Join Our CKLDP Community – Apply Today!

The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) aims to train the next generation of leaders in architecture through a series of eight sessions. The curriculum focuses on honing skills such as entrepreneurship and firm management; teamwork and collaboration; negotiation skills; client development; industry trends; business development; equity, diversity, and inclusion, community engagement, and civic leadership.


Tangela Monroe
Associate Executive Director
(678) 553 0508


Applications are due by 5:00 pm ET, Monday, November 22, 2021. No deadline extensions will be given this year.


Christopher Kelley, AIA was an active member of the Washington, D.C. architectural community. He was a respected leader within the Institute as well as within Gensler’s Washington office. Through his volunteer efforts, he participated and contributed to initiatives and programs centered on supporting emerging professionals. In 2010, Christopher was honored with the AIA Young Architects Award for which the jury stated, “Christopher has proven himself a young leader within and around the AIA, a real example for other young professionals.” After his sudden passing in 2012, this program was created by the D.C. AIA chapter to continue his legacy of leadership and activism.

This competitive program accepts 16 emerging professionals each year to collaborate, learn together and develop as leaders in architecture. This program is ideal for members who are eager to advance in their career and either have not yet become a licensed architect or have been licensed for ten years or less.

AIA Continuing Education

It is intended that this program will have AIA CE credit made available for its participants. Up to 35 CEU’s will be provided depending on design of each session; the percentage that is eligible for HSW is dependent on the curriculum designed by the participants.

AIA Membership

Though AIA membership is encouraged for all scholars, it is not mandatory. Preference will be given to AIA Georgia members, though other allied organization members are welcome to submit an application for consideration.

Required Commitment to the Program

The program’s success is directly related to the attendance by the participants and therefore attendance is mandatory. Each participant of the program will be required to submit an Agreement Form that will require a signature from one of the participant’s principals of their firm/agency certifying that the firm will give the Candidate time off for the classes. Before you apply, please review session dates against personal and work calendars.

Provided due notice to the Executive Committee, with extenuating circumstances, each scholar will be allowed one excused absence. If two sessions are missed, a fine of $100 will be sent to the participants’ firm/agency. A further absence will result in an additional $100 fine and expulsion from the program. All scholars are required to attend the “Boot Camp” Session and the Closing Reception, no exceptions.

2022 Calendar (Tentative)

January 7, 2022 – Bootcamp (Mandatory attendance)

February 11, 2022 –  Session 1

March 11, 2022 – Session 2

April 8, 2022 – Session 3

May 13, 2022 – Session 4

June 10, 2022 – Session 5

July 8, 2022 –  Session 6

August 12, 2022 – Session 7

September 9, 2022 –  Session 8 |Graduation Ceremony| Aspire Conference, 09/11-13/2022

Past and Future Sessions Topics

Architecture and Political Engagement | Emerging Issues at Intersection of Architecture and Society | Equity, Diversity and Inclusion | Understanding Economic and Industry Trends | Art of Decision Making | Rainmaking and Business Development | Professional Practice and 1-Day MBA | Civic and Business Leadership | Risk Management and Legal Issues | Integrated Practice in the A/E/C Industries | Understanding Project Financing | Community Engagement | Firm Resilience

2018-2019 Sessions

Application Process

Review the application materials and questions.

Individuals may be nominated by their firm or can nominate themselves and will be selected on the basis of a written application, recommendations, and resume. The sixteen (16) successful applicants will represent a diverse group of emerging professionals that demonstrate a strong potential as a future leader. The application process is not intended to be exhaustive but is very competitive and should not be taken lightly. Throughout the application process, candidates are encouraged to emphasize their previous leadership experience; explain what expertise they intend to provide to the program; and clarify how they intend to utilize the skills learned through the program. A jury will convene in November to make the selections of the 2021 program scholars.

Call for Applications: The official Call for Application is announced early October 25, 2021
Application Deadline: All forms must be submitted by 11:59pm on November 22, 2021 to be eligible. 

Notification of Acceptance: Candidates will be notified of their selection to participate in the program no later than December 8.


Tuition for AIA Members is $500; non-AIA member tuition is $750.  AIA Georgia may choose to offer tuition assistance to AIA members who may be from small firms that would otherwise not be able to participate. The amount and number of tuition assistance will be at the discretion of the Advisory Committee.  AIA Georgia will also fund some expenses for selected candidates who need to travel significant distances for monthly classes.

Application Materials/Questions

The application process includes the following mandatory document uploads and questions to be submitted in the form. Please note all open-ended questions should remain under 250 words. Failure to complete all sections of the application will result in disqualification.

  • Letter of Interest: a one-page written letter of interest describing your past experiences and understanding of the program, as well as what you feel you will contribute to the 2021 class.
  • Letters of Recommendation: a minimum of one and maximum of three, one-page, letter(s) of recommendation. It is in the best interest of the applicant to provide only strong letters of support/ recommendation from people who know the work of the nominee.
  • Personal Resume: preferred to be no more than two pages and uploaded in PDF format. It is NOT in the best interest of the applicant to simply submit a firm resume with project experience only/mostly. It should resemble a CV.  See “What the Selection Jury Is Looking For” under the More Resources section on this page for more information.
  • Agreement Form: Completed, signed, and uploaded in PDF format. Please find the agreement form here as well as in the application form for download.
  • Work and Licensure: Have you worked two (2) full years in the profession since graduation?  If licensed, are you an emerging professional (within 10 years of first architectural registration and have graduated from an architectural degree program)? Yes/No
  • Issues and Opportunities: What do you feel are the 3 most significant issues and 3 most significant opportunities facing the profession today? (250 words max)
  • Skills and Knowledge: What are the specific skills or knowledge you hope to gain from your participation in the CKLDP? (250 words max)
  • Leadership: How do you define leadership and how have you demonstrated leadership skills to this point in your career? (250 words max)

Tuition Assistance is available by filling out this form.

Review the application materials and questions.

CKLDP is a self-funded program. The success of the program depends on like-minded folks advocating for the program and supporting the effort with their time, generous in-kind donations and financial support.

Fill out the below form to be a part of the next CKLDP Class.

2018-2019 Committee

  • Mindy Goodroe, AIA; Chair
  • Shelby Morris, AIA; Vice-Chair
  • Gerry Cowart, FAIA; Board Liaison
  • Ralph Raymond, AIA; Board Liaison
  • Clara Winston, AIA; Emerging Professionals Liaison
  • Joanna Robinson, Assoc. AIA; Emerging Professionals Liaison

2018-2019 Class

  • Ina Bachmann, AIA; Wakefield Beasley and Associates
  • Eric Balogh, AIA; The Beck Group
  • Joshua Crews, AIA; NELSON
  • Carmen Evans, AIA; Epsten Group
  • Daniel James, AIA; Perkins+Will
  • Laura Morton, AIA; Stevens & Wilkinson
  • Jessika Nelson, Assoc. AIA; Collins Cooper Carusi Architects
  • Kelly Orji, AIA; HKS, Inc.
  • Nicole Seekely, AIA; Smith Dalia Architects
  • Jared Serwer, AIA; Perkins+Will
  • Jereme Smith, AIA; Cole Hil
  • William Stanford, II, AIA;  BTBB, Inc.
  • Brian Sudduth, AIA; Intent Design Studio
  • Jessica Thompson, AIA; BLUR Workshop
  • Brock Tobaben, AIA; James Buckley and Associates
  • Robert Woodhurst, IV, AIA; Smith Dalia Architects

More Resources