Mentoring Young Leaders


In 1997, a young woman called my office and said she'd like to be an architect. I invited her to come by. When she arrived with her mom, I was delighted to meet a mature and intelligent 14 year old with lots of ambition. She accepted a part time position with my firm. Over the course of the next year or two, she was an invaluable part of our group. Too young to drive, her sister, mother, and grandmother took turns dropping her off at the office.

Not only did she do the typical entry level activities; filing, sorting, etc., but she also quickly learned CAD and contributed to our office production. She accompanied me to construction sites, interacting with clients and contractors, and continued to learn more about the whole process. She left the firm at 16 to attend college.

It was with a great deal of personal joy that I was able to attend Fort Worth Business Press Forty under Forty event recently, honoring Lauren Brown, along with many other stellar young achievers. Sitting with her sister, parents, and best friend, it was easy to see the quality of family and friends who have supported her in her journey. Today, Lauren is a Principal of VLK Architects.

It is always exciting to see eagerness in the eyes of young architects and interns. Being able to spend time mentoring by including them in client meetings, in visits to job sites, in the preparation of client documents, and even just trying out uncharted territory, is the best part of my job. My personal favorite project is the one that two of my interns did while I was out of the country, leaving it on my desk ready to seal when I returned.

It is wonderful to see young architects, such as Lauren, boldly tackle the many challenges of being an architect.