Monday, January 10, 2011

Emerging Professional: Ledia Osmani

1. How would you describe the culture of the firm that you work for?
The best way to describe the culture at FKP is that we are a mid-size company, offering many of the benefits and resources of a large firm with a nurturing “small firm” attitude toward employees. FKP is very employee-focused and offers many benefits besides the corporate ones. We have a mentorship program — the My Principal program, which matches every employee with a principal mentor to help guide them in their personal and career growth. Professional Development is highly important at FKP, not just for participants in the IDP, but all employees. Beyond the professional, we all engage in a multitude of extracurricular activities such as a Chili Cook Off every spring, AIA Sandcastle in Galveston, Canstruction, Annual Halloween Party, Annual Holiday Potluck, Annual Holiday Party and many more.

2. What role does the intern have in your firm?
Interns at FKP are fully involved in projects. One great thing about FKP is the encouragement and availability of means they give to not just interns, but all employees to further develop their knowledge and experience. All you need as an intern is the will and dedication, and the firm is there to assist you to do whatever you set your mind to. If an intern needs or wants more construction administration experience, all they have to do is express their desire and the firm will provide the opportunity. I think this has been extremely important to all FKP interns to feel that they are important, that their development is important to the firm, and that the firm is committed to helping them move along all the different steps of the IDP.

3. How has the IDP program helped you? How has your office benefitted from the IDP program?
FKP’s IDP program has helped me gain a diverse, well-rounded education and experience after graduation. I think it is very easy for an intern to get “stuck” in one path or only doing one task at their firm. IDP has also provided me with tools to stay organized and on track to get through all phases of my internship as quickly as possible. I believe the best way a firm benefits from their interns (our firm included) is to have interns that are continuing to further their education and gain as much experience as they can in as many areas as they can. This makes them valuable and indispensable employees. With IDP in place, our firm maximizes its investment in its interns, encouraging and supporting them to become well-rounded professionals in the architecture field.

4. How does your IDP process differ from your friends working at other firms?
There are friends of mine from my graduating class at University of Houston that do have some of the same resources that FKP provides their interns, but a lot of my friends do not. It is pretty common in the industry for larger firms to have strong resources for their interns, but many interns at smaller firms do not get the same opportunities. I think one way FKP’s IDP process is different is the personal attention the interns get not only from their supervisor for IDP, but also their project principal and their mentor principal. Every time I meet with my project principal and my mentor principal, I am asked about my IDP progress, how close I might be to completion, what areas do I need more experience in, etc. I will happily be announcing to both of them on our next meeting that my IDP is complete, approved and transmitted to TBAE.

5. What is the best thing about being an architect?
It’s difficult to answer this; there are a multitude of things. One of the best things for me is that I have fulfilled my childhood dream. I am always asked what I wanted to be when I was a child — and I answer “an architect.” There are not many people that follow their childhood dreams. I can whole heartedly say that I am following mine and it feels great. But above all things, the best thing about being an architect is the ability to shape — shape skylines, a neighborhood, a community, a campus, a medical center — the ability to shape the environment we all live in.

6. What do you want most out of your career as an architect?
What I want most out of my career as an architect is to always have the desire to grow, learn, apply my knowledge to the best of my abilities, make conscious and responsible decisions, be willing to accept change and develop every day into a successful professional and member of the community I work and live in.

7. Name one thing the Texas Society of Architects could do to support the development of the intern/associate members.
I would like for the intern/associate members to have more opportunities to develop as professionals of the architecture field beyond their firm, their city, state and even country. I think we could better serve our profession and Texas if we all had more knowledge of the world, its architecture and other cultures. Maybe Texas Society of Architects, through their magazine or other media, can enrich our awareness or provide more outlets of information about what is going on in architecture beyond our own backyard.

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