The application period for SDA Fellows is now open and ends October 31. Earlier in the month we shared the results of interviews with our fellows and the four surprising benefits of earning the FSDA.
But the surprises didn’t stop there. Again and again, Fellows identified the FSDA application as a road map not only to Fellowship, but to career advancement and personal satisfaction. And, most notably, you don’t need to be ready to apply to become a Fellow to reap the benefits immediately. It’s an easy path to follow for career growth and professional development today.
Road Marker #1 - Fill in the Gaps to Advance at Work
It could be that you don’t meet all of the Fellows criteria right now, but have a personal goal of one day achieving Fellow status. Sarah Wallace says “consider using the application to augment your annual review and ask for assistance from firm leaders to help achieve any of the missing areas.” It could be something like getting involved in your local SDA, AIA or other AEC industry professional organizations or making a presentation at one of their monthly programs. “Doing this will not only benefit your growth and achievement, but will also help your firm through increased marketing and networking exposure,” says Wallace. In addition, these activities will help you stand out in your firm.
Road Marker #2 - Self Motivation
Accomplishing the goal of becoming a Fellow requires self motivation. “The mere act of identifying a goal and mastering your motivation, meaning you identify the outcomes you want, break them down into realistic accomplishments for today and tomorrow, and the next day, and see your plan through is a skill that every person should strive to acquire”, states Deborah Gill. Setting and achieving goals can be applied to many parts of your life, especially your career path. “Right now, for example, everyone is in a virtual world with so many more distractions vying for their time and energy that they can feel overwhelmed,” Gill notes. “If you can develop the path to Fellow for yourself – motivation, goals, tasks – this skillset can be applied to any aspect of your career.”
Road Marker #3 - Visibility in the Office and in the A/E/C Profession
SDA members are knowledgeable in many subject areas. Now is the time to become known as the subject matter expert in your firm. “Visibility is key, so speaking and writing allows you to gain visibility and credibility, and thus, grow in your career,” said Gill.
It could be that you had to do a lot of research for some effort in your firm. Take the next step and write an article or white paper with an executive summary and submit it to SDA for publication. Or, make a presentation on the topic to your executive team and consider doing the same for your chapter or during a national roundtable discussion. These are great next steps that increase your personal knowledge, advance your firm, and keep you moving toward the ultimate goal of becoming a Fellow. As a result, you will see your value rise in your firm.
Becoming a Fellow is a great way to recognize knowledgeable and veteran members “for their continued and sustained involvement in SDA and contribution to the industry” said Betsy Nickless. “Once we’ve been through the full cycle of chapter leadership and national leadership, it’s an opportunity to continue to further the organization.”
The visibility earned with FSDA extends beyond SDA and your firm. Said Debra Ellis “I think that the word Fellow seems to hold a higher “prestige” in the A/E world and that could help to elevate your career.”
Road Marker #4 - Roads Less Traveled are Terrific Career Paths
Too often we hear from SDA members claiming to be “just” an administrator or “just” (insert your personal “just” statement here). Truth is, now more than ever, administrators are primed to rule the A/E/C world. Need proof? “Just” listen to Simon Goodhead’s EDConnect20 presentation “Why Administrators Just Might Rule the World”.
But where to begin? Start with the FSDA application. The Fellowship criteria can be an impactful first step on a path that you might not have considered taking, but one that will lead you to a brighter, more satisfying, secure and higher paid future. Judy Beebe shared “I think the Fellow criteria alone can set you on a career path that you might not have taken to begin with. I think if you’re just starting out in the A/E/C industry, you can use the criteria as additional goals to meet, while you’re learning and gaining more experience on the job.”
Road Marker #5 - A Sense of Accomplishment
When you reach a big goal that you have set out to accomplish, there is a tremendous, earned sense of pride. “I think SDA members will find the Fellowship application process to be the next natural progression on their personal and professional development journey,” said Beebe. “The initial step of becoming a CDFA shows you know and understand the industry’s practices; becoming a Fellow shows you’ve put yourself out there to also share your knowledge and skills with others outside of your firm and outside of your SDA chapter.” Beebe continued, “for me, becoming a Fellow was another accomplishment in my career – one that felt right.”
On the path of life or the career path “it’s never too late to be who you might have been.” (George Eliot) The Fellows of SDA invite you to come along in what could be the road trip of your career life. Just follow the signs. Here’s your first stop. Learn more here.