“Congratulations on becoming a Fellow for SDA, now you can sit back and relax after all your hard work for the organization!” I heard this quote and others very similar to this at EDS18 in Salt Lake City. This could not be farther from the truth! I am very honored to be among the inaugural class of Fellows.
The SDA Fellows application states that: “The SDA Fellows Program recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to SDA, the A/E/C community, and have elevated the standards of practice management.”
The Fellows program was not only created to recognize these individuals who have already achieved the Fellow requirements of industry experience, service, publications/presentations, and mentorship, but to establish a clear vision, goals, and path for mid-level administrators and managers to up their game in their pursuit of excellence in design firm management. Those who wish to follow the path to Fellow should now have a clearer understanding of what it takes to succeed in our profession, our industry, and our Society. With so much focus on the A/E professionals, their advancement and successes in our firms, the SDA Fellow designation is a visible goal to strive for and an accomplishment to gain for the business professionals in the A/E industry.
The application also states: “In addition, the Fellows program is designed to identify senior-level members who are willing and able to continue to advocate for best management practices within the SDA and the A/E/C community through educational presentations and written resources such as white papers, blogs, and social media, as well as other contributions that promote design firm excellence.
“The Fellows designation also encourages SDA members to participate in continuing future activities that will lead to further self-development and the development of other SDA members and the profession.”
So, as Fellows we still have work to do. During EDS18 the inaugural class of Fellows met to discuss our initiatives and strategy to implement the many things that we would like to accomplish. We are a resource to help our members and the Society to continue to grow and to advance our recognition in the industry.
To date, the Fellows have identified a few initiatives that are already in progress:
- Review the Fellow application and guidelines incorporating comments from applicants and jurors and work with HQ to get the next Call for Fellow Application out to our members. This includes creating a separate document for jury members who review the applications
- Create an advanced content webinar to present to members
- Develop a panel discussion on best practices for EDSymposium19
- Research the development of an advanced certification in accounting/management to be pursued after obtaining the CDFA certification
In addition, current Fellows continue to work individually on SDA and other A/E community activities and are involved with the following:
- Serving as Chairs and members of national committees and task forces such as Bylaws, Branding, A/E HR Group
- Administering the SDAPPC scholarship program as Past Presidents
- Updating the SDA Story
- Working on local Canstruction events
- Providing BizTrak and other educational seminars within the A/E community
The next Call for Fellows application will be released soon, and we look forward to having more members become Fellows next year. If not now, but you anticipate setting this as a personal goal further in the future, take a look at the application now. It may give you guidance for your own continued professional development and service within your community.
What questions do you have about the process of becoming a Fellow? Place them in the comment box below.
Debra Ellis, FSDA is the Office Manager for Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture in Denver, CO.