It is with great hope that the Small Firm Exchange (SFx) closes out 2017. It has truly been a wonderful year for SFx! We’ve honed-in on our three-fold mission to: 1) advocate for small firms, 2) promote leadership, and 3) facilitate and support our local components. We’ve divided ourselves into five dedicated work groups who are actively advancing the profession through small firm leadership:
- Advocacy – is researching, exploring and presenting sessions on “Lien Rights for Architects” as a tool for getting paid
- Leadership – is supporting AIA leadership programs around the country and has completed a Leadership Scan, evaluating existing programs to create a new 3-Year National Leadership Program
- Practice – has completed the 2017 Small Firm Business Models Survey and is currently working on a Business Plan Template
- Outreach – reaches over 2,000 followers weekly through the Scan, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Conference – had a great presence at the A17 Conference with the SFx Lounge, Workshop, Seminars, and Tour. A18 in NYC is just around the corner and we are planning some fun and educational activities!
Watching the changes take place in our country and our world this past year reminds us more than ever that we need good leaders, and that the very skills and passions that make us successful architects also serve to make us excellent leaders. Whether our leadership takes the form of guiding a group of people to work together to design an environment, building, or product, helping a neighborhood implement a strategic plan, or demonstrating via tactical urbanism, our powers of creative problem-solving and collaboration are second-to-none in the professional world. We architects are often gentle leaders by trait and by circumstance. With the financial constraints inherent in running a small firm come opportunities that arise where we can influence good policy and professional practice by showing we care and by recruiting others to work toward a common goal of good design for all people.
A few years ago, we wrote an article for the AIA Kinetic App titled "Mentoring Up and Down” and I like to think of the job of SFx in these terms. Our mission has crystallized in the six years since SFx began, and our job is to ensure that the good work we are doing is shared with decision makers at the top of the AIA and our government, as well as with the smallest of local component groups. Every area of the country has needs that are unique to that locality, and yet as architects, we have needs that are common to all of us. It is our job as the Small Firm Exchange to become a perfect conduit of that information up and down the various organizations that have an impact on how we practice.
As we move into 2018, let's think about everything we do through the lens of sharing. Share the work that you do with your employees, share the work that your firm does with your local AIA chapter, and share the work that your local chapter does with us. By opening this dialogue, we will collaborate with our peers, build appreciation, trust, and leadership amongst our employees, and build more resilient firms and design communities.
We hope you enjoy this exchange. Be on the lookout for even more amazing things from the SFx community as your new Chair, Chyanne Husar, takes the reins! Thank you so much for allowing me to serve the small firm community and I look forward to a wonderful 2018 for SFx and the AIA Design Community!
Mel Price, AIA, LEED AP®
2017 SFx Chair