Directors Message - 29 March 2021

Image: Peta-Maree Ashford - AILA Vice President, Claire Martin - AILA President, Katharina Nieberler-Walker - AILA National Director, Jasmine Ong - AILA National Director, Chris Tidswell - AILA National Director & Company Secretary

Peta-Maree Ashford, AILA National Vice President 

I write this message filled with optimism and enthusiasm for our profession. We have been so lucky, after 14 months of zoom meetings the AILA board was finally able to meet face to face for our quarterly board meeting.  The AILA National Board found a small window devoid of quarantining to meet in Hobart with the Tasmanian Chapter. It was an absolute pleasure to meet local practitioners for the first time or to put faces to names. We were grateful for a warm welcome and chatting to everyone, strengthening what we always knew, that our work as a board is purely for our members. To hear first-hand the wins, challenges and aspirations really invigorated our collective enthusiasm for our board roles.  Whilst having worked closely via zoom for the past five months, it was also the first time we got to meet in person the newest board member Jasmine Ong who brings a fresh perspective to board discussion. Since the September 2020 election the transition of old to new board has felt seamless. And speaking of the board, our quarterly board meeting was incredibly fruitful with key outcomes including:    

  1. Distributed Leadership: As we continue to evolve our board leadership model, we have taken cues from the WA Chapter with each board member allocated a strategic pillar (Sustainable AILA, Education, Membership, Profile,  Advocacy, Profile) and strategic values (Gender Equity, Climate Positive Design, Connection to Country) to distribute responsibility and enhance communication and transparency. 
  2. Strategic Plan: After 9 months of intensive consultation and work by the AILA team, we will shortly be in a position to finalise and release the renewed Strategic Plan.  This latest iteration will be supported by an internal Operational Plan to improve reporting, so please stay tuned.
  3. Communication: The board have also supported the CEO recommendation to engage an external communication consultant to review our internal and external communication to help inform our communication plan’s key priorities.
  4. Membership Engagement: We discussed the development of our membership engagement plans around topics, with initial focus on the strategic plan renewal and then, once finalised, the Legal Recognition Discussion Paper. A consultation plan will be rolled out in the coming months. 
  5. CPD Framework: The board has also supported establishment of a cross-committee working group to develop a CPD Framework Plan to deliver on our strategic plan.

We confirmed AILAs broader member communication focus to include:  

  • Continuing via Zoom, post-board meeting de-briefs to improve inter-AILA communication between the board and Committee and Working Group Chairs, and State Chapter Presidents and Manager, and AILA Fresh to help communicate priorities through to the membership.
  • Initiate monthly member Q+A by the board. AILA will facilitate an open zoom meeting with board and members to launch or brief members on AILA initiatives. Named ‘Member Connect’, each meeting will have an area of focus which will be announced beforehand and chaired by one of the five board members. The first will be a Q+A on the Strategic Plan conducted by the National President and CEO on Thursday 1st April 2021. 

We believe these actions will enable help to enable clear communication and transparent leadership. 

Finishing on a high, we received a record high 301 AILA Award submissions nationally.  We are thrilled with this response and look forward to celebrating projects for people and place, and celebrate the members and clients that deliver them. 

Peta-Maree Ashford,
AILA National Vice President