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Sr. Director, Federal Relations

Sr. Director, Federal Relations
Organization: American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Location: Washington, DC
Date Posted: 11/10/2023

Internal Number: AIASDFED2023

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

AIA will provide you with the opportunity to advocate for the value of architecture and give architects and design professionals the resources they need to do their best work. The collective voice of architects is essential, and our work drives positive change through the power of design.

Each one of us at AIA is a leader committed to demonstrating our mission and values and designing a better future for our country and planet. Even in times of change, AIA’s values remain constant:

  • We stand for equity and human rights.
  • We stand for architecture that strengthens our communities.
  • We stand for a sustainable future.
  • We stand for protecting communities from the impacts of climate change.
  • We stand for economic opportunity.
  • We stand for investing in the future.

We speak up, and policymakers listen. The American Institute of Architects, as part of the global community, is building a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession of architecture to create a better-built environment for all. Achieving this vision has a direct impact on the relevance of the profession of architecture and the world’s prosperity, health, and future.

Job Summary

This is a managerial position on the Advocacy & Relationships team responsible for representing AIA’s advocacy efforts before the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, directing the development and implementation of the AIA’s federal advocacy agenda. This position also represents AIA, along with our Strategic Alliance leaders on federal issues affecting the practice of architecture and the built environment and is responsible for ensuring new alliance engagements, while also refreshing and updating existing relationships to ensure a focus on our core issues.

Reporting to the Chief Advocacy Officer, this role works closely with AIA’s Senior Leadership Team and Management Teams to develop, maintain, and ensure that AIA’s domestic Strategic Alliances program remains aligned with AIA’s Strategic Plan.

Job Duties:


AIA’s federal lobbying efforts to advance AIA’s policy goals:

  • Lead the federal relations team’s outreach to members of Congress, Congressional committees and staff, Executive Branch officials & agencies.
  • Lead weekly coordination meetings with relevant A&R staff and federal consultants to strategize outreach, messaging, and collaborations with other AIA departments involved in AIA’s federal campaigns.
  • Organize and convene meetings between members of Congress, Congressional staff, Executive Branch officials, AIA volunteers, and staff leadership to directly engage with policymakers.
  • In collaboration with the SVP of Advocacy + Relationships, coordinate with key staff members to build grassroots and grass tops support for AIA’s advocacy agenda.
  • Coordinate the development and dissemination of AIA’s federal agenda and relevant messages and testimony.
  • Ensure that talking points, issue briefs, and other written materials support AIA’s policy initiatives while carefully considering political sensitivities.
  • In consultation with the AIA Board Government Advocacy Committee (GAC) and the federal appointment task force (developed to vet potential candidates to U.S. federal positions for appointment or nomination), coordinate lobbying efforts to support AIA preferred candidates to federal appointments to various Executive Branch boards and bodies.


Development and messaging of AIA’s federal policy agenda:

  • Track and analyze federal legislation and regulations relevant to the architecture profession.
  • Draft federal legislation and regulatory comments to advance AIA’s policy goals.
  • Under the direction of the Senior Vice President, Advocacy & Relationships, lead engagement with the GAC, including monthly meetings.
  • In collaboration with the Senior Director & Counsel Public Policy ensure GAC feedback is incorporated into AIA public policies and position statements and that AIA federal policy positions are aligned across AIA platforms.
  • Lead a subgroup of the GAC in the development and updating of the Architect’s Policy Platform each year there is a presidential election.

Collaboration with Allied Organizations:

Coordinate directly with other AIA departments and industry stakeholders:

  • Brief AIA leadership on federal legislative and regulatory issues (in collaboration with the Senior Director & Counsel Public Policy) relevant to the architecture profession.
  • Coordinate partnering agreements between AIA and federal agencies (in collaboration with the Senior Director & Counsel Public Policy), as needed.
  • Speak on behalf of AIA at conferences and meetings on issues relevant to AIA’s federal agenda, including before AIA components and other constituencies.
  • Work with Marketing & Communications to prepare articles for AIA Architect, social media, etc., on federal issues and oversee the maintenance and upkeep of the federal policy website.

Political Action Committee:

Coordinate engagements to support AIA’s federal political giving:

  • Ensure AIA compliance with federal lobbying laws, including ethics and lobbying disclosure rules.
  • In collaboration with appropriate staff (Managing Director of Advocacy and Engagement and the Senior Director of Political Affairs), coordinate and direct AIA’s political giving strategy.
  • Regularly attend political giving events and manage the attendance of AIA’s lobbyists at political giving events.

Frequent Contacts:

  • Executive and Legislative Branch officials and staff
  • Federal lobbying consultants
  • AIA national volunteer leadership and staff (Knowledge Communities)
  • AIA Board of Directors and Strategic Council
  • AIA Board Government Advocacy Committee
  • ArchiPAC Steering Committee
  • Allied Organizations
  • AIA state and local components
  • AIA communications team
  • AIA President and Officers
  • Officers & staff of domestic industry organizations
  • Members of the Executive Office Team
  • CEO Partnership on Climate Crisis (and Equity)
  • AIA/AGC Joint Committee
  • Other AIA departments
  • Component Executives and Staff
  • Consultants and Contractors


  • Demonstrated knowledge of the federal government and its legislative and regulatory processes.
  • Proven understanding of the federal advocacy process, including experience developing strategies for advancing legislative regulatory proposals.
  • Experience in speaking extemporaneously before groups to inform and persuade.
  • Management experience of in-house federal lobbying teams.
  • Demonstrated skill in communicating complex ideas both in writing and orally.
  • Skill in facilitation, team building, collaborative problem solving, conflict resolution, and negotiation and active listening.
  • Skill in analyzing complex subjects quickly, researching and providing logical presentations both orally and in writing. Ability to successfully manage multiple priorities and responsibilities.
  • Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office, including competence in Word, Excel, and Outlook.
  • Skilled in using Internet browser/internet research-based methods.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal ideally, multilingual communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with multi-disciplinary teams across department lines.
  • Ability to handle multiple priorities simultaneously with high quality results.
  • Considerable skill in assimilating complex written and oral material and providing sound analysis.
  • Strong skills in oral and written communications and active listening.
  • Commitment to a positive workplace culture and environment.

Educational Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in political science or related field; J.D. or M.A. desired. 8-10 years of relevant experience is required, experience as a federal lobbyist is preferred (in the Executive Branch, Legislative Branch or state and local lobbying). Desired but not required to have experience in the design/construction industry, or in climate/equity advocacy.

Supervisory Requirements: Three direct reports

What we offer

We offer a comprehensive benefits package that reflects our company values and workplace culture, including:

  • Medical and dental
  • 401(k)
  • Flexibility
  • Paid time off
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Income protection- (Life Insurance Coverage up to 2x salary) & disability plans at no cost.
  • Tuition and membership reimbursements

AIA employees have access to a variety of other programs, including:

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees and their family members
  • Computer purchase program
  • Fitness club discounts
  • Prepaid legal services program
  • Identity theft protection

Travel Requirements: minimum

Location: Washington, DC. Hybrid.

All AIA employees in the DC metro area are currently working remotely during our office renovation. Employees in the DC Metro area will have the option to return to the newly renovated office at the completion of the renovation in Spring 2025.

An Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against on the basis of disability, in accordance with the applicable law.

Call (800) 242 3837 ext. 0 (zero) for more information on how to apply.

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