Long Weekend in San Francisco [DLYGAD Live!]

So my main reason for being in San Francisco was Architecture for Humanity’s  Design Like You Give a Damn: Live!2012 .  They asked several chapter leaders from around the world to come so we could participate in the event and the Chapter Forum.  The event is so inspirational, there are so many great projects and ideas being presented.  You meet so many people that you have emailed with countless times and get to give them a face. If you get the chance to attend in 2013, I highly recommend it.

Matt at the Chapter Forum

Matt at the Chapter Forum

Monday morning we spent in the Chapter Forum.  This forum gives the chapters a chance to voice ideas, needs, and thoughts on how their chapters are operating  how the parent company can support us, and makes sure we are all on the same page.  We are all going through some growth spurts and we are all looking for support and guidance from HQ.  It is also a time for HQ to show us the latest updates and tools they have for the chapters and get our feed back on things in process.  The conversation was great, minus the times that our former Managing Director Matt, who was leading the discussion, decided to volunteer me to comment first since no one else wanted to speak first.  I guess I do need the practice of being thrown in front of it all if New York is going to remain the largest chapter, it’s Managing Director should be comfortable talking in front of crowds. Yikes.  Anyway, it was really informative and made a difference for some of the chapter questions we have been facing.

The rest of the day was free until the opening ceremony that evening.  We spent the afternoon at the ferry terminal and around the downtown area talking with other chapter leaders about the morning session and how things operate and run for them, how we can work together, what we can share, all that good stuff.  The opening ceremony was another great chance to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in awhile and talk about upcoming challenges like Superstorm Sandy recovery.  I even ran into some old MSU classmates that I hadn’t seen since graduation.  One was now living out in San Francisco and another in Hawaii, such a small world.  The opening celebrations continued to the bar were we the conversations continued and I made Denver give me a run down of the city, since it is on my possible move to list.  After and exhausting night we headed back to our hotels to prepare for the next days packed event.

Ferry Terminal

Ferry Terminal

Tuesday started too early for me with training session that I did not do a good job of paying attention to, partly because I couldn’t actually use the training in practice since it required another class and it was California specific.  In any case it did have a lot of useful information for dealing with building assessments after disasters like Sandy.  Since the chapter is starting a training for professionals, it will be good to have the information.  Later that morning, Rachel presented our Under the BQE project at the Open Mic and I presented our Coleman Oval Park installation.  We had seven minutes to describe the projects and get out of the way for the next project. There were so many good ideas and projects presented, I can’t even describe them all.  At the same time there were panel discussions going on with break out sessions following.  Because I was busy with the Open Mic and then talking to various HQ people about how the chapter is running and what we can expect in the coming years, I only made it to one panel discussion.   I spent a lot of time with London and Denver’s leaders talking about how we get to that “next level” of non-profit, how do we grow up just a little bit more?  We also talked a lot about how we engage with other chapters and how we can make it happen more.  I mean I was there to represent the chapter and get as much information about how we can operate and move forward, that I was fine with missing them.  Plus my wingwomen were there listening in too to share the information and you can watch the panels here.  So much is going on right now at the chapter level, I can’t even begin to tell you, but there are some exciting things coming out of it and our new strategic plan is shaping up nicely, in a large part to what we experience at DLYGAD.

Rachel presents Under the BQE

Rachel presents Under the BQE

Panel Discussion

Opening Ceremony

That evening was the closing ceremonies, once again everyone was hanging out talking, making connections with other people, chapters, ideas.  I have never handed out my business card so much.  It was crazy.  What made it even more crazy is that our Under the BQE project took second place in the Open Mic competition! Rachel had already left to fly home, so Mishelle picked it up for her. Now we need to decide what to do with a copy of Revit… The only thing that makes us taken second instead of first okay is that we lost out to London’s Brixton Remakery project.  Such a great project and inspiring idea, you must check it out.

London presenting their Open Mic, the Brixton Remakery

London presenting their Open Mic, the Brixton Remakery

We won!

We won!

After all the excitement, I needed to get to the airport and Mishelle needed to meet her friend she was staying with, so we said our good-byes and headed out.  We had some delicious burritos at a place you normally would just walk past, and picked up more pie, it was just around the corner.  It was the best breakfast the next day at the office after a long red eye flight back with a layover.  Now that we are back in New York, it’s back to work and making the New York Chapter better than ever while inspiring everyone else to design like they give a damn too!

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