by Zigmund Rubel, AIA
On Saturday, May 2, 2009, the AIA wrapped up its business meeting. Like many of the business meetings I have attended in the past, it was populated by those of us who would consider ourselves AIA junkies. We junkies choose to be delegates and shape what we want the AIA to be.
Any AIA member (full AIA member or Associate) can become an accredited delegate, based on the practices of the individual's component. Few members, in terms of percentage, are delegates. The delegates who attend the business meeting make their “My AIA, Our AIA.”
The business meeting had significant Bylaws amendments that affect our governance, and I'm writing to engage my fellow members to get involved and know the issues to be a part of making their "My AIA, Our AIA" inthe future. The voting failed three Bylaws amendments. An amendment requires a two-thirds vote to pass. This requirement is appropriate because amendment changes affect the governing practices of the Institute, and there should be more than a simple majority to make this modification. I feel that so few members are aware that these discussions are going on because the attendance at the business meeting of accredited delegates is a small subset of member convention attendees.
The three amendments that did not pass all had to do with membership. The first failed amendment, 09-B, was to recognize membership category for public members. This would've allowed the Institute to invite anyone from the public at large to be involved with the AIA for a membership fee, i.e. "Supporter of the AIA." The second failed amendment, 09-C, was to recognize architects licensed in foreign countries as AIA International members instead of International Associates. International Associates currently are licensed in their native jurisdictions, and this amendment would have allowed International Associates to use the “AIA International” designation. The third failed Amendment, 09-D, was a follow-on action from a passed resolution from the 2008 Convention to allow Associate Members as Regional Directors on the Institute's Board of Directors. This amendment would have allowed Associate Members to have voting privileges on the national Board, representing their region.
I write this partial summary of the business meeting so that the average AIA member is aware of it and can be a part of it in the future. I think these decisions are important. Delegates represent either their components or individual interests. Members need to be involved so that they are properly represented. The average member can be involved by attending their local component board meetings or interacting with any of the board members at the different component functions, sharing their thoughts on the Institute's governance. This article is not to suggest that you support a vote one way or another, but to say that these are important issues and that as members we all should be aware and contribute what makes "Our AIA, My AIA."
These bylaw amendments should return to the business meeting in 2010 in Miami. I want all of you, our members, to be engaged to shape "Our AIA to be My AIA." To put some of what I'm saying in perspective and demonstrate the significance of one of the amendments: approximately 20 percent of AIA members are Associates and none of them is allowed to serve on the national Board as Regional Representatives. Maybe this is appropriate. Were you aware of this and do you agree with it? Is this "My AIA or Our AIA"?
Our profession is transforming and needs leadership. You need to be involved. The leadership is speaking from your heart. Leadership is the courage to make a difference. This difference is what makes "Our AIA, My AIA." That is the AIA that I want to be a part of, one that will lead our industry through the transformation that will get us through the 2030 Challenge.
This journey will require implementation of the Institute’s three strategic initiatives: Sustainability requiring collaboration, IPD requiring respecting those on the team, and Diversity requiring all stakeholders of the team to participate. My AIA needs you to make that difference. Get involved.
Get involved and make a difference with your membership. Attend your next component board meeting. Contact your component president or its executive director and tell them that you want to be a part of shaping your AIA. We need you to be active to shape our future. That is the AIA that I think we all want to be a part of, My AIA, Our AIA.