The mission of the AIA Northeast Illinois Mentoring Program is to develop young architects’ professional skills and career growth by providing experienced leaders and developmental opportunities.

The objective of the program is to provide the structure to facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between young architects and experienced professionals. 

Participation in AIA Northeast Illinois’ Mentoring Program offers mentees a chance to:

  • Identify long-term professional development goals
  • Increase your likelihood of success
  • Increase your knowledge with continuing education opportunities
  • Expand your professional network
  • Learn new skills and develop existing skills

Participation in AIA Northeast Illinois’ Mentoring Program offers mentors a chance to:

  • Give back to the architectural community
  • Expand your professional network
  • Strengthen interpersonal relationship skills
  • Teach the mentee about other areas/departments outside their company
  • Re-energize your career
  • Obtain recognition of skills, knowledge and commitment to the profession

Mentee Qualifications

  • Willing to give time and effort to the mentoring partnership
  • New professionals in their first or second job or considering entering graduate programs
  • Recent graduates entering the professional workforce for the first time
  • Willing to identify and clarify their developmental goals
  • Interested in learning from another professional “who has been there”
  • Willing to be open and receptive to feedback and coaching
  • Committed to expanding his/her capabilities

Mentor Qualifications

  • Willing to give time and effort to the mentoring partnership (a minimum of two hours per month is suggested)
  • Able to communicate effectively with others
  • Leader willing to share their personal experiences, knowledge and skills while at the same time listening to the thoughts and experiences of the mentee
  • Individuals such as executives, consultants, researchers in middle or upper management roles
  • Proven leaders willing to offer inspiration and insight
  • Willing to provide career and emotional support and guidance


  • Mentors and mentees complete an enrollment form and return to Colleen Gorniak via email at
  • Mentors and mentees will be matched by the AIA NEI Mentoring Program Committee. The matching will be based on a variety of characteristics including: experience of mentors based on mentees needs, geographic location, and career interests. The participants will be contacted with their match. Mentee to draft development plan goals
  • Mentors and mentees draft Mentee development
  • Mentor and mentee should meet at least once per quarter and informally as much as agreed upon depending on individual goals. The Mentoring Program will last for one year.


  • Mentor and mentee determine the best form of communication
  • One-on-one mentoring
  • Participants are encouraged to avoid conversations about specific topics, i.e. pricing multipliers, office standards, etc. At no time should the mentor/mentee discuss topics that could be viewed as confidential or as a conflict of interest
  • Mentee assumes major responsibility for program outcomes
  • Maintain confidentiality at all times
  • Respect each other’s time
  • All participants will be required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement
  • All participants will be required to sign a Mentoring Agreement

To apply, simply download and complete the enrollment form and email it with a copy of your current resume to
Links to:
Mentee Enrollment Form
Mentor Enrollment Form

For more information about this program, please contact:

AIANEI Executive Director Kelly Jena, CMP,, 630/599-7102



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