Christopher Kelley Leadership Development

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The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) aims to train the next generation of leaders in architecture through a series of nine half-day sessions.

The curriculum focuses on honing skills like:

  • entrepreneurship and firm management
  • teamwork and collaboration
  • negotiation skills
  • client development
  • community leadership
  • understanding industry trends

This competitive program accepts 16 emerging professionals to collaborate, learn together and develop as leaders in architecture.  This program is ideal for members who are eager to advance in their career and either have not yet become a licensed architect or have been licensed for ten years or less.

2018-2019 Application Materials

2018-2019 Application
2018-2019 Program Agreement
2018-2019 Tuition Assistance 


Tangela Monroe
Associate Executive Director
(678) 553 0508

Tuition Deadline

Payment options are available. Tuition is due by December 15, 2018 before 6pm. 

Pay Tuition

General Information

Honoring Christopher Kelley
Christopher Kelley, AIA was an active member of the DC architectural community and suddenly passed away in May 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.

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 “Boot Camp” session to introduce the participants and to develop the curriculum for the year.

Sessions will be held monthly from 12:00pm – 5:00pm, September through May. A full list of courses and specific dates are described in the 2018-2019 Schedule.

Tuition: Tuition for AIA Members is $500; non‐AIA member tuition is $600. AIA Georgia may choose to offer tuition assistance to individuals that may be from small firms that would otherwise not be able to participate. The amount and number of tuition assistance will be at the discretion of the Selection Committee.

AIA Membership: Though AIA membership is encouraged for all scholars, it is not mandatory. A preference will be given to AIA Georgia members, though other allied organization members are welcome to submit an application for review.

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. A total of 45 CEU’s will be provided, 25 of which are intended to be HSW.

2018-2019 CKLDP Session Schedule 

All sessions are half-day, afternoon sessions

September: 09/14-Boot Camp

  • Introduction to the course and participants
  • Importance of leadership within the profession
  • “How To” set-up future courses in the coming months
  • Breakouts with scholars to develop session content for the year ahead
  • Sponsorship now and in your future
  • Review of program templates

October: 10/12–Session #1: Working Together

  • The role of architects relative to other project stakeholders, including public and private owners, developers, contractors, consultants, financial institutions, and other allied professionals
  • Teams, groups, and organizational problem solving
  • Understanding your own leadership skills and how they relate to the rest of your team

November: 11/09–Session #2: Entrepreneurship and Management

  • Office and Firm management
  • Leadership, ownership, and transition
  • Financial and succession planning
  • Business and project management standards

December: 12/07–Session #5: The Art of Negotiation

  • Ethics and law, from contracts and codes to professional ethics and standards of behavior as it pertains to the profession
  • Negotiating a contract
  • Contractual pitfalls
  • Stakeholder relationships

Winter Break

January: 01/11–Session # 4: Community Engagement

  • Community involvement the role of volunteerism in a market-based society
  • Business practice of public interest design
  • Professional expectations for social responsibility and public service
  • Becoming more involved in your own community through philanthropic work and board involvement
  • Understanding how politics and advocacy effect the profession; civic leadership

February:02/01–Session #3: Closing the Deal

  • Business and professional communications including public relations, presentations, writing and professional speaking skills
  • Use of social media
  • Networking
  • Business Development and pursuing work

March: 03/01 –Session #7: Industry Trends

  • Sustainability efforts as they relate to the environment, economy, and social ethics.
  • The use of technology within the practice (BIM, VR, data gathering, ect.)
  • Learning by doing through the use of fabrication
  • Social responsibility of architects as community leaders

April: 04/05 –Session #6: Expanding the Definition of Practice

  • Research and standard of care in the profession
  • Education within the University and the role of mentorship
  • Keeping involved with new ideas through the academic setting
  • Alternate business models to a traditional firm
  • Providing a diverse, inclusive, and innovative practice

May: 05/03 –Session #8: TheFuture of Our Culture

  • The future of architecture and the fundamentals of planning, design, documentation, and service in a forward-thinking and fast-changing profession
    Leader effectiveness and personal development; work-life balance
  • The role of mentorship with recent graduates and recently licensed architects
  • Developing your own career path through reflection on the CKLDP

May: Closing Reception

2018-2019 Application Materials

2018-2019 Application
2018-2019 Program Agreement
2018-2019 Tuition Assistance

Application Process

Individuals may be nominated by their firm or can nominate themselves and will be selected on the basis of a written application, recommendations, and resume. The sixteen (16) successful applicants will represent a diverse group of emerging professionals that demonstrate a strong potential as a future leader. The application process is not intended to be exhaustive, but has become very competitive and should not be taken lightly. Throughout the application process, candidates are encouraged to emphasize their previous leadership experience; explain what expertise they intend to provide to the program, and clarify how they intend to utilize the skills learned through the program. A jury will convene in July to make the selections of the 2018-19 program scholars.

Call for Applications: The official Call for Application is announced May 23, 2018.

Application Deadline: All forms must be submitted by 11:59 pm on July 6, 2018, to be eligible.

Notification of Acceptance: Candidates will be notified of their selection to participate in the program by August 3, 2018.

Apply Now


CKLDP is a self-funded program. The success of the program depends on like-minded folks advocating for the program and supporting the effort with their time, generous in-kind donations and financial support.

Fill out the below form to be a part of the 2018-2019 CKLDP Class.

2018-2019 Sponsors

Benefactor Sponsor

Program Sponsor
Cowart Group Architects PC


Mindy Goodroe, AIA

Vice Chair:
Shelby Morris, AIA

Board Liaisons:
Gerry Cowart, FAIA
Ralph Raymond, AIA

Emerging Professionals Liasion:
Clara Winston, AIA
Joanna Robinson, Assoc. AIA

View Bios

Allied Programs

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CKLDP – AIA Colorado
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CKLDP – AIA Detroit
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CKLDP – AIA Houston
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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 below.