Texas Society of Architects Mentorship Program

The Texas Architects Mentorship Program provides an opportunity for emerging professionals across the state to connect with AIA Fellows for mentorship and professional development.

Texas Architects Mentorship

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 75th Annual Convention and Design Expo in Houston on November 6–8, 2014, will provide an excellent opportunity for the families to meet and share their experiences.

BACKGROUND AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT

The Texas Society of Architects Career Building Committee formed in 2012 to create programs and initiatives geared towards EPs with the hope of providing resources to help them in their professional development. In light of this task, the committee has undertaken the formation of a statewide mentorship program, which aims to connect members of the College of Fellows to EPs. Fellows are architects who have been identified by the AIA as proven leaders in their field, while EPs are a group consisting of associates and architects licensed less than 10 years. This program leverages the Fellows’ substantial wealth of experience and information while pairing them with a pool of EPs that is 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 do want to be mentored in this respect.

Mentorship Families

The Career Building Committee tasked with putting the mentorship program together has envisioned a novel approach to this program, one that will hopefully lead to dynamic interactions. Rather than simply pairing one FAIA with one Associate AIA and hoping that the pair can ‘hit it off,’ the committee will form mentorship families — groups consisting of one Fellow and several EPs, who will likely be at slightly different career stages.

By forming families, we hope to create an environment where 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 will be expected to contribute and teach in some form or fashion.



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