Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program


Sessions will be held monthly 12:00pm – 5:00pm, September 2024 through May 2025.

AIA Houston
902 Commerce St
Houston, TX 77002

CKLDP - Submission Guidelines

Overview: Beginning in 2013, the AIA|DC chapter undertook an initiative to develop a program which would train and nurture the next generation of leaders. With the success of the previous program years, the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program looks to secure a promising new faction of scholars in 2024. The year-long program consists of nine individual half-day sessions attended by a competitively selected group of 16 emerging professionals (an emerging professional is defined as someone who has graduated from college with an architecture degree and is within 10 years of their first licensure). Prospective participants must go through an application process for selection where proven career success, community involvement and the individual’s firm/agency support will be considered.

Curriculum: The curriculum focuses on core professional skills such as entrepreneurship and firm management; teamwork and collaboration, negotiating skills, client development, community leadership, understanding trends within the industry, and developing your future within the practice. The selected scholars will be responsible for planning and participating in each of the individual sessions. The program will be kicked off by a “Boot Camp” session to introduce the participants and to develop the curriculum for the year.

Sessions will be held monthly 12:00pm – 5:00pm, September through May. A full list of courses and specific dates are listed at:  Check out the full list of courses and dates.

Application Process: 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 competitive and should not be taken lightly. Throughout the application process, candidates are encouraged to emphasise 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 July 2024 to select 2025-24 program scholars.

  • The official Call for Application opens Monday, May 20, 2024

  • Q+A Session (optional): An application Q+A Session will be held Wednesday, June 12 at 5pm via Zoom (register here) and Tuesday, June 18 at noon via Zoom (register here). Committee representatives will provide a short overview of the program and allow candidates to ask questions about what to include and what not to include within their application. Interested candidates are encouraged to attend this event. Attendance at this event is NOT mandatory for applications and will hold no merit on acceptance into the program. A recording of the info session will be posted. 

  • Application Deadline: All forms must be submitted by 11:59pm on Monday, July 8 to be eligible.

  • Notification of Acceptance: Candidates will be notified of their selection into the program the week of August 5, 2024.

Tuition: Tuition for AIA Members is $445. Non‐AIA member tuition is $535. AIA Houston may choose to offer tuition assistance to individuals 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 Selection Committee.

AIA Membership: Though AIA membership is encouraged for all scholars, it is not mandatory. A preference will be given to AIA Houston members, though other allied organization members are welcome to submit an application for review.

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 sign an Agreement Form that will require a signature from one of the participant’s principals of their firm/agency. Provided due notice to the committee, with extenuating circumstances, each scholar will be allowed one excused absence. If two sessions are missed, a fine of $50 will be sent to the participants’ firm/agency. A further absence will result in an additional $50 fine and expulsion from the program. All scholars are required to attend the “Boot Camp” Session and the Closing Reception, no exceptions.

AIA Continuing Education: This program offers the potential for up to 45 CEUs per academic year, with the opportunity for HSW depending on curriculum, which varies per program year. Each scholar remains responsible for compliance with the relevant CEU and HSW requirements for their organizations and jurisdictions.

Honoring Christopher Kelley: Christopher Kelley, AIA was an active member of the DC architectural community and suddenly passed away in May of 2012. 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 that have had a positive impact on emerging professionals at different stages of their careers. 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.” This program is intended to continue his legacy of leadership and activism.

Contact: For more information, visit the CKLDP website or contact the Committee:



  1. Online Registration (Required). Submit here.

  2. Upload Following Documents (Required). You must be logged in to upload documents. Please create a Submittable account if you do not have one. 

  • Letter of Interest – candidates must submit a one-page written letter of interest that describes your past experiences and interest in the program, as well as what you feel you will contribute to the 2024-25 class. Letters are limited to one page and uploaded in PDF format. (Last Name-First Name-Letter of Interest.pdf)

  • Letters of Recommendation – each application must include a minimum of one and maximum of three, letter(s) of recommendation. Letters are limited to one page each and uploaded in PDF format. (Last Name-First Name-Letter of Recommendation-1.pdf)

  • Personal Resume – including applicant’s education, employment history, organizations or activity involvement, and honors and awards. Resumes are 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 1-page firm resume with project experience. Instead, include relevant topics such as education, community involvement, industry involvement, volunteer work, etc. (Last Name-First Name-Resume.pdf)

  • Agreement Form – completed, signed, and uploaded in PDF format. Please use the following format when naming your document: Last Name-First Name-Agreement.pdf

    Download Agreement Form here

  • Tuition Assistance Form (optional) – Assistance is limited to AIA Houston members and dependent upon firm size. Individuals are encouraged to apply for tuition assistance if they qualify. Please review the criteria carefully. Please use the following format when naming your document: Last Name-First Name-Assistance.pdf  The amount and number of tuition assistance will be at the discretion of the Selection Committee.

    Download tuition assistance form here

  • Supplementary Questions  –  Questions are listed within the online application. NOTE: there is a WORD limit to responding to each of the following questions. This is intentional. Be succinct and to the point with your responses.