Notification Window

What It’s Like Being on OAA Council: Susan Speigel

16 Oct 2019

The nomination period for candidates for the OAA Council elections is open until Monday, October 28. (Emails were sent out on October 7 to all eligible nominators.) For the upcoming term (January 1, 2020), there are six Architect vacancies and one non-voting Intern Architect vacancy.

Being elected to serve on Council offers many rewards. It is your opportunity to share your expertise and learn in-depth about other aspects of the profession, regulation and the association's structure, as well as numerous programs and services. It's also a chance to gain a wealth of information, and give back to and influence the future of the profession.

To get a better sense of what the role entails, we asked Susan Speigel, who joined Council earlier this year, some basic questions.

Why did you decide to run for Council?
I am not sure I really decided. I was at the RAIC Conference in Saint John, New Brunswick, where I was made a Fellow. I had a couple of wonderful conversations with [OAA President] Katie [Kurtin] before she was elected president and felt inspired by her and by BEAT [Building Equality in Architecture Toronto] and how active they were.

I told Katie I would think about running for Council. Shockingly, no one was running in Toronto, so I felt obliged to step up. In my early practice I had done work on the first idea of a conference and architectural technologist discussions over 26 years ago, and I was committed to doing something for and with the OAA. This was my chance by happenstance.

Why do you like being on Council?
There are three main things.

1. I have loved meeting and working with so many very thoughtful and intelligent people on Council and the OAA staff. I was very impressed.

2. I have been a lifelong activist—in theory and also in agitating from the bottom up. From teaching at George Brown College at the Institute without Boundaries for years, and teaching structural design thinking, I began to see the power of policy development from the top down. Being on Council allows us to affect our world and the world from actually writing policy.

3. We are a generation that needs to welcome generations of younger architects. I want to work on creating an OAA that is open to the thoughts and needs of future young Architects. There is a big shift in the world that is emerging and needs our attention: AI, climate change and a different orientation to life and work that millennials, especially, bring to these dialogues.

What’s the time commitment like, and how do you integrate it with your personal and professional life?
Oh, it’s crazy… but I love a challenge. Sometimes, I think I am not a good example—feet on the ground and head in the sky!

I felt the need to be on a number of committees so that I would have a full view of Council and the OAA’s mandate and work. I think we are always trying to bridge silos, and that seemed the best way for me. It is a lot of work. It’s fascinating, but challenging, to coordinate with a full work life if you do it seriously.

I think I learn as much as I give—so I see it through the lens of it being a big part of my thinking life.



Flag as inappropriate


Please log in to post comments