We Can’t Wait to See You. There’s So Much to Catch Up On!

by Mary-Margaret Zindren, EVP/Executive Director

It doesn’t seem possible that the last time we gathered in person for our AIA Minnesota Annual Conference on Architecture was three years ago – 2019.

Three years of pent-up desire to connect with one another is going to make for a truly joyful event. The conference has always been something of a mini-reunion for Minnesota’s architecture community. This year’s conference will be the best – and hopefully biggest – reunion yet. We truly can’t wait to see you all again.

What’s real about reconnecting in person: Between simply not seeing each other in 3D for several years, hair styles radically changed, athleisure now the default dress code, lingering COVID brain fog for many, and continuing risks for people who are immunocompromised, recognizing each other could be a challenge and greetings could be a little awkward. We know that everyone will get through it all with a spirit of warmth and generosity.

There’s also SO much to catch up on! AIA Minnesota, the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Northern Minnesota chapters, the Minnesota Architectural Foundation, MAPAC, and our key committees and knowledge communities have lots of news to share, including exciting new member benefits and strategic initiatives.

While there’s no way to share it all in this column, I do want to tee up just a few important items that conference attendees will learn more about:

In organization news, this year’s dues increase for Minnesota’s state and local chapters raises the total cost of AIA membership by 6%. While this is an amount that is less than the actual consumer price index, this increase recognizes the real impact of 40-year-high inflation levels on our costs of doing business and will keep the association solid heading into a new, multi-year, member-driven strategic workplan.

The new workplan focuses our resources, staff, and volunteer time on what members have told us is most important:

  • The business of architecture — Addressing what’s broken, growing business skills and financial acumen, and simultaneously fostering better working conditions, individual prosperity, and firm prosperity.
  • Mentorship – Defining and cultivating next-level, two-way, mentorship throughout one’s career and across various roles, practice areas, skills, and types of expertise.
  • Culture change and equity – Staying the course in our nation-leading work to transform the culture of the profession and to create a healthy, equitable, and just built environment; and
  • Sustainability and climate action – Accelerating the application of sustainable design practices and removing what gets in the way of the design solutions that prioritize human and ecological health; what’s best for both people and for the planet.

To this last point, we are excited to announce a new, exclusive, one-year benefit program, led by AIA Minneapolis, in collaboration with AIA Northern Minnesota and AIA St. Paul: Free access to the resources of Building Green for every Minnesota member. This includes:

  • A special workshop, ongoing consultation, and peer network open to all and especially focused on helping small firms jump-start their sustainable design practices. A free, deep-dive, 8-hour workshop will be offered over the course of November 8th and 9th at the Minneapolis Convention Center, in connection with the conference. The workshop will start off with a 6-hour pre-conference session and continue into the first day of the conference with a 2-hour session.
  • A free subscription (a $199 per person value) to the resources behind the Building Greenwebsite paywall. Even if you already hold a Building Green subscription, you and your firm are eligible for this benefit.

There are three ways to learn more about our partnership with Building Green: 1) Review the information on the workshop contained in the conference registration booklet (LINK); 2) attend a brief overview webinar in mid-October; and/or 3) email Angie McKinley, who is heading up our sustainability initiatives.

We are poised to make great leaps forward in our collective work to strengthen the profession and to effect positive change through design. Together, we can go further, faster, and we can have exponentially greater impact. C’mon along to the other Great Minnesota Get-Together – the AIA Minnesota Annual Conference on Architecture!

View the October 2022 edition of Matrix.