The Best Part of the Annual Conference

By Mary-Margaret Zindren, AIA Minnesota Executive Vice President

There’s a knowing, sympathetic smile we get from many members this time of year. They know we’re entering one of our most intense seasons: preparation for the Annual Conference.


As I write this, we’ve just finalized the registration booklet (affectionately referred to as “Reggie” by the AIA Minnesota staff team). It’s chock full of keynotes, workshops, panel discussions, working sessions, and tours. And the content ranges from deeply specific to expansively generative. Peer-led sessions will deepen your appreciation for the breadth and depth of talent within our Minnesota architecture community, and keynote speakers from across the nation will challenge and inspire.


But here’s the thing. No matter how amazing the speakers, no matter how relevant and resonant the content, most regular attendees believe the best part of the Annual Conference is the in-between time. The time for connection with friends from other firms and with industry colleagues. The time to approach that person in the session who asked a great question and introduce yourself. The time to share a collective laugh, or collective groan, or collective moment of joy.


Maybe the best thing isn’t just the in-between time; it’s just time. In the hectic race of the day-to-day, we rarely carve out time to pause, lift our heads up from our screens, and think differently for awhile. To open ourselves up to new ideas and new questions. To focus. To be present.


We hope you make the time to attend and to enjoy every minute of the AIA Minnesota Annual Conference. We’re looking forward to spending time with you!

View the full October issue of Matrix.