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Chief Advocacy Officer

College of Charleston
Washington, District of Columbia, US
Closing date
Oct 15, 2023

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

AIA will provide you with the opportunity to advocate for the value of architecture and give architects and design professionals the resources they need to do their best work. The collective voice of architects is essential and our work drives positive change through the power of design.

Each one of us at AIA is a leader committed to demonstrating our mission and values and designing a better future for our country and planet. Even in times of change, AIA's values remain constant:
  • We stand for equity and human rights
  • We stand for architecture that strengthens our communities
  • We stand for a sustainable future
  • We stand for protecting communities from the impacts of climate change
  • We stand for economic opportunity
  • We stand for investing in the future
  • We speak up, and policymakers listen

The American Institute of Architects, as part of the global community, is building a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession of architecture to create a better built environment for all. Achieving this vision has a direct impact on the relevance of the profession of architecture and the world's prosperity, health, and future.

Job Summary

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Advocacy Officer (CAO) advises the CEO and member leadership regarding the activities in the legislative/political arena and is responsible for setting the holistic strategy of Advocacy & Relationships. The CAO serves on the Senior Leadership Team and acts as liaison to the Board's Government Advocacy Committee.

As the leader of the Advocacy & Relationships team, oversees the development and implementation of legislative strategies and delivers the AIA's message to Capitol Hill and throughout the Washington lobbying community. At the state and local level, engages AIA members in legislative, regulatory and political advocacy. The CAO also provides resources for state and local components and nurtures relationships that benefit the practice of architecture. The CAO oversees the AIA's codes and standards advocacy program before national code development bodies; and administration oversight of ArchiPAC, AIA's political action committee's activities and ensures organized distribution/allocation of dollars. This role will regularly interact with key Members of Congress, key Congressional Staff, administration officials, governors, and state lawmakers. This inspirational leader will effectively coach and motivate a team of advocacy professionals.

Duties and Responsibilities
  • Creates and implements governmental advocacy initiatives and programs to achieve the organization's strategic direction in federal affairs, state and local affairs, codes and standards and procurement.
  • Expands the influence of the architect in society at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Oversees, coordinates, and implements AIA'S lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and coordinates political/lobbying efforts on all AIA priority legislative issues.
  • Oversees the management and strategic/fiscal success and FEC compliance of ArchiPac, AIA's political action committee.
  • Briefs CEO and other senior leadership and membership constituencies within the association. Acts as spokesperson and liaison to the press on legislative and political issues as needed.
  • Communicates and collaborates with senior staff throughout the AIA to ensure that legislative and political activities and issues are consistently communicated and coordinated across the organization.
  • Provides management oversight for the vision and tactical implementation of AIA's annual advocacy leadership development summit that brings together current and future advocacy leaders of national, state and local component government affairs entities focusing on the skills and knowledge needed to development and implement issue-based advocacy strategies.
  • Analyzes, authors, recommends, and implements AIA's legislative policy and advocacy strategies. Regularly briefs key Members of Congress, and as needed, Administration officials and State and Local officials on issues/legislation affecting the practice of architecture.
  • Supervises and edits all substantive legislative written communications to Capitol Hill, membership and throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Delivers speeches on legislative issues to AIA member groups, congressional and industry forums.
  • Coordinates, reviews, edits and, as needed, writes speeches for AIA executive leaders.
  • Directs the preparation of supporting educational/information materials for the membership or public; manages the provision of technical assistance to members, clients of members, regulatory agencies, and members of government (federal, state, and local levels) in support of the AIA public policies, position statements, and government affairs program initiatives.
  • Oversees the preparation of analysis of proposed bills, resolutions, or oversight topics and reviews and approves testimony, position statements, fact sheets, comment letters, Q&A, etc.; directs staff on topics related to legislative items.
  • Works collaboratively with colleagues and maintains positive working relationships throughout the organization. Actively participates in candid and constructive discussions within the Senior Leadership Team. Represents respective area of oversight and shares relevant information. Embraces involvement in organization-wide initiatives and incorporates a broader vision beyond the immediate area of oversight. In organizational leadership role, commits to fully support senior management decisions.
  • Oversees the strategic and logistical implementation of fly-ins for periodic Hill visits by member constituency groups. This includes the development of resources for issues briefings and member training/orientation on the rules and protocols of legislative lobbying.
  • Informs the assessment of existing and prospective alliances with other organizations against the Institute's strategic plan. Engages in long term strategic planning for partnership development that benefits AIA members and advances the AIA's strategic plan.
  • Shepherds the implementation of the AIA Global Opportunities and Priorities Framework.
  • Oversees the development and implementation of action plans for global leadership programming.
  • Oversees the preparation of briefing materials for EVP/CEO, President and other senior leadership needed for meetings with international VIPs and international travel.
  • Lead and/or coordinate drafting of legislative alerts, action alerts, fact sheets, newsletter articles and Congressional testimony related to the established priorities of the organization.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Frequent contacts:
  • Executive Branch Officials, including Federal agency officials
  • Regulatory Agency Officials
  • Political appointees
  • AIA Board of Directors & Strategic Council
  • Board Advocacy Committee
  • Legislative Branch Officials
  • State Government Network
  • Senior Leadership Team
  • Component Executives
  • External consulting firms
  • Vendors and Suppliers

Basic Qualifications
  • Considerable skill in leadership, facilitation, high performance team building, strategic planning, collaborative problem solving and conflict resolution.
  • Experience working in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill
  • A personal management style that embraces a commitment to AIA's established workplace culture
  • Proven track record in growing advocacy programs and achieving advocacy success at federal, state and local levels.
  • Extensive knowledge of political processes at the national, state and local levels.
  • Well-developed organizational, interpersonal communications, negotiation, writing, and strong listening skills.
  • Practical experience in program development and implementation.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to influence others, create harmonious, productive working relationships and successfully persuade others.
  • Knowledge of regulatory requirements regarding lobbying, fundraising and political contributions.
  • Considerable demonstrated ability to accomplish fiscal goals/objectives.
  • Demonstrated skills in coalition building and working with components.
  • Ability to coordinate diverse resources in an individual membership environment, to analyze issues and concepts to correctly state a problem and develop recommended solutions.
  • A solid understanding of, or work experience in, a membership organization also preferred. Understanding of political activity disclosure reporting and work knowledge of FEC law and filing requirements highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated skills in the use of Microsoft Office.

Bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, or related field and fifteen or more years of management responsibility for advocacy, public policy issues, and organizational relationships are required. Minimum of 10 years of recent experience on Capitol Hill or related experience required, including lobbying experience. Association and architectural experience are desired. Knowledge of PAC administration is preferred.

Supervisory responsibilities - Lead a team of 18

What we offer

We offer a comprehensive benefits package that reflects our company values and workplace culture, including:
  • Medical and dental
  • 401(k)
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Paid time off
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Income protection- (Life Insurance Coverage up to 2x salary) & disability plans at no cost.
  • Tuition and membership reimbursements
  • AIA employees have access to a variety of other programs, including:
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees and their family members
  • Computer purchase program
  • Fitness club discounts
  • Prepaid legal services program
  • Identity theft protection

Travel Requirements: 10-15%

Work Location:

100% Remote from the Washington DC area with expected meetings on the hill:
  • MD, VA

  • Applicants from states not listed above are ineligible.

    All AIA employees in the DC metro area are currently working remotely during our office renovation. Employees in the DC Metro area will have the option to return to the newly renovated office at the completion of the renovation in Spring 2025.

    An Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against on the basis of disability, in accordance with the applicable law.

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