It seems like yesterday when I flew east to serve as the Institute’s Interim EVP/CEO. Now, almost eight months later, my stay in Washington draws to a close as I prepare to return to the AIA California Council, my home for over thirty years.
My time in Washington has been a wonderful adventure. From the beginning, the support of the National component staff was incredible. Clearly anxious about another leadership transition, and with memories of recent furloughs and staff reductions, they nevertheless tolerated the rough edges of my learning curve and thoughtfully listened to my ramblings about saddle horses, ranch life, and an assortment of cowboy wisdom. I like to think my time with them has rekindled their optimism and trust in each other, as well for all members of the AIA’s extended family.
After all, we are an organization committed to realize dreams of wonderful possibilities, possibilities inspired by the relationships we forge in our work-a-day world. Yes, we never have enough time or opportunities to get to know all those we serve. It’s a struggle. Yet I know AIA members would be very proud of the staff and the caliber of people who work on their behalf.
Words can’t express the depth of gratitude I owe the members of the AIA’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Supporting my realignment of staff and programs during the interim was courageous. Their trust and leadership has positioned the organization for success. We’ve surely turned a corner and have begun transforming our culture towards one of cooperation and respect.
I started this blog shortly after I came to Washington to open a dialogue on issues of concern. I also wanted it to serve as a constant reminder that we need to nurture collaboration throughout the Institute until it becomes ingrained as part of our character and the fabric of this organization. We’ve made important strides in that direction, but we have a distance to go. I know Robert Ivy will be looking for and will depend on our advice and support.
Concerning my CACE colleagues, I know I may not have pleased all of you all the time, but I did my best to work for your success. Balancing the interests, opinions, and needs of so many can be challenging. Dealing with the realities of diminishing resources, a growing appetite for member services, and, at the same time, making everyone happy is tough. Who would even make the attempt? Members of CACE do it every day.
Despite working many more hours than expected or compensated for, the AIA’s component leadership is a constant source of inspiration. Both professional and volunteer, they represent the brand, the vision, and the aspirations of the AIA, the flagship for the profession. Expected to know everything in an ever-changing world of subjects, issues, and initiatives, they maintain the faith and confidence that what they are doing helps architects weave the value of design into the fabric of society. I am proud to be an AIA component executive, and my thanks to all of you for your support.
I could not sign off this final Forum post without expressing my sincere appreciation to 2010 AIA President George Miller, FAIA. Facing a period of transition, he was undoubtedly given a lot of advice regarding candidates for the interim position. I am grateful that he gave me the opportunity to be of service to an organization and profession that have given so much to me and that I so deeply love.
These past eight months have strengthened my belief that I am blessed. All my life I’ve been surrounded by friends and colleagues who are so much better in what they do than I. Thanks to all who have been so supportive, and so very patient with my shortcomings. Whatever I have been able to contribute has been returned tenfold by your support, wisdom, and friendship.