Beginning in 2013, the AIA|DC chapter undertook an initiative to develop a program which would help train and nurture the next generation of leaders. Building on the success of AIA New Mexico’s inaugural 2019-20 program, the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program looks to secure a promising new faction of New Mexican scholars in 2021.

The year-long program consists of nine individual half-day sessions attended by a competitively selected group of 16 emerging professionals (an emerging professional is defined as someone who has graduated from college with an architecture degree and is within 10 years of their first licensure). Applications are currently open for the 2021 program to be hosted by AIA New Mexico and AIA Albuquerque with support from the founding members in AIA|DC and the CKLDP’s national network of scholars.


The curriculum focuses on core professional skills such as entrepreneurship and firm management, 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 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, September 2021 through May 2022.  A full list of courses and specific dates are described in the 2021-2022 Session Schedule.


Tuition for AIA Members is $300; non-AIA member tuition is $400. Tuition is due no later than two (2) weeks prior to the Bootcamp Session. AIA Albuquerque 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. A tuition assistance form is included in the online application.

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

The program is set up to provide a possibility of a total of 45 CEU’s will be provided (22 of which are intended to be HSW).


Honoring Christopher Kelley

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

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 here: