On November 18, the AIANY Women in Architecture committee hosted the second edition of the “In Dialogue With…” series during the monthly committee meeting. This edition, aptly titled “In Dialogue With…a Mentor and a Mentee on a Mutual Path to Advance in our Profession”, focused on goals and expectations in a mentor-mentee relationship,  what contributes to a successful relationship, the different phases and purposes of mentorship, how to find role models/mentors, communication/self-advocacy, dealing with disappointment and setbacks, and graduating into a pandemic.

Our featured guests were Maj Zaheda, WELL AP, Project Manager at Ware Malcomb and Nadeen Hassan, Founder, Primaverarch, which is an organization created by four minority-women who recently graduated from the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York, and is dedicated to stimulating change for the recognition of women in the architectural profession. Maj (Mentor) and Nadeen (Mentee) were matched by the Architecture League Mentorship Program of New York.

While Maj and Nadeen did have a list of goals for the program in the beginning, they spoke about their relationship growing organically through different phases of mentorship. To achieve this, they spoke about being authentic and honest to get the most out of their time together,  and having an open mind while signing up for a mentorship program. They saw mentorship as a mutual benefit by respecting each others’ opinions and thoughts, allowing the relationship to evolve into a friendship, which came through beautifully during this session. Maj shared useful anecdotes on how she guided Nadeen to overcome disappointments or adversity, and to navigate conversations with peers, managers or people in a position of authority who don’t offer support. Maj and Nadeen offered advice and inspired us to remain positive in the face of challenges.

The conversation was facilitated by Rosalind Tsang, AIA, AIANY WIA Committee Advisory Board Member. The program was a great success in encouraging all to consider or seek out being a mentor or a mentee. A time of Open Discussion followed amongst attendees, including guests from the AIANY TORCH Mentorship program, who shared advice and experiences with mentorship. We are grateful to all who attended to support and advocate for mentorship, one of the AIANY WIA’s core programs!

The November meeting agenda with details and resources can be viewed here.