A Look Ahead at 2019

A Letter to the Membership from 2019 AIA Cincinnati President Allison McKenzie, AIA

January always seems to pass in a flash, it’s hard to believe that 2019 is already three weeks old! While my installation as AIA Cincinnati President was only a few days ago, I’ve been working with the AIA Cincinnati Board since November to set priorities and expectations for 2019, knowing that January is always such a blur. AIA Cincinnati membership continues to grow each year, which is a testament to the vibrant design community in our city. Our chapter has made some incredible progress in the past few years, especially with the recent creation and opening of the Cincinnati Center for Architecture and Design (CCAD). Our board, though, is keenly aware that that there’s even more that we can and should be doing as a chapter to provide value to our members and serve as a recognized and respected voice for the profession in Cincinnati.

When the board held our retreat in November, we established the following three priorities for the chapter in 2019:

Improve Communication

Our membership surveys from past years have shown that the AIA Cincinnati website and Architext newsletter are currently the primary sources of attaining chapter information for many of our members. We need to continue to improve the format and usability these sources through streamlined design that is also mobile device friendly. Look for our new newsletter format this week- feedback appreciated! We also know that more and more of our members are using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay in touch. Look for enhanced use of AIA Cincinnati’s Twitter and Facebook pages this year as well as the launching of a brand new AIA Cincinnati Instagram account soon.

The channels we use for communication are important, but we also recognize that the type and amount of information we share is also important. We are placing emphasis this year not only on communicating about events that are occurring but also on creating content for the website, newsletter and other channels that will provide better insight into what is going on in Cincinnati’s architectural community, allied professions, and the community at large. If you have ideas on content you would like to see or a passion for writing, please reach out- we would love to have your help.

Develop Impactful Programming

AIA Cincinnati already has some incredible recurring programming through the CDA and CRAN awards, VISION, theAcademy, and more. In order to enhance these offerings, AIA Cincinnati is looking to provide additional programming this year that increases awareness of AIA in the community and also allows program participants to feel like they are making an impact, not just attending a lecture. As an example, last year’s Terrace Plaza Hotel Tour was not only an interesting event to attend, but it has led to an ongoing discussion about the importance of saving historic buildings in our community. Look for additional AIA Cincinnati events and actions this year around the push to add to Terrace Plaza to the local Historic Register initiated by Councilman Mann last week.

The board has additional programming ideas, but we are also always open to hearing ideas from membership!

Increased Collaboration

The opening of the CCAD in cooperation with local chapters of SEGD, IIDA, ASID and ASLA puts us in a great position to increase collaboration with allied design professionals in Cincinnati. There are also additional local groups like the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati, USGBC and CSI that we can increase our support of and collaboration with. We often have similar missions, visions and initiatives and we can all be better and more effective if we work together.

The existence of the University of Cincinnati and Miami University within AIA Cincinnati’s area is also a tremendous asset to our architectural community and one that we can do a better job collaborating with to benefit everyone.

As you can tell, we have ambitious goals for 2019! We invite you as current or prospective future members of AIA Cincinnati to increase your engagement with the chapter over the coming year. Our board is always eager to hear suggestions or ideas and we are always looking for additional volunteers! You can always reach me directly at amckenzie@shp.com.

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