January 27, 2016 / President's Letters

February 2016 President's Letter — Collaborative Synergies


AIABaltimore and Baltimore Architecture Foundation leadership meet for a planning retreat at Price Modern.

On January 12th the leadership of AIABaltimore and the Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF) met at Price Modern’s award-winning (Gensler designed) facility for a strategic planning retreat. They donated four hours of their very valuable professional time towards improving the way we serve our members. And I must say that I was very pleased with and appreciative for what everyone accomplished together. But you need not take just my word on it:
“Just wanted to reach out and let you know that the Emerging Professionals Committee came away with some very specific and concrete ideas that we will be working into our plan and workflow for the upcoming year. Oftentimes events of this nature can be looked upon as a chore, but I think this was helpful for all the committees and at the very least made some important introductions. Looking forward to the new year.” –Trey Shamer, Emerging Professionals Co-Chair
“Most valuable was the connection and discussion amongst committees. This will lead to the increased coordination that we seek. The simple connection of faces to names is valuable. Related would be the physical visualization of the greater whole by gathering all together.”
–Rob Brennan, AIABaltimore Past President
“I think the experience was very informative and eye-opening. I know I heard the sentiment echoed by a few of the new chairs that they really had no idea what else was going on in the other committees and I think they started to understand the bigger picture. I would love to see the board/committee chairs continue the conversations and momentum from the retreat throughout the rest of the year, so it is not just a standalone event. I look forward to a great synergetic year!”
–Ally Lancaster, Staff

The take-away for me was that we can build upon the collaboration that is already happening by taking a closer look to make it purposeful collaboration and not doing it for the sake of collaboration; it needs to be in service to our membership (and the public).”
–Sharon Day, AIABaltimore President-Elect

“Overall, it was a nice networking opportunity to meet other committee members that I wouldn’t have met otherwise because we are all in our own committee silos.”
–Marty Marren, Design Awards Co-Chair

“The major takeaway for me was finding synergies through collaboration. Sharing the workload, resources, and brain power among the committees is not only great for establishing quality programs, but helps provide a network that is more like a community than a bunch of different groups trying to do their own thing. It would be great if we could keep the conversation going through the year; perhaps schedule another event where all the committee chairs can get together again and touch base so we can follow up on the momentum and energy! It was a very fruitful process; I think politicians could learn a thing or two from it.”
–Martina Reilly, AIABaltimore Board Member, COTE | Resiliency Co-Chair

This retreat began with a renewed call to stress quality over quantity in our programs and presented an opportunity to apply our professional problem solving skills towards improving our programs. But most important to our success are the next steps we take together, which will include:

  • An increase in the number of events which are jointly sponsored by two or more committees.
  • A willingness to drop marginal events to strengthen the events our members prefer and attend in greater numbers.
  • One or two follow-up events that allow committees to continue the important process begun by this retreat.
  • The infectious energy that occurs when multiple AIABaltimore committees and the BAF pool their ideas and resources to serve our members even more effectively.

I am looking forward to great collaborations in the year ahead.
Thanks for all you will do to help us with this critical effort!
anthony sig
Anthony Consoli, AIA
President, AIABaltimore 2016
Campus Architect, University of Maryland Baltimore