Inside the Mentorship Experience: Part One

With the upcoming Design Loop program beginning in May, we wanted to share the mentorship experience from an insider’s perspective. This is part one of our two-part post on the experience between mentor and mentee from the 2014 Design Loop Program.

Design Director
2014 Design Loop Mentor

1. Why did you apply to the mentorship program?
Because I care about the design community and where it is going; being a part of AIGA gives me the opportunity to give back and help be a part of that stewardship they bring.

2. How did you structure your mentorship? Did you meet at the same time every week? Did you have an agenda for each meeting?
We kept it simple—there was no real structure, per se. The Design Loop program itself provided most of the opportunities, and we met a few times at other AIGA sponsored events. We also communicated regularly via email.

For me, I just made myself available and offered up anything I could. Since I have been in the community a while, I think there were several insights I thought I brought to the table in the way of who’s who and what the local firms were doing.

I did challenge Kelsey to update her portfolio to become more skilled in other areas where she hadn’t done a lot of work, but having just undergone a move, it was difficult to see a ton of progress. However, she did put forth some effort and we had several great conversations about where the industry is going and how she can progress through the various fields of design.

3. What did you learn from each other?
Kelsey is a good thinker and very adept at design, in general. She has a great personality, is eager to learn, and willing and able to take on design challenges she’ll be faced with. She has a bright future ahead of her.

4. Was there something surprising that you learned that you didn’t expect?
I learned that talent gets picked up quicker than you’d expect in Houston. I would have loved to have brought her into the company I was working with at the time, but she got scooped up too quickly!

5. Are you continuing the mentorship? Is there still communication between the two of you since the formal sessions ended? Sharing of ideas?
There is a little ongoing conversation but not too much. I think for the large part of our mentoring process, it was a lot about networking and making connections and opening up conversations about the broader aspects of design, design experience, and opportunities where she can grow her skills. She is well on her way now, having landed a great job within an established, reputable firm.

6. Why should others consider a mentorship?
You will get out what you put in. There is a huge opportunity to leverage the knowledge base, resources and connections of the mentors. Use it to your advantage.

Design Loop is AIGA Houston’s mentorship program, which pairs emerging designers with seasoned design vets over a four-month period. It’s good, old-fashioned career growth, streamlined. Whether you’re looking to get something out of the experience or give back to the design community, we promise you’ll love it.

Read More About Design Loop →
Design Loop is sponsored by Savage Brands.

By Amy Smith
Published April 9, 2015
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