by Kavitha Mathew
On Saturday, June 1, the 10 new leaders selected for the 2019 class of the AIA New York Civic Leadership Program (CLP) gathered at the Center for Architecture. The CLP develops a class of emerging architectural professionals into civic leaders by refining the critical skills that design professionals need to better represent the people that they serve. The program works to increase architects’ connections to their communities, develop their advocacy capacities, and support their pursuit of public service in elected or appointed office. Launched in 2017 by AIA New York’s Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) Committee, it is now in its third year.
At the kick-off event, the 2019 leaders met one another for the first time as they networked and listened to presentations from the keynote speaker and panelists from various city agencies. Deputy Manhattan Borough President Aldrin Bonilla offered an icebreaker which replicated community board interview exercises. These crash courses in problem solving helped to break everyone out of their shells and also encouraged them to practice consensus-building skills. Pascale Sablan, the keynote speaker currently serving on the AIANY Board of Directors, inspired these young leaders with her implacable courage and resilience as she discussed her ongoing efforts to make the profession more equitable and to give a voice to those who have been silenced or forgotten. Later, a roundtable discussion with Justin Garrett Moore, Executive Director of the Public Design Commission; Ifeoma Ebo, Director of Strategic Design Initiatives at the Mayor’s Office; and William Singer, Chief Plan Examiner of the Brooklyn Department of Buildings, led to insightful conversation and questions.
Leaders from the 2018 CLP class comprise the advisors for this year’s class. After gaining an arsenal of accomplishments through the completion of the program, these advisors will now put their skills to the test by leading and mentoring the next class, as well as making any adjustments to the program that they feel could improve the model. The CLP accepts its own evolution as one of its guiding principles, a flexibility that makes the program a valuable resource for architects wishing to hone their leadership and engagement skills.
Former leaders and advisors also gathered to meet the 2019 Class and welcome them to the ever-growing cohort of the CLP. The 10 members of this year’s class have now launched their six-month journey to curate public and private programs around topics they determine either with a partner or team. Look for the CLP’s public programs this Fall and Winter, on October 30 and December 3.
Learn more about the program and participants here. If you are interested in finding out how to apply to the program in the future, attend the information sessions held before each of these events.