This month members of the Central Virginia Chapter of the AIA gathered in Charlottesville to elect their board and leadership for the coming year. A trio of leaders from VMDO – Rob Winstead, Kelly Callahan, and Shawn Mulligan – were selected to take on new leadership roles for the AIA-CV in 2020 with a mandate to support the local architecture community and advocate for the profession. VMDO picked their brains about their current work and the future of our local AIA-CV chapter. We are proud to share a few insights about their goals and vision for 2020. Congratulations Rob, Kelly, and Shawn!
Rob Winstead, Past President AIA-CV and AIA-VA Board of Directors 2020 - 2021:
Q: Rob, as your time as the President comes to a close, how do you feel about the direction of the local chapter and its alignment with the AIA as a whole?
RW: As my time as President of the AIA Central Virginia comes to a close, I couldn’t be more excited about where we are as an organization. Our house is in order, our membership is growing, we are aligning with affiliated organizations, we are serving members at every phase of their career, and we are seen as a small but mighty leader by our peers across the Commonwealth and beyond. I am thankful for the terrific group of like-minded member architects in our community and I am very hopeful for our continual work to ladder up to the national level.
One particular AIA initiative that I'm passionate about is the AIA's "Big Move" toward climate change, and I’m hopeful that our chapter will keep up the momentum. In early September, the AIA’s Board of Directors ratified a bold resolution for urgent and sustained climate action that outlines the decisive actions that the AIA will take on climate change. In conjunction with what the AIA has nicknamed the Big Move Toward Environmental Stewardship, the AIA's official resolution marks a bold step forward in positioning the architectural profession as key leaders for climate action. It outlines three key areas: declare an urgent climate imperative for carbon reduction; transform the day-to-day built practice of architects to achieve a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient and healthy built environment; and leverage support of peers, clients, policy makers, and the public at large. I think it is vital for architects to grow as leaders supporting these kinds of big moves toward climate change and environmental stewardship.
Central Virginia is a hub for organizations working to address these issues, and I’m hopeful that our component will continue to lead in these areas. Over the next two years, I will use my voice on the AIA-VA Board of Directors to represent our community and to advocate for the role of architects in solving these large and complex issues. Architects have a critical role to play. (For more, the AIA’s Statement of Values is here.)
Kelly Callahan, President 2020 - 2021 of AIA-CV Chapter:
Q: Kelly, how do your values as an architect inform your vision and goals for the AIA-CV, and how does that align with your ongoing work at VMDO
KC: Our vision is to promote architects and to advocate for the power of design to transform lives and communities in central Virginia. Our goal is to engage, empower, and truly reflect our members – who are younger, more mission-driven, and more diverse than ever before – to grow and to impact our community in meaningful and positive ways.
As a female architect, I’m mindful that the organization has not traditionally reflected its diversity. Over the last 30 years, I’ve heard many colleagues express that they don’t feel represented by the AIA, and therefore, they don’t get involved. It’s a cycle that feeds itself, so our board is mindful to embrace our diversity by giving voice and support to our members of all ages, genders, and cultures.
As a firm-owner and K-12 Studio leader at VMDO, I understand that the AIA’s advocacy efforts impact our ability to be selected and compensated fairly, as well as promoting the value of sustainable design and resilience. So, the AIA-VA board will continue to elevate and support advocacy for our profession.
As a designer of learning environments, I know that space matters and that our youth are disproportionately affected by environmental factors. Designing happy, healthy, high-performing spaces is vital to all project types, and I’ll continue to promote responsible, sustainable, and resilient design practices. I also understand that process matters, that people support that which they help to create, and that the best solutions come from not one of us, but all of us working together. I look forward to leading the AIA-CV and, together, building a better community.
Shawn Mulligan, President-Elect 2020 - 2021 of AIA-CV Chapter:
Q: Shawn, what have you learned from your time guiding the AIA’s Emerging Professionals (EP) Program, and how might that inform your expanding leadership role over the next few years with the AIA-CV?
SM: This group of young architects in our Emerging Professionals program is impressive! Since our start in early 2018, we’ve grown from 10 members to 45 who meet each month – in local architecture firms, non-profits, factories, and a blacksmithing shop – to share a meal and learn from local business leaders about professional development and how they’ve adapted to success and failure. The EP’s have advocated for our profession by starting a K-12 Architecture in Schools program, creating a design resource group to serve the needs of local non-profits like Building Goodness Foundation and the United Way, connecting with local university AIAS members, and organizing panel discussions on topics like ‘Becoming a Citizen Architect’, ‘Starting a Design (Build) Firm’, and ‘Women in Design’.
Most importantly, this group brings people together, it strengthens personal and professional bonds, and it provides young architects the tools that they need to learn, grow, and lead. We are building community around solving problems, and as a result, our members inspire one another to get licensed, to step up and lead, and to be the change they want in their community. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together – I’m excited to watch the next round of leaders build on our momentum, and I look forward to engaging our under-served members with new programs to help them thrive.
VMDO wishes Rob, Kelly, Shawn, and the entire AIA-CV the best for 2020 and beyond!