The Mentorship Exchange typically holds kickoff meetings in spring and fall. Visit the AIA Charlotte events calendar to find upcoming events.
The AIA Charlotte / UNC Charlotte School of Architecture Mentorship Exchange seeks to provide a forum and a means by which the emerging professional within the field of architecture can engage their peers, other practitioners and a wealth of resources in a successful pursuit of knowledge and experience that fosters both personal and professional growth and discovery of that individual.
This program is for architects at all levels. This multi-model mentorship program departs from the traditional pairing of a ‘mentor’ and ‘mentee’; rather, participants are grouped in such a way to reflect various stages of one’s career path as an architect. Targeted group composition includes senior and mid-level professionals, newly licensed professionals, intern architects, and students, with a max grouping from four to six people.
The aim of the program is to acknowledge that development is cross generational and experiential. The objective of the group composition is address the challenges professionals face at various stages the career path today: from starting out in the profession, keeping up to date with recent changes in the Intern Development Program, the rigors of the Architect Registration Examination process, emergence/prevalence and dependence of new technologies, social networking platforms and software, as well as typical elements such as dealing with clients, contractors, negotiating payment and starting a business. The program seeks to create a network for participants where development, mentorship and guidance can be fostered.
Founded by the AIA Charlotte board to address a pressing need in the Charlotte community, Fostering the Next Generation (FTNG) welcomes and actively seeks to encourage enthusiasts, students, and emerging professionals to participate in career and personal development programming.
Groups have found a variety of meeting spaces that fit with their particular groups needs. Architects’ offices, coffee houses, restaurants, bakery shops, the library-all have been host to group meetings. As a reminder, the AIA office can be scheduled during normal business hours when staff is available. Unfortunately we can’t support meetings after business hours at this time in the AIA offices.
The committee, having been in contact with the groups, has attempted to fill in gaps where the groups have missing members. If you find that you need additional members in your group, please feel free to contact the AIA Charlotte office.
We encourage the groups to meet twice a month, but participate at a level that supports the goals and direction your group has established and works best for you.
A good majority of groups have shared professional experience and portfolios, and have organized firm visits so all participants can expand their knowledge of various work environments. We also encourage creative discussions as well and ask for participants to share other types of topics discussed so we can expand conversation points for all groups. One side note: Please bear in mind that the mentorship program is specifically geared towards career development and personal enrichment; while networking is encouraged, this program is not for job hunting. We realize this is a delicate balance for job seekers, but to ensure maximum involvement by all participants, we request participants to respect this purpose.
Duration of Program:
To accommodate students, we have organized the program schedule around the academic semester calendar and recognize that many students will not be available to participate over the summer or at winter breaks. We note that many of the groups have elected to continue to meet over these periods, which is certainly embraced and encouraged. When the academic year begins in September, the committee will host another organizing event to draw new participants to the program, gather additional feedback, allow groups to directly hear about what other groups have been doing, allow new groups to form and allow participants to consider joining different groups if desired.
Currently the program is self-driving in terms of support materials and topics. The FTNG Committee welcomes suggestions regarding additional support material that may assist the mentorship program. As the program develops, we hope to have a topics list that the groups have engaged in as well as selected ‘experts’ (possibly AIA Fellows) who can lead a discussion topic for a group that would like help with a particular subject.
Continuity of Group Dynamics:
While it is desirable to have the entire group attend the meetings, we recognize that a variety of schedules need to be coordinated. The benefit of the group, however, over the traditional mentoring model is that it can still succeed even if 1 or 2 members are not present. We would therefore encourage the groups to meet even if the entire group can’t attend a particular meeting. Please also recall that the objective of the group mentorship program is to encourage mentorship amongst all professional levels, not only for students. Career development is an on-going process, not only at the beginning of one’s academic training but throughout the duration of one’s career.