Session 1: Working Together


Date: October 12, 2018
Location: Knoll Showroom 1050 K Street NW, Washington, DC
Led by: Ryan Petyak and Katie Selis
Session Sponsors: One Source Associates, Inc.
Location Sponsors: Knoll
Refreshment Sponsors: The Smith

Ryan Petyak and Katie Selis organized the first session titled “Working Together,” which was held at the Knoll Showroom in Washington DC. Throughout the afternoon scholars learned how understanding personal characteristics, promoting creative collaboration, and practicing effective communication would encourage a successful, productive, and supportive workplace. Prior to the session, everyone was asked to complete a Life Styles Inventory (LSI) assessment, the results of which were discussed by the first presentation speaker, Cable Clarke. Next the scholars participated in a series of collaborative activities built on the foundations of improv comedy led by Shawn Westfall. Finally, David Shave-Brown gave a presentation on how to translate the skills learned during this session into the practice of architecture.

Presentation #1 – Industry Culture

Cable Clarke, CEO of Clarke Consulting, began the session with a presentation focused on understanding the impact individual behaviors and personal traits have on the culture and climates of industries, agencies, and organizations. With over twenty years of experience, Cable shared past experiences with clients and discussed how the leadership styles of those at the top have a lasting impact on the perception and effectiveness of a company. For example, during the presentation the scholars were shown a series of logos from well-known institutions and asked to recount their official mottos and then describe how this informed cultural assumptions.

The remaining portion of the presentation discussed the results of the LSI assessment taken prior to the session. Cable reviewed how the results can be interpreted and described ways in which everyone could improve in areas they saw fit in order to become more constructive and effective leaders. The scholars were challenged to consider potential areas of improvement and what they might be able to focus on over the next 7 months, and will retake the assessment at the end of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program to determine if the work was effective. Cable offered to be a resource to the scholars for guidance through this process.

Presentation #2 – Improv
Presentation #2: Improv, photo 1
Shawn Westfall, CEO of Commedia Partners, lead the scholars through a series of improv comedy exercises during the second presentation of the session. Through growling like tigers, split second karaoke, trying to sound British, and constructing single word-by-word sentences from a six headed doctor the scholars learned the importance of the “Yes, And” principle.
Presentation #2: Improv, photo 2
Utilizing his previous experience in marketing as well as his expertise in improv, Shawn demonstrated how open communication, egoless behavior, and encouraging trust between colleagues can lead to better and more creative collaboration. At the end of the presentation the scholars discussed how using the same mindset learned in improvised comedy could be brought into their workplace. The scholars learned that eye contact, being vulnerable, not overthinking, and having fun are simple strategies to develop creative communication skills.

Presentation #3 – Application
Presentation #3, Application, Photo #1
David Shove-Brown, Partner at //3877, concluded the session with a presentation on understanding how the day’s lessons could be applied directly to the architectural profession. With previous experience in both personality assessment programs and improv seminars, David was able to demonstrate aspects he personally uses in his own firm. The presentation first focused on the awareness that architects are not taught how to be collaborative in school, and how the reality of the profession requires complete collaboration with clients, consultants and colleagues. David shared his experience of surrounding himself with team members that compliment his weaknesses through their strengths. He also described action items the scholars could start using in their daily work and small tasks that could have a large impact on effective operations. Next, David shared 10 rules for conversation and strategies were discussed for developing communication skills. Finally, David encouraged the scholars to employ empathy, use clear communication tools, and to be willing to address difficult topics in order to improve relationships within an organization as well as with the clients they are working with. The scholars learned that human connection is important to be a successful leader.


Class of 2019 Bootcamp


Date: September 7, 2018
Location: District Architecture Center, 421 7th St NW, Washington, DC
Led by: Teri Coates and Kate Renner

CKLDP kicked off the first official session of the year at the District Architecture Center with the new class of scholars on Friday September 7th. Teri Coates, current chair, and Kate Renner, past chair, collaborated to organize the events for the day and kicked off the afternoon by congratulating and welcoming the incoming class. Kate touched on the history of the program and it’s growth over the last five years.  Teri provided a summary of the goals and expectations for the program and outlined the schedule for the day. She spoke from experience, as a former scholar, in reminding the class that what they put into the program is what they will get out of it and challenged the scholars to dream big as they embarked on the journey together.


To kick of the leadership discussion for the afternoon, Teri introduced the first Keynote, Rachel Zsembery of Bergmeyer Associates, Inc., whose presentation focused on practicing with purpose. She emphasized the need to align your professional goals with your personal values in an effort to have the most fulfilling career. Zsembery outlined the behaviors of high trust individuals: the ability to talk straight, deliver results, and demonstrate concern among others. Scholars were presented with the idea that there is a difference between a mentor and an advocate and the idea that a successful career relies on both of these roles, often occupied by different people.


Following the keynote, the sixteen scholars were asked to present a pecha kucha presentation in 90 seconds with 3 images: one to describe themselves, one representing the type of leader they are, and an image representing the future leader they wanted to be.


After the presentations, the scholars broke up into groups of four to discuss their expectations for each session. With the help of some colored post its, each group was tasked with coming up with their ideas and expected outcomes for the overall topic and asked to report back to the class to summarize the information gathered.


After regrouping, scholars were partnered up and tasked with creating an outline for their assigned session. With the vision boards as a guide, each pairing was given the opportunity to break out and further develop their ideas.


After the brainstorming session, the advisory committee briefly introduced the scholars to the basic guidelines for graphics, the website, sponsorship, communications and online resources. Shannon Kraus concluded the leadership discussion by presenting the idea of servant leadership.  His talk, titled “Leaders Wanted. (Apply Within)” described a leader as someone who focuses on people, shares power, and puts the needs of others first.


Kraus discussed why leadership should revolve around bettering others as you better yourself, highlighting the idea that we often limit our expectations without realizing it. Following the key note, the class continued to discuss their excitement and expectations for the year over happy hour at nearby bar, Dirty Habit . If the energy and ambition of the class is any indication, it’s going to be a great year!


Session 8: The Future of Our Culture


Date: May 4, 2018
Location: District Architecture Center 421 7th Street NW Washington, DC 20004
Led by: Alison Pavilonis and Adam Davie
Sponsors: Coakley Williams Construction, AIA|DC

Eleanor Choi and Mike Johnson II organized the eighth and final session of the year focused on the topic, “The Future of Our Culture,” held on May 4 at the District Architecture Center. Through a series of presentations, small group discussions, and a unique personality assessment, CKLDP Scholars were able to gain insight into their individual management styles, better understand how biases impact decision-making, and hear about how a panel of industry leaders overcame bias and other challenges to find success. To close the session, the Scholars highlighted lessons learned over the course of this year’s CKLDP program, also discussing strategies for how to integrate those lessons into daily practice as they transition into principal leadership roles moving forward.

Presentation #1 – Personal Development: Understanding Thinking Styles and Skills to Best Impact Firm Culture
Understanding one’s own strengths and weaknesses and how to leverage them can be key factors to achieving success within a firm. With more than twenty years of experience working with diverse and influential companies, Cable Clarke, President of Clarke Consulting, kicked off the day’s session with a presentation on effective leadership styles and implementing culture change within an organization.

Prior to the day’s session, Cable asked participants to complete an online personality assessment that resulted in a comprehensive analysis of each person’s collaboration and management styles. Sharing anecdotes of how previous clients were able to utilize the assessment’s insights to improve company culture and team dynamics, Cable described several ways everyone might interpret the results of their personality assessments in order to become more collaborative, strategic, and effective leaders.

Looking Beyond Labels: Either/Or
Jamē Anderson wears a lot of labels: architect, artist, spouse, and mom were a handful of them she mentioned specifically, but a common thread tying these labels together was “maker.” Currently working as a Principal in SmithGroupJJR’s Cultural Studio, Jamē relies on her diverse artistic background to inform her architecture work and keep her inspired as she continues to take on new professional challenges and evolve her art.
After a fascinating overview of Jamē’s non-traditional career path as an artist, exhibition designer at the National Gallery of Art, and architect, Jamē then spoke on the topic of bias. Having studied in-depth the way women are portrayed in the arts, and experiencing her own journey through a male-dominated profession, Jamē has developed a strong point of view about the role bias plays in the workplace.

In an exercise intended to highlight others’ biases, the class divided into smaller groups and participated in an exercise where two hypothetical candidates’ resumes and interviewers’ observations were provided. After reviewing the information, each group was asked to select a candidate to hire and then explain why they made that decision. The follow-up discussion about balancing one’s subjective impressions and biases against a candidates’ qualifications on paper left the Scholars with some interesting food for thought as the activity ended.

Becoming an Architect and Career Challenges
A roundtable discussion moderated by Eleanor Choi and Mike Johnson II brought four esteemed architecture professionals to the table to share personal experiences regarding education, diversity, career challenges, and achieving work/life balance. Hazel Edwards, Ph.D, FAICP, Assoc. AIA of Howard University; Gene Klus, AIA, LEED AP of Stantec; Kevin Sneed, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C of OTJ Architects; and Jamē Anderson, AIA of SmithGroupJJR answered questions and shared their perspectives on changes impacting the field of architecture and architecture education.

CKLDP Reflections
“What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the CKLDP program? How will you apply what you’ve learned? What will your path be moving forward?”

Reflecting on these questions, this year’s class of CKLDP Scholars discussed their key takeaways as the program ended. A few of the points made include: discovering the many ways to be leaders together; gaining perspective into the diversity found within the practice of architecture; finding the courage to break out of one’s comfort zone; becoming inspired to engage more with the wider community; and learning how to advocate for a better, more equitable profession in which everyone thrives.

As Scholars talked, graphic artist Steph Brown translated the comments onto an oversize poster. By the end of the session, Scholars had filled the poster with lasting impressions from their nine months participating in the CKLDP program.

Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program Applications Due

Event: CKLDP Application 101
May 29, 2018
Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Location: Gensler (K Street Center for Graduate Education, 2020 K St NW, WDC)

In 2013, AIA|DC developed a program to help train and nurture the next generation of leaders in architecture. The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program is looking to secure a promising new group of scholars in 2018. The year-long program consists of nine half-day sessions attended by a competitively selected group of 16 emerging professionals. An emerging professional is defined as someone who has graduated from college with an architecture degree and is within ten years of their first licensure. Prospective participants must go through an application process where proven career success, community involvement, and the individual’s firm support will be considered.

The Applications 101 session will provide interested scholars with an overview of the program and application process, followed by Q&A. Attendees are welcome to attend the CKLDP 5-year celebration following Applications 101.

Organized by: AIA|DC Emerging Architects Committee

Deadline to apply is June 29 at 11:59pm.

Application Materials: