2021: A Year in Review

8 December 2021

CEO Angelina Pillai reviews the ACA’s work and priorities for the year, from connection and collegiality to advocacy, partnerships, timely information and good communication.

It certainly has been a business as unusual year again this year. We hoped after last year that things would be a bit more settled; however, the challenges kept rolling in. But those challenges also presented us with opportunities. So, we seized the opportunity to pause, reflect and rethink how and where we can add extra value and create maximum impact to support our member practices and the profession at large.

At the national executive level, we made a firm commitment with our current strategic plan that the ACA is all about supporting our members. And how do we find out what their priorities are? By simply asking the right questions. Our pulse check surveys (all five of them) gave us invaluable data to act upon. And we were able to respond with the provision of timely information for practices to be able to continue operating; representation on industrial relations matters; expert business advisory services across legal, HR, business and financial management; an improved business toolbox; relevant online events; and prioritising culture and wellbeing with the creation of the Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Forums around the country. We also stepped up our advocacy efforts on a range of issues, particularly around building quality and building confidence through progressing the implementation of the Building Confidence report; and continuing to harness platforms for our communities to share and learn from each other.

All these highlights – and more – are on our website, which we are continuously improving as part of our strategy to communicate more effectively with practices and the profession.

To that end, something very exciting that we’ve invested in this year has been the Marketing and Communications function of the ACA. As we are growing, so too is our voice and presence. The need for careful and consistent messaging through our various media channels, website and socials, including a vibrant and targeted editorial program, is critical so we can preach beyond the converted. We are committed to using our platforms to ‘sell’ the value of architecture to consumers of architectural services, government, and your future clients as we look forward to actively engaging with the wider industry and community.

Industry collaboration is also very much on our agenda. Our belief is that this profession is way too small for us all to be doing our own thing, so partnerships are key. We have established MoUs and working parties with other architectural bodies such as the Institute, ArchiTeam, the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia and state registration boards. These joint efforts are on our website.

Our member practices are the lifeblood of our Association, and we can’t do our job without the support of our financial members. Nationally, we are delighted to report that our membership has grown solidly over the past few years averaging around 20% growth year on year. We thank you for your continued commitment to be part of the ACA community.

Together with our members, we are fortunate to have the support and dedicated efforts of our national principal partners. Planned Cover, Deltek, Ardex and Macquarie Bank complement our national knowledge partners Mecca Events, informed lawyers and the ABCB. Together, our national partnership program provides specialist advice on products and services to assist you with fulfilling your business operations more productively.

A big thank you also goes out to our elected branch committee members who work tirelessly behind the scenes. These committed individuals are all volunteers, but their relentless efforts and outstanding contribution to not just the ACA, but the profession at large is to be commended.

So, as we prepare to toast the end of 2021, I would like to thank the small and enthusiastic team that makes it all happen. To our supportive national executive, led by national president John Held, a dedicated administration team and an editorial manager that ensures we tell our stories with purpose and integrity – thank you for sticking by the ACA! Our team will be in touch in January with a two-minute questionnaire on what you’d like to see us prioritise to help us plan for an exciting and rewarding year ahead.

The ACA wishes everyone a safe and happy festive season. See you in the new year!