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2018 Emerging Leaders: Firm Leadership

ELP brings emerging leaders together from architectural firms in Dallas to discuss leadership in all aspects of their careers and lives. The third session of this year's program took place at the historic Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Dallas this April.

The Scottish Rite Cathedral building, designated as Dallas Landmark, was completed in 1913 in the Beaux Arts Classical Style. The class gathered for lunch, and checked in with peers in the Crystal Ballroom. The ballroom is covered in intricate plasterwork and is lit by a sea of crystal chandeliers. After lunch, the class travelled up the double staircases to the auditorium theater designed in Egyptian style, also intricately plastered and painted, with a large round stage.

Led by instructor Pete DeLisle, the class discussed their roles within a work environment based on their personal traits, and were divided into three categories based on how they respond in different professional situations. Pete’s experience as a professor and as an integral part of many successful companies throughout his career, provided the class with his unique insight into leadership and professional growth. Understanding how each individual personally make decisions and interact with other personalities allows a team to create understanding and collaborate more effectively. It was interesting to see where everyone in the class found themselves on the scale; this will help each of them not only in their work, but also as they move forward with the class project this year. Having an awareness of the personalities of one's peers and coworkers allows them to more effectively lead others within their own firms and community.

Firm Leadership was the discussion topic of this month. The class invited Mary Hart, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, MBA (Corgan), Larry Good, FAIA, AICP, LEED AP (GFF), and Willis Winters, FAIA, FAAPRA, (City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department) to speak about the topic. They each talked about their journeys to get to their current leadership positions in their firms and within the community. The group discussed the importance of choosing one’s own mentor after whom to model one's own career path, and understanding one’s strengths and finding others' to create a balanced, thus successful, team. They also discussed the current and future states of Dallas and the networks within the city. The class sincerely appreciated the panel's generosity with their knowledge and the time they took to come speak to them.

The class is moving forward with their project working with CityLab High School. This architecture, urban design and environmental science-focused DISD Choice high school is located in Downtown Dallas, using the city itself as their "lab." The 2018 class will be collaborating with CityLab students to design the rest of their space. The class visited the school in early April, and experienced the open concept that the students are currently learning in. The 2018 ELP class is excited to work with CityLab students; an official kickoff to this collaboration will take place at the CityLab Summit gathering in mid-May 2018.