A’19 was a series of first for me.
First time speaking at a session (TH110 – Enhancing life and safety using Artificial Intelligence), first time being a part of “Say it Loud” #SILA19 – an exhibition to celebrate diverse architects and designers, first time participating as a delegate to vote for AIA National office and attending AIA annual meeting, first time presenting my idea at Practice Innovation Lab 2 #PIL2, and first time meeting a lot of #architalks friends… Reshma Soujani and Ryan Coogler’s keynotes showcasing their diverse experiences, and Karen Braitmayer’s Whitney M Young Jr’s award, not to forget Roman Mars!
Above all, first time taking my family into my professional world, showing them what an architect does and share what matters to me. #a19con
The first day was fun, I was a delegate for the AIA national board elections, and it was my first-time voting. My husband had a last minute delay and I had to leave with kids. We took an outlet mall break and by the time we reached Vegas and registered, it was time to attend candidate speeches! There was no time to drop them off at hotel and come to the venue. They attended the speeches and were very impressed by Bill Bates, Peter Exley and Britt Lindberg!
The next day, they attended our session. We talked about school safety and solutions to address school safety using artificial intelligence. It was a little emotional for us, because I talked about how we were inspired to work on a solution after the incident at my elder daughter’s school. They liked our session, and as promised, after that we took them out for a good lunch, and I went back to other things architecture while they explored the city with their dad. In the evening, I brought them to listen to Reshma Soujani, and sure enough, they were inspired!
Friday was their favorite day, nothing on the agenda, we hit the exhibition floor! There was a “look, it’s mom!!” moment when they saw Pascale’s Say it Loud exhibit… then they made a plan to walk every booth… they loved the magic shows, the freebies, and were curious about new innovations. When someone said waterproofing, little one said that’s mom’s favorite word after accessibility and giggled.. Funniest thing was my little one hunting down the booth that gave yellow buckets!! She did get that yellow bucket even though we have no use for it….
Saturday we bored them to death.
We had a day of Practice Innovation Lab and they attended both afternoon sessions. I told them this is payback for all the mom cheering I did at Taekwondo tournaments. and sat at their concerts. When we finished presenting, we drove home. They were done with Vegas, done with architects, and done with parents!
For A’20, I hope AIA works on integrating children into conference programming. It’s easier for parents to attend if they can make a family vacation out of the conference weekend. This time venue being LA, there are a lot of spaces that can be kid/child friendly, and if AIA can come up with an architecture camp of sorts for attendee kids, it will be lovely! I didn’t attend a lot of conferences because it didn’t make sense to use 4-5 days of personal vacation to go to a conference alone… Hope we can fix that for future parents!