Jobs: Executive Search

Executive Director, AIA Connecticut

New Haven, Conn.
Sep / 6 / 2017

Dating back to 1902, AIA Connecticut (AIA CT) is the professional association for Connecticut architects and the statewide chapter of the American Institute of Architects. AIA CT serves as a resource to architects and the public. Its membership of 1,300 is comprised of architects, interns working towards licensure, students, and professionals in affiliated fields.

Overview of the Organization and Programs

AIA CT serves as a resource to architects and the public. Activities of the chapter emphasize professional development and fellowship by offering continuing education programs, architectural seminars on current topics, events with other associations in the design, construction, and historic preservation fields, communication and advocacy with the State Legislature and agencies, social and networking events for those in the design and construction profession, and an annual conference and design exposition. To the public, AIA CT also provides a variety of community resources, such as understanding the value of architects, ethical practices of the profession, and contracting best practices as well as access to a “Find an Architect” web portal.

AIA CT is overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of 12 members. In addition to board service, AIA CT members have an opportunity to engage in institutional governance through an active committee structure currently comprised of about 10 committees.

Between 2013 and 2016, AIA CT’s annual revenue averaged approximately $768,000, with membership dues and program service revenue representing 51% and 36%, respectively, on average over the three-year period. Currently, AIA employs four individuals, including the open Executive Director position.

Executive Transition

For the last 19 years, AIA CT was led by its Executive Director who transitioned from the organization as of June 30, 2017. A five-member Transition Committee has been appointed to manage the search.

Strategic Opportunities and Challenges

AIA CT is at an important juncture as it approaches its first leadership transition in 19 years. High priorities for the Executive Director include:

  • Managing adeptly the daily operations, staffing, finances and member services of an $800,000 professional architectural association, and empowering a dedicated and skilled staff of three as it provides support to AIA CT’s 1,300 members.
  • Navigating AIA CT’s first leadership transition in 19 years, while sustaining an organizational culture that emphasizes accessibility, engagement and customer service, where open and respectful communications are encouraged to allow the organization to hear and meet members’ needs.
  • Serving as AIA CT’s primary advocate and spokesperson on State legislative issues, ensuring that the organization continues to advocate effectively and strategically to advance the field of architecture and create a business climate that is most beneficial to the profession.
  • Modernizing communications and marketing strategies to grow membership and expand engagement and support, utilizing traditional media, new media and technological solutions to effectively and consistently inform members, the board, staff and public about the association’s efforts and successes.
  • Creatively designing and delivering on a diverse suite of programs and services that appeals to and engages both large and small firms as well as established and emerging architects, so value is delivered to all members.
  • Bringing a fresh perspective and new ideas to a well-respected and well-run organization, challenging the status quo while respecting institutional history, practices and accomplishments.

Desired Credentials/Profile of the Ideal Candidate

  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred.
  • A minimum of five years of senior leadership, or equivalent experience.
  • Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation is an added benefit.

Skills and Experience

Politically Savvy Advocate and Networker

The leader must be a savvy networker and advocate on behalf of AIA CT, able to network and communicate equally well with public officials, State agencies, lobbyists, architectural firms and individual architects. Supported by contracted lobbyists, the Executive Director must possess exceptionally strong interpersonal skills to form and sustain beneficial relationships which will allow AIA CT to advocate persuasively on behalf of its members and the field.

Member Service Leader

The Executive Director must be able to establish and maintain an organizational culture committed to exceptional member services. The leader must fully understand the needs of current and prospective members, ensure that members’ needs are always met and inspire and proactively engage members to join and sustain their commitment to the association. Service experience in a member-based organization is strongly desired.

Experienced Administrator

As the agency’s chief executive and administrative officer, the leader will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s operations, finances, programming, facilities and staff, efficiently aligning and maximizing resources to achieve AIA CT’s strategic goals and empowering, coaching and supporting a small, but highly experienced, professional and committed staff. The Executive Director will also serve as the primary liaison to the board of directors and its committees to engage in effective governance and to achieve AIA CT’s strategic goals.

Skilled Communicator and Presenter

The ability to serve as the public face of AIA CT to inspire and proactively engage existing and potential members, to understand fully their current and prospective needs and to sell broadly the economic, political and social value of AIA CT membership is a key quality sought in an Executive Director. As a compelling spokesperson and representative for AIA CT, the leader must listen carefully, speak persuasively and respond effectively to engage others and promote the field.

Architecture Champion

Although the Executive Director does not need to be an architect or associated with the building trades, as a mission-driven nonprofit committed to promoting architects and the built environment, the leader must be inspired by design, construction, historic preservation, etc. and committed to and adept at advocating for the profession and its impact on society.

Creative Planner and Implementer

The Executive Director must be committed to AIA CT’s strategic vision, and working collaboratively with the board and staff, be able to determine creative and novel strategies to recruit and retain a diverse membership base. The ability to design unique programs, expand program delivery methods and consider alternative communication strategies are skills sought in the leader.

Candidate Guidelines

This search is being conducted by TSNE Mission Works with Transition Consultant John Tarvin.  All submissions are confidential. Interested candidates should submit materials online.

Apply online here.

Please include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements, information regarding how you learned of the position, and a description of how your qualifications and experience match AIA CT’s needs and mission. All submissions of candidacy will be accepted until the position is filled. Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.

AIA CT is an equal opportunity employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates.