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Intercultural Leadership Program (ILP)

Do you want to strengthen your ability to lead successful equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts in your firm? Are you interested in more effectively engaging with clients and end users who are demographically or ideologically different from you?

If so, we invite you to consider participating in this 3-day intensive leadership development pilot program modeled after the work done at AIA Minnesota.


The purpose of the Intercultural Leadership Program (ILP) is to increase the intercultural competency and skills of AEC professionals. By growing the ability of individuals to recognize and adapt to “differences that make a difference” — differences of race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, physical ability, political affiliation, etc.– we can create an industry that attracts and retains more people of color, women, and non-binary people, and more effectively engage with our clients, within our design teams, and with the general public.

In other words, the Intercultural Leadership Program supports individual growth and capacity-building to lead industry-wide change.


The goal of ILP is culture change within the industry. Therefore, the target participants are individuals who are:

  1. Firm Leaders: lead firms, lead practice groups, lead teams, are direct supervisors, and make key decisions – with the intent of facilitating broader impact within their firms and industry
  2. Firm Change-makers: manage projects, collaborate on teams, and interact with clients and firm leaders – with the intent of capacity-building within their firms and networks

Two (2) individuals per firm are required to participate unless a firm’s employees number less than 25, in which case a single individual from the firm can participate. In the case of a single participant, that individual would likely be paired with another representative of a smaller-sized firm for purposes of activities within and outside of the cohort sessions. No more than two individuals from the same firm may register.

See Registration Criteria below for more information on eligibility and requirements. AIA Seattle is piloting this program following the leadership of AIA Minnesota, and space is limited to 30 total registrants.


$1,500 per person

Cost includes:  Introductory webinar; the online Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI); one-on-one IDI profile debrief; a 3-day facilitated skill-building retreat with cohort. Breakfast, lunch and light refreshments will be provided during all retreat days.

In recognition that this fee may present a hardship to some firms who are nevertheless committed to investing in the work, firms may submit a request for discounted fee. Limited scholarship funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Individuals interested in participating must be able to commit in good faith to all of the following dates and times:

Tuesday, August 13, 8:30- 10:30am | Introductory webinar

  • Get shared meaning on key terms like diversity, equity, inclusion, and intercultural capacity
  • Understand the development model as the theory of change, and get ready to take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)

August 14 – August 28 | Take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) online

August – September | One-on-one profile debriefs of the IDI assessment

Wednesday, September 25 – Friday, September 27 | 3-day facilitated skill-building retreat with cohort

  • The focus of the 3-day intensive cohort learning and skill-building retreat will be built toward the IDL Purpose outlined above. The scope and sequence of the three days will depend on the cohort’s IDI profile, but content topics will include: intercultural conflict and communication styles; power; target/agent identities; organizational cultural self-awareness; becoming an internal change-agent; and more


For this pilot program, space is limited to 30 members in good standing. Registrants who meet the following criteria, commit to submitting all registration materials, and complete payment will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis:

  • Firm is part of the AIA Seattle Firm Network in good standing
  • Individuals are themselves AIA Seattle members in good standing
  • Participants have the commitment and support of their firm/leadership, demonstrated through a written statement by the employer. Firm leaders who participate must submit a statement of commitment to full engagement during program and a commitment to next steps for their firm/industry after the program
  • Two (2) individuals per firm are required to participate, unless a firm’s employees number less than 25, in which case a single individual from the firm can participate.  In the case of a single participant, that individual would likely be paired with another representative of a smaller-sized firm for purposes of activities within and outside of the cohort sessions
  • No more than two (2) individuals from the same firm may register, as space is limited for this pilot program. We encourage firms to send one (1) firm leader and one (1) additional employee invested in change-making and capacity building (see Target Participants above)


Registration is closed. 


Sara Schonwald | Listen to Lead Consulting | she/her/hers
Sara is a dynamic facilitator, trainer, listener and coach. Her practice of leadership and consulting centers the belief that we’re all connected to each other, and that it is our collective opportunity and responsibility to work together for justice and peace.​

She’s a trainer and design team member of the Blandin Foundation’s Community Leadership Programs and a member of One Ummah Consulting. Additionally, Sara is the founder of Commit Kindness. Prior to founding Listen to Lead Consulting, Sara had many roles in the education sector: classroom teacher, department chair, teacher trainer, teacher coach, community facilitator, and family liaison.​

Sara is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory and a trained practitioner of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Art of Hosting. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from George Washington University and M.A.Ed. in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from Stanford University.​

In addition to consulting, Sara is a student of biodynamic craniosacral therapy, a practice of deep whole-system listening. She is also active in the Jewish community in the Twin Cities; one way she practices her faith is through activism for social justice.​

Sara is third-generation U.S. American; her great-grandparents came to the U.S. from Eastern Europe. She also identifies as a white, straight, Jewish woman who’s a mom, spouse, proud Minnesotan, Gen X / Millenial “cusper” and ENFP. She loves kitchen dance parties with her 8- and 5-year-old children and being active outside in all seasons.

Alfonso T. Wenker | Team Dynamics | he/him/his
Wenker is a highly sought after speaker, facilitator and trainer. He self-identifies as a nerd about all things philanthropy, fundraising, facilitation and movement building. Before co-founding Team Dynamics, he was Vice President at the Minnesota Council on Foundations – driving both program strategy and racial equity. In his role, he served as the lead trainer for the Council’s professional development programs with over 180 member foundations, working to advancing equity and inclusion within the field of grantmaking as well as the resources being mobilized throughout the community. He received his bachelor of arts in public relations from the University of St. Thomas and has held previous roles with Bush Foundation, Minnesotans United for All Families and PFund Foundation. He recently completed his tenure as chair of the board for Pollen.

Alfonso’s story is featured in the book, “Become a Nonprofit Rockstar: 50 Ways to Accelerate Your Career” and he is the recipient of the 2017 Facing Race Award from the Saint Paul and Minnesota Community Foundation as well as the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Catalytic Leader Award in 2014. Alfonso was a 2015-2016 Humphrey Policy Fellow.

He loves political conversations on patios, and trying to make Mexican food as well as his mom. He is a proud millennial with a carefully curated social media presence.


“I did not know what to expect, but this was a game-changer for me.”

Alfonso and Sara were excellent facilitators who continually adapted to what the group needed… Great energy and openness.” 

 “…helped us see structures and privilege and agency. Helped us see the ‘differences that make a difference,’ understand power, and learn to ask better questions.”

“The strength of this program was the thoughtfulness and intention that went into everything – from the hosting space to setting expectations and building communications skills around difficult conversations.” 

“I was hoping to grow and understand my own biases and ingrained ways of thinking about race and gender. I have new tools now and feel more capable.” 

It wasn’t what I expected… it was more in many important ways. So rich. So valuable.” 


Click here for attendee resources


Contact Professional Programs Manager Cassie Blair


September 25, 2019 @ 8:30 am
September 27, 2019 @ 2:30 pm


AIA Seattle
(206) 448-4938


800 5th Ave
800 5th Ave
Seattle, WA 98104 United States
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