This first issue of ARCHITECT in the new year provides a chance to share what AIA members, along with our colleagues in the profession, government, and the public, can expect from the Institute in the months ahead. As we move forward into 2013, the AIA is standing on the threshold of exciting opportunities. These are opportunities to promote the value of design, enhance member sharing of knowledge, renew the focus on the growth of emerging professionals, look forward to business and marketplace trends that will help our firms grow and create jobs, and optimize the abilities of our components. It’s a big agenda to shape the future of the profession, and it can only be achieved by thoughtful leadership, effective advocacy, and clear communication.

It is important that our profession builds a network to identify, recruit, and train architects who aspire to leadership. Expanding our reach through this network heightens the public awareness of design and positions architects as a valuable part of the worldwide marketplace. To ensure this long-term marketplace value, we must commit to leadership development of emerging professionals. As the future of the profession, their knowledge and energy are essential to the continued growth and prosperity of the profession.

Our leadership is also essential to support our advocacy agenda—not only to aggressively promote responsible legislation on the local, state, and federal levels, but to enthusiastically communicate our vision of the important role that design plays in shaping livable and sustainable communities. Sustainability is about our health, how we educate the next generation, developing research and technology, public safety, accessibility to quality housing, and the ability for our communities to withstand and recover from the forces of nature. The legacy of the AIA will be built through political and community advocacy for a sustainable lifestyle that is understandable, available, and affordable for everyone.

These issues cry out for our profession’s core competency—design. Our success is dependent on our leaders moving this platform forward. That’s why, under the leadership of 2012 AIA President Jeff Potter, the Institute embarked on a major communication initiative last year to study the way that the AIA—and, most importantly, you and I—talk about the value of design. “Repositioning the Profession” is not an academic exercise in rebranding. It’s much more. It has to do with the way we tell our story about the power of design and how it makes a positive difference in every aspect of our lives.

Beginning next month, AIA members will learn about the initial recommendations of this unprecedented initiative. The “Repositioning” agenda has been developed with the assistance of over 15,000 points of information provided by you—committed and interested AIA members—responding to a call for your ideas and thoughts on how to address the issues facing the profession. Much of the rest of the year and beyond will be focused on how best to implement a strategy to expand an appreciation for, and increase the marketplace value of, the multitude of services we provide for our clients—services that affect the built environment and the quality of life in our communities.

Nobody is better prepared to be in the center of shaping the future than architects. Our training, our vision, our work, and our passion make a difference in people’s lives every day. For me, the way forward is clear: Building leaders builds our future.

Our challenge and our responsibility will be to find new ways to tell the story of how architecture makes a difference. It’s now up to us to decide how to implement the “Repositioning” of the profession and I’m excited about the possibilities.

Join our conversation at

Mickey Jacob, FAIA, 2013 President