AIA Advocacy and Action Event

July 13-15, 2016

Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, DC


What is SpeakUp?

SpeakUp is the AIA’s new annual legislative and political advocacy event. Debuting in July 2016, SpeakUp is three exciting, dynamic and inspiring days where architects will develop skills to advocate for their profession and their communities

The goals of SpeakUp are to

  • Connect and grow the number of AIA members engaged in advocacy.
  • Build the capacity of AIA members, committees and chapters to advocate.

 SpeakUp was created by splitting the traditional Grassroots conference into separate component leadership and advocacy events – giving more opportunities for the AIA to provide training for both important functions. This is the AIA’s first-ever event devoted solely to advocacy training. Although SpeakUp will be in Washington in 2016, and there will be the option for members to go to Capitol Hill, SpeakUp is about building a corps of advocates atall levels of government, from city hall to the statehouse to Congress.

 How Was SpeakUp Developed?

  • ·SpeakUp is part of a broader initiative by the AIA, described in the 2016-2020 strategic plan, to build a stronger culture of advocacy throughout the AIA.
  • The content and agenda for SpeakUp are being developed with the active guidance of AIA members, component staff and leaders, emerging professionals, advocacy leaders and others. In fact nearly 50 AIA leaders took part in planning calls earlier this year to provide guidance and share their advocacy experiences; the content of SpeakUp directly reflects their ideas and input.
  •  SpeakUp is repositioning in action: we are changing how we do things in order to be a more nimble and effective organization and build our legislative and political advocacy strength. We anticipate making mistakes along the way, as this is the first event of its kind. To ensure we learn from those mistakes there will be robust evaluation process at the end of SpeakUp to continue refining this event.

Who Should Attend?

  •  SpeakUp is open to any AIA member, especially those who believe they can make a difference by engaging in the legislative and political process.  If you are an architect or emerging professional looking to build power for the profession and realize your potential to lead and make change, SpeakUp is the event for you.
  •  SpeakUp was designed to be smaller than the traditional Grassroots, approximately 100-150 people in its inaugural year.  We are focusing on quality, not quantity: SpeakUp will offer hands-on learning in small group environments and opportunities for members to develop bonds with others who share their passion for advocacy. If demand goes beyond current capacity, the AIA will look to increase the size, and we will certainly keep the level of demand in mind when planning future events.
  •   In 2016, SpeakUp will be preceded by two of the AIA’s prestigious events: the State Government Network (SGN) annual meeting and the Knowledge Leadership Assembly (KLA), with the goal of including SGN and knowledge leaders in the inaugural SpeakUp. (These two events will not necessarily be linked to SpeakUp in the future; those decisions will be made by SGN and knowledge leaders, respectively.) 

What Will Attendees Learn?

Speak Up is developed to be an environment of active learning and engagement. You’ll find hands-on workshops, role playing, and interactions with political and policy experts that will provide relevant, practical training you can employ immediately:

  •  Campaign Teams. Join with your peers to develop winning strategies for real-life advocacy scenarios.
  • Education Workshops. Learn the ins-and-outs of legislative advocacy, communications and political tactics, taught by some of the best experts in the field.
  • Topical Discussions. Discuss the issues that drive your passion with your peers, building your network of advocacy allies and helping you see advocacy in a new light.
  • Real-Time Advocacy. Take the AIA’s federal agenda to Capitol Hill, advancing pro-architect policies as you build your advocacy expertise and relationships.Personal Action Plans. Write a Plan, tailored to your skills and passions, to give you a practical roadmap to continue your journey as an advocacy leader.

 What Are the Costs?

  •  The registration fee for SpeakUp is $395 (the same as for Grassroots).
  • The AIA is offering up to 60 scholarships for AIA members (covering the registration fee, travel and lodging). To be considered for a scholarship interested members will need to fill out a short application form. Members will have the option to get a recommendation from their component, KC or other committee leadership; applications that include a recommendation will have priority. Scholarships will be decided by a committee of AIA staff and members. 

Where Can I Get More Information?

·        There will be lots more information online soon. In the meantime, please contact the AIA government relations team at They are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.