Lakisha Ann Woods, CAE, has been selected by the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Board of Directors as successor to outgoing AIA Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. Ivy, who has led the AIA since February 2011, announced his retirement in May, kicking off the search for a new EVP/CEO following a full—and frequently turbulent—decade of transformative growth within the organization under his leadership.
Woods, who is the 15th person to hold the title of AIA EVP/CEO and the first Black woman to do so, is currently the president and CEO of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and, before that, served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). In addition to holding active leadership roles within the design and construction industry, Woods also serves on several boards. Currently, she is the 2021–2022 vice-chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, 2021–2022 chair-elect of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and chair of the ASAE Foundation.
“I am excited, from day one, to build on AIA’s strong foundation of achievements and to expand its leadership role in the industry and society,” said Woods in a November 19 press announcement. “I look forward to working with the AIA team, volunteer leaders, and most of all, AIA’s passionate and engaged members to take full advantage of this dynamic moment in history to secure a future for the association that is as diverse as our society, as inclusive as everyone deserves, and as sustainable as the next generation demands.”
Woods is a graduate of the University of Maryland in College Park where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and, per her professional bio, lives in Howard County, Maryland, with her husband and daughter.
In her role as AIA EVP/CEO, Woods will lead the organization’s national office in Washington, D.C., and its roughly 200 employees. As detailed in the announcement, she will also partner with the board of directors and work with the AIA’s 200-plus chapters nationwide and overseas to “support AIA members and advance AIA’s strategic vision of driving positive change through the power of design.” She will also “ensure AIA continues to effectively serve as the collective voice of architecture and design by expanding an engaged membership base that increases diversity in the profession and evolves AIA’s programs, products, and services.”
“It is an honor to welcome Lakisha to the AIA,” said AIA 2021 President Peter Exley, FAIA. “Her breadth of experience in the building industry combined with her leadership in making the built environment more sustainable, equitable, and safer for Americans makes her a natural fit for advancing AIA’s strategic priorities. I look forward to seeing her further empower architects to improve society and transform the built environment as well as inspire the next generation.”
Woods will assume the role of AIA EVP/CEO effective January 31, 2022.