February is upon us and love is in the air…as in love for architecture! Mentoring and advocacy are, in essence, avenues to share our love of and passion for the work we do and the world we help shape and they both are crucial to ensuring the health and future of the profession.
Mentoring is such a great opportunity to share your experiences and become engaged with another generation. I say “another” generation because I feel that mentoring is not just an older generation mentoring a younger generation. There is much to be gleaned from those younger or older, and even your peers. I recently attended the Generations in the Workplace panel discussion jointly held by AIABaltimore and SMPS Maryland. Although mentoring wasn’t a primary focus, the premise that there is much to be learned from every generation is clear.
Mentoring is sharing guidance, experiences and the things that can’t be taught, so to speak. It can be easy to pick up the procedure or how you do something, but understanding what to look out for, why something is done and when it is appropriate, takes learning to another level. We need this type of growth to be well-rounded architects, and obviously the best way is through experience.
I encourage you to engage with others and share your experiences. One opportunity coming up is a speed-mentoring event hosted by the Emerging Professionals and Equity committees on February 8.
Advocating for our profession takes many forms, from following legislative issues to community engagement, to talking to your friends and neighbors about architects and architecture. Many members may not be fully aware of the level of advocating that is happening in our state and locally in Baltimore and AIA needs to do more to get the word out. AIA Maryland has a dedicated group on the legislative committee that, along with our lobbyist, tracks many bills during the session and follows up on issues throughout the rest of the year. Locally we have an active Urban Design Committee that worked tirelessly with many people on the Transform Baltimore code to try and get as many important revisions as possible.
I thank the many individuals who are out there advocating for the profession, especially those involved legislatively, as that can be a thankless and daunting task. I encourage you to be involved and continue to advocate for great design, for a stronger profession, and for the built environment.
P.S. You can also show your love for Baltimore by writing a Love Letter to a Baltimore Building for the Baltimore Architecture Foundation!
Sharon Day, AIA