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YAF Sessions #6 - Tour of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Session 6 was facilitated by Rod Garvin, Andrew Morton, Lucia Zapata-Griffith, and Cathy Morrison and focused on the many opportunities for our profession to engage in shaping decisions for Charlotte.  The session began with a tour of the recently renovated Chamber of Commerce and we soon realized that most everything we walked by or on was sponsored by a Charlotte Business.  This strategy had two important effects:  making sure visitors are aware of the engaging business community but also reducing the debt incurred to renovate the space.  After walking back down the CHS Stair, by the Canteen Snack Bar, and through the UNCC hallway, we settled back in to the conference room for an engaging session on the different roles of the Chamber of Commerce. It was impressive to see how the CCC used the renovation of their space as a means to redefine and push the envelope in terms of what it means to be a Chamber of Commerce and how their new renovations could begin to challenge the notion of how a ‘typical’ chamber functions.

Rod presented the CCC as a 3-legged stool with Economic Development, Public Policy, and Member Engagement as the 3 legs.  The ED focuses on recruiting businesses to the Charlotte area and has had many recent successes including Red Ventures, Coke, and Republic Services.  Public Policy advocates pro-business policies at the local and state governments.  There are several committees, specifically the Land Use Committee, that need Architects to engage on issues that they understand best.  Finally, Member Engagement provides innovative programs and services as well as many signature networking events across the city.  As an individual non-profit the CCC has multiple regional chapters (7) and the group was encouraged to engage their local chapter for opportunities to serve.  Each of the presenters stressed that the CCC is eager to welcome the voices of young professionals like us so they can continue to adapt and grow.

We were encouraged at the end to make sure we Vote on March 15 and to not forget that the last page gives the opportunity to vote for the Bond Referendum which could have a lasting impact on our profession for years to come. 

Overall it was an inspiring session that provided numerous ways for our group to get involved.  Please see below for a list of some of these opportunities.

-        http://charlottechamber.com/events

-        http://charlottechamber.com/public-policy/public-policy-committees/

-        http://charlottechamber.com/public-policy/raleigh-advocacy-trip/   

-        http://charlottechamber.com/young-professionals/charlotte-chamber-young-professionals/

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YAF Session #5 - Involvement on non-profit boards

Posted By Matt Brown and Courtney Hathaway, Friday, February 12, 2016
Session 5 was facilitated by Katherine Mooring of the Arts and Science Council and Sarah Degnan of the United Way and focused around Non-Profit Boards. At the beginning of the session we went around the room and everyone described their passions, architecture or other, and how they are currently and/or would like to be serving the community. After, Katherine and Sarah gave a  presentation and we  heard from 5 panelists who are heavily involved on non-profit boards in Charlotte. The panelists answered many questions such as what it means to serve on a board, why become a board member, and how to get involved on a board. Board service is a very big commitment. The usual term is 3 years and you are expected to be active in the board meetings as well as contribute monetarily. For these reasons, it is best to be involved in something that you are personally or professionally passionate about. Becoming a board member not only helps the community but helps you cultivate a diverse network while establishing yourself as a leader in the area of your interest. There are a variety of ways to get involved in non-profits other than becoming a board member. These include hands-on volunteer work, assisting with special event planning, participating in a think-tank, and providing pro-bono expertise; all of which are a much smaller time commitment and can give insight into the organization to make sure the it is a good fit for you. Just showing up to meetings or events and being willing to help is a great way to kick start what could become a rewarding aspect of your career. Katherine and Sarah closed the session by providing several resources for those interested in non-profits.
 
http://www.artsandscience.org/cultural-leadership-training-program
http://charlottechamber.com/young-professionals/charlotte-chamber-young-professionals/
http://www.bechtler.org/Join/Bechtler-young-visionaries
http://www.charlottecentercity.org/about-us/
http://www.handsoncharlotte.org/
http://www.volunteermatch.org/?creative=59149192097&keyword=volunteer%20match&matchtype=e&network=g&device=c&gclid=CPXrk73r3soCFUQdgQod664Oig

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YAF Session #4 - Time and Productivity

Posted By Caroline Harris, Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What does it mean to be productive?  Stacey Brown Randal began Session 4 defining productivity.  We all like to think of ourselves as being productive individuals, but are we to our fullest extent?  Can we move quickly and accurately though work without losing the ability to think strategically or creatively?  I learned that I am not nearly as productive as I previously thought I was. 

 

Stacey identified 4 sabotaging habits people have that harm their productivity (and I have to admit I fall victim to all of these).  First off we lack the ability to prioritize, continually.  Are you always doing what you should be doing?  Second we give into distraction and interruptions.  Stacey stated a statistic that floored me; every time that your focus is interrupted it takes an average of 12-15 minutes for you to return to the task.  That is an amazing amount of time we spend during the day trying to refocus.  Thirdly we context switch, meaning we switch from project to project which then leads back to sabotaging habit number 2 (I can see an evil cycle beginning here). And the fourth sabotaging habit is spending too much time on emails.  Stacey pointed out that if you read your job description, nowhere does it say anything about being able to check emails in a timely fashion.  She recommended that we turn off email notifications and our productivity will increase drastically. 

 

So how do we become more productive beings, or are we all just doomed?  Luckily Stacey was kind enough to help us understand areas of productivity.  We need to invest time wisely, through prioritization, preparation and planning.  We need to get work done by overcoming interruptions.  And we need to manage information overload.  Our brain works at its peak performance when we hold a maximum of 3-4 ideas at one time. 

 

So what are my take aways from this session? 

1.     Turn off email notifications, even close out of emails from time to time, the world is not going to end.

2.     By allowing yourself to be distracted we actually lose  10% of our IQ. 

3.     If context switching is required of our job, focus 100% on one task at a time.  Don’t work on multiple projects at the same time.

Finally this session reminded me of a quote that one of my architectural professors told us, “Multitasking is doing multiple things at once poorly”  This course just made me realize that this quote is so true.  We need to focus on one thing to be more  productive beings. 

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YAF Session #3 - Professional Development (Ethics and responsibility)

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 7, 2015

Hunt McKinnon started off this session with a discussion on the ethics of architecture and how as architects we are personally responsible for upholding the level of professionalism within our profession.  As the profession is self-policing, it is imperative that architects present themselves as professional, ethical and knowledgeable.  As there is not datum of how design quality is measured, the equation is the summation of meeting schedules, budget and scope.  In addition to this utilitarian approach, the concept of arête was presented.  This idea is that it is up to each architect to elevate their commitment to the community-at-large to go above and beyond the standards of care that their service provides.  Ethics, as channel markers to work within and be defined are imperative to guide the decision-making process.

 

Following the presentation, the group examined multiple case studies of scenarios that many young architects may run into.  These included the scenario of a freshly licensed architect taking on their first project as principal of a newly founded firm which encompassed the implications of stamping drawings and reuse of others work product.  Other scenarios included the stamping of drawings produced by another out of state firm and the implications of billing for uncomplete work.  Through group discussion we were able to identify and analyze the ethical and statutory issues with each case and learn how to best avoid these situations in our careers.

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2015 YAF Leadership Session 02

Posted By Caroline Harris, Friday, November 6, 2015
Updated: Friday, November 6, 2015

2015 YAF Leadership Session 02

October 13th, 2015

Civil Leadership - Black and White Bus Tour

From Segregation to Salad Bowl Suburbs

Transitioning from personal leadership to civic leadership, Session 2 focused on learning about the forces that have shaped our city's history and thus impacted the local built environment. The session began with an introduction by Dianne English, the executive director of the Community Building Initiative, a non-profit focused on achieving inclusion and equity in the local community followed by a presentation by Tom Hanchett, author of Sorting Out the New South City and an ambassador for Charlotte history.

We covered topics including the black american experience and the immigrant experience as they impact the evolution of the built environment. As architects, learning the history of the city can help us better understand the perceived impact of our buildings by citizens in the community, especially as their reactions to our work are likely rooted on past experiences of urban renewal, segregation, etc.

Tom explained that prior to segregation, his research indicates that the city center was (surprisingly) integrated by both race, age, and by wealth. It was after segregation became law, that practices such as "red-lining”, which is now illegal, allowed district and zoning to be determined by race. Mortgages were distributed or not distributed based on racial stereotypes. In addition, federally funded urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s fueled the demolition of well-established predominantly black American neighborhoods like Brooklyn. Such examples begins to clarify the current condition of our built environment as we saw on the bus tour.


‘Charlotte in Black & White…and More’ Bus Tour
After Hanchett’s introduction, participants were eager to traverse Charlotte’s streets now looking through the lens of the racial issues that shaped many neighborhoods in the past, as well as the ways in which these neighborhoods are being shaped today.

Beginning in Second Ward, located in the southeast quadrant of uptown, participants learned more the area’s history as Brooklyn. A lively urban community before the Urban Renewal program of the 1960s, Brooklyn was home to thousands of African-American citizens who lived, worked, and worshipped in this area. Now home to many high-rise condominiums, Second Ward is primed for increased diversification.

Moving northwest, the tour continued towards Biddleville and the areas surrounding Johnson C. Smith University. Sights included many important residential works by now prominent Charlotte architects Harvey Gantt and others, including the DeLaine House – serving as a testament to how Gantt and many others were able to invest into neighborhoods beginning very early in their careers.

Just miles from the heart of Uptown, the tour continued through Washington Heights and Wesley Heights, prompting further discussions of Charlotte’s past as a segregated city and how recent growth is likely to reshape and diversify the city as explained by our tour guides John Howard (city planner) and Tom Hanchett.

The tour concluded with the Central Avenue corridor, where participants experience block after block of diverse international business and countless examples of low-rent as a vital business incubator.

Combined with the presentation and the bus tour, the experience encouraged participants to further explore our city, explore the hidden corridors, and get engaged with the community. Learning the history of the city was a first step to gaining a deeper connection with Charlotte and understanding the value and need for civic engagement to improve the place we have chosen to call home.

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2015 YAF Leadership Session 01

Posted By Caroline Harris, Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2015 YAF Leadership Session 01

September 10th, 2015

Personal Leadership – Erika Weed, Ascendry

Who are you? This seemingly simple question was asked of the participants in the inaugural YAF Leadership program at our initial meeting. Often times, we answer this question by describing what we do. Erika Weed with Ascendry Consulting challenged us to think beyond those initial impulses and identify what characteristics and tendencies we bring with us into the work place.

Prior to this session, each participant completed a survey to determine personality traits in five categories defined as ‘Workplace Supertraits’: Need for Stability, Extraversion, Originality, Accommodation, and Consolidation. These traits serve as indicators to how we naturally prefer to solve problems, interact with our clients and team members, or deal with adversity. This is not to say we cannot learn new skills or adapt to our circumstances. But identifying who we are and acknowledging our natural tendencies gives us the best chance for success.

Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur and public speaker, has spoken eloquently on the importance of self awareness as it relates to one’s career trajectory. He suggests that America, as a society, has done a really good job selling us how to fix the things which we aren’t naturally wired to be. Self awareness at its finest is accepting your shortcomings and accentuating your strengths. As this group of young architects meets over the next months to explore our personal, professional, and community leadership roles, it is clear that being able to answer the above question accurately and honestly is a critical first step.


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