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This post is part of our fall 2019 blOAAg series, Amazing Mentorship Stories. To see previous articles, click here.
Who are you?
My name is Alecsandra Parvu. I live and work in Toronto and I am a recently licensed architect with the OAA. I’m also a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) and Urban Land Institute (ULI) Toronto.
Who is your mentor?
Adam Thom is a founder of Agathom Co. and an OAA and RAIC member. He sits on the executive board for the TSA and the advisory committee for IPLAN (i.e. Immigrant Professionals Leveraging Architectural Knowledge for New Opportunities)—a training program for internationally educated architects. Adam creates a type of architecture meant to surprise and delight. His dedication to craftsmanship might be explained by his familiarity in the realm of art and design and his formation as a sculptor and architect.
How did you find your mentor?
I met Adam through his involvement with IPLAN. I attended one of his group mentoring sessions, which took place during a nice trip to Toronto Island. Getting acquainted with his work and experiencing his thoughtfulness made me realize he would be a supporting and inspiring mentor.
What was your last meet up?
We are always in touch! A few months ago, Adam suggested we should properly celebrate my licensure at an excellent little Italian restaurant.
In what ways has your mentor helped you?
My mentor made me feel at ease sharing my values and goals. He offered me his attention, interest and experience, and then let me draw my own conclusions. I found his advice very honest, gracefully delivered and genuinely insightful.
What is the best advice you have received from a mentor?
Adam shared with me his belief that the road to achieving your goals is as important as reaching them.
What makes a great mentor?
A mentor should instill, encourage and motivate growth through personal example. In Adam's case, his artistic sensibility permeates every aspect of his personal and professional life. From his home to his office and workshop, you can detect a coherent vision and an inspiring way to live a meaningful life.
In his projects, Adam focuses on capturing the spirit of a building, showing interest for transition spaces and surprising angles and adding character through sculptural details. His work shows a great respect for the nature of the materials he uses and for integration with site and natural landscape.
How will you serve as a mentor later in your career?
I believe a mentor should have a diverse professional experience and be able to empathize with the aspirations of younger professionals. Along the way to self-improvement, there are multiple opportunities for sharing your knowledge and your story. In due time, I intend to pay it forward.
Architects interested in becoming mentors can submit their names and contact information to email@example.com. To find a mentor, watch for networking events, search for architects by city on Discover an Architect or email firstname.lastname@example.org.