AIA CEO Lakisha Woods says "her success is tied to their success" at A'22 kickoff

Submitted by ce8f442d-41a9-… on Thu, 06/23/2022 - 17:43
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"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Woods said that in her first several months in office, she\u2019s been busy asking members what they think AIA\u2019s number one priority should be. \u201cIn finding the consistency around where people think our number one priority is, that\u2019s where we\u2019re going to find the greatest opportunity for change and advancement moving forward,\u201d she said. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cI\u2019ve always been seen as a change agent,\u201d she continued. \u201cA change agent is required if we\u2019re trying to make those steps to move the organization forward.\u0022 "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Woods highlighted AIA\u2019s "],[0,[1],1,"Strategic Plan"],[0,[],0," as one of the main reasons why she was excited to tackle this leadership opportunity. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cI think my background as an association management professional properly aligns with what\u2019s needed for that next step for AIA,\u201d she said. She cited her previous roles at the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Institute of Building Sciences. "]]],[10,0],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cThose big, key issues that are facing one group are facing all of them,\u201d she said. \u201cSo I\u2019m excited to be at AIA, where they put in writing what needs to happen next to impact and change this industry and this profession.\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"As Gamolina noted, Woods has a proven track record of strengthening the bottom line of the associations she has led in the past \u2013 and asked how she was planning to bring that focus to the AIA. Woods cited business acumen gleaned from her father, saying that while many associations don\u2019t currently view themselves as businesses, those times have changed. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cIn order for us to achieve our mission, we have to be flexible. We have to operate as a business,\u201d she said, highlighting the products and services that AIA currently offers as potential areas for growth. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cSo often, we do it because we\u2019ve always done it that way,\u201d she said of entrenched ways of thinking that can rule an organization\u2019s processes. \u201cI like to ask the question: do we still need to continue to do it? Is it helping the greater number of our members?\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cThere are a lot of companies out there that are producing services that compete with associations,\u201d she continued. \u201cSo if we don\u2019t learn how to drive the value of why you should pay your dues and become a member of this organization and see it as the best investment you\u2019ve ever made \u2013when you get that invoice, [we want you to say], \u2018Deal of the century.\u2019 And if you\u2019re not saying that, we\u2019ve got some work to do.\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"When talking about what drew Woods to the AIA, she acknowledged that it was a dream job for her \u2013 as well as an exciting opportunity to strengthen both sustainability and equity in the built environment. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cI think about what AIA\u2019s real goal is, and that is being a convener,\u201d she said. \u201cWe need all of those [industry] groups to come together and utilize all of our skill sets \u2013 for equity, for sustainability \u2013 for our designs to truly impact society.\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"When it comes to the business case for sustainability and equity, Woods emphasized that there is data-supported evidence that greater diversity and equity in a company\u2019s culture can impact the bottom line \u2013 and that sharing success stories from national components and chapters is going to be key to the organization\u2019s messaging going forward. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cFor me, that\u2019s where I am focused, and I want to make sure our team is sharing all the great stories that exist across the country,\u201d she said. As leader of the AIA, Woods is unique in two ways \u2013 she is not an architect, and she\u2019s also a member of what Gamolina called a \u201cvastly underrepresented group\u201d in the profession. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cHow will those qualities help you help the profession thrive?\u201d Gamolina asked. Woods says she\u2019s asking questions that someone from a more traditional architecture background might not ask, and in the process, identifying a \u201cbell curve\u201d where members need help, tools, and resources. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cWe have to focus on the solutions that are for the greater good,\u201d she said. \u201cI\u2019m always focused on, what is going to make our members successful? What is going to make them profitable?\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Ultimately, she said, her success is tied to the success of AIA\u2019s members, and that\u2019s where she\u2019s focused as a leader."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cGetting buy-in, finding out what people need, making changes based on what they need \u2013 that\u2019s where I am, and that\u2019s where I stay focused,\u201d she said. "]]]]}
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Madam Architect’s Julia Gamolina interviewed AIA’s Executive Vice President and CEO Lakisha Woods on Wednesday, June 22, on the main stage at AIA’s Conference on Architecture 2022 in Chicago. This is Woods’ first conference as AIA’s EVP/CEO, but not, as she noted, her first Conference on Architecture.
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Lakisha Woods and Julia Gamolina on the main stage at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2022.
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