Kimberly Dowdell is not just making history as the 100th president to lead the AIA, but also the first Black woman to hold the position. This week Dowdell was inaugurated in her new role.
“Being elected as the 100th president of AIA is both an honor and responsibility that I embrace wholeheartedly. My journey in architecture, from my roots in Detroit, to this influential role, has deepened my conviction that design has the power to transform communities and elevate the human experience,” said Dowdell.
Dowdell was elected as the 2023 AIA First Vice President/2024 President-elect at the AIA annual meeting on June 9, 2022. In her new role she is 2024 President.
In addition to working as a marketing principal at HOK’s Chicago office, Dowdell has served on committees and boards within the AIA. Among this, the Architect’s Foundation, the charitable arm of the AIA, and the Equity and the Future of Architecture Committee. The latter promotes diversity and inclusion within the industry.
“This opportunity to serve my profession beautifully aligns with my overarching mission to improve people’s lives through design, fostering a shared vision of a future built environment that nurtures progress, equity, and sustainability for all,” Dowdell continued in a statement.
Dowdell spoke with AN in last year’s Best of 2022 issue on her perspective on the profession and outlined a few goals for her presidency. In the interview Dowdell mentioned her ambition to improve the procurement process for design services and noted the continued need to have conversations about diversity in the profession.
Joining Dowdell to lead the AIA are CEO and Executive Vice President Lakisha Ann Woods, 2024 President-elect Evelyn Lee. This marks the second consecutive year that the AIA is led by females.