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The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) was founded in 2013 by the Emerging Architects Committee as part of the AIA|DC Chapter. The program is in memory of Christopher Kelley, an employee of Gensler and an active member of the DC architectural community. Christopher was a recipient of the AIA Young Architects Award in 2010 and an exemplary, emerging young leader. Since its founding, the CKLDP has been established in Washington DC, Denver, Detroit, and Miami, and strives to carry forward Christopher’s legacy by actively training and nurturing the next generation of leaders within the architectural profession.

The year-long program consists of nine individual half-day sessions attended by a competitively selected group of 16 emerging professionals from in and around Detroit.  The curriculum focuses on core skills such as entrepreneurship and firm management, the art of negotiation, bringing in new clients, community leadership, industry culture, and developing one’s future within the practice.

The leadership program participants are responsible for planning and participating in each of the individual sessions. Each year, scholars from the previous year are selected to help guide the next year’s class. In this way, the program is continually evolving, allowing the scholars to learn on an ongoing basis about thoughts and ideas relevant to the architectural profession today.

Call for Applications

AIA Detroit is now accepting applications for its inaugural 2017-18 class. All applications and supplemental materials are due no later than 11:59pm on Friday, June 30th.  Please see the attached document for a full description of the application requirements.  Interested Candidates are encouraged to reach out to the Program Committee at with any questions.

To begin the application process, please complete the following steps:

  1. 1. Thoroughly review the full application requirements
  2. 2. Solicit or draft a Letter of Nomination
  3. 3. Solicit 1-3 Letters of Recommendation
  4. 4. Review and update a current Resume, focusing on relevant qualifications like volunteer activity, organizational involvement, and prior leadership opportunities.
  5. 5. Download and complete, with your employer, the Memorandum of Understanding, affirming your commitment to the program, should you be selected to participate.
  6. 6. Complete the online application form, including written essay responses, and submit the above documents as .pdf email attachments to under the subject line “CKLDP Supplemental Materials”.



For more information about The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program, visit

Thank you to our sponsors!

The AIA Detroit CKLDP is made possible with the support of the Hanley Wood / AIA Component Opportunity Fund Grant, The AIA Trust Component Grant, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, Inc., providers of the AIA Trust Professional Liability Insurance Program underwritten by CNA Insurance Companies, and Quinn Evans Architects and SmithGroupJJR, the program’s Benefactor Sponsors. For more information on how to support or sponsor the program, please contact

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