Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 32

Investing in Your Firm's Future
Through Professional Development
by Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Evelyn M. Lee, AIA, writes
a regular column for Contract
on business practices in design
and professional development.
Based in San Francisco, Lee
is corporate managing director
for workplace strategy and
analytics at Savills Studley.
She holds graduate degrees
in architecture, public
administration, and business
administration. Currently
a member of the AIA national
board of directors, Lee
received an AIA Young
Architects Award in 2014.
Her website is evelynlee.com.
Visit contractdesign.com/
businesspractice to read all
of her columns for Contract.

As a consummate learner, I am always seeking
knowledge from experts on the latest trends
affecting my area of work. Throughout my career,
I have often been asked by an employer to make
the business case for why I should be given time
off to attend anything from a one-hour seminar to
a multiday conference. Professional development
is often viewed as a benefit given by the employer
rather than an opportunity. Here are five reasons why
professional development should be considered
an investment in a firm's future.
1. Improving efficiency and processes
I have attended many short seminars on topics
that I am already knowledgeable about, yet I often
gain a new nugget of information that allows me
to do something both quicker and better. Through
a recent webinar, I learned a new way to integrate
Microsoft Excel and Adobe Illustrator, saving me
crucial hours in creating a final report while providing
improved data visualization for my clients. This
skill not only makes my life easier but it is something
that I can immediately implement into my team's
workflow process.
2. Advancing leadership capabilities
A Deloitte study entitled "Global Human Capital
Trends 2014: Engaging the 21st-century Workforce"
states: "A shortage of leaders is one of the biggest
impediments to growth." Leadership training
can assist in bridging the talent gap that many
firms face. Unfortunately, the day-to-day roles
and responsibilities within a design firm do not
always optimize leadership growth. We often
work with the same individuals on the same
portfolio of projects over an extended period of time.
It is necessary to seek outside opportunities to
mature and advance our leadership capabilities.

32

3. Expanding the network
Each group setting in a new environment is a chance
for individuals to build their network and identify
people who will challenge them to improve their
knowledge base. And those connections may also
become resources for future projects. At a recent
women-in-business seminar, I bonded with three
other attendees in one of the breakout sessions.
We now meet virtually on a semiregular basis and
serve as each other's brain trust for fresh marketing
and business development endeavors. I am also
actively partnering with one of those individuals
to pursue a new client lead.
4. Retaining the best talent
In today's marketplace, retention of key individuals
is essential to the long-term success of a company.
As a member of Generation X, I am lucky enough
to find myself in the unique position of being called
a "unicorn" within the profession-someone with
10 to 15 years of experience and an architecture
license-and this has led to a continuous string of
calls and requests from recruiters. My peers, fellow
unicorns, find high value in organizations that are
making a conscious effort to give us room to grow
professionally along with additional resources that
we would otherwise have to seek out on our own.
Identifying a firm's next generation of leadership
and developing a transition plan for them, although
necessary, is often a time-consuming and laborious
process. The decision to support educational
opportunities for those future leaders is an easy
option that any firm can initiate immediately.
5. Boosting morale and reinvigorating the workplace
Some firms regularly allow employees to attend
conferences or conventions as one means of boosting
morale and reinvigorating the workplace. For more
than 40 years, the biennial Monterey Design
Conference of the American Institute of Architects
California Council has been a place of rejuvenation
for West Coast design professionals. Many firsttime attendees, who range from designers to firm
principals, leave feeling as though they have just
finished an intensive design school experience while
making invaluable connections. Similarly, the South
by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, is known
for providing great professional development
through new ideas and inspiration, as well as
insights on future trends in a variety of markets,
including workplace, education, and healthcare.
These are just a few of the many reasons for
ongoing professional development to serve as both
an opportunity and investment in a firm's future. c

contractdesign.com

JULY | AUGUST 2017

PHOTOGRAPHY: CARL BOWER

COLUMNIST


http://www.evelynlee.com http://www.contractdesign.com/businesspractice http://www.contractdesign.com/businesspractice http://www.contractdesign.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract Magazine - July/August 2017

Contract Magazine - July/August 2017
Contents
Editorial
Industry News
Designers You Should Know: Buck Studio
Columnist: Investing in Your Firm’s Future Through Professional Development
Product Focus: Back to Nature
Product Focus: Studied Casualness
Best of Neocon 2017
Jackalope
Campo
Quad Cinema
1221 Avenue of the Americas
Aventine
125 Summer Street
301 Howard Street
Competition: Inspirations Awards
Designers Select: Textiles
Sources
Ad Index
Installation: Hive of Activity
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Intro
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Contract Magazine - July/August 2017
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Cover2
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 1
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 2
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 3
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 4
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 5
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Contents
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 7
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 8
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 9
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 10
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 11
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 12
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 13
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Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 15
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 16
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 17
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 18
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 19
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Editorial
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 21
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Industry News
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 23
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 24
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 25
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 26
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 27
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 28
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 29
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Designers You Should Know: Buck Studio
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 31
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Columnist: Investing in Your Firm’s Future Through Professional Development
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 33
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Product Focus: Back to Nature
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 35
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Product Focus: Studied Casualness
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 37
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 38
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Best of Neocon 2017
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 40
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 41
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 42
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 43
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 44
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 45
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Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 90
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 91
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 92
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 93
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 94
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 95
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 96
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 97
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Jackalope
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 99
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 100
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 101
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 102
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 103
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 104
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 105
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Campo
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 107
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 108
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 109
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 110
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 111
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Quad Cinema
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 113
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 114
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 115
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 1221 Avenue of the Americas
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 117
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 118
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 119
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Aventine
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 121
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 122
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 123
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 125 Summer Street
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 125
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 126
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 127
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 301 Howard Street
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 129
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 130
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 131
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Competition: Inspirations Awards
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 133
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 134
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 135
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 136
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 137
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Designers Select: Textiles
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 139
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Sources
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 141
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Ad Index
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - 143
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Installation: Hive of Activity
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Cover3
Contract Magazine - July/August 2017 - Cover4
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