Having a Mentor Makes all the Difference

Reflecting on National Mentoring Month at Finegold Alexander Architects

January 13, 2022
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January is National Mentoring Month! On December 30, 2021, it was officially declared so by the White House in A Proclamation on National Mentoring Month, 2022. At Finegold Alexander Architects, we’ve understood the importance of mentor-mentee relationships – so much so that we initiated our own internal Mentoring Program over a decade ago. The program is designed to support and nurture fellow colleagues in all aspects of our practice by helping established architects assume their roles as educators, support newcomers in their respective journeys, and enabling authentic connections and fun along the way.

Mentor relationships bring many benefits to those involved, as well as to the profession at large by encouraging career development and enhancement; supporting ethnic and gender diversity in the profession; strengthening inner office communication and collaboration; and increasing retention. Mentoring plays a critical role for those beginning their careers these past two years, as young professionals enter a hybrid workplace that has a new set of challenges and rewards.

Senior Associate Clair Colburn, AIA, LEED AP BD+C spearheads Finegold Alexander’s mentorship program, matching new hires with a colleague experienced in the industry. Being paired with a colleague occurs during the onboarding and orientation process when starting at Finegold Alexander because we have seen first-hand how mentoring can help ease the stress of change and transition, facilitating the adjustment to a new professional environment. That being said, the Mentoring Program extends beyond the transition period and is designed to be an ongoing relationship.

“Helping designers to navigate their career development and become leaders themselves has been truly rewarding and inspiring. Finegold Alexander’s mentoring program is a great opportunity for the firm to offer additional professional and emotional support.”

Clair Colburn, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Finegold Alexander’s Mentoring Program includes four well-defined goals: demonstrate a commitment to the value of professional education in practice; establish clear avenues for individual development and leadership within the profession; promote an equal and open exchange of knowledge between firm leaders and staff; and encourage inclusiveness, sharing, and mutual support on the part of staff members. The hope is for the program to be mutually beneficial for both the mentor and mentee. Megan Hoover, AIA an active mentee since joining the firm, utilizes the program as a tool to navigate opportunities and milestones in her career thus far, including recently achieving registered architect status.

“The mentorship program has been a great resource for me in my efforts to grow my career. Whenever I have questions, concerns, or just want to chat about architecture in general, I feel like I can turn to my mentor for some good advice. I’m so grateful our office has this program, and I think it’s made a huge difference in my experience as a young professional.”

Megan Hoover, AIA

Join us in celebrating this month by offering a helpful hand to a new colleague or making the extra effort to introduce yourself to someone new! The opportunities to be a mentor both professionally and personally are endless. And don’t forget, there is always more to learn so you’re never too experienced to assume a mentee role for something new!