Tell us about your yourself and your organization.
My name is Rhea George and I?m the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects and the Virginia Center for Architecture. I attended James Madison University and began my career in the non-profit world at the Science Museum of Virginia, where I was a member of the marketing department for 10 years. I joined the team at the VSAIA and the VCA in 2007, and since then, I have been working to develop an understanding of architecture and its impact on our lives and our world.
I?m passionate about my work because good design enriches all of our lives. Not only does it help create safer, sustainable, and more vibrant communities, it actually saves lives. Each time someone asks me why design is important, I think of the story of an outbreak of extremely drug-resistant TB a few years ago in sub-Saharan Africa. An entire clinic of people contracted the disease and died because the building wasn?t designed to control airborne infection. Design is never neutral. It either helps or it hurts. We should never be asking ourselves about the cost of good design, but the cost of poor design.
What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your work?
When I first started working with the VSAIA and the VCA, I didn?t really get it. I didn?t see how the designed-environment affected every aspect of my life ? from my health, to my wallet, to the future of the planet. Once I made that connection, I began to appreciate all the little ?design miracles? that had been invisible to me before. I find my work rewarding because each day I work to help my friends, neighbors, legislators and educators discover and appreciate the amazing feats of design all around us. Working on a lean but amazingly ambitious team has been incredibly challenging and extraordinarily rewarding. I?ve had the opportunity to learn tons of new skills, and refine many others ?the most important being prioritization.
What exciting news or events do you have coming up?
Next year, the Virginia Society AIA celebrates its 100th anniversary. In recognition of this milestone, together with the VCA, we?ll host Virginia Celebrates Architecture, a year-long salute to architecture in Virginia. This year, check out our Talk & Tour and A Place to Be Happy series.