Fostering inclusive leadership, cultural competence in the work of architecture

“Inclusive leadership is emerging as a unique and critical capability helping organizations adapt to diverse customers, markets, ideas and talent,” state Juliet Bourke and Andrea Titus in a recent Harvard Business Review article. The authors’ research showed that in a typical organization, what leaders say, do, and model makes a 70% difference in whether an individual reports feeling included.

Specific to the architecture industry, respondents to AIA’s November 2021 ABI Survey listed “firm culture and workplace comfort” as the most important factor in staff satisfaction in the future, surpassing compensation for the first time. AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, notes that workers are now most concerned “not about how much one will get paid, necessarily, but one’s alignment with their firm on its values.” Creating or reshaping a values-aligned firm culture is difficult to accomplish but is an increasingly critical factor for companies seeking greater profitability and employee satisfaction.

To address these conditions, AIA Minnesota developed the National Intercultural Leadership Program (NILP), a cutting-edge skill-building program for leaders, change-makers, and professionals in the architecture industry who wish to practice inclusive leadership and create lasting culture change within their firms and organizations.

Program Schedule

All sessions are delivered via live video conference using the Zoom online meeting platform. Sessions are two hours in length, occurring weekly from 1:00 – 3:00 pm CT and include a mix of large group and small group conversation, workshop-style activities, and lecture. All session dates are listed below (sessions will be recorded and made available to participants for a period of one year following the program):

Tuesday, April 18 – session 1
Tuesday, May 9 – session 2
Tuesday, May 16 – session 3
Tuesday, May 23 – session 4
Tuesday, May 30 – session 5
Tuesday, June 6 – session 6
Tuesday, June 13 – session 7
Tuesday, June 20 – session 8
Tuesday, June 27 – session 9

Who Should Participate

The goal of NILP is culture change within the industry. Therefore, we encourage participation from individuals who are:

  1. Firm Leaders: those who lead firms, lead practice groups, lead teams, are direct supervisors, and make key decisions – with the intent of facilitating broader impact within their firms and industry
  2. Change-makers: those who manage projects, collaborate on teams, and interact with clients and firm leaders with the intent of creating change
  3. EDI Leaders: those who lead organizational efforts to create diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces and projects that further equity and inclusion in the built environment.

See Registration Criteria below for more information on eligibility and requirements. Space is limited.

Continuing Education

AIA Minnesota has applied for 18 AIA Learning Units (LUs) for this nine-session program. Additionally, we believe this program will meet the two hours of ethics required by the Minnesota AELSLAGID licensing board.

Learning objectives

  1. Industry level: Develop systems-level analysis to identify and disrupt barriers to increasing the representation and leadership of people of color, women, nonbinary people in architecture and related industries, resulting in AEC teams that are inclusive and equitable.
  2. Firm or Company level: Explore strategies for leading, collaborating and managing across differences that make a difference like race, gender and more to create inclusive work environments and equitable solutions.
  3. Interpersonal level: Develop capacity to receive and believe client, colleague and user experiences across differences that make a difference like race, gender and more, resulting in design that serves users more equitably and a design process that is inclusive of all stakeholders and their unique needs and perspectives.
  4. Individual Level: Increase participants’ self-awareness of their own experiences of cultural patterns of behavior and experiences of identity with particular emphasis on race and gender, and develop ongoing practices of rigorous self-awareness to achieve equity, diversity, inclusion goals.
    Ethics-related learning objective
    Examine the ways in which employing a more inclusive leadership style contributes to a more ethical practice as referenced in the AIA Code of Ethics related to human rights, designing for human dignity, exercising unprejudiced and unbiased judgment, and providing a fair and equitable work environment.


$570 per person for members of AIA and members of NOMA
$710 per person for non-members

Seats are limited to 50 participants.

Cost includes: a nine-session skill-building program with the cohort, delivered virtually; the online Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Assessment; one-on-one IDI profile debrief; and administration of the Intercultural Conflict Styles (ICS) diagnostic tool.

Register now >

Contact Angie McKinley.

Refund policy
AIA Minnesota will issue a full refund for registration fees until March 28, 2023. After that date, all registration fees are considered non-refundable but are transferrable.