2015 PROGRAM INFORMATION
The Texas Architects Mentorship Program is intended for emerging professionals (EPs) to gain valuable knowledge and insight into their architectural careers from fellow professionals and their mentor. EPs should expect to contribute to the discussions, share experiences, and even share new methods or techniques their mentor may not have knowledge of. The purpose of the family is to collaborate, share, and learn from one another. EPs are also encouraged to conduct meetings or take on leadership roles in organizing activities for their family.
Families are encouraged to connect on a monthly basis. While face-to-face interactions are preferred, conference calls and video chat services could also be used. Attendance at the Texas Society of Architects 76th Annual Convention and Design Expo in Dallas on November 5–7, 2015, will provide an excellent opportunity for the families to meet and share their experiences.
BACKGROUND AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
The Texas Society of Architects (TxA) Career Building Committee formed in 2012 to create programs and initiatives geared towards emerging professionals (EPs) with the hope of providing resources to help them in their professional development. In light of this task, the committee formed a statewide mentorship program that connects EPs (associate members and architects licensed within 10 years) with experienced architect members, the majority of whom are members of the AIA College of Fellows. This program leverages the established architects’ substantial wealth of experience and information while pairing them with a pool of EPs who are hands-on with today’s cutting-edge tools and technologies.
Need for Mentorship Beyond the Office
Informal surveys of EPs throughout the state have revealed that these individuals desire to advance their careers through mentorship. The profession and practice of architecture is far too broad to expect that every possible skill and experience can be gained solely through working in a firm environment. And for those in nontraditional careers, it becomes even more difficult to gain some of the knowledge and experience necessary to advance.
Additionally, firm environments may not lend themselves to mentoring in certain areas of practice — especially relating to the business side of the profession. EPs who desire to open their own firms, for example, would naturally be reluctant to seek help from their current employers or even from members of their local AIA chapters. Yet EPs indicate that they do want to be mentored in this respect.
The Career Building Committee has taken a novel approach to this program, which has resulted in dynamic interactions among members. Rather than simply pairing one established architect with one EP and hoping that the pair can ‘hit it off,’ the committee forms mentorship families — groups consisting of one experienced architect and several EPs at slightly different stages of their career.
The goal of forming families is to create an environment in which all members of the group can feel free to contribute, share, and bring their own unique experiences to the table. In this way, learning/mentorship is not a top-down situation but rather a 360-degree experience, where each member is expected to contribute and teach in some form or fashion.
Questions? Please contact Danny Rigg, AIA.