Session 01: Leading Together

Date:           March 4th, 2022
Location:    Zoom Virtual Meeting
Led by:       Malik Johnson-Williams, Assoc. AIA and Chen Zhao, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Session Downloads: Session Program


This event explored what leadership is and what impacts positive leadership can have on the individual, team and community with insights from various. The first session presented a general overview of the field of study.  The second session examined what it means to lead and how a collaboration can lead to lasting social change. Lastly panelists discussed the importance of diversity and equity within the design field and advocacy.

Presentation #1

An Introduction to Leadership
Speakers: Daniel Blair, AIA, NCARB & Sarah Wahlgren Wingo, AIA

Daniel and Sarah shared a combined presentation to give an introduction into leadership.  Daniel covered the physiological aspect of leadership by deconstruction and analyzing the qualities of other successful leaders.  Afterwards, Sarah built upon this analysis by discussing the difference between good leadership and bad leadership.

Presentation #2

Social Leadership Roundtable
Speakers: Ricco Hall & Melissa Rocco, PhD

Dr. Melissa Rocco and Professor Ricco Hall shared their perspectives on leadership from a psychological lens.  While their backgrounds are not in architecture, they spoke to the value that architects have in the community and the daily role we have as leaders.  To them, leadership is a multi-layered social construction with forces and factors outside of the leader’s control (ex. personality traits, circumstances and abilities).  Additionally, as we develop our identities, we also develop our capacity to understand, internalize and identify with more sophisticated perspectives on leadership.

We were also reminded as we continue to develop our leadership identities to start with our ‘WHY’ and move outwards.  Developing our ‘WHY’ gives us the motivation that ultimately leads to our ‘HOW’, which is the process in which we achieve our ‘WHAT’.  Leadership often takes being fluid and a positive mental attitude, not a particular personality.

Presentation #3

Leading in Practice Panel Discussion
Speakers: Fawzia Ahmedali, AIA, NOMA LEED AP, Filiz Basaran AIA, LEED AP, CDT & Courtney Rozelle

The final presentation was a panel discussion with well-established leaders from prominent firms and organizations in Washington, DC. Through personal experiences and knowledge gained over the years, the panelists provided the scholars with valuable insights into their views of leadership, how they got to where they are now and what they see as critical skills needed to advance in the world in which we live.