2018-2019 Session 8: Future of the Practice

Date: May 3, 2019

Location: Workplace Solutions

2800 Kirby Drive, Suite B200

Houston, Texas 77098

Led by: Krystyn Haecker, Mark Willingham

Session In-Kind Sponsors:  None

Session Sponsor: DLR Group

Venue Sponsor: Workplace Solutions

Overview

Krystyn Haecker and Mark Willingham led the eighth session of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program titled “Future of Practice”. The scholars met at a familiar location, Workplace Solutions, which previously held the fifth session titled “Closing the Deal”.

A series of keynote speakers were scheduled for the afternoon to discuss topics on leadership effectiveness, career and personal development and the role of mentorship.

In preparation for the session, the scholars were asked to reflect on mentorship and diversity. Krystyn Haecker and Mark Willingham kicked off the session by explaining the intent of the personal reflection as it related to the session content. Catherine Callaway, a Senior Associate at Kirksey Architecture, presented to the scholars on why and how to be a leader by telling anecdotes about her career path. Darren C. Heine, President at BBA Architects, then went on to highlight innovative practice models in architecture and what creates innovative projects. Donna Kacmar, Interim Associate Dean and Professor at University of Houston College of Architecture & Design, helped the scholars identify strategies to adjust tendencies towards biases in the workpalce by talking about her work in the AIA EQFA Committee and the AIA Equitable Practice Guides. Her along with Catherin Callaway, also explained the importance of mentorship. The last keynote was a presentation and discussion with Mia Scharphie, Founder of Build Yourself. Mia answered questions the scholars had about their own career and personal development and then went on to present how one can be a creative agent for change.

The Closing Reception concluded the Program at CASA Houston where the scholars, committee, sponsors, mentees, and mentors continued conversations about the program during happy hour.

Session Overview

Session 8 - 3Krystyn Haecker, Mark Willingham

Krystyn Haecker and Mark Willingham began the session by explaining the intent of the personal reflection as it related to the session content. They then went on to introduce the scholars to the four speakers curated for the eighth session and emphasized the ability the group of scholars has to improve and change the future of architecture.

 

Keynote 01: Be a Leader

Catherine Callaway, AIA, LEED AP | Senior Associate, Kirksey | Architecture

Catherine Callaway, Senior Associate at Kirksey Architecture, presented to the scholars on why and how to be a leader utilizing anecdotes to describe four key points for each.

“You live here, we live here,” she said and then began to tell us about her experience leading AIA’s Walking Tours and how she was able to give back to the city and have a positive impact on the community. She urged the scholars to think about why they are in Houston, why they are in their profession and why they are in the program. Catherine then explained how through volunteering and leadership outside of the office she has grown her career and expanded her perspective. Being a leader means learning new skills and learning from mistakes; she reflected on her time as President of the AIA Houston Chapter when Hurricane Harvey came through. Lastly, she urged the scholars to assess together, where is CKLDP taking the group. The key point she was getting across was growing your network and how making these connections makes the community stronger.

Catherine highlighted on people in her life (Kirksey colleagues, WIA committee, family, AIA board and staff) who are very important to her because they allow her and help her be where she is today. She advised the scholars about the importance of saying no through her own words and quotes of others. Continuing on her time as the President, she noted that you need to be prepared to show up – fake it ‘til you make it. To conclude her presentation, she expressed the importance of staying true to yourself. She observed other leaders and identified what made them successful leaders but ultimately, she knew she would only succeed if she was authentically true to herself. She acknowledged that since it is hard to identify your own qualities, it is best to ask for feedback from people who know you best, asses who you are, where you are going and look at things that are important to you. Most importantly, hold each other accountable.

Keynote 02: Innovative Practice Models in Architecture

Darren C. Heine, AIA | President, BBA Architects, LP

The next keynote speaker was Darren C. Heine, President at BBA Architects. Darren currently serves as one of three Texas regional representatives to the AIA National Strategic Council, the “think tank” of the Institute and member of the Public Outreach, Innovative Business Models, and Transforming Architectural Education working groups. He began describing the makeup of the AIA National Strategic Council which has 18 regions plus international and how each region has multiple representatives. The purpose is to act as a think tank and bring things to the board that is of high priority. Through generative thinking, representatives create organic engagement with members of the AIA, forecast knowledge and the next big thing and bring public awareness of the AIA, Architects, and Architecture.

Darren then went on to highlight innovative practice models in architecture and what creates innovative projects. He started with the importance of knowing your client types and getting them involved as soon as possible. A client whose first time to work with an Architect is considered a Level 1 client versus a Level 3 client who is experienced and more included to use traditional processes and more interactive in all aspects. Daren identified the Business Traditional Model and pointed out disrupting forces which have morphed the business model. Some of which his firm implements such as working remotely and technological advances (BIM technology, Research, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality). Lastly, Daren identified key resources to help guide innovative practice – The Architect’s Voice: Advocating for Our Profession, The AIA Trust, Architect Innovation Lab and Center for Practice.

Keynote 03: The Work of the AIA EQFA Committee and the AIA Equitable Practice Guides

Donna Kacmar, FIAI | Interim Associate Dean and Professor, University of Houston College of Architecture & Design

Donna Kacmar, Interim Associate Dean and Professor at University of Houston College of Architecture & Design, helped the scholars identify strategies to adjust tendencies towards biases in the workplace by talking about her work in the AIA EQFA Committee and the AIA Equitable Practice Guides. Her along with Catherin Callaway also explained the importance of mentorship.

Donna began telling the scholars that someone reached out to Natalye Appel to be featured in a book titled A House for My Mother and Natalye referred her to the author because she too had designed a home for her mother. Donna took the scholars through her time at Texas A&M to starting her firm. She showed how her career was not planned but rather guided by people, like Natalye, who helped her; she was at the right place at the right time. Natalye was Donna’s mentor and helped her get on the AIA Houston board; she put her places and gave her opportunity. Donna shared how she followed in Natalye’s footsteps and did the same for Catherine Callaway. Donna explained how she did not have a 5-year plan or 10-year plan but how her volunteer efforts, through WIA, led her to her leadership in equity. She read articles, current reports, the law and learned from people who were talking about equity (not only in our profession) which helped her develop the equity guide with the University of Minnesota. She walked the scholars through the equity guide, describing its’ importance and showed examples of how different entities are leading the way. The first thing is transparency, one must understand the bands of compensation to be able to access opportunity. She encouraged the scholars to understand and know their worth by keeping track of their performance, keep an updated resume and take negotiation training. Donna also strongly encouraged mentorship and how it is important to not over mentor and explained the difference between giving advice and advocating. She ended her discussion by pointing out how diverse Houston is and how the scholars should take advantage of it and share our knowledge.

Keynote 04: How to Be a Creative Agent for Change

Mia Scharphie | Founder, Build Yourself

IMG_9682 (1)

The last keynote was a presentation and discussion with Mia Scharphie, Founder of Build Yourself. Mia started the discussion by asking and answering questions the scholars had about their career and personal development and then went on to present how one can be a creative agent for change.

The real question, she stated, is not can you change the world through design but HOW can you change the world through design. Mia used herself as an example and described how she sees herself as a social worker in designer’s clothing. She grew up with the value set of doing social work and now works full time for herself as a design consultant.

Session 8 - 9

Mia’s advise on “how to be a creative agent of change” was to be systems-curious. She explained how the profession tends to focus too much on physical systems. She urged the scholars to find gaps in the market, get creative about revenue, understand where bias might be showing up in your organization and recognize tradeoffs. She also asked scholars to be obsessively human and organize a Design for Equity event. This event is one that uses a cookbook and three-course meal as training and conversation surrounding equity. Lastly, she described the importance of claiming your agency; propose ideas and don’t wait for permission; let your creativity go big. Overall, the idea behind being a creative agent of change is making small commitments, putting stakes in the ground, building upon personal capacity and taking risks because each risk builds to the next risk.

Conclusion

The eighth session of the 2018-2019 Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program allowed the scholars to reflect on their career path and learn how to be an effective leader. The keynote speakers were excellently chosen to reflect the “Future of Practice” and was a perfect means to end the program. It left the scholars with a true sense of the past and the future and with the tools they need to make the next steps in not only their careers but the careers of others. It also provided them with the knowledge to improve and change the architectural profession.

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