Mentorship: Connecting with Your Fellow Practitioners

image: Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals
image: Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals

The Women in Landscape Architecture PPN has heard that many of our members are interested in a mentorship program.  In our research on this topic, we’ve come across the following information from the Northern California chapter (NCC), which is instituting a formal program.

Their structure is modeled from the American Institute of Architects program and relies on small regional teams that meet bi-monthly, rather than a one-to-one partnership:  Under the NCC program:

“The teams would be comprised of one senior (15+ years of experience, FASLA if possible), two mid-level (5-15 years’ experience), and 1-2 entry level or student ASLA members. Interested ASLA members will apply to participate in the program and will be selected by the Mentorship Committee based on the Committee’s judgment of the applicant’s potential contributions.

Topics explored will be defined by each team to suit their members’ unique interests. We want to encourage a collaborative learning environment where mentorship happens on every level, e.g. senior members can gain knowledge on emerging technology from entry-level members while midlevel members can obtain business advice from more seasoned professionals.

Because teams should feel free to explore any topic or concern, confidentiality is important; therefore, no team would include more than one employee from the same firm, or from firms in direct competition. Team assignments will be made by the Mentorship Committee. Teams will disband after one year, although there is no limitation on personal contact beyond that time.

The team meetings can be held anywhere, and teams will be responsible for determining their own meeting location and schedule. Teams meet at least once every two months, for 1 – 1.5 hours depending on the team. Teams may elect to meet more frequently, or for longer times. While each team will be fairly autonomous, the NCC’s Emerging Professionals group will provide teams with general resources such as best practices, feedback/evaluation materials, and troubleshooting.”

The NCC is kicking off this new program at the end of May, with the first team meetings beginning in June 2012.  We think this program has great potential and we’re excited to see how it develops after its implementation.

If you have any experience or ideas on mentoring to share with us, please send an email to use Manuela Anne King, manuela@rhaa.com or Kristina Snyder, kristinaesnyder@gmail.com, or join the conversation on our Women in Landscape Architecture LinkedIn page [http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3811081&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr].

Mentoring Resources:

American Institute of Architects Mentorship Program [http://www.aia.org/professionals/mentors/index.htm]

“Wanted: Examples of Landscape Architecture Mentor Programs,” LAND E-News, April 11, 2011 [http://www.asla.org/land/LandArticle.aspx?id=31330]

“Corporate Mentoring Programs,” Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Interest Group Newsletter, Fall 2003 [http://www.asla.org/ppn/article.aspx?id=2260]

“Mentorship: Sharing Expertise With New Professionals,” Landscape-Land Use Planning PPN Newsletter, Fall 2011 [http://www.asla.org/ppn/Article.aspx?id=33862]

“Investing in Others as a Mentor,” ASLA Michigan Chapter, July 18, 2008 [http://www.michiganasla.org/resources/mentoring.html]

“Explore the Benefits of Mentorship,” ASLA Colorado Chapter [http://www.aslacolorado.org/resources/mentor-programs/]

“Landscape Architecture Mentor Program,” ASLA Oregon Chapter, December 20, 2011 [http://www.aslaoregon.org/blog/2011/12/20/landscape-architecture-mentor-program]

“Mentor,” ASLA Utah Chapter [http://aslautah.org/mentor-program/]

“Mentoring Program 2012,” ASLA Southern California Chapter [http://www.socal-asla.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=109]

by Manuela Anne King, ASLA

Manuela Anne King, ASLA, is a principal at Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey in the San Francisco Bay area.  She can be reached at: manuela@rhaa.com.

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