March 30, 2017 by 2019-2020 Equity & Diversity Task Force, 2019-2020 Sustainability & Resiliency Task Force, 2020-2021 Council of Global Representatives, 2020-2021 Learning & Teaching Culture Advisory Group, 2021-2022 Professional Development Advisory Group

We know AIAS involvement is an irreplaceable experience for architecture students at all stages of their education. Opportunities to work with others for the benefit of a larger community strengthens our talents and passion. AIAS membership is also a catalyst into the professional world. Membership introduces you to the profession and kick starts your engagement with future colleagues, causes, and connections across the world.

AIAS matters greatly to schools and students, but why does it matter to firm leaders? We’ve summarized the top 7 attributes of what leaders from a variety of firms value when interviewing AIAS members. Each attribute is inspired by conversations we’ve had with firm leaders across the country.

AIAS Andrews University

1. Responsibility

“Willingness to accept and go after responsibility means people will recognize you as a leader as you grow in the firm.” Entry-level positions are opportunities to grow and learn, not only in design talent, but in business practices and leadership. AIAS members are comfortable taking on an intense workload. This attribute showcases a desire to grow quickly in and beyond their roles.

Mike Thompson – Stantec
Large Firm, Philadelphia, PA

AIAS Oklahoma State University


Serving in a leadership role while succeeding in a demanding architecture curriculum represents a willingness to step up beyond what’s expected. Similar to taking on responsibility, demonstrating initiative means AIAS leaders can speak up and do what’s right, even when it takes more work than doing what’s easy.

Statements inspired by conversations with 5G Studio.
Medium Firm, Dallas, TX

AIAS Kuwait University


Getting involved with a national organization means gaining more exposure to different ideas, people, values and resources than what you’re able to experience at any one institution or firm. These perspectives allow you to grow as a designer and serve a wider variety of people. It also means you gain friends and connections all over the world.

Statements inspired by conversations with Malone Maxwell Borson Architects.
Small Firm, Dallas, TX

AIAS University of Oregon


“AIAS leaders are typically more comfortable in front of people than other students. During an interview, we’re looking for students that can speak and convey ideas easily and convincingly, so that, even at an early level, we’re able to put them in front of clients and they are a good representation of the firm.”

Jason Hanna – Corgan
Large Firm, Dallas, TX

AIAS University of New Mexico


Architecture is a service industry. Students that are able to assess and serve the needs of others will be more successful than those who only rely on their design abilities. After school, the design process is a very small and early part of any project. Working with people and continuing to build relationships is really what matters in this industry.

Statements inspired by conversations with Nunzio DeSantis – HKS, Inc.
Large Firm, Dallas, TX

AIAS City College of New York


The people at a firm are everything. Being able to contribute to a thriving culture through your own skills and personality will help you grow the firm as you attract more people to work with you. Working well with a team will lead to success in a firm.

Statements inspired by conversations with Jennifer Workman Blevins – GFF Architects.
Medium Firm, Dallas, TX

AIAS Florida Atlantic University


“The most successful people I’ve seen are those who are able to combine their leadership skills with a high standard of care.” Taking ownership of your work and place in a firm consists of holding high standards for yourself and those around you. It’s one thing to check a leadership box on a resume and another thing to invest in something you’re truly passionate about. At the end of the day, design quality comes from truly caring about the work you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. AIAS members show a passion for their work and the people they’re working with which translates into all aspects of the design process.

Eric Hoffman – Pattehrn Ives
Small Firm, Saint Louis, MO


All photos are from the AIAS National Instagram account @AIASORG.