Inside the Mentorship Experience: Part Two

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

Graphic Designer
2014 Design Loop Mentee

1. Why did you apply to the mentorship program?
Since I had just recently graduated from college and was new to the Houston design community, I knew that I needed both insight and exposure in order to become a successful designer. I also wanted to broaden my perspective and challenge my preexisting views on conceptualization and creative problem solving.

2. How did you structure your mentorship? Did you meet at the same time every week? Did you have an agenda for each meeting?
Daren implemented a very collaborative method of correspondence throughout the duration of our mentorship. He started by first asking me what I’m looking to get out of the program and what areas I feel I could use the most growth. He would give me an “assignment” which included articles to read, companies to research, and new concepts to consider. After reviewing each “lesson,” I would then give him feedback with my thoughts and ask him questions if I had any.

3.What did you learn from each other?
He challenged my preconceived notions of what design should be and encouraged me to think outside of the box. He also taught me how to approach design projects from different angles; that the focus of every project will vary depending on what is to be achieved.

4. Was there something surprising that you learned that you didn’t expect?
I definitely did not expect to secure a design job immediately after my mentorship. However, networking with Daren led me to my current position as a Graphic Designer with Savage Brands. Having been a former employee of Savage, Daren knew they were looking to hire and recommended that I apply, as he felt that I would be a good addition to their team. Savage has been the perfect place to start my career.

5. Are you continuing the mentorship? Is there still communication between the two of you since the formal sessions ended? Sharing of ideas?
We no longer have “formal” meetings, but I still reach out to him for design help or inspiration. I’m more than comfortable asking for his guidance and appreciative of his willingness to do so.

6. Why should others consider a mentorship?
I definitely recommend being involved in a mentorship, especially if you are just starting your design career. It not only provides you with a fresh perspective and the opportunity to think outside of the box, it’s a long-term connection with someone who you can continually share ideas with.

7. Other comments?
Not only does Design Loop provide a one-on-one mentorship, it offers additional opportunities for you to meet all of the mentors and mentees involved in the program, as well as other local creatives outside of the program. The benefits are limitless.

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 21, 2015
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