Emerging Professional Program

Open Enrollment – ALL APLDWA Members Are Welcome!

This past year, our Washington chapter initiated an exciting original program to support designers new to the profession. The Emerging Professionals Program (EPP) connected new designers with seasoned mentors in small groups called pods. Each pod met periodically throughout the year and discussed issues that were pertinent to its individual members. In June we finished our first year of the program and collected feedback from participants. The responses were overwhelmingly positive; in fact, 100% of the survey respondents rated it “very valuable”! Participants appreciated the use of time, colleague collaboration, mentor expertise, and comradery in their pod meetings.

“Not only was it a supportive group, which is valuable no matter what the concern, it was a group of talented, knowledgeable folks who were willing to share information, learning experiences and to ask good question. I found great resources and wisdom that has already helped me grow as a designer.” -APLDWA EPP member

The program is expanding this year to include all APLDWA members who would like to be part of a local pod. Providing guidance for designers in the early years of their career continues to be the main emphasis of the program. By expanding pods to include others in our profession with varying levels of experience, and our associate members, we hope to further enrich each pod’s depth and experience.

EPP members Molly and Kelly discuss a design during a pod field trip.
EPP members Molly and Kelly discuss a design during a pod field trip.

“During group meetings there is a rich exchange of challenges, information, and support. It reaches beyond the yahoo group format. Every member is encouraged to participate and is valued for their contributions.” - APLDWA EPP member

The program is structured to suit its pod members’ needs. In general, each pod:
  • is comprised of members who live in the same geographical area; meetings occur at a mutually agreed location.
  • has 3-6 members and a mentor.
  • meets every 4-6 weeks; this is determined by the pod members.
  • sets an agenda ahead of time and discusses topics timely to its members; meetings are respectful of people’s time.
  • is collaborative in nature.
  • has consistent attendance by members (this is crucial for the program to work well).
  • respects each other’s knowledge, experience level, and aesthetics.
  • is committed to supporting the needs of our newest designers.
[The EPP] “is a great opportunity for each member of our group to grow professionally, meeting with a small group of like-minded designers, open to learning from each other. In this way, each member grows, and adds to the professionalism of our APLD chapter.” -APLDWA EPP mentor

I am currently forming the pods for next year. Everyone in APLDWA is welcome to join – certified, professional, and associate members.We’d love to have you participate! (Student members, we’re happy to include you once your education training is complete.)

If the program components listed above sound like a good fit for you, please send the following info to Heather Bratton: heather@herbl.co

1. Your name and contact info (email and phone)
2. Your company name
3. Years of experience
4. Your zip code
5. Are you interested in acting as a mentor?

Please respond by Friday, September 2nd

I will try my best to put everyone in a group that’s geographically close to them. Some members do have to travel further than others, but feedback from last year’s group told us that the program benefits made this worthwhile. If you have questions or need more information, please contact me, Heather Bratton, at heather@herbl.co

“This has been an extremely valuable part of APLD and is the single best program for assisting in my professional growth.” -APLDWA EPP member