Overview: Beginning in 2013, the AIA|DC chapter undertook an initiative to develop a program which would train and nurture the next generation of leaders. With the success of the previous program years, the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program looks to secure a promising new faction of scholars in 2021. The COVID-modified program will consists of five individual half-day sessions attended by a competitively selected group of 8 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). Prospective participants must go through an application process for selection where proven career success, community involvement and the individual’s firm/agency support will be considered.

Curriculum: The curriculum focuses on core professional skills such as entrepreneurship and firm management; teamwork and collaboration, negotiating skills, client development, community leadership, understanding trends within the industry, and developing your future within the practice. The selected scholars will be 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 12:00pm – 5:00pm, January through May 2021. Check back for a full list of courses and specific dates.

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 eight (8) 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 is competitive and should not be taken lightly. Throughout the application process, candidates are encouraged to emphasise 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 November 2020 to select the 2021 program scholars.


Application Deadline: All forms must be submitted by 11:59pm on October 31, 2020 to be eligible.

Notification of Acceptance: Candidates will be notified of their selection into the program no later than November 13, 2020

Tuition: Tuition is $250 for AIA member and $300 for non-members. AIA Houston may choose to offer tuition assistance to individuals 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 Houston 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/agency. Provided due notice to the 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/agency and expulsion from the program. All scholars are required to attend the “Boot Camp” Session and the Closing Reception, no exceptions.

AIA Continuing Education: This program offers the potential for up to 25 CEUs per year, with the opportunity for HSW depending on curriculum, which varies per program year. Each scholar remains responsible for compliance with the relevant CEU and HSW requirements for their organizations and jurisdictions.



1. Online Registration (Required).

2. Upload Following Documents (Required). 

  • Letter of Interest – candidates must submit a one-page written letter of interest that describes your past experiences and interest in the program, as well as what you feel you will contribute to the 2019-20 class. Letters are limited to one page and uploaded in PDF format. (Last Name-First Name-Letter of Interest.pdf)
  • Letters of Recommendation – each application must include a minimum of one and maximum of three, letter(s) of recommendation. Letters are limited to one page each and uploaded in PDF format. (Last Name-First Name-Letter of Recommendation-1.pdf)
  • Personal Resume – including applicant’s education, employment history, organizations or activity involvement, and honors and awards. Resumes are preferred to be no more than two pages and uploaded in PDF format. It is NOT in the best interest of the applicant to simply submit a 1-page firm resume with project experience. Instead, include relevant topics such as education, community involvement, industry involvement, volunteer work, etc. (Last Name-First Name-Resume.pdf)
  • Agreement Form – completed, signed, and uploaded in PDF format. Please use the following format when naming your document: Last Name-First Name-Agreement.pdf
  • Tuition Assistance Form (optional) – Assistance is limited to AIA Houston members and dependent upon firm size. Individuals are encouraged to apply for tuition assistance if they qualify. Please review the criteria carefully. Please use the following format when naming your document: Last Name-First Name-Assistance.pdf  The amount and number of tuition assistance will be at the discretion of the Selection Committee.
  • Supplementary Questions  – Please use the following format when naming your document: Last Name-First Name-Questions.pdf. NOTE: there is a CHARACTERS limit to responding to each of the following questions. This is intentional. Be succinct and to the point with your responses. When you copy and paste this section into the on-line application, your text will be cut off at 1,000 characters.

AIA Houston