We are very excited to bring to you a new kind of mentoring program! We will bring Students and Mentors together for eight weeks at the start of each semester! This is a new pilot program for us, starting in Spring 2017, where we will be pairing students with professionals throughout the Bay Area. This is open to all professional and student NKBA members in the Northern CA Chapter.
This program will be opt-in for each regular academic semester (Fall and Spring). Each mentorship will last the first eight weeks of each semester. Students are encouraged to re-enroll each semester for a new mentor to get a different perspective.
Who we are looking for:
- Professionals in the field of interior design in some fashion, either as a K&B, Residential, or Commercial TI designer in small or larger firms; a product or showroom representative; project managers; and peripheral industries.
- Students who are eager to learn more, gain perspective, who want to get a chance to see the real world of design from both the design and business angles, and are looking to hone in on their eventual goals in this industry.
Professionals should expect students who follow through, are on top of their studies, are eager to get out and network, attend educational events, manage time well, and are self-motivated.
Students should expect professionals who are very knowledgeable and successful in their field, and who are willing to give their time to guide and give advice.
We will do our best to pair students and mentors based on interests, experiences, and location.
What will happen during these eight weeks?
Students and mentors should plan to get together for a two-hour meeting the first week, with check-ins every week by phone or email. There should be at least one in-field meeting so that the student can get a sense of being on the job, whether it be working in a showroom, talking with clients, being on an active jobsite, etc. Students are encouraged to request their mentors based on their scheduled classes that semester, to better understand the material they will be learning in the coming weeks. If students email or call the professional for advice, they should be able to reasonably expect a response within two business days.
Can the mentorship last longer than eight weeks?
It can! However, it is not to be expected. The professional may get very busy and need the relationship to wind down. Student projects will be ramping up, and it may get more difficult to maintain contact. However, we encourage the lines of communication to remain open, as long as both parties agree.
May I take on more than one mentor/mentee?
At the start of our program, we’d like to limit these pairings to one-on-one. We will look at the possibility of expanding this in the future, and will be based on demand and other factors.
How many mentor/mentee pairing will occur each semester?
Because this is a pilot program, we are limiting available space to 10-15 mentorships to start. We are also limiting to NKBA members only for now. Questionnaires will be sent to interested professionals and students before the start of each semester to begin pairing. At the end of the eight weeks, surveys will be sent out to get feedback on the experience, and find out how we can improve for future semesters. If this program is successful, we will encourage as many as are interested in being paired.
Am I guaranteed placement with a mentor/mentee?
Placement will be based on several factors, including but not limited to number or mentors/mentees who have registered for a given semester, location, and preferences of the type of mentor/mentee they wish to be paired with. We hope to have enough on both sides to pair everyone who wishes to participate, but we cannot make any guarantees.
If a student signs up for one semester does not get paired with a mentor, they will get priority pairing for the following semester.
Is there a fee for participating?
No! This program is free through NKBA. However, costs may occur in the engagement of this mentorship which are responsibility of each party, and are not reimbursable by NKBA.
I am interested in participating. How do I sign up?
Contact Michelle Talley, VP of Academic Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to put “NKBA Mentor Program” in the subject line, to easily pluck your email from the spam filter.
Each semester will bring new mentorship possibilities, and each person will be able to opt-in or out at each semester. As this program grows, so will the available mentorships, and the range of professionals and students may grow outside NKBA membership. Once you’ve expressed interest in joining the program, you will be contacted with a questionnaire that will need to be filled out within a week. You will be contacted again if you are paired. At the end of the eight weeks, you will be contacted with a survey on your experiences. Prior to the next semester, you will be contacted again to confirm you would like to be involved again. And the process will repeat. Each experience will be different, and both you and the Chapter will learn from each pairing created, and with that, we hope to build a better program for each new semester.
You may choose to opt out for a given semester for any reason, and opt back in for other semesters. This program is mandatory only for the eight weeks you sign up for. Future participation is encouraged, but not expected. We realize life happens, and you may not be available for a period of time. What we do hope, however, is that the students of today will be inspired by this process, and be our mentors of tomorrow!