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Leadership & Where the Buck Stops


Who builds, manages, and supports the team and how?

This session focuses on how business strategy defines and influences an A+D practice's structure and its management, as well as the firm culture. Join Think-Time Tuesdays host, and SO|arch founder Elisabeth Sporer, AIA CIC a presentation on the business of running an A+D firm. Elisabeth provides an overview of firm profiles and firm structures, as well as leadership styles and firm cultures, then presents select SO|arch case studies in conversation with her clients:

  • Building teams with Michelle Gayle Hill (Spatializing) and Rob Zirkle (brick)
  • Improving overall performance for small and midsized firms with Cathy Merrill (Merrill Morris Partners)
  • Leveraging niche services with Dong Kim (DIALOG)

Learning objectives

  • Discern how leadership style and firm profile shape business strategy, firm structure and firm culture
  • Gain an understanding of challenges and opportunities throughout the life cycles of A+D firms
  • Gain additional knowledge of best practices for business strategy, culture and firm management
  • Adapt best practices for your own business

This session was presented and recorded live on May 25, 2021 by AIA Los Angeles as part of the Think-time Tuesdays Series.  

User rating:
Average: 4.1 (23 votes)
 $45  non-member
 $30  member
1.00 LU


  • Michelle Gayle Hill Headshot

    Michelle Gayle Hill

    Founding Principal | Spatializing

    Michelle Hill Gayle is an award winning architect and interior designer with a broad range of...
  • Dong Kim headshot

    Dong Kim


    Principal | DIALOG

    Dong Kim is a partner in DIALOG's San Francisco studio. He provides architectural design services...
  • Cathy Merrill headshot

    Cathy Merrill


    Founding Principal | Merrill Morris Partners

    Cathy Merrill, founding principal of Merrill Morris Partners, a San Francisco-based landscape...
  • Instructor headshot. Elisabeth Sporer smiling

    Elisabeth Sporer

    AIA, CIC

    Founder | SO|arch

    A+D Business Strategist

    Elisabeth Sporer, AIA, CIC works with CEOs, founders and leadership teams to build successful A+D...
  • Rob Zirkle headshot

    Rob Zirkle


    Founding Principal | brick

    Rob Zirkle is the founding principal of brick. Under his guidance the brick team brings a rigorous...