LEADERSHIPIIDA membership provides opportunities to become active in leading and shaping the profession.By John Lijewski, FIIDA, LEED APIIDA defines itself as being about our members, working to provide professional services and resources to best fit their needs. But we are also about design, engaged as leaders and advocates for the profession. At this moment of great design awareness within the consumer population, we owe it to our members and the profession to take an active role in shaping the agenda that will move the profession forward. We take this leadership role very seriously.IIDA leads by supporting the future of design. Students of today need resources to help them become the leaders of tomorrow. IIDA and our chapters work hard to provide opportunities to augment the professional development tools students receive while earning their degrees. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the design community, IIDA's Annual Mentoring Week continues to be a great success, with the most recent student enrollment nearly double that of previous years. In its third year, the program gives design students the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a design professional. To continue the development of the profession, it is as important to recruit strong candidates into interior design programs as it is to support them when they get there. To sustain this priority, IIDA collaborated with ASID, FIDER, IDC, IDEC and NCIDQ to create the "Careers in Interior Design" Web site (www.careersin interiordesign.org), designed as a service for those interested in entering the profession. The Web site was created as a single source where anyone interested in an interior design career could obtain reliable information about how to enter the profession and what to expect when beginning work in the field. The site gives an overview of educational options, practice issues, and the importance of accreditation and licensing, as well as the best avenues for getting started in the profession after graduation.IIDA leads by spotlighting the best in design and helping to set standards for professionalism and best practices. IIDA plays host to several high-profile competitions that can bring recognition to firms, professionals and students. Esteemed judges are convened to evaluate design projects and give top honors to those they believe represent the evolution of the profession. Many of the 2005 award winners will be fêted at IIDA's annual black tie gala on June 13, which will usher in NeoCon®.Further, our government affairs department is a vocal advocate for the value of design in affecting the public's health, safety and welfare. Our proven track record empowering state coalitions with tools to influence legislation is paving the way for future successes. IIDA shares this information with our members to help them stay a step ahead of changes that may impact the profession.IIDA leads by providing hope through the safety of a built environment. Each year IIDA chapters donate thousands of dollars to philanthropic organizations that support the built environment, both within their communities and globally. In addition, the IIDA Foundation works tirelessly to advance interior design through education, research and knowledge, to benefit IIDA and the interior design profession. Most recently, this generosity on behalf of IIDA's membership was extended to help in the rebuilding efforts of Southeast Asia after the December tsunami. This philanthropic donation was earmarked exclusively for organizations directly supporting the rebuilding effort. However, ethically responsible design begins at home, through educated designers making informed decisions. That is why the IIDA Foundation's cornerstone programs are grants through its Education and Research Fund and Sustainable Design Education Fund, which reimburse NCIDQ and LEED examination fees.IIDA leads by promoting dialogue between like-minded professionals. Designers represent a diverse profession. Therefore, while some association events are positioned to deliver information relating to all practitioners, others are much more specific. It is for this reason that we have structured the courses and research in IIDA's Knowledge Center (http://knowledgecenter. iida.org/) into searchable career tracks, and it is why IIDA has become a leader in convening communities of professionals based on area of practice (IIDA Forums) or career track. IIDA's Hospitality Roundtables, Principals Roundtables and Government Forum, to name a few, have become can't-be-missed events.How can you take a leadership role in the profession? IIDA can be an avenue for that participation. It only takes desire to seek out the path that's right for you.IIDA president John Lijewski, FIIDA, is a principal at Perkins & Will, New York. IIDA is headquartered in space 13-122 at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL, and can be reached at (888) 799-IIDA; www.iida.org.