What does AIA do for me?

We hear such questions often…  What has AIA done for the profession? What does AIA do for me? What are the board members of our chapter doing for us? Where is all the membership money going?

My question is… who is AIA? WE are the AIA! AIA is not a separate entity managing us and our finances. We manage our own assets at AIA and it is us that we serve. The mission of AIA is to be “the voice of the architectural profession and a resource for its members in service to society.” That’s what the board of directors is trying to do every day: serve.

How many of us really know what it means to be an AIA Las Vegas Director? Being an AIA Director should be seen as a privilege because it allows you to make things happen that we want to see AIA doing. One should not run for an election because they want it in their resume or they are marketing their firms. One needs to have passion to make a difference or to continue the progress on the aspects that already work well. If we do it for the right reasons, we can certainly help the profession.

The nominations for the elections are still ongoing. I encourage you to send the nominations for strong leaders with variety of assets and backgrounds. I believe that when a person starts on the AIA Las Vegas board, they already should have an idea on what it is that they want to do in their role. One shouldn’t have to give you your job responsibility; you create your own responsibilities. You volunteer your own time as much as you can and you make of it whatever you want to get out of it. Whether your passion is codes, residential work, environmental responsibility, golf, products, urban design, event planning, socializing, managing, finances, or even running raffles, you can add significantly to the board. We need a variety of skills and we certainly need passionate people. Ones with passion are usually responsible as well.

In terms of time, you can input 10 hours a month to 30 hours a month towards this volunteer role. It is entirely up to you. The more you give, the more you get. It has been an incredible learning experience for me. I started with USGBC Nevada board first and joined AIA Las Vegas board later. I can’t imagine having grown professionally as much if I had worked in an office all day. I wouldn’t enjoy moving forward without volunteering some of my time anymore! It is the most rewarding experience in my opinion. If I could do volunteer work for a living, that would be perfect! And yet again… the more you do for the AIA, the more it will do for you in terms of your own learning experiences.

Where the membership dues are spent is a public record. Please feel free to stop by the AIA office anytime and we can share where the money is going. The board of directors is not partying with the AIA money, the expenses for our travel to conferences are not being paid by the AIA, and the lunch we have during the board meetings is not paid by the AIA. The AIA staff has more workload than three people can handle and they do an incredible job at it. Our chapter would not be so successful if not for the three ladies that work for AIA.

I do want to bring attention to another avenue that is often neglected – committees. Do you know what our committees are? Membership, Programs, Emerging Professionals/Young Architects Forum, Committee on Design, Advisory, Legislative Affairs, Product Show, Golf Tournament, High School Design Awards, and Architecture Week. There are numerous avenues where we can use your help. Please ask us today how you can join one of our committees and help make 2011 a better year than 2010. (Rob, you owe me one for this!)

We look forward to all the great people who will be joining our board next year and we thank all the board members who are currently serving on the board with me. They are incredible individuals that I continue to learn from. At the next meeting, please come and talk to us. We want to listen to you and act. Please consider running for the elections and certainly don’t forget to vote!

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