Beginning in 2013, the AIA|DC chapter undertook an initiative to develop a program which would help train and nurture the next generation of leaders. The year-long program consists of nine individual 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 10 years of their first licensure). Prospective participants must go through an application process for selection where proven career success, community involvement and the individual’s firm support will be considered.


The curriculum focuses on core professional skills such as entrepreneurship and firm management, working together and collaboration, the art of negotiation, client development, community leadership, industry trends, and developing your future within the practice. The selected scholars to the leadership program are responsible for planning and participating in each of the individual sessions. The program will be kicked off by a “Bootcamp” session to introduce the participants and to develop the curriculum for the year.

Sessions will be held monthly from 12:00pm – 5:00pm, October through June.  A full list of courses and specific dates are described in the 2020-21 Schedule.

Required Commitment to the Program

The program’s success is directly related to the attendance by the participants and therefore attendance is mandatory. Each participant of the program will be required to sign an Agreement Form that will require a signature from one of the participant’s principals of their firm. Provided due notice to the Executive Committee, with extenuating circumstances, each scholar will be allowed one excused absence. If two sessions are missed, a fine of $50 will be sent to the participants firm. A further absence will result in an additional $50 fine and expulsion from the program.

Attendance is mandatory for all scholars at the first meeting of the group “Bootcamp” as well as the final session and closing reception.

AIA Continuing Education

It is intended that this program will have AIA CE credit made available for its participants. 

Honoring Christopher Kelley

Christopher Kelley, AIA was an active member of the DC architectural community and suddenly passed away in May of 2012. He was a respected leader within the Institute as well as within Gensler’s Washington office. Through his volunteer efforts, he participated and contributed to initiatives and programs that have had a positive impact on emerging professionals at different stages of their careers.  In 2010 Christopher was honored with the AIA Young Architects Award for which the jury stated, “Christopher has proven himself a young leader within and around the AIA, a real example for other young professionals.” This program is intended to continue his legacy of leadership and activism.

AIA National Recognition

In 2018 at AIA Grassroots, the AIA|DC CKLDP was recognized with the recognized with the AIA CACE Component Excellence Award for Knowledge Sharing Initiatives. Watch a brief video of this accomplishment and an overview of the program here.


For more information please contact the 2020-2021 AIA Indiana

CKLDP Executive Committee

President: Emily DeSmit, AIA, edesmit@ratiodesign.com
Vice President: Geoff DeSmit, AIA, gdesmit@axisarch.com Communications Director: Daniel Potash, AIA dpotash@arcDESIGN.US
Accounting Director: Eric Weflen, AIA, eweflen@RQAW.com

CKLDP Advisory Committee

Chair: Jeff Echols, Assoc. AIA, jechols@aiaindiana.org
Co-Chair: Lisa Gomperts, FAIA, lgomperts@schmidt-arch.com
Member: Blake Wagner, AIA, dblakewagner@gmail.com
Member: Jason Larison, AIA, jason@coreplanningstrategies.com
Member: Justin Ferguson, AIA, jferguson@meticulousda.com

To get a brief overview of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program, explore the Prezi here: CKLDP 2016


Below are the locations of Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program chapters around the US:

Colorado Detroit Georgia Houston DC

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