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Paul Mendelsohn

VP Government Relations Strategy

Work experience

Nov 2006Apr 2014

Vice President, Government and Community Relations

American Institute of Architects

Spearheaded all matters relating to AIA's government advocacy agenda. Developed and implemented a $2 million annual operating budget. Provided strategic direction for and managed the daily operations of a 17 member team with oversight of Federal Advocacy, State and Local Government Advocacy, Policy, Member Outreach, and Advocacy Communications. Worked closely with AIA Executive Committee, Board of Directors, other volunteer leaders and chapter representatives to advance the organization's strategic advocacy objectives. Significant accomplishments in key areas include:

Rebuild and Renew-Launched comprehensive advocacy campaign around economic stimulus for the profession. Through grassroots advocacy efforts and a coalition of more than 80 organizations and companies, achieved over 11, 000 messages to Capitol Hill in two months; 800 in-person visits during AIA Grassroots Conference; and media coverage with CNN, Business Week and MSNBC. Efforts resulted in a provision in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorizing up to $130 billion in investments in new and retrofitted public buildings, which created or saved 14, 000 jobs related to architecture and construction.

Stalled Projects Initiative- Envisioned and introduced an AIA" " database for ready to build projects that had stalled due to a lack of financial resources. The purpose of the initiative was to provide a boost for the construction industry and entire U.S. economy by highlighting the job creating potential and economic catalyst abilities of construction and design in the commercial sector.

Decade of Design- Conceived and initiated partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, academic institutions, and other stakeholders to support a long-term public relations campaign to research, document, and demonstrate the impact of good building design on the health and well-being of the public.

Citizen Architect-Designed and led program to identify AIA members serving in leadership roles in local communities to serve as champions for AIA core issues; connect policy-minded architects to share best practices and develop new ideas; and provide mentoring to architects to become more civically engaged.

Advocacy 365- Devised and implemented program to increase member engagement in advocacy efforts through an Action Alert system that allows architects to easily communicate their position on core issues directly to members of Congress.

Jan 2014

Honors and Distinctions

Elevated to Honorary AIA

In recognition of outstanding contributions to advance the professional interests of architects through advocacy, was elevated to Honorary AIA membership. Honorary AIA is one of the highest distinctions that can be given to a non-architect and has been granted to only five other national AIA staff members since 1998.

Other Relevant Positions

Senior Director

State and Local Affairs
American Institute of Architects Washington, D.C.


State and Local Government Affairs

American Institute of Architects Washington, D.C.

Program Director

State and Local Government Affairs

American Institute of Architects Washington, D.C.

Chief of Staff

Michigan House of Representatives
Chief of Staff Michigan State Representative Robert Brown Lansing, MI

Legislative Director

Michigan House of Representatives
Legislative Director Michigan State Representatives Tom Alley, Thomas Scott and Dennis Dutko Lansing, MI


Michigan State University

Multi-disciplinary: Political Science, History and Psychology

Creating Value Through Vision, Strategy, and Execution

Astute strategic leader and creative problem-solver offering extensive experience spearheading high-profile member driven advocacy campaigns. Skilled at building collaborative relationships (internal and external), gaining buy-in for new ideas, articulating organizational value, and driving strategic programs through innovative initiatives and action. Recognized as a fair, empowering, and culturally sensitive team builder who emphasizes a lead-by-example style to attain important strategic objectives.

Known for creatively managing work teams while driving change. Adept at gaining buy-in and building consensus among peers, direct reports, Board members, elected leadership, and key decision-makers through relationships built on trust, confidence, and respect. Highly skilled at articulating a vision and motivating members and other stakeholders to take action on it. A decisive, energetic and strategic thinker focused on providing member value and satisfaction by realizing ambitious advocacy goals.

Core Competencies

  • Government Relations
  • Team Building
  • Community Outreach Initiatives
  • Grassroots Campaign Design
  • Advocacy Training
  • Coalition Building
  • Media Relations
  • Public Speaking
  • Relationship Cultivation
  • Member Outreach and Mobilization
  • Strategic Planning and Implementation
  • Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution
  • Board and Executive Interface
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Policy Development
  • Budget Management