by Glynnis Patterson, Director of Software Development, Ideate Software
When women ask me for advice, I often talk about mentoring. By entering a traditionally male-dominated field, you are already a role model. Whether you become an official mentor or not, you can provide encouragement to others by speaking up, asking questions, and sharing knowledge.
Here are some examples of actions that positively impacted me:
- My mother has a love of learning and was fearless in her areas of research. Here she is in the 1970s learning how to repair a car with the Women on Wheels program. She has always been my role model. She encourages me through her actions to always push myself to learn new things.
- While in college in the late 1980s, I had several professors who were mentors simply by being female. This was at a time when only 4% of architects were women. One professor who made a big impression nursed her daughter in class. It needed to be done, so she did it. I highly recommend not asking for permission.
- After completing my NCARB internship and passing the Oregon Architectural Exam, I pivoted to construction because I wanted to be able to speak with authority with general contractors. To my delight, my army veteran-tobacco-chewing boss gave me some of the most amazing opportunities. Seek out people who are different from you; it’s a great way to learn and grow in your career.
- When I started my architectural practice, I shared an office with a woman who helped me with all aspects of being a sole practitioner. As of the AIA survey in 2020, only 17% of registered architects are women. Be grateful to those who share their wisdom. Thank you, Thia Bankey, for helping me along the way!
- Recognizing that the demands on an architect didn’t align with my goal of becoming a mother, I pivoted to technology in the late 1990s. My boss was and continues to be a mentor. For example, he held my baby while I gave a presentation, allowed me to telecommute years before it became common, and promoted me to Director of Software Development.
Today, mentoring comes naturally to me. I lead a team of software developers and technical staff, several of whom are women, and now with Ideate Software’s sponsorship of Women in BIM, I have the exciting opportunity to formally mentor a young woman through regular virtual meetings.
We still have a way to go on equality in architecture, which is why I’m so excited that Women in BIM provides terrific opportunities for people at all levels. I recommend that all members take full advantage of its resources to build on strengths while motivating others to do the same.