Advice and insight at ENV Speed Mentoring

POMONA, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2017) –  How should a graphic designer pitch their services to an architecture firm?

Interview strategy dominated conversations at Thursday’s ENV Speed Mentoring session, a quarterly program that pairs undergraduate and graduate students with professionals in the allied design fields. For one hour students were paired with practicing architects, landscape architecture principals, city planning officials and graphic design veterans in five-minute rotations.

“It’s very informational,” said Debby Chen, a graphic design major from the Department of Art. “I was definitely thinking on my toes the entire time.”

One of the most commonly dispensed advice? Social skills are a must.

“We always tell our emerging young professionals that this is a people business,” said Kevin Wilkeson (B.Arch, ’86), principal at HMC, Inc. and past mentor.

Twenty students were given the chance to connect with professionals in the field they are currently studying, as well as those in the lateral fields. The goal: to demonstrate that the interconnectedness of the design disciplines is the norm in the real world.

“You start realizing how involved everyone else is,” said Jonathan Martin, a fourth-year urban and regional planning student. “It’s great to get their insights about your field, and you can also see that there are different opportunities open to you.”

Mentors were no strangers to ENV: nearly all are alumni, and many are current board members of the Partners Circle, the professional advisory committee of the College of Environmental Design.

“I wish we had something like this where I was here,” said Ted Luna (BFA, Graphic Design ’95), founder of Ted Luna Design, a firm that works primarily with the sports industry heavyweights like Rip Curl, DC Footwear and GoPro. “I pointed out that the disciplines are at the base of the business. It’s all about telling a story and visually guiding clients.”

Repeat attendees like fourth-year architecture student Lili Kooshesh see it a self-affirming experience.

“I really like it,” she said. “It give me so much self-confidence talking one-on-one with someone with so much experience. It’s a good connection to your future.”