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Mentorship One-On-One

Fiona Mckay

On Monday 15 May 2017, the Herman Miller showroom opened its doors to the AIA UK for the third event in our 2017 mentorship series. The event aimed to help young designers and seasoned AIA members connect in an intimate setting to share their experiences and discuss the profession.

Karen Fugle, the Executive Coach of Sleeping Giant Consulting, guided the conversations by stressing the importance of defining career values and finding the right mentor or coach. 

When looking for a coach or mentor, Karen advised mentees that it was best to speak first to multiple potential mentors with a diverse range of experience and interests. Karen also recommended that mentees considered what style of mentoring or coaching would suit their own personality and goals before beginning. It was also important to be self-aware and consider personal motivations, working methods and challenges.

To assist attendees with clarifying their career values, Karen provided two worksheets. The first asked attendees to note how satisfied they were with their current position and then to rank a list of possible values in order of their importance. The values included autonomy, remuneration, ethics, inspiration, support and more. The second asked the participants to think of a time when they have been happiest and another time when they have felt most fulfilled – then to explain what made it the case in those two circumstances. 

Following the period of personal reflection, mentors and mentees came together in small groups spread around the Herman Miller showroom to discuss what they had discovered about themselves. In keeping with Karen’s recommendation to facilitate exposure to the diverse range of potential AIA UK member mentors, the conversations were timed and - after 15-20 minutes - mentees were asked to rotate to another mentor for further discussion. Since the meeting, we have been happy to hear that some of the mentees have been in touch with selected mentors to continue their conversations.

Many thanks to Herman Miller for hosting the AIA UK, to Karen Fugle for her guidance of the session and to all our participants for joining us. 

If you would like to learn more about what the AIA offers young professionals, you might be interested in the Young Architect’s Forum journal HERE. Also see HERE for an article published in the YAF journal, which includes a summary of the UK Chapter’s commitments.  For information on upcoming mentorship series events in the UK, please get in touch with us at

Written by: Katharine Storr, AIA

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