2021 President’s Message: Those Who Inspire

When I was elected to this position, I had no idea how our lives and world would change in 2020. A pandemic, economic uncertainty, social justice, a divisive election all created immense challenges for us. Through that whole time our chapter, under the leadership of Keith Blaine, AIA, did make some progressive changes. Keith provided a fantastic end of the year synopsis in his December President’s letter detailing some.

One big change that was made last year was the hiring of Kris McFarland Werner as our new Executive Director hired during the first week of sheltering in place. Thank goodness she found us, and we found her. Kris took a very deep dive immediately into working for the Chapter and was a very quick learner. Chris Burnham also shined in getting Kris up to speed and took initiative to keep our chapter alive. Without the two of them, landing on our feet and creating new virtual and remote programs for the membership would not have happened. I am so thankful to have both of them on our team.

I’m feeling very optimistic about our Chapter’s future and that we will be able to resume some in person events toward the end of 2021. So, we have decided to start planning the return of the AI (Architectural Intelligence) Conference toward the last quarter of the year. The committee has been formed led by Dasha Ortenberg, Donna Musselman, and Leticia SooHoo, all working toward putting together an exciting and educational event.

Until then, we will be continuing holding virtual chapter events. But we have learned a lot about how to hold successful and engaging remote events. I’m excited about some of the topics we are looking at presenting this year.

One thing that I have thought a lot about while sheltering at home is all the people that motivate and inspire me. I think about my connections to people whether they are close friends, colleagues, family or well-known persona I admire from afar. I also pondered about all the architects who have made significant contributions to the field of architecture but haven’t received the attention they rightly deserve. So, this year I would like to invite members to join me to create short biographical presentations to be shown at the Chapter meetings on architects who inspired them at some point in their architectural practice journey. Architects Who Inspire will be a fun way to share those important connections and hopefully inspire others.

Jennifer Kretschmer, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Associate
Principal Architect, J Kretschmer Architect
2021 AIA Silicon Valley President

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