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Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program

Session 01: Leading Together

Date: March 8th, 2024

Location: LPA Design Studios, San Jose

Led by: Maria Madrigal, AIA, and Garima Kuthiala, Intl. Assoc. AIA

2024 Executive Committee: Chair: Madhubala Ayyamperumal, Assoc. AIA

Graphics Advisor: Sreedevi Krishnan, Assoc. AIA

Session Sponsors: Rodan Builders, Inc., LPA Design Studio, AIA Silicon Valley


AIA Silicon Valley’s Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) held its first session on Friday, March 8th, hosted by LPA in San Jose. The scholars from the AIA’s first CLKDP cohort on the West Coast kicked off the much-anticipated program with the theme of “Leading Together,” which focused on collaboration and team-building in order to better lead the architecture profession into the future. The session began with an exciting team-building improv workshop, then shifted into a lecture where the scholars obtained critical skills for mediation, consensus-building, and conflict resolution. Finally, the session concluded with a panel discussion on working and leading together with communities, engineers, and technology. The scholars identified ways to effectively lead and collaborate with diverse team members to achieve the common goal of inclusivity while creating a supportive work environment.

Activity 1: Workshop

Improv Team Building

Chris Miller, Lifeplays

Session One started with an exciting icebreaker activity, an interactive improv class taught by Chris Miller, a leading Bay Area team-building facilitator and co-founder of the corporate leadership training academy, Lifeplays. During the engaging and eye-opening two-hour workshop, the scholars learned practical skills for deepening conversational abilities and abstract thinking when leading in the workplace and in everyday life.

Activity 2: Lecture

Strategies for Consensus Building and Conflict Resolution

Jessica Notini, Stanford University

The second activity featured esteemed mediator, consultant, and professor at Stanford University, Jessica Notini, who gave an enthralling, invaluable, and in-depth crash course on conflict resolution. The scholars explored a full range of simple and effective strategies for dealing with complex life and workplace situations, and developed critical interpersonal skills, including mediation, conflict resolution, and consensus building.

Activity 3: Roundtable Discussion

The Future of Leadership: How Architects Can Work Together with Communities, Engineers, and Technology to Advance the Profession

The third and final activity for the day was a roundtable discussion. Three panelists engaged in a lively discussion regarding the rapid evolution of technology and the increasing emphasis on sustainability and community engagement in architectural practice. The discourse was informative, energetic, and effective in encouraging various perspectives on the complicated process of creating an open dialogue between architects, engineers, and others as we advance our profession into the future.


Sherry Sajadpour, PreK-12 Principal in Charge, HMC Architects

Erik Ring, Principal, Director of Engineering, LPA Design Studios

Jason Dellmuth, Digital Delivery Solution Leader, Jacobs