A Year-End Message from the President
The world is coming back to life on the other side of the COVID pandemic, and our members are helping to define the new normal here in Pennsylvania. Despite COVID challenging us on multiple levels, we have taken advantage of the moment to establish new thinking and methodologies to help the architecture profession move closer to becoming the diverse workforce it aspires to be. We have also continued to explore how we, as architects, can expand our role in designing more equitable and sustainable communities across the Commonwealth.
Internally, our EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) voice is now prominent at the National level of AIA. Our members are working on programs that help our member firms evolve their cultures to cultivate diversity. We are further addressing the diversification of pathways into the profession by empowering the voice of our emerging professionals while also inspiring and facilitating youth in various ways to consider becoming an architect – our profession’s future leaders.
In 2022 we launched our first year of scholarships to attend the AIA Women’s Leadership Summit (WLS). The attendees engaged our board in a lively conversation regarding issues women face in trying to further their careers in architecture. We are proud to have more women members on our board as we look to continue identifying and removing the historical obstacles that challenge the advancement of women in architecture.
We convened our first Past Presidents Advisory Council (PPAC) meeting and facilitated feedback on current programs seasoned with their valuable historical perspective.
Externally, our members have been functioning in the roles of Professional Consultants and Citizen Architects to deliver services to the underserved communities spread across our state to move toward becoming more equitable, resilient, sustainable, healthy, and prosperous. Our “Shaking Up Small Cities” programs and Housing and Community Development Subcommittee continue to address this need.
The Government Affairs Committee has further solidified our standing in the State Capitol. Now state legislators call us for position statements on issues instead of us calling them. We have helped the state advance policy and programs on sustainability, lowering carbon usage, incentivizing energy efficiency, establishing a Climate Change Action Plan, updating building codes, and establishing programs that address urban blight and home repair. We continue to champion issues impacting our small firm members, such as encroachment on services and other typical small business challenges.
I am happy to report that AIA Pennsylvania is healthy, has increased membership, and continues to grow its influence at the state level on issues that impact our members and our communities. Amidst all these efforts, next year’s leadership has been fully engaged to make the transition to 2023 seamless and even more successful than 2022. Thanks to all the staff and members who have helped our chapter be where it is today.