Expanding AIA’s Opportunities through Sound Research and Strategy

Expanding AIA’s Opportunities through Sound Research and Strategy
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Robert Ivy, FAIA, Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects and Jay Younger, FASAE discuss the impact McKinley Advisors’ has had on AIA.

Interview Transcription:

Robert: I am Robert Ivy and I am the Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects. We’re an 83,000-person, member-based association. Among the trends that we see in architecture design and construction, the primary one is the economy and how that has changed. After going through what is arguably the worst recession, certainly in my professional life and in my memory, but I hope in all of our lifetimes.

Jay: Architects and AIA by extension are a unique group of folks, they’re passionate about their work, love visual representations, and they are design thinkers and problem solvers. So when we get them in a professional setting—in a consulting setting—they often want to contribute.

Jay: I can’t pretend to be an architect with your members, but they value having conversation that is informed by their world. So I think that has helped build a little bit of trust and we need that in order to accomplish what we’re looking to accomplish.

You came in as an architect with your own background and training to this crazy world of association management, and several years later now I think you have an appreciation that maybe you didn’t have as a member of the AIA board or a reflection of what the staff does and how the association can be effective.

Robert: This is where McKinley comes in, because we have relied on them to help lead us to best practices within the association world— what others are doing that succeeds or fails. It has helped guide our decision making as a group—both from the staff position and from the elected leadership position— toward small decisions and, I would say for us, large decisions that have affected the course of the organization. I came from corporate management and they’re both radically different from association management. And frankly, it was a surprise to me that corporate decision-making is very different from association decision-making. This is consensus building and leadership through consensus building. It’s a very different set of skills. Jay and McKinley have helped us approach that method and use it effectively.