ACE Mentor Program Spotlight with Somerset Jarvis
At Entuitive, we foster a strong mentoring culture and the belief in providing all our staff with opportunities to become leaders, no matter which stage of their careers they’re at. We spoke with Designer Somerset Jarvis from our Toronto office, who is a mentor with the ACE Mentor Program. She embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring students and us with her passion and courage.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Somerset! Can you tell us more about the ACE Mentor Program?
Thanks for having me! The ACE Mentor Program was created around 1994 in the United States. It’s a free program that aims to get high school students involved and educated in the “Architecture, Construction, and Engineering” (ACE) industry. There’s currently over 70 chapters and 10,000 students participating across North America. This year is happens to be the very first year the program is running in Canada, specifically the Greater Toronto Area. It’s been a long time coming. The board, which includes Entuitive Senior Associate Ian Trudeau, has been working hard to get the program instated in Canada. It’s been inspiring to see these busy professionals in our industry dedicating their time and energy on a weekly basis to provide mentorship.
Hopefully, the program will keep growing across Canada! How does the mentorship process work?
Each week, we meet with the students at a participating firm’s office in Toronto. The program understands that it may be difficult for some students to get downtown which is why we provide students with the ability to reimburse their transportation costs. Once they get into the meeting room, we have pizza and snacks ready to fuel an engaging event.
Our mentors are working professionals who take turns hosting weekly sessions, providing hands-on activities for students relating to whichever ACE topic they explore that week. At the end of the term, the students present in groups for their final capstone presentation, which was to fully design a community centre in Grange Park. We invited the students’ parents and all the mentors for a celebratory night to showcase the growth of the students and how much they learned.
High school years can be pivotal in setting future engineers on the right path. How did you decide that you wanted to be a member as part of this program?
Ian reached out to a few team members at Entuitive, asking for volunteer mentors, and Belinda Wong thought that I would be a great candidate. Matt Smith has been a consistent mentor as well on the Structural and Fire Engineering side. We’ve also invited other team members from Entuitive to come in and give unique presentations, such as Paul Carter and Fariz Dhalla who presented their Building Envelope expertise.
Personally, I’ve always been passionate about being a mentor even within our company. At Entuitive, we have a “Buddy Program” where the new hires are paired with a “buddy” within their team. I’d check in on them, take them out for coffee, and ask them how they’re doing throughout their time at Entuitive. It’s so important to have a strong support system!
Indeed, supporting and collaborating with each other is so important! What’s your favourite part of the program?
Although I’m a mentor and technically not a student, it’s been amazing to listen and learn from other individuals in different fields. I’m learning a lot alongside the students! I feel like I can understand our clients better after hearing from architects or contractors, such as their design process and what goes into it. I’ve also learned so much from the students. They are always so creative with their solutions and ways of thinking.
We’re always learning and growing every day! Looking into the future, what are your career plans and goals?
My short-term goal is to be promoted to the intermediate level where I can work more directly with clients. I love working with people and meeting collaborators from different industries. There’s no surprise that for my long-term goal, I would like to work toward a technical business development role.
My leaders at Entuitive have been great in allowing me to start initiating more conversations with clients and be part of diverse projects. That’s one thing I also love about working at Entuitive. I’m able to try new things and discover my own passions, such as sustainable design. I’m also excited to continue to provide mentorship inside and outside of work!
Thanks for chatting with us, Somerset! If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with Somerset, reach out to her here.