Swan Song

in: AIACC / 0 Comments

Share this article:

(Thinking parts… Feeling parts)

My, my – what a year!   What a privilege to have been at the helm of this wonderful organization for a spell.  While I can now admit an occasional concern about the possibility of slamming into an iceberg on some dark and stormy night, I also profess to have not been so worried that I hesitated in keeping the engines revved up … and then some!  Looking back, I feel we were more like a speedboat than that proverbial ocean liner!

As time for passing of the baton nears, I find myself reflecting with gratitude, solace, and anticipation.  Many dozens of inspirational leaders preceded me on this marathon, and a very bright light will shortly follow.  For twelve months, I’ve taken my own mantra seriously, running hard TOWARD fires – a series of heady opportunities, deep challenges, and concerning disconnects.  In the end, this run is not about “finishing,” but putting in one’s best for a lap.  I hope I leave the AIACC a bit better for the efforts I channeled – efforts of the many that make our progress possible.   I am certainly leaving with many new friends and colleagues, as well as sharpened skills in moderating meetings on a crisp line while at the same time reaching out to engage all, foster conversation and engagement, and participated in working with in the established foundation of a seasoned team.

The gratitude I owe is far broader than can fit comfortably here: the uniformly superb Excom that I was privileged to be part of – Jana, Robert, Don, Britt, Ben, Jeff, Scott, Laurel – please stand and take a bow! (Applause).  All the dedicated and hard working AIACC staff – led by our national treasure Paul and our fireball Nicki.  Their stalwarts include Mark, Kurt, Bernadette, Suzanne, Shannon, Ashley, Hillary, Cam, Brandie (every one of whom lent me a personal hand more than once) along with Mardriss,  Leah, Debbie – all part of Paul’s A-Team.  And of course, our remarkable Board of Directors – leaders from throughout California  … and … well I could go on … Please all stand and take well deserved kudos!  (!!Applause!!)

Bagged and delivered: the first AIACC measurement of our members’ prosperity, the first AIA member Software benefit, a crisply simple but surprisingly comprehensive, three-columned strategic plan (Resources, Influence and The Future) – coupled with snappy new tools that give us the evidence and facts to leverage limited resources, the Focus Framework, and our new Leadership Dashboard.  We repositioned a Board meeting toward the Future of the Profession and repositioned the California Architectural Foundation for success.  We proactively cultivated our EP leadership pipeline through the Leadership Institute, leveraged our influence with partnerships in conferences, awards, knowledge development, advocacy and more.  We continually tried new ways to improve our meetings while measuring plus-delta, and in so doing – and in many more ways – we put the power of Nudges to work in continuing our progress forward.  Every one of these efforts owes thanks to many – evidence of the dynamic and successful collaboration between a remarkable Executive Committee, AIACC Staff, Board, and Components throughout our diverse state.

WOW!!!  And just wait until you see what is to come!  There are a number of profoundly dramatic shifts in the AIACC landscape brewing … you’ll be hearing more about these in the coming months from the leaders taking you forward on the next lap: 2017 President Jana Itzen, AIA and 2018 President-Elect Britt Lindberg, AIA.  I am confident that the coming years will see us taking some bold measures to Increase our Tent,  Cultivate the Public interest in the power of Architectural Design,  foster Increased Prosperity and Diversity of our membership,  and recharge and strengthen our Economic, Leadership and Strategic foundations.

I end my term with a heady mix of emotions and thoughts: optimism about our future as a profession both from a business as well as social and environmental stewardship perspective, resolve to continue to support our profession in all the ways I might, and excitement about the groundbreaking innovations, collaborations, and leveraging of our influence and culture here in California and beyond.  As an aside – I’ll also be recharging and refreshing commitments to my family (including – as my wife will be pleased to see) – the “refresh and renovate” needs of my own home, my office team and team to be, the Streamline Institute and the PASS Permit Streamlining Program, and my ongoing work with AIA National in Codes and Standards and Specialty Credentialing.

I extend a warm, personal, and heartfelt thanks to all of you who selected me to serve and supported my journey in so many ways.  I applaud your ongoing commitment to making our profession’s influence and impact resonate in every one of our communities.  Looking out at the crowd at an AIACC Board meeting is, frankly, inspiring in and of itself:  the incredible talent, the passion and care for our profession manifested by the personal sacrifices incurred to so deeply participate, the high road we share in spirit and in practice.  If I began to list the people I’d like to name here I am certain all servers would crash as the list is way too large.

We live in turbulent and uncertain times. To this effect, it’s important to remember that, in this environment, the AIA will take on renewed importance as a stable, highly competent, thoughtful, and professional steward of our natural and built environments. Together, we will continue to elevate our reputation and esteem as trusted advisors, sharing a deep desire and commitment to serve clients, the environment, the communities we touch, and the vast public that not only sees our efforts but inhabits them every day.  We share an ego strong enough to be decisive and lead, but not so great as to create a distracting glare that would blind us from our civic, personal, and professional responsibilities, even as we go about our business as experts in putting the power of design to work in shaping inspirational, efficient, and sustainable places for all people. 

A hearty toast to each and every AIACC leader, member, ally, and supporter!

… and … to all … Happy Holidays … every  one …


Michael F. Malinowski AIA

2016 AIACC President



The AIACC represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California. Founded in 1944, The AIACC's mission supports architects in their endeavors to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable designs and quality work environments. Today, The AIACC is the largest component of the National AIA organization.

More Posts

Share this article:


Leave a Reply

Join the discussion!