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FELLOWS FEATS

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

A CANDIDATE’S JOURNEY WITH EMILY GRANDSTAFF-RICE, FAIA by Rosa T. Sheng, AIA

T

hr e e n e w lea d e r s we r e e l e c t e d a t A IA’ s A’ 17 C o n fer e n ce o n A r c hi t e c t ur e i n O r l a nd o i n Apri l . A mo n g th e m, E m i l y G r a nd s t a f f - Ri c e , F AIA, S e n ior Asso ci ate at A r r o ws t r e e t , wa s e l e c t e d At-l arge Dir ec to r . Wh ile it m i g ht ha v e a p p e a r e d t o be an e f for tless camp aign y e a r ( g i v e n t ha t m o s t po si ti o ns wer e u n co n tested ) i t wa s a c t ua l l y a n a m a z i ng e f f o rt an d sh o w o f co mm i t m e nt i n E m i l y ’ s d e c i s i o n to run for AIA N atio n al o f f i c e . A few w e ek s b ef o r e t he A ’ 1 7 C o nf e r e nc e o n Arc hi te c tu r e co n v e n e d , I w r o t e a n uns o l i c i t e d e nd orse me nt of E mi ly o n L in k e d I n. I n i t , I d i s c l o s e d a p o t e n ti al bi as — m y f r ien d sh ip a nd c l o s e wo r k i ng r e l a t i o n shi p o n th e E q u i ty in Ar chi t e c t ur e C o m m i s s i o n a nd re l ate d initia ti v e s w i th Em i l y o v e r t he p a s t 3 y e a r s. Ne ve rth eles s, I co u l d n ’ t ha v e p i c t ur e d a b e t t e r c andi date to hel p l ead o u r I n s t i t ut e . E m i l y i s a t r ue c hampi o n for the f u tu r e o f o ur p r o f e s s i o n. W hi l e we may have some d iffer e n ce s o f o p i ni o n f r o m t i m e t o ti me , at th e c o r e w e h av e a m ut ua l r e s p e c t i n t he wo rk that we do an d a p h ilo s o p hy o f ‘ ha v i ng e a c h o t her’ s bac k’ (which i s d ir ectl y r o o t e d i n t he p hi l o s o p hy o f e qui tab le p r acti ce) . I h ave wi t ne s s e d f i r s t - ha nd t he re sul ts of he r h ar d w o r k , c o l l a b o r a t i v e s up p o r t , and he r ab ility to gain co n s e ns us a nd a c hi e v e r e s ul t s amo ng a dive r se n atio n al g r o up o f p r o f e s s i o na l s suc h as ou r s. Ear lier th i s year i n J a nua r y , whe n t he t wo o f us we re asked to b e Co - Ch a i r s o f t he E q ui t y a nd t he Future of Ar c h itectu r e Co m m i t t e e b y A I A P r e s i d ent T o m V onier , FAI A, w e b o t h d i s c us s e d o ur c o nc e r n that we h ad so man y ar e as we wa nt e d t o s e e t he Insti tute move f o r w ar d . An d we g r a p p l e d wi t h wha t w o ul d be th e m o st e ffecti v e wa y s t ha t we c o ul d c o n tri bute . Fast fo r w ar d to Ju n e , whe r e we r e c e nt l y c o - f ac i l i tated a p r o d u cti v e m e e t i ng f o r t he c o m m i t t e e , I had a ch an ce to r e flec t wi t h E m i l y a b o ut he r c a ndi dac y an d he r u n i q u e j o u r ne y t o l e a d i ng t he I ns t i t ute . Even t s do n ’t ju s t ha p p e n w i t ho ut t he i r c ontext When I ask e d Emil y wha t m o t i v a t e d he r t o run thi s yea r , sh e u sed th e m e t a p ho r o f t he i ng r e d i e nts f o r fir e — “th in k k in d l i ng , a i r a nd t he v i t a l ‘ s p a rk’ .” T he “kindli n g an d air ” o f E m i l y ’ s j o ur ne y t o l e a de rshi p at th e n atio n al l ev e l ha d s t a r t e d y e a r s b e f o re as an emer gi n g p r o fessi o na l . I n 2 0 0 3 , t he B S A - A IA spo nsor ed Emi ly to att e nd t he A I A N a t i o na l C o n ve nti o n th at year to r ece iv e a n e m e r g i ng p r o f e s s i o na l award. While atte n d i n g the e v e nt , s he m e t m e m b e rs o f the AIA YAF w h i ch h ad b e c o m e a p o s i t i v e i nf l ue nc e o n h er p e r cep ti o n o f A I A l e a d e r s hi p o p p o r t uniti e s and motivate d h e r p r o g r e s s i o n o f s e r v i c e t o t he Insti tute

10

NEWSLETTER

THE ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN JOURNAL OF THE AIA COLLEGE OF FELLOWS

at the c o mpo ne nt and re gi o nal l e ve l s, i n clu din g as a D i re c to r o n the bo ard o f the B S A-AIA. In 2012, Emi l y was suc c e ssf ul at runni ng f o r B S A-AIA Presiden t, se rvi ng i n 2014. Be the c ha ng e y ou wa nt to see in the w orld T he se nse o f urge nc y c ame whe n Emi l y observed th e l ac k o f wo me n c andi date s runni ng f o r AIA N ation al o f f i c e i n the past f e w ye ars. Mo re spe c i f ically in 2017 — whi l e pre se nti ng the e l e ve n re c o mmen dation s f ro m the 2016 Equi ty i n Arc hi te c ture Commission ’s wo rk — the re was the de c l arati o n o f the can didates who happe ne d to be unc o nte ste d and all men . W h ile Emi l y has gre at re spe c t and c amarade rie for th ose runni ng f o r o f f i c e , the “ spark” to be c o me a can didate he rse l f had to do wi th “ be i ng the c hange sh e w an ted to se e ” wi thi n the Insti tute . In the c o ntext of bein g c hampi o ns f o r e qui tabl e prac ti c e i n the profession , Emi l y re c o gni z e d the ne e d and she ro se to th e occasi o n to re pre se nt l e ade rshi p i n the Institu te th at h as hi sto ri c al l y be e n unde rre pre se nte d. Nev ertheless, She P ersisted T he e xpe ri e nc e o f appl yi ng f o r the FAIA tw o y ears ago was an i mpo rtant e xpe ri e nc e that prepared h er we l l f o r the At-l arge D i re c to r c andi dacy . Emily w as f o c use d and ri go ro us i n he r pre parati on of h er appl i c ati o n. Whi l e the Fe l l o wshi p may be perceived by many me mbe rs as a c ul mi nati o n o f o ne’s lifetime of wo rk i n the pro f e ssi o n, she di d no t “ f i t” th e demographi c i n he r mi d-c are e r, unde r 40, “ so mu ch more to be do ne ” mi ndse t. Rathe r than be deterred, Emi l y saw the Fe l l o wshi p as an o ppo rtuni ty to in crease re pre se ntati o n and e xpand he r advo c ac y in th e areas

College of Fellows Newsletter July 2017  
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