Interactive Design Architects is delighted to announce that our President, Dina Griffin, has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects with its highest honor, elevation to the College of Fellows. While membership in the AIA is attainable for any architect with a license and $739 burning a hole in their pocket, Fellows must be nominated, demonstrate eligibility though a rigorous process, and finally be approved by a select jury of Fellows. With her elevation to FAIA, Dina joins many luminaries in the profession who have, in the words of the AIA, ‟made significant contributions to the profession and who exemplify architectural excellence.” Dina was nominated for a wide range of achievements, including her leadership of IDEA, a rich body of significant work, her service on numerous professional boards, and her tireless outreach and mentoring to students and emerging professionals.
We caught up with Dina to reflect on the experience of submitting for, and successfully acquiring her “F”.
Q: How did you become nominated? What started the process of your submission?
Dina: I was minding my own business, [Dina said with a smile] when AIA Chicago nominated me to submit in 2016. Chris Lee FAIA, who is on the Chicago Fellowship Committee, suggested my name. Then, you must justify the nomination! I prepared a packet highlighting mentoring, speaking engagements, etc. to establish that I was eligible. With BNAACC and OPC coming online, I just didn’t have time to pursue the formal submission for 2017, so I delayed until I finally made time to submit for 2018.
Q: What did you learn in the process of submission about yourself, and about the profession at large?
Dina: I realized actually how much I had done, and how important it is to get involved. No matter who you are, the profession to so complex that having someone to go to for guidance is important. I had mentors when I was coming up through the profession, but at the time I didn’t have a woman to talk to, to fill that role. I also didn’t know how much I wanted it until I started going for it.
Q: Mentoring students and young people has been a focus of your career. What do you see in the young people that you work with that interests and inspires you?
Dina: From time to time young people will reach out to me for advice on how to advance in the profession, and they really have great questions. I’m impressed with people who have that awareness of what they want to do so young.
Q: During the FAIA submission process, you had a chance to get a look back at you career up to this point – did the process inspire any new ideas for project or initiatives you’d like to do in the future?
Dina: I did, although I’m a little scared to put it out there into the world. Michelle Obama has an initiative for encouraging girls to pursue interest in information and technology. Some day, I’d like to do something similar, along the lines of “Girls Who Build”, starting with but not necessarily limited to this profession, or this country even, because I know there are young women out there that don’t feel that opportunities are available to them. I’d like to be a conduit for that opportunity.
The experience also made me want to continue to encourage minorities and people of color to serve on local, regional and national boards, where a lot of decisions and policies are made. Serving with NOMA and AIA showed me how much difference you can make on the inside. Things do change when you get involved.