About Us

Make the Connection is an annual mixer that brings together professionals from the architecture, engineering, construction, interior design, and marketing communities in Northern California for an evening of conversation, networking and socializing.

Who we are


AIA San Francisco represents more than 2,000 members in SF and Marin County. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in the Bay Area by promoting architecture and design. We further this goal through community involvement, education, advocacy, public outreach, member service, and professional excellence.


The International Interior Design Association - Northern California (IIDA-NC) is a professional networking and educational association of more than 13,000 Members in 10 specialty Forums in 31 Chapters around the world committed to enhancing the quality of life through excellence in Interior Design and advancing Interior Design through knowledge.


RECON is a unique organization solely focused on networking. RECON's mission is to provide business development opportunities for the Commercial Real Estate and Commercial Construction industries, as well as foster relationships that benefit our member companies and create a healthier business climate for the markets we serve.


The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) is a community of marketing and business development professionals working to secure profitable business relationships for their A/E/C companies.


AIA East Bay, an architectural community of more than 900 architects and design professionals, supports our membership in exemplary practice and professional growth. Our many programs include education for Bay Area architects and outreach to the community on vital topics such as earthquake safety, accessibility, sustainable design, and those architect-related issues that focus on how the Bay Area community benefits from well-informed design and development.

Our History

The first Make the Connection (MTC) event was held July 30, 2009 as a joint collaboration of the San Francisco chapters of SMPS and IFMA (International Facility Management Association), and the Northern California chapter of IIDA-NC (International Interior Design Association). The MTC committee comprised of members from each organization, with a Memo of Understanding (MOU) defining the obligations for each organization. The committee deemed it vital that the proceeds from the event would be donated to a charitable organization associated with the local A/E/C community, consequently selecting the organization, Philanthropy by Design. The 2009 MTC was a sold-out event with over 200 attendees. The event raised $1,800, thus affirming the value to reach out beyond our individual organizations and ”make the connection” for a worthy cause.


In 2010, the MTC committee utilized the 2009 event feedback and expanded the Bay Area’s A/E/C network. The committee increased the number of professional organizations from three organizations to five by adding USGBC (US Green Building Council) and AIA (American Institute for Architects). Additionally, a new venue provided space for 500 attendees. As a result of five organizations’ involvement, MTC reached over 5,000 members at professional organizations throughout the Bay Area. Each organization felt its exposure to the A/E/C community was invaluable.  The 2010 event had over 400+ attendees and raised $7,000.


In 2011, the MTC event continued to grow in support and popularity, with over 450 attendees and raising $8,200 for Leap: Arts in Education.


In 2012, the fourth annual event supported Public Architecture's 'The 1%' with a donation of $3700 and hosting nearly 300 attendees.


2013 marked MTC’s 5th anniversary held at Autodesk in San Francisco, showcasing a great venue that was perfect for our event. This year benefited the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco, MTC raised $9,200 and hosted over 400 attendees, with nearly 30 business partners sponsoring the event, in-kind donations and media.


In 2014, MTC wanted to continue the successful collaboration with the Autodesk Gallery. Again we sold out the space with 400+ attendees and raised $7,145 for ACE Mentor Program.


2015 was MTC’s most successful event, again held at Autodesk in San Francisco, with 8 different organizations collaborating: SMPS, AIASF & EB, IIDA-NC, IFMA, RECON, AEBL, & Drinks by Design. We had an amazing turnout and 31 corporate sponsors raising nearly $16,000 for the Cypress Mandela Training Center.