Next to Lead


Image of current Next to Lead cohort, identified below in alphabetical order.

Leadership training for ethnically diverse women in architecture

To create an architecture profession that serves everyone, we must include everyone. Next to Lead is a new pilot association leadership program that removes barriers to AIA leadership positions for ethnically diverse women. It's part of AIA's commitment to advancing racial equity in our organization, in the architecture profession, and in our communities.

Next to Lead isn't just leadership training. This two-year program is designed to teach essential leadership skills alongside successful, diverse women leaders with decades of experience. It includes a leadership impact capstone - a volunteer leadership opportunity within AIA where you'll serve on a collaborate project developed with a local or state component or with the AIA.

Next to Lead is how we're ensuring the next generation of leaders is more diverse and that everyone's voice and unique perspective is heard.

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, AIA Northern Virginia
  • Kuleya Bruce, Assoc. AIA, AIA Springfield
  • Chelsea Davis, AIA, AIA Brooklyn
  • Libertad Lauren Harris, Assoc. AIA, AIA West Jersey
  • Nicole Hilton, AIA, AIA Atlanta
  • Tanya Kataria, Assoc. AIA, AIA Seattle
  • Siobhan Klinkenberg, Assoc. AIA, AIA San Francisco
  • Levitta Lawrence-Gathers, Assoc. AIA, AIA Newark & Suburban Architects
  • Whitney Lewis, Assoc. AIA, AIA Seattle
  • Brenna Martin-Shaffer, AIA, AIA Pittsburgh
  • Wendy Meguro, AIA, AIA Honolulu
  • Phuong Nguyen, Assoc. AIA, AIA Omaha
  • Nasra Nimaga, AIA, AIA New York
  • Constance Owens, Assoc. AIA, AIA Richmond
  • Melanie Ray, AIA, AIA Baltimore
  • Sophia Tarkhan, AIA, AIA Atlanta
  • Ellie Ziaie, Assoc. AIA, AIA Minneapolis

Next to Lead is a two-year program developed by AIA.

  • The first year follows an online curriculum with monthly virtual sessions.
  • The second year involves serving in a volunteer leadership role within AIA. This role is unpaid but works around your existing work schedule.
  • AIA covers most program costs including curriculum and virtual meetings. Participants are responsible for purchasing books and resources ($295).
  • The program is open to racially and ethnically diverse women who are AIA members and have at least 5 years of experience in architecture.

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