interiorsandsources.com Circle 169 on the reader service card or visit interiorsandsources.com/freeinfo
Circle 167 on the reader service card or visit interiorsandsources.com/freeinfo
Kendall College of Art and Design
of Ferris State University
KCAD Interior Design students use
Design Thinking to push the limits
of possibility and explore new and
powerful ways of solving problems.
Discover how you can see things
differently at kcad.edu.
15001 Interiors and Sources March ad Comp #1.indd 1 10/29/14 12: 40 PM
Discuss and decide upon the relationship you want to build together
in advance. The most successful mentoring relationships are those
founded on clear goals and ground rules. Be upfront—your mentor will
Traditionally, mentoring relationships are characterized by a two-person
model with a senior person discussing a student’s goals, needs, weak-nesses, and accomplishments. In a perfect world, one person is enough
to help you tackle all your concerns. But can you really have just one
mentor? You will most likely need multiple mentors of various ages, skills,
and traits to guide you with each of your needs.
Research on mentoring relationships and programs shows that mentoring is most effective when the mentee has a diverse constellation of
mentors, from a traditional primary mentor to peer and short-term ones
as well. Do you aspire to be an interior designer with your own firm?
Consider reaching out to both an interior designer and a business owner.
Each person brings different perspectives and wisdom. Take your search
further—explore outside your boundaries and tap into the networks of
your friends and colleagues.
Prepare for each meeting with your mentor as if it’s a task for your job.
Dress professionally. Show up on time with a notebook and pen, ready
to listen and take notes. Research your mentor’s interests, ask ques-
tions, and talk about the why behind the answers. Share your portfolio.
Mentoring is a two-way street. Go beyond “checking in” and give your
mentor opportunities to offer insight and advice. As you get to know your
mentor, think of ways you can add value to the relationship. Bring up a
recent news story or study that you think would be of interest or provide
your mentor a new networking connection.
Your mentor will challenge you. Giving you honest feedback is his or
her job. Come into the relationship appreciating that there is a chance
you will reexamine your goals and consider new ideas. While setting
clear goals and objectives at the beginning of the relationship is crucial,
also realize that these goals and objectives may change as the relationship progresses.
Do you get along with your mentor? If the fit doesn’t feel right, bow out.
Mentoring should be established as no-fault relationship where either you
or your mentor can end it for good reason at any time without risk of harm
to your respective careers.
When done right, mentoring is a powerful tool that can change careers
and lives. So be fearless in what you want and humble when someone
agrees to be your mentor. You’ll be surprised by how much people want
to help you if you just ask for it.
Genny Ramos is a communications strategist at IIDA headquarters in
Chicago. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.