WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is supporting diverse future female leaders in the architecture profession by selecting 17 members to its Next to Lead inaugural program.

Next to Lead is the first program of its kind to support association leadership for ethnically diverse women aspiring to be leaders of the AIA. Candidates were selected by jurors from AIA’s Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee (EQFA) who conducted a blind review of applications and reference letters. This year’s inaugural Next to Lead cohort includes: 

•    Anna Barbour, AIA, Washington, DC

•    Kuleya Bruce, Assoc. AIA, Springfield, MO.

•    Chelsea Davis, AIA, Brooklyn, NY

•    Libertad Lauren Harris, Assoc. AIA, Philadelphia, PA

•    Nicole Hilton, AIA, Atlanta, GA

•    Tanya Kataria, Assoc. AIA, Seattle, WA

•    Siobhan Klinkenberg, Assoc. AIA, Philadelphia, PA 

•    Levitta Lawrence-Gathers, Assoc. AIA, East Orange, NJ

•    Whitney Lewis, Assoc. AIA, Seattle, WA

•    Brenna Martin-Shaffer, AIA, Pittsburgh, PA

•    Wendy Meguro, AIA, Honolulu, Hawaii

•    Phuong Nguyen, Assoc. AIA, Omaha, NE

•    Nasra Nimaga, AIA, Brooklyn, NY

•    Constance Owens, Assoc. AIA, Richmond, VA

•    Melanie Ray, AIA, Baltimore, MD

•    Sophia Tarkhan, AIA, Atlanta, GA

•    Ellie Ziaie, Assoc. AIA, Minneapolis, MN

Next to Lead is a two-phase program, launching October 15th, which will be followed by an online curriculum and monthly virtual sessions focusing on association leadership during 2022. In the second phase, participants will work on a collaborative project developed with a local or state component or a knowledge-based group within the AIA.

The program was created as a result of a member driven resolution sponsored by AIA Georgia in 2018, which was intended to ensure AIA is developing education, systems and processes that are inclusive for the short and long term. AIA is working to create a pathway to local, state and national leadership through experiential learning on association leadership, management, knowledge and experience.

Visit AIA’s website to learn more about its steps to advance equity within the membership and architecture profession.