Job Details


AIAS Executive Director

Post Date:

March 20, 2019


The American Institute of Architecture Students


Washington, DC



AIAS, a 501(c)(3) organization located in Washington, D.C., is the professional organization and official voice of architecture students throughout North America.  AIAS is a grassroots, student-governed association with more than 5,500 members. Through a variety of programs, activities, and resources, it enriches the educational experience of architecture and design students of all ages and provides opportunities to influence and demonstrate leadership in the profession of architecture and design. AIAS membership is open to high school and college/university students, educators, interns, and professionals with an interest in the architecture profession and in the support of education in the field.

Founded in 1956 as the National Association of Students of Architecture under the auspices of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the organization was renamed the Association of Student Chapters/AIA in 1958. In 1985, it was reincorporated under its current name as a separate legal entity from the AIA. In 2016, AIAS celebrated its 60th anniversary — a significant milestone for any organization but particularly for a student-run association.


The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for implementing all programs, services, and activities, as directed by the Board; hiring, retaining, and leading the staff; overseeing the organization’s daily operations, programs, initiatives, and services; developing, recommending, and managing the $1 million operating budget; and working closely with officers to establish and implement the strategic direction of the association. In addition, the Executive Director will:

  • Build and strengthen alliances and partnerships with collateral organizations;
  • Develop and implement a plan to increase membership and non-dues revenue;
  • Oversee the Beyond Architecture capital campaign and other fund-raising efforts;
  • Maintain, manage and protect the financial resources of the organization by aligning the annual operating budget with the board’s strategic goals and objectives (illustrated in the 2018 Strategic Plan);
  • Oversee the development and implementation of sponsorship programs to encourage support from corporate, commercial, and education groups with an interest in reaching AIAS membership base;
  • Oversee the development of sources of non-dues revenue and other funding resources for conferences and events;
  • Support the operations and administration of the Board of Directors and committees, and provide historical information to ensure the progress of the organization;
  • Serve as the associate publisher of CRIT, the Journal of AIAS; and
  • Direct the public relations, promotions, and marketing efforts of the association.


The Executive Director’s success will be measured on their ability to achieve three primary goals:

  1. Successfully implement the strategic plan;
  2. Grow the organization’s membership, revenue, and engagement in programs; and
  3. Foster partnerships/collaborative relationships.

These measurements of success will be conducted through performance evaluations from the Board of Directors and other volunteers and staff, as well as through demonstrated progress towards the aforementioned goals. â Additionally, a successful Executive Director would ensure progress toward increased visibility of the organization within the profession as a stronger voice for socially relevant practice and resilient design; as well as continued momentum toward effective global expansion.


The successful candidate will have six to 10 years of management experience in a professional membership association and/or experience in nonprofit management, and demonstrated leadership in program development and operations management. A Bachelor’s degree is required; a Master’s degree is considered optimal, and the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is a strong plus.  Knowledge and general understanding of the architecture profession and/or educational process is helpful. Previous experience as an Executive Director is preferred but not required.

The following experience is essential to the position of Executive Director:

  • Successfully developing and managing an operating budget;
  • Developing and implementing strategic plans and initiatives, and identifying and prioritizing short- and long-term organizational needs and resources;
  • Developing sources of non-dues revenue and experience in fundraising through a variety of processes and/or campaigns;
  • Hiring, developing and motivating a talented professional staff, and creating a work environment that empowers staff to creatively lead in their areas of responsibility;
  • Maintaining the fiscal integrity and financial resources of an organization through the implementation of sound business systems and adherence to legal and professional standards of fiscal responsibility;
  • Serving as an effective advocate for diverse stakeholders and constituencies within an organization;
  • Enhancing the visibility, reputation, and prestige of an organization through effective public relations;
  • Developing and implementing campaigns and strategies to increase membership and member retention; and
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of and increasing the value of member benefits

The following experience is highly desirable:

  • Overseeing the management of conferences, meetings, and expositions;
  • Managing activities and programs in a complex and changing governance structure;
  • Developing, supporting and managing activities and functions of a Board of Directors and others in leadership positions;
  • Working with and/or advocating for students and young professionals;
  • Serving as the public voice of and spokesperson for an organization and experience in public speaking;
  • An understanding of technology and social media and its role in advancing organizational goals; Working collaboratively and productively with chapters, affiliates and/or interest sections;
  • Building and strengthening teams of staff and volunteers as an ongoing process; and
  • Managing public policy issues and advocacy efforts.


The following skills and abilities are essential:

  • Thorough understanding of nonprofit accounting principles;
  • Proven ability to fundraise on behalf of an organization, its members and programs;
  • Ability to balance the relationship of serving as a professional mentor while respecting the authority and responsibilities of the student officers and Board members to whom the position reports;
  • Capable of providing stability, continuity, and sustained progress toward established goals in a leadership structure that changes annually;
  • Ability to work well with a variety of leadership styles;
  • Ability to build and strengthen effective networking systems, alliances, partnerships, and opportunities with related industry organizations and key stakeholders;
  • Effective, clear, and concise communication skills, including both spoken and written word, that can energize grassroots volunteer networks;
  • Managing and leading an organization, staff, and volunteers, despite annual leadership turnovers; and
  • Ability to learn about and understand emerging trends in the design and construction industry and how they will affect both current and future operations of the organization.

If you are an energetic and optimistic leader capable of inspiring and working collaboratively to carry out the AIAS’s mission of empowering students, download a full position description here. Review of applications begins February 28, 2019, and will continue until the position is filled. Any questions and comments may be directed to the 2019 Executive Director Search and Transition Committee at All candidates for the Executive Director position must send a resume/CV and a letter of interest to the committee via email at as soon as possible to be considered for the position. Interested parties may also email the committee to declare an Intent to Apply by March 30th, 2019 to receive any pertinent additional information that surfaces prior to the initial round of virtual interviews.

Please note that finalists will participate in two additional rounds of in-person interviews to take place in Washington D.C. on May 8th – 9th and May 15th -16th, 2019.

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