community – and not just through AIA. This book gets you to explore what leadership is, what forms it may take and strategies for implementation. AIA continues this training through the Leadership Institute. The next session is November 16, 2017 and you can find more information at
The AIA Women’s Leadership Summit is September 14-16 in Washington D.C. The summit is geared toward women in positions of leadership and focuses on “supporting women in leadership by providing a forum to recognize, inform, and champion the work being created by women in architecture.” Currently the summit is sold out, but registration is still open for the Welcome Reception on September 14 at AIA National headquarters. This reception is hosted by several regional AIA chapters, including AIA Baltimore and the other Maryland AIA chapters. We are proud that the reception will feature a display of our Equity Committee’s exhibition, ”Early Women of Architecture in Maryland.”
We also invite you to help support the next generation of leaders in our profession and our industry at the Building Congress & Exchange Foundation’s Hard Hat Bash on September 23 which funds grants and scholarships. The AIABaltimore Board has accepted a challenge from BC&E and is putting together a basket to be auctioned off for this good cause. Come to the event and help our basket raise the most money! Or if you would like to contribute an architecture or design-themed item to the basket, please contact me at
It is important for architects to be leaders in the industry and built environment. There are countless ways to become engaged and be a leader in some capacity. Where will you begin?
sharon signature
Sharon Day, AIA
GWWO Inc./Architects