May 13, 2020
by Kavitha Mathew

What are the secrets to survival as we continue to deal with the economic and emotional fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic? Are there opportunities to not only cope but to emerge from this crisis with insight into what to do next? Could this unprecedented pause be an opportunity to find clarity about long-term career goals and how to achieve them?

Curious about these questions and more, AIANY decided to survey our senior members to find out how they were doing and what they have learned about overcoming disasters over the years. While a group that is more susceptible to the virus, their responses generally focused on resilience, positive lessons, and hope for a better future. The continued growth mindset of these individuals is worth highlighting and sharing across generations. Here are a some of the responses we received when we asked these members if they had any guidance to offer emerging professionals in our industry, particularly those who may be going through something like this for the first time in their careers:

“This time is an opportunity for new creative solutions that open up possibilities for new clients and reassure existing ones.”
Beverly Willis, FAIA, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation

“My two teaching colleagues and I have been doing one-on-one mentoring sessions with our graduate architecture students. We provide a list of topics that take the discussion out of the “how do-I-get-a-job” mentality to focus on larger issues of shaping a career.”
Dr. Sharon E. Sutton, FAIA, Parsons School of Design

 “Time to increase your digital skills…conduct relevant research, write a white paper, become an expert. Keep up all or your contacts. This too will pass.”
—Nancy Goshow, AIA, Goshow Architects

“The profession has experienced earlier downturns to emerge stronger than ever. We can build on lessons learned during the pandemic and collectively work to build a better and more equitable future.”
—James McCullar, FAIA, 2008 AIA President, James McCullar Architecture

“They are in a service business. Their skills are needed badly when clients need services but not at all when they do not. Therefore they have to steer their lives and decisions about finances and investments with a plan of what to do in both good times and bad and which parts of the design and construction industry survive when others fail.”
—Richard Thomas, AIA, CSA Group Architects and Engineer

Facilitating connections across the generations may help to put our current situation in perspective. We invite you to hear more and engage in a conversation about these themes during our upcoming program, Facing Challenge, Finding Opportunity, on Thursday, May 21.

It will not be easy to withstand the tragic loss and upheaval caused by this prolonged health crisis, and we would like to offer support to our members at every career stage. As we continue our member outreach initiative, we would like to hear more from our student and emerging professional members about topics of focus that are most important them at this time. If you consider yourself to be part of this group, please take a moment to fill out this brief survey.


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