Allied Members are not Architects, but are professionals in related fields, who collaborate with and support Architects in the creation of the built environment.

Reinvention & Invigoration in the “Big D”

By KAnderson
In August 19, 2015
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By Kimberly Anderson, Hon. AIACC
Executive Director

With a busy schedule here at the Chapter (and Detroit as the destination) I have to admit I wasn’t 100% eager to depart Sacramento to attend the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Meeting and Exposition. But, the meeting–and the City of Detroit– turned out to be unexpectedly inspiring and invigorating.
The meeting is huge. ASAE serves approximately 10,000 associations that represent more than 287 million people and organizations worldwide. There are thousands of association leaders that attend the meeting, including nearly 100 executives of AIA Components across the country. AIA National folded their Council of Component Executives (CACE) meeting into the ASAE mix as well.
As you might expect it’s a full schedule of education offerings, seminars, knowledge sharing, networking and a large expo. Here are a few of the ideas and experiences I’m bringing back to the Chapter:
Creative Disruption
Josh Linkner, CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, and author of “The Road to Reinvention” kicked off the conference with a keynote urging association leaders to drive purposeful transformation. He illustrated his point through two well-known products: donuts and disposable razors and how creative disruption reinvigorated these very pedestrian products. As a Chapter, renewing what we do regularly–including our approach and our process is key. This same concept is what drives VSP’s The Shop, the project tour the Chapter hosted last night.
AIA Central Valley has been a driver of a component-based ARE Prep/Black Spectacles Program, essentially a new approach/use for this AIA educational platform. Attending the conference allowed me to meet with AIA Staff leading the program, provide additional feedback and to encourage fellow Chapter Executives to consider holding chapter-based programs themselves. In the virtual world we live in, there is nothing like face-time. This conference provided ample face time that reenergized existing relationships and helped form new ones.

AIA Foresight
This AIA-organized session explored the AIA Foresight Report and a workbook available to AIA leaders as a tool for futurist thinking. The four steps are Seeking, Analyzing, Building a Response and Taking Action. AIA Executives from all over the country worked in groups of four to list current challenges, presented them and then together identified trends. Although working independently, the groups quickly discovered five trends that are consistent in our organization. The discussion that followed was so engaging that the group unanimously opted to stay over our allotted time. I’m excited to share these trends at this year’s Board retreat.
because I said I would
This social movement and nonprofit operates under the premise that keeping promises ultimately strengthens humanity’s will. The organization created “promise cards” to help hold people accountable to their commitments. While not directly related to association management, it was very inspiring to see how ideas become movements and ultimately affect change–in this case very quickly and on a major scale. Beyond that, witnessing the emotions this presentation brought out in hundreds of attendees (including myself) was very inspiring. Learn more at:
Amazing Architecture & Greektown!
As you all know, Detroit is home to the work of architects such as Henry Hobson Richardson, Daniel Burnam, Louis Kamper, Albert Kahn and many, many more. An evening reception at the Guardian Building, designed by architect Wirt C Rowland, gave us an opportunity to see one breathtaking example of art deco up-close. In the downtown area there is a great deal of renovation underway and a definite vibe of the city finding a new path, while honoring it’s past.
Speaking of the past, did you know that Detroit has a Greektown? According to the Greektown Historical District, this neighborhood was first developed by German immigrants as a residential community in the 1830s–through the help of Theodore Gerasimos, the first documented Greek immigrant in the City. It was an unexpected treat to enjoy traditional Greek dinner in downtown Detroit.
So, I return from Detroit feeling energized, inspired, and encouraged to disrupt and reinvent!
Many thanks to our Chapter, and the AIA California Council’s CACE Opportunity Fund Grant Program, for seeing value and providing funding to Executive Directors, such as myself to attend ASAE and CACE.

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