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AIA Director - Request for Statement of Qualifications


The AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors has the opportunity to appoint the next AIA Director for the North Central States region on the national AIA Board of Directors. The AIA Director will be appointed to a three-year term that begins in December 2013.

The North Central States region includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. The 3,400 AIA Architect and Associate AIA members in the region are represented by two AIA Directors who serve staggered three-year terms. The opportunity to appoint the AIA Directors is rotated among the states in the region. The appointment of one of the AIA Director positions is rotated among all four states in the region, while the appointment of the other AIA Director position is rotated between Wisconsin and Minnesota. As a result of this established rotational scheme, the next opportunity for the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors to appoint the AIA Director will be in 2018.

AIA Board of Directors
The AIA Board of Directors is made up of 52 individuals, including the President and other elected officers, 36 Directors representing 19 regions [domestic and international], two Public Directors and several other Directors representing Associate AIA members, component executives and architecture students.

There are four multi-day Board of Directors meetings each year, including one prior to the annual AIA Grassroots Leadership & Legislative Conference and another prior to the AIA Convention. There also are Board conference calls prior to each face-to-face meeting.

In addition, AIA Directors are appointed to committees and task forces that conduct business between regular AIA Board meetings. AIA Directors also are expected to communicate regularly with state and local AIA component leaders and component executives in the region.

Selection Process & Deadlines
AIA Wisconsin members interested in being considered for the AIA Director appointment are encouraged to submit a letter of interest with a statement of qualifications by no later than May 24 to:

Review Committee
AIA Wisconsin
321 S. Hamilton Street
Madison, WI 53703

Eligible candidates must be assigned members of AIA Wisconsin in good standing. Institute bylaws require regions to be represented by Architect members. Depending on the number of members interested in the position, the Review Committee may schedule interviews with a short-list of candidates.

The Review Committee is made up of the AIA Wisconsin President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer plus two Past Presidents who have served as AIA Directors for the North Central States region. The committee will submit a recommendation for the AIA Director appointment to the AIA Wisconsin Board of Directors for consideration at its meeting in June. The recommended candidate may be invited to make a short presentation at this meeting and respond to questions from members of the Board of Directors.

Qualifications & Criteria
The statement of qualifications submitted with the letter of interest should address the following selection criteria that have been established for the AIA Director appointment:

  • Leadership – Demonstrated leadership skills and experience with the AIA and/or other similar professional organizations.
  • Strategic Thinking – Ability to address issues strategically and consider opportunities from a variety of perspectives.
  • Time – Ability to commit the time required, both personal commitment and the support of partners, firm and/or employer.
  • Communication – Effective communication skills, including ideas for listening to and engaging AIA members and component leaders in region.
  • AIA Structure – Understanding of AIA organizational structure, responsibilities of AIA Director position and relationship of AIA strategic plan to the goals of state and local AIA components in region.
  • Other – Other relevant skills, talents and/or experience.


The statement of qualifications may include up to three letters of support from AIA members.

AIA Director – Responsibilities
Serving as an AIA Director can be a very rewarding experience. However, it is important to carefully consider the responsibilities and time commitment required. The AIA Board Handbook outlines the primary roles and responsibilities of the AIA Director position.  The following highlights several of the key duties and responsibilities:

  • The Board of Directors is responsible for the general management of the affairs of the Institute. This includes exercising control of the Institute’s real, personal and intangible property, approving all major contractual agreements, adopting AIA Public Policies and Position Statements, and providing progressive leadership in support of AIA’s strategic plan.
  • Directors shall endeavor to communicate the specific concerns of members and leaders of the region. However, each Director shall act, based on his or her own judgment, in accordance with what is best for the greater good of the Institute and the entire membership.
  • Each Director shall endeavor to learn about and participate in the business of the Institute. This includes discharge of his/her fiduciary duties to the Institute, which involves the duty to act within applicable authority [become familiar with the AIA Bylaws and Rules of the Board], the duty of loyalty [avoid conflicts of interest and protect confidentiality of information] and the duty of care [attend all Board meetings and participate in all meetings of Board committees and task forces to which Director is assigned].
  • Directors shall be prepared to perform all Board obligations diligently, conscientiously and as effectively as possible, including undertaking any special assignments upon request of the President. These obligations include working effectively with staff and volunteer resources and engaging in different kinds of thinking [strategic, analytical, “blue sky”].
  • Directors have a direct fiduciary duty to monitor, understand and direct the financial affairs of the Institute. This includes reviewing financial reports, understanding the implications of the decisions reflected in the approval of the annual operating budget and assisting with fundraising efforts.
  • Directors need to function as an important communications link between the Institute and its components, members and the public. This involves communicating regularly with members, conferring and exchanging ideas with other Directors, and providing timely and ongoing communication with the component leaders in the region.
  • Directors have the important responsibility to provide and nurture leadership to help ensure the future success of the Institute. This includes striving to make sure that programs and policies reflect the needs and aspirations of members, identifying and recruiting new leadership for the Board, sponsoring convention resolutions, and suggesting candidates for various honors and awards.
  • Directors must operate with integrity and must act honestly, ethically and in good faith. Each Director shall make full disclosure of any conflicts of interest with the Institute in connection with a particular transaction. Directors have the duty to question and speak out when opposed to proposed Institute policies or practices.


Travel to components within the North Central States region typically has been shared by the two AIA Directors.

For more information about the AIA mission, organization, strategic plan and leadership, go to:

AIA Director – Contact Information
Members interested in the appointment are encouraged to talk with the following current and recent AIA Directors from the North Central States region to gain a better understanding of the expectations and responsibilities of the position:

Stephen Fiskum, FAIA, Minneapolis [2012-15]   612-758-4502

Mark Swenson, FAIA, Minneapolis [2010-13]   612-373-4625      

Tom Cox, AIA, Appleton [2009-12]   920-475-4088

Kevin Connolly, AIA, Wauwatosa (2007-10)   414-289-0900 x303

If you have questions about the responsibilities of the AIA Director position, you may contact Pam Day, Hon. AIA, Corporate Secretary and Managing Director, Governance Administration, at the American Institute of Architects in Washington, DC; phone: 202-626-7305; email:

AIA Director – Expectations & Benefits
Several former AIA Directors from Wisconsin offered the following insights into their experience:

  • While the AIA Board of Directors can sometimes appear to function like a legislature, it attempts to maintain its focus on policy and strategic issues.
  • The AIA President serves a one-year term, runs the meetings and makes the committee assignments.
  • Directors are appointed to one or two Board committees, which involves additional meetings, monthly conference calls, and completion of tasks assigned by the committee chair.
  • Directors are provided “talking points’ following Board meetings to help with the communication with state and local component leaders in the region.
  • The North Central States region typically does not have regional meetings outside the gatherings held in conjunction with the annual AIA Grassroots conference and AIA Convention. On occasion, conference calls are scheduled with state component leaders.
  • Board meetings typically require a commitment of several days each, including travel time. Meeting locations vary; be prepared for all the travel and hotel stays.
  • Board conference calls are scheduled in advance of face-to-face meetings to discuss reports and tee up issues to be discussed at meeting.
  • There is a great deal of meeting preparation time required; be prepared for major amounts of reading prior to Board meetings.
  • The three years go by very quickly . . . just when you think you’re getting it, your term ends.
  • Directors also are expected to do many other things, such as attend special events and contribute to ArchiPAC, that require financial contributions.
  • Directors develop life-long friendships as a result of working together on difficult issues with a group of people that share a passion for the profession.
  • As a Director, you learn more about leadership strengths and weaknesses, with an opportunity to practice new skills in this setting. You also have opportunities to improve your public speaking and other communication skills.
  • Directors become more aware of all the resources available through the AIA – many of which our members do not appreciate or even know about.
  • Serving as a Director offers an opportunity to develop a network and collaborate with other architects and firms. You can pick up valuable new practice tips from fellow AIA Directors.
  • Directors are given the real opportunity to make a positive difference for the profession.


Additional Information

Thank you for your interest. Please contact the AIA Wisconsin office if you have questions about the AIA Director position and the appointment process.


AIA Wisconsin
321 S. Hamilton Street
Madison, WI 53703
608-257-8477   |  800-272-4483 |

Review Committee
Tom Cox, AIA, Chair
David Peterson, AIA
Jody Andres, AIA
Melissa Destree, AIA
Kevin Connolly, AIA



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