As architects we are educated to look at the broad issues, as well as the detail. These skills give us a unique perspective, one which gives us the ability to provide valuable input and advice not just to clients, but to the broader industry and the community at large. The role of Chapter President provides an opportunity to sit at the cross roads of both; the good work being done by the Institute, alongside the issues of architecture’s stakeholders (i.e. the public/government at all levels/allied organisations and industry). From this position it is possible then to be engaged by – and lead – critical conversations. As an example of the kinds of conversations we have been leading in recent times they have included topics such as; sustainability and climate action, first nations cultural issues, equity, access and diversity issues, procurement, the issues of housing, education, and heritage issues (just to name a few)
Having spoken at length about the role with our President Mark Jones, we both agree that the voice the position gives is a great privilege. Sitting in front of; a Minister, talking to a journalist or meeting with Industry leaders, it reminds you of the great dignity and expertise held by architects. At a very personal level the example and past lessons of mentors and colleagues are front of mind in these moments. Being assisted in every possible way by those around you, and being given an opportunity to represent the knowledge, calm demeanour and the quiet strength of the profession, is an experience I will always be grateful for.
If serving the profession, and by extension the public, in this way is of interest then you might consider nominating. Equally, you might know someone who should be encouraged. The role is enduring and a vital cog in the long term health of the profession, because of this I believe we are in need of a collegiate group of people seriously considering their engagement with it, at all times. If nominating this year is not something you can foresee, please consider this a call to start thinking about it, as a future commitment to the profession.
The position description for the role describes the purpose, requirements and accountabilities of the Chapter President’s role:
The Chapter President leads the Chapter Council and is a member of the Institute’s National Council. The National Council works with Management and the Board of Directors to establish strategic direction, advise on professional practice issues and Member priorities, and reports relevant National Council decisions back to the Chapter Council.
Appointed through an election process as outlined in the Constitution, the position is voluntary, with a two-year term and biannual re-elections to a maximum of 6 years in total.
The Chapter President must meet the following requirements:
- Be a current financial Member of the Institute
- Be legally entitled to practice as an architect in the state/territory in which they are Chapter President
- Be appointed by an election process in accordance with the Constitution
The Chapter President is expected to be a model leader:
- Upholding and promoting the Institute’s values and culture and encouraging fellow Councilors to do the same.
- Actively working on behalf of Members to identify and respond to issues aligned to the Institute’s strategy and policy.
- Liaising with State bodies, institutions, and authorities to promote and represent Members working in the public interest.
- Promoting open and collegial communications between Members, the Chapter and its various committees.
- Helping to positively shape the issues that affect Members in local regulatory, procurement and planning policies.
- Working with media to promote Members’ and the public interest in legislative affairs as they relate to the built environment.
- Fostering open dialogue with the National Council to share common stories and experiences and look for collective solutions.
- Mentoring new and emerging Chapter Councilors to ensure active participation in Council matters.
- Respectfully communicating with internal and external stakeholders, Members, and Institute staff.
- Promoting fair and respectful communications from Members in their dealings with the Institute.
The Chapter President is expected to attend National Council meetings which are held 3 times per year, as well as regular National Council meetings held by video conference; and attend the relevant Chapter Council and committee meetings
Nominations close 24 June
Whether you are interested in nominating or not, I would encourage everyone to engage with the process by voting.
Dr Michael Lavery
Australian Institute of Architects
Immediate Past Queensland Chapter President.