LAI Atlanta Chapter Salon | February 27, 2020

LAI Atlanta Chapter Salon Meeting | February 27, 2020
Meeting led by: Velma Zahirovic-Herbert, University of Georgia
Location: Sizemore Group offices downtown
Attendees: Bill de St. Aubin, Phillip Searles, Michael Halicki, Doug Stoner, Holly Elmore, and Velma Zahirovic-Herbert.

Message from the President:

LAI ATL Chapter President Bill de St. Aubin opened by welcoming everyone to the first in a series of Salon-style discussions on the chapter’s mission and vision.

This is our first in a series of Salons we planned to implement our LAI Atlanta Chapter Vision2020. The Idea behind the Salon is two-fold. One is to offer members an opportunity to meet in a round-table discussion format where all voices are heard. Second is to offer an event in the early evening as an alternative time to our standard lunch format. Our intent is to alternate between lunch presentations and a Salon-style evening discussion every other month.”

The topic of our first Salon was inspired by our Vice-President Velma Zahirovic-Herbert when she asked “what is our Atlanta LAI mission?” Great question, and one that deserves a healthy discussion among the members and leadership.

We welcome all members input on future Salon topics.

What’s question would you like LAI Atlanta to discuss?

What I remember most about this wonderful Salon is Michael Halicki’s insightful comment:

We moved from a competitive analysis to a collaborative network.”

The mission I walked away with for our Atlanta Chapter was: LAI Atlanta, connecting outstanding people and places with a purpose.

Thanks, Velma, for your outstanding leadership:

Bill de St. Aubin, AIA
President LAI Atlanta Chapter.

Meeting Notes:

Velma facilitated the meeting with the goal to assess the readiness of the membership to formulate the chapter’s thoughts on Why LAI Atlanta?.


Discussion started with a brief introduction by attendees, followed by some insights on “Why are you here tonight?”

Velma mentioned conversation, learning, support, and possibly joint action. Philip emphasized going beyond urban real estate and focusing on the value of housing as a platform for success based on the connections and opportunities it provides. As such, housing problems have ripple effects on health, education, economic mobility, child welfare, civil rights, criminal justice, and more. LAI could be a platform for such an inclusive discussion. Michael suggested looking for our place in the current landscape of similar organizations in Atlanta. The main goal is how to make LAI relevant and not just another group; but advised against competitive mechanics and for collaborative analysis; go from “a competitive analysis to a collaborative network.” Doug echoed what had been said before and suggested that LAI has the potential for being a heterogeneous group emphasizing progress. Holly suggested expanding activities beyond the built environment by incorporating social equity into the chapter’s land-economics focus. Additionally, explore how LAI Atlanta fits within Global initiatives.

The next lunch meeting is Thursday, March 19 and focused on workforce housing.

I am very grateful for Velma’s leadership in running our first Atlanta Chapter Salon and all her support as Vice President and acting Program Chair on the board.

I look forward to seeing you all at our next event.

Bill de St. Aubin, AIA
President LAI Atlanta Chapter