Happy Holidays!

If you didn’t get a chance to read the deep thoughts, ponderings, calls to action and often playful president’s messages that I labored over this year, you have until January 1, 2021. I’m about to turn this show over to the 2021 AIARE President, Ross Jones, but first, here’s a shout out for our Executive Director, Carissa Green. She is a person who is all about connection, getting the job done right, and keeping a positive perspective. And what’s more, she has a huge heart. Carissa was on board before I came on board. She and I were some of the lucky suckers that innocently stepped in it – good ole 2020! And our 2019 president, Pete Levelle, assured me that 2020 was going to be a piece of cake!  Well, it wasn’t, but how could anyone have predicted the challenges we faced? It was enriching and as a bonus, I got to know a board full of intelligent and thoughtful people.

We did some good things together and apart this year. We see now that the door is open wide for new member access and resources without the need for geographic convenience. Here is a short list of things we did in 2020 while managing to put on regular programs throughout:

  • Early on, we pivoted quickly to a virtual platform, provided issue-specific programs and a weekly Happy Hour outreach
  • Conducted membership Surveys to find out how you were doing and stay connected.
  • Put on a 2-Part Night School class on marketing & business development
  • The Perspective Series – 2 sessions on Women in the profession – emerging and established Lunch and Learns on the City and County response to permitting, Covid Resources and Pandemic Responses, Climate Action, and Workplaces of the Future.
  • TLCD produced 3-D PPE face shields and teamed up with the Sonoma County Medical Association to deliver the emergency equipment to a local medical office. Our own Allied Director, Tyler Chartier prepared a heartwarming video & photo story of the gift, masked and socially distanced, of course.
  • Held three Inclusivity Forum/Town Halls which led to the formation of our JEDI committee
  • Facilitated the North X North Coast speaker programs with Marsha Maytum of LMS Architects (SF) and Thomas Robinson of Lever Architecture (Portland).
  • Put on our first virtual awards program, the AIA Redwood Empire Design Awards – the book commemorating the participants and awardees forthcoming…

Late in the year when budget was looking distressed, we went after an AIA Component Resilience Fund Grant and our chapter was awarded $15,000! This was specific to COVID-19 and fire-related challenges for our chapter. Now, we are poised to complete the 501c(3) organization (fingers crossed) which will allow our incoming pledge of $10,000 to land in AIARE’s Sonoma County Community Architectural Foundation and open the door to continue to receive education/architecture-related donations to help fund our learning programs and potential scholarship contributions.

I personally grew this year through all the pivots and challenges, but I think the best thing about being back with the AIA was re-connecting with my fellow architects and colleagues. I look forward to a time where we can toast together in person. Happy Holidays to you all!

Your 2020 Madam President

Mary Dooley, AIA