In a Metropolis Point of View article, our own Georgy Olivieri provided her insights on working with new interior designers. But rather than making assumptions and using previous experience, she and a colleague sat down with a group of designers whose experience ranged from one to five years of experience.
What they validated was not only the importance of guiding new designers to help them gain a deep understanding of client markets, client relationships, and proven design success, but also the importance of recognizing the technical skills and willing spirit of the new generation.
“Design is about people and creating environments for the complex creatures that we are,” says Georgy Olivieri. “There’s room for growth from both generations and mutual mentoring is key to everyone’s success.”
And while some design firms view mentorship programs as an incentive for potential employees, few actually offer formal mentoring. So, since joining Lamin-Art in 2012 to guide the sales team, Olivieri ensures each new employee has an opportunity to grow from a two-way mentorship program she refers to as reverse mentoring, which is a combination of traditional mentoring methods and something referred to as “up-mentoring.” In short, up-mentoring is when the more senior team member acts as the student or protégé to a younger team member.
“I always make a commitment to mentor my team members, coaching them with both positive and negative suggestions in the interest of their advancement to become the best professional possible,” Olivieri says.
Take two of Lamin-Art’s newest sales representatives, for example: Sarah Buncher and Nicole Ben. Both recent Interior Design graduates with an air of confidence and drive, Olivieri recognized their positive attitude, determination to succeed, and desire to learn and be mentored.
“At Lamin-Art, we firmly believe in the capabilities of our new hires, Nicole and Sarah. We are so confident, that we are entrusting the key specifier markets of New York City and Los Angeles to them. We are dedicated to supporting their aspirations and desire to succeed.”
Olivieri has worked with Nicole and Sarah, as well as other young interior designers, as they move forward in this exciting and fresh approach to mentorship in the Interior Design profession, as well as related careers such as specifier sales. From traveling to each new member’s sales territory to shadow sales calls to working together to develop cutting-edge sales tools, Georgy has shared her wealth of knowledge, and has also learned some things along the way. In some cases, for example, academia is ahead of the profession in using the newest software programs.
“Sarah is a self-starter who is smart, intuitive and unafraid to try new things. I admire her spunk and high energy. She is eager to learn the ins and outs of the industry the right away so she can be the best professional possible,” Olivieri says. “Similarly, Nicole exudes intelligence and incredible determination. She grasps new concepts quickly, and readily implements state-of-the-art technology. It will be hard to keep up with Nicole, as I will soon find traveling with her in NYC.”
To Olivieri, combining up-mentoring with traditional mentoring programs, is an opportunity for each generation to better understanding the other. Moreover, she believes it will benefit clients, end-users, and the work being done every step of the way.
“In short, I am very happy to see the constitution of the next generation of Interior Designers,” Olivieri says.