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Welcome Rachael! Two Executive Directors to Drive the Alliance Forward
Rachael will be working with Betsy Scott to divide and conquer—driving various aspects of the Alliance as an innovation think tank and a community.
Some of you had the opportunity to meet her last month at our Innovation Summit in New Orleans. We didn’t go into a lot of detail regarding Rachael and her role, but got a few great questions from you that we thought we’d share and answer for the broader Alliance community.
Why two Executive Directors?
[Betsy] In the last two years, we refocused the Alliance agenda on innovation in housing, spun off as a separate entity from IBACOS, and began expanding our membership to engage other “innovation enablers” in the industry, such as leading financial analysts, architects, software providers, offsite housing manufacturers and more.
With George Casey and Michael Dickens’ help, we’ve headed in an exciting direction with programming and have created some real magic among the people in the room—and our community in general. We’re on a great path, but the Alliance can do more.
As a small team, dividing leadership responsibilities will allow us to drive certain aspects of the Alliance and support others—making us more effective at both. Moving forward, Rachael will lead Business + Community (business operations and smart growth with new members and partners), allowing me to dig deeper into Program + Engagement (how we deliver value through content, connections and collaboration).
[Rachael] I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Betsy and I would be partners. A couple years ago, I became interested in the concept of shared leadership, which involves maximizing all human resources in an organization by distributing responsibilities and empowering individuals, giving them an opportunity to take leadership positions in their areas of expertise and share in the accountability and rewards.
Shared leadership can even include a model where top leaders in an organization share executive duties by having separate internal and external focuses—and this is really what we are doing here at the Alliance.
Leadership is not about control; it’s about influence. I believe we will strengthen the Alliance and expand the influence of the organization as a result.
Why are Rachael and the Alliance a good fit?
[Betsy] Rachael brings two key things to the Alliance: 1) expertise in operating and growing a professional organization, and 2) an understanding of the built environment and passion for creating healthy, sustainable and resilient communities. It wasn’t easy; it took six months for us to find the right person. Her husband actually found our job posting and said, “this is made for you.” I couldn’t agree more!
[Rachael] In addition to the collaborative leadership structure, I’m excited to be able to join an organization that provides opportunities for ownership and growth. I’ve worked in the design/build industry for years, and the Alliance has a mission that I can get behind. I believe in what the Alliance sets out to do, and can see the great influence and impact it has, and will continue to have, moving forward.
With a background in historic preservation and planning and almost 12 years with AIA Pittsburgh, I’ve spent most of my life championing, supporting, and promoting the people and the practices that positively impact the built environment. I believe that thoughtful design and building practices create healthy, sustainable and resilient communities. So, working for an organization that supports collaboration and innovation in housing is a natural fit.
How will this affect the Alliance program and community?
[Rachael] As a community, the character and scale of the American Institute of Architects is much different than the Alliance. When we set out to grow the Alliance, it’s not just about more bodies in the room. We will continue to be smart and strategic about growth. It’s about sharing knowledge, making the right connections and gaining influence, not just growth for the sake of getting bigger. The value is who we bring to the table and the quality of the connections we make.
[Betsy] Rachael and I will be working in concert to grow the value of the Alliance community and program. The character of the Alliance, our focus on innovation, our commitment to creating a real sense of intimacy, and our connection and collaboration among thought leaders won’t change.
With Rachael on board, we now have someone dedicated to pursuing more of the right people and companies and getting them to the table, while also ensuring we have the funding needed to deliver sustainable value. At the same time, I can focus on building greater program and engagement value with members and partners once they’re at the table.
What’s next for the Alliance team?
[Rachael] I’m going to be doing a lot of talking and even more listening. I’ll be personally reaching out to you, our members and partners, to get an understanding of why the Alliance is important to you. I want to understand what types of resources, content, and communications you’d like to receive around innovation in housing whether from the Alliance team or from our community. Ultimately, we want to be able to deliver tools and insights that will help you succeed.
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