AIA|LA Strategic Plan

AIA Los Angeles Strategic Plan, Goals and Objectives

The Los Angeles AIA Mission: “Providing Leadership in Improving the Built Environment.”

As a membership organization of approximately 3000 architects, interns, and allied professionals, Los Angeles AIA advocates through the lens of architecture and urban design a more livable and sustainable future. Los Angeles AIA gathers first and foremost members, people interested in the design and development of the built environment, and the general public to explore, debate, communicate, and advocate the value of architecture and urban design to beneficially shape structures, buildings, open spaces, cities and all aspects of the designed environment for future generations.

Los Angeles AIA also encourages and facilitates architectural leadership that develops innovative design solutions, enhances open space and urban environments, improves interior spaces, and conserves the character of neighborhoods, cultural monuments, and historic resources. This commitment to architectural leadership provides the greater Los Angeles community resources to realize a greater sense of place as a creative and cultural world capital.

At its core, Los Angeles AIA creates value for its membership by providing a full range of professional development opportunities that meet the needs of a diverse and multi-faceted architecture community. Using the talents and design intelligence of this community of architecture professionals, the Los Angeles AIA seeks to influence the shaping of Los Angeles and the greater region by advocating architectural excellence, sustainability, and the realization of urban design that improves the lives of all Angelinos.
The Los Angeles AIA Strategic Plan Process

In January 2009, as part of the annual Board of Directors retreat, Chapter leadership engaged in the third of three strategic planning sessions. This session, led by 2009 President John Kaliski and Past-Presidents Michael Lehrer and Michael Hricak, followed two earlier strategic planning sessions coordinated by Past-Presidents John Dale and Mike Enomoto. During these three sessions, four key threads or themes emerged:

  • Enhance the Value of Membership
  • Ensure Efficiency and Excellence in Operations
  • Improve Outreach and Communications
  • Establish a Center for Architecture

The following comments summarize steps taken to date, as well as opportunities looking forward and recommended actions that should be considered to implement the four key themes.



During the three strategic planning sessions, participants consistently expressed the importance of working with the next generation of architects to enhance their experience and education. This aspect of AIA/LA participation was understood to be a fundamental value of AIA membership that needs to be continuously enhanced.

Enhance The Value of Membership: 2009 Steps

    Retention of Membership: During 2009, despite economic hardship, Los Angeles AIA was fortunate to retain a substantial portion of its membership. In fact, greater demand was placed on the Chapter’s resources, more members participated in continuing education classes, and programs were generally well subscribed. Extra emphasis was placed on staff service to individual members and building staff relationships with the twenty-seven committees. Serving as direct liaisons to the committee chairs, staff was able to bridge more effectively concurrent programming needs. The Executive Committee, the Board, and staff also created a restructured organizational chart to illustrate the inter-connectivity of Chapter’s committees and activities.

Enhance The Value of Membership: Recommended Next Steps

    Enhance And Measure Chapter Connections To Membership Utilizing The Web Page: with the implementation of the new website, staff needs to inspire the membership to activate web blogs and expand the level of web content that is relevant to the membership. Likewise, staff needs to determine measures that gauge the effectiveness of the web page in reaching membership.

    Improve Chapter And Board Connections To Committees: Los Angeles AIA’s 27 committees touch hundreds of members. To more effectively relate the work of committees to the efforts of the Board, the Board and senior Los Angeles AIA staff should discuss means of working more closely and effectively with Committees. The Board should consider the idea of designating Board Directors with a portfolio of committees to ensure greater connectivity amongst the diverse levels of membership commitment and involvement.

    Enhance Educational Opportunities For Members: In the current economic climate, education is of critical importance to membership. Significant changes are occurring in many areas of practice. Gaining new knowledge in these areas can enable members to remain effective in their current positions and enable those that are unemployed to gain access to new opportunities. Educational programs can also create revenue that can support other Chapter activities. Staff should update the Board regarding existing, proposed, and additional educational opportunities that can feasibly be offered.

    Increase Networking Opportunities For Members: Many of our Chapter members are in need of new project and/or employment opportunities. The Chapter should support ways for members to make new contacts and relationships by continuing to promote member activities, such as our committees, and by facilitating increased interaction between committees and other related organizations. Staff should update the Board regarding existing, proposed, and additional networking opportunities that can feasibly be offered.


In order to ensure the Chapter’s short and long-term financial stability, the Chapter, its Board, Executive Committee, and senior Chapter staff need to continuously examine existing operations, relevancy of programs, efficiency of management and operations, and seek means to continuously improve efficiency and delivery of services and programs.

Ensure Efficiency And Excellence in Operations: 2009 Steps Taken

    Relate Budget To Economic Circumstances: Chapter leadership has realized the inherent fiscal challenge of the current economic cycle. As a precautionary measure, the 2009 budget was constrained anticipating reductions in revenue. Overhead was trimmed and a reduction in staff effectuated even as programming and benefits to membership were generally maintained. At the same time new fundraising strategies were implemented that enabled potential sponsors to take advantage of a wider-selection of benefits. Additional sources of revenue were also sought, especially through the development of a more robust program of professional development seminars that were highly subscribed to.

Ensure Efficiency and Excellence in Operations: Recommended Next Steps

    Explore New Revenue Streams: AIA/LA staff should explore and compile means to enhance revenue streams and report back to the President, Executive Committee, and Board their findings and recommendations by June 30, 2010.

    Develop An Attractive Sponsors Package: Staff should develop a visually compelling sponsorship package that will better present AIA/LA and the value of sponsorships.

    Develop Better Means To Sell Programs And Events: Staff should develop better means that utilize the Chapter website and social networking sites to offer a wider menu of options for the purchasing tickets in advance of programs.

    Staff Growth and Development: In keeping with Los Angeles AIA’s focus to provide excellence and efficiency in operations, the Executive Director should work closely with the President, Executive Committee, and the Board to further clarify staff roles on a job description by job description basis and implement these roles. In this regard, the Associate Director should be charged with overseeing day-to-day operations of the Chapter, and the Director of Programs and Events should be charged with the responsibility of monitoring on a quarterly basis fiscal impacts of programs. The Executive Director should report back to the President and the Executive Committee at the end of each quarter regarding progress with regard to staff growth and development as noted herein.

    Continue To Relate Budget To Economic Circumstances: Economic conditions for 2010 may be no better than 2009, or possibly worse. Chapter leadership must continue to be vigilant about the economic condition of the Chapter and be prepared take steps to ensure financial stability. The Executive Director should report back to the President and the Executive Committee at the end of each quarter regarding the status of the budget and as appropriate proposed actions to maintain a balanced budget.


Architecture and urban design advocacy to civic and political leadership, allied professional organizations, membership, and the community at large, raises the profile of architecture, architecture practices, and architects in Los Angeles, and communicates and demonstrates how architecture and urban design improves the built environment and positively change lives.

Improve Outreach And Communication: 2009 Steps

    Press Releases: Los Angeles AIA made a commitment in 2009 to issue a minimum of two press releases a month. Topics covered ranged from advocacy for specific actions within the political arena to the promotion and profiling of Los Angeles AIA design award winners.

    Initiation Of Facebook Page: To increase avenues of communication with members, as well as the public at large, Los Angeles AIA also developed and activated a Facebook page and enhanced use of other social media tools such as Twitter and web blogs (The Design Advocate) to socially network the architecture and design community to events and activities of interest.

    Implementation Of Redesigned Webpage: In November 2009 Los Angeles AIA launched a redesigned web site that enables Los Angeles AIA staff and members to more effectively communicate Los Angeles AIA events while serving as a dynamic platform for architecture connectivity in Los Angeles.

Improve Outreach And Communication: Recommended Next Steps

    Continue Press Release Program: The Chapter would benefit from continuing to develop stronger relations with distinct media contacts. Los Angeles AIA staff should work with the President, Executive Committee, and Board to review, outline, and implement press release opportunities. The Chapter should have a goal of releasing a minimum of one press release a month and staff should note press releases as part of the Executive’s Report at Board meetings.

    Outline And Implement Press Contact Strategy: Los Angeles AIA staff, working with the President, Executive Committee, and Board should contact and meet with a minimum of four press contacts to familiarize the press with Chapter programs and initiatives.

    Strengthen Strategic Contacts With Allied Organizations: The Chapter should outreach to and work more closely with professional design organizations including but not limited to the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, the Los Angeles Chapter of AIGA, and local ASLA, engineering, and ULI chapters on joint program development and public outreach efforts that lift the mutual interests of the Los Angeles design community as a whole. Los Angeles AIA staff should contact and meet with a minimum of four allied organizations, discuss areas of mutual interest, and report back to the Board on areas of common interest, concern and action.

    Publish And Maintain An Architect’s Speakers Bureau: Los Angeles AIA staff should prepare, publish for community use, and update on a regular basis a topic delineated Architect Speaker’s Bureau with contact information that can be shared with the public and media contacts.

    Create a Call-To-Action Website Tool: Utilizing the new website, Los Angeles AIA staff should explore means to implement an application that will enable the membership, upon an email prompt, to customize an web-generated advocacy form-letter, and forward to appropriate officials.

    Initiate Research Program: Well researched, action-oriented policy papers and architecture and urban design case studies initiated by Los Angeles AIA would strengthen the professional credentials of the Chapter in the membership’s as well as the public’s eye. The Board should explore interest in and feasibility of initiating a Los Angeles AIA based research and case study program.


The creation of a Los Angeles Center for Architecture and Urban Design will provide opportunities for the Chapter to increase continuing education offerings, establish a dedicated exhibition and program space that will allow increased and visible programming by the Chapter for members and the public, reduce the Chapter’s reliance on outside venues, and establish a more dynamic spatial presence in the City for the Chapter, architecture, and architects.

Establish A Los Angeles Center For Architecture And Urban Design: 2009 Steps

    Facilities Committee Formed: An AIA/LA Facilities Committee was formed in mid-2009 with the goal of identifying opportunities to develop and fund a Los Angeles Center for Architecture and met once. Among the organizing principles for the Center are;

a. Opportunistically locate the Center to serve membership.

b. Provide a street and sidewalk presence for architecture and urban design activities in Los Angeles.

c. Facilitate increased flexibility of the Chapter to implement a greater range of programs and exhibitions.

LA Center for Architecture and Urban Design: Recommended Next Steps

    Continue Facilities Committee Meetings: The Facilities Committee should meet a minimum of four times and report back to the Board of Directors on a regular basis with regard to ideas and proposed actions. Topics the Facilities Committee should explore should include;

a. Review financial models for establishment and running of a center.

b. Review benefits/liability of leasing a space versus owning a space.

c. Determine programming needs, opportunities, and staffing requirements.

d. Explore feasibility of forming alliances with other organization that may want to share the responsibilities and benefits of a Center.

e. Explore location, and near and short-term space opportunities.

f. Explore magnitude and feasibility of a capital campaign that will be a necessary to fund the overhead, operations, and management a Center.

For more information regarding the Los Angeles AIA Strategic Plan contact Nicci Solomons, Executive Director at or (213) 639-0777.


Last updated: 24-Jan-2013 12:11 PM
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