Laddership groups are intended to broaden opportunities to provide strong mentoring for our architectural community.

The Laddership program, a benefit offered exclusively to Associate AIA members, matches small groups of emerging professionals with architect mentors in order to meet the high demand for professional guidance in a manner that is informative, enjoyable and easy to fulfill. A Laddership group consists of one Lead Mentor and five or six emerging professionals. Each Laddership group meets once a month at a regular time and place determined by the group.

The goal of the Laddership Program is to create a culture of mentoring in our community. Emerging professionals who participate in the program are encouraged to grow into the future Lead Mentors of a Laddership group.

Download an application to participate in the Laddership program:
Mentor Application | Emerging Professional Application


We know that there is a continual need for good architectural mentors. We also know that it has also been a struggle to maintain a good network of willing mentors in our profession. Too often in the past, a willing mentor is inundated with requests to fulfill someone’s NCARB Architectural Experience Program (AXP, formerly IDP) requirements, which can quickly become a burden.

The Laddership program is not proposed as a formal AXP to meet the mentoring requirements, but it certainly can be used to fill that need if desired. The goal with the Laddership program is to remove the burden while meeting a broader need in our architecture community.

This is an opportunity for the mentor and the mentees to discuss current and ongoing issues of professional practice through the sharing of experiences and ideas. There is no on-on-one pressure that can be slow to overcome and inhibit the mentoring process. This gives everyone a chance to ease into the relationship.

Laddership Structure and Guidelines

  • A Laddership Group consists of one Lead Mentor and five or six young architects and/or interns.
  • The Mentor-Mentee relationship is just that – a relationship. It is important that each group is able to develop “chemistry”. AIA Seattle facilitates the matching of mentors and emerging professionals/interns with the goal of creating a good mix of participants.
  • Two times a year AIA Seattle will host a “How to be a Mentor” educational and social event. This event will be the means for which we can identify Lead Mentors and help generate the culture of mentoring.
  • Each Laddership group shall meet once a month at a regular time and place determined by the group itself for availability and access.
  • Lead Mentors shall not recruit employees through the Laddership program. In general Laddership groups should consist of participants from different architectural firms with a range of sizes and types of work.

Lead Mentor Role

  • Lead Mentors should have a passion for mentoring in the architecture profession and have a desire to help make someone’s early years in our profession a better experience.
  • The Lead Mentor should be a licensed architect who can speak to the necessary steps required while encouraging growth towards the goal of licensure of our emerging professionals.
  • Lead Mentors are required to attend a “How to be a Mentor” event to sign up and gain helpful and useful insights into how best to exchange ideas in their Laddership group.
  • Lead Mentors should be committed to attend the monthly meeting and encourage all young architects and interns in the group to attend regularly as well.

Emerging Professional Role

  • The emerging professional should have the desire to grow in the architecture profession and become a licensed architect.
  • It is very important that each member of a Laddership group be committed to attending the monthly meetings and participating in the discussions.
  • Each member of a Laddership group will be expected to bring a discussion topic to each of the monthly meetings. This is important in getting the conversation started. As with any discussion, the topic may naturally meander. In theory, the Laddership group should be able to meet and hold a productive session in the rare event that the Lead Mentor is unable to attend.

Questions? Contact Connor Descheemaker, Membership & Volunteer Manager, for more details.

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