2023 is coming to a close; I cannot believe how fast a year has gone by! At the beginning of the year we had the theme to make 2023 the year of “RE”: Refocus. Recruit. Rejuvenate. We have made amazing progress together and I am excited to share what we have been able to accomplish this year at our upcoming annual meeting on Dec 8!
I think what I am most proud of this year is how we have been able to Refocus our chapter. For the first time in my experience on the board, we made the discussion of our strategic goals and action plan something we talked about at every board meeting. We assigned each of our board members to one of our four strategic goals as a focus group concentrated on what we can do to address each goal. Out of that process, one of the things our board recommended was that we undergo Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) training, which we held last month. Facilitated by Demere Woolway, PhD from Johns Hopkins University Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the workshop helped provide us insight on how we can better engage our diverse membership. The board plans to discuss this further and start implementing fresh strategies as early as this month! Be sure to regularly check our newsletters and social media for opportunities to get involved.
We are in an incredibly unique moment in our city’s development, and AIA Baltimore will share opportunities to engage in the vision for its future, so keep a lookout in our newsletters to find out more! We hope to share more details at our annual meeting this week, so please join us and be the first to hear about these exciting opportunities!
We have so many diverse voices and amazing energy at AIA Baltimore. There is nothing like the design of Harborplace being released last month to get our members talking! Our members are amazing problem solvers and experts in the design process…a process that is sacred to our profession. The design process is something that we as AIA will never violate, as it goes against our mission as an organization. While AIA Baltimore has not made statements regarding designs by our members, we do encourage that our members feel free to express their opinions! There have been several op-eds in the newspaper from our membership; I encourage you all to let your voices be heard! The best way to let your voice be heard is to vote and be involved with local legislation. Members in our urban design committee penned a letter to the Baltimore Planning Commissioners expressing concern about the proposed city council bills introduced last week that will affect zoning downtown. It is important to have a healthy discourse about design and for our members to be vocal in local advocacy.
We have done so many things this year; I wish I had more time to share all the amazing work we do. As I reflect upon the year, I feel very humbled and privileged to have been able to serve as your president. It has truly been an honor and a wonderful opportunity to get closer with our staff and membership. We started a lot of amazing things this year which we plan to continue in 2024. I am pleased to hand the presidency to my dear friend and colleague Ryan Jordan Pfarr. We have worked and volunteered together for many years; his compassionate spirit and laser focus to problem solve is perfect for carrying our chapter through 2024. I wish Ryan the best of luck in his presidency and look forward to everything we can accomplish in the year to come!
Lastly, as this is my final letter to you, our membership, I just want to say thank you. Thank you all for allowing me to be your president this year. Thank you to my husband, who cared for our two small children when I was out late at AIA events. Thank you to Moseley Architects who were incredibly supportive of me during my presidency. A special thank you to Tom Liebel and Magda Westerhout, past-presidents who have been amazing mentors to me throughout my career, but especially this past year as president. Thank you to our board who embraced the concept of the strategic plan working groups: we have accomplished so much together! Thank you to our AIA Baltimore staff who have been amazing at executing all our chapter needs throughout the year…you all rock! A huge thank you to our executive director Lauren Bostic Hill: you have done so much this year to build your team, steward the center, and serve as a shining example of gracious leadership. It has been a pleasure working with you this year. Thank you to our committees and committee chairs; you volunteer your time to drive the energy of our chapter. We are so grateful for your dedication! Lastly, thank you to our membership, especially those who reached out to me over the year. I look forward to how we can transform our chapter together in the years to come.
While the end of the year marks the end of my presidency, I see it merely as the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. I look forward to the new year and how AIA Baltimore will continue to grow and benefit our design community.
Have a very happy, safe holiday season and see you at our annual meeting!
It has been a pleasure to serve you,
Martina Reilly, AIA LEED AP BD+C
2023 AIA Baltimore President