Student Leadership Chronicles: The emerging leader

Ryan Forst's picture

This post is part of a new series on the CNU Salons, STUDENT LEADER CHRONICLES. This series profiles how a Students for the New Urbanism membership enhances leadership skills.

The below post is a Student Leader Chronicles post on leadership and Students for the New Urbanism courtesy of CNU Program Intern Ryan Forst.

Geoffrey Bird refuses to spend his budding architecture career retreated in the niches of blandness and uniformity. For he feels that architecturally, our nation can once again be a better place. To achieve this goal he says he will need to remove some daunting dichotomies that have plagued the Untied States’ design world. In his opinion, these questions of locality versus nationality, public good versus civil liberty, and partisanship versus cohesiveness have sadly downgraded our nation’s built environment. To fix these issues our county needs a great leader. Luckily for us, Geoffrey is destined to remove these barriers because he is enhancing his leadership skills by participating in the Students for the New Urbanism.

When faced with an ambiguous question on how has SNU enhanced his leadership skills, Geoffrey readily recalls his role with SNU in the Gerald D. Hines/ULI Urban Design Competition. “As a leader of these (two) teams, I was responsible for recruitment, planning, and productions; in other words the buck stopped with me.” Over just fourteen short days, this challenging task tested his ability to align corporate world objectives with good design principles all while fostering communication and managing his teammates’ busy schedules. In retrospect, he feels that his most significant leadership takeaway was the importance of controlling one’s own ego. He was forced to check his ego when a colleague produced a stronger design then his own. “As a leader your imperative is the success of the team, not just one member...a combination of very high standards and respect for my teammates time, though often at odds, produced the best results”

In closing, Geoffrey feels that despite the current state of architecture it is a great time to be entering the field as a traditional architect or Urbanist. “ The previous generation has done what had once been considered impossible and revived traditional design in both the academic and the professional world.” However, he believes we must be proactive when it comes to our adaption of traditional city building to our current problems. Thankfully, within SNU he sees the eagerness to tackle the problem!

Make sure to join me next time when I will profile former SNU members and their leadership experience! Also, for more information on Students for the New Urbanism or how to start your own chapter contact Caitlin Ghoshal. Also, make sure to visit the Students for the New Urbanism webpage!

The author thanks Geoffrey Bird for his profound words and participation in this series. Geoffrey obtained a BA in History from Monmouth College in 2011, and he will complete a Master’s in Architecture from Norte Dame University in May 2014. He was initially attracted to SNU’s Norte Dame group because its presence in design competitions, and he has remained in SNU because of the pace, demands, and comradely. Since joining, Geoffrey has risen to the rank of co-president and is directly responsible for his SNU group’s competition involvement.


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