When architects and designers are facing tough times and could use some guidance or mentorship along the way, they can turn to LMNOP – a NYC-based professional development organization for those within the architecture and design community. LMNOP started in 2009 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The organization’s mission is to provide meaningful personal and professional development to members through focused workshops, mentoring and networking activities.
LMNOP was created by co-founders Jennifer Graham and Stephanie Chiuminatto Wolfson after the two realized the need to keep connections strong, especially during tough economic times. Graham was actually out of work herself in 2008 and was looking for new opportunities during a Not Business as Usual (NBAU) event at the Center for Architecture in New York City when the idea for the group came her way. A few minutes of conversation with fellow A&D members later, and LMNOP’s first meeting was scheduled with over 40 people on the attendance list.
Graham explains that the acronym “LMNOP” stands for “leadership, mentoring, networking and opportunity for architecture and design professionals” – something the organization aims to practice regularly.
“LMNOP provides IDCEC accredited workshops focused on the business side of architecture and design, so it is inclusive to everyone who engages in our industry,” states Graham, now a principal associate at Perkins+Will. She adds that LMNOP offers affordable, accessible CEUs to all, so that those in the field can keep up on the accreditations without draining finances.
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“Also, from a networking standpoint, we are a supportive community that is interested in everyone experiencing the best opportunities they seek. Mentoring is peer-to-peer,” she states. “If you have a relevant skill set that is desired by another, you can provide insight. It provides an organization for professionals to give back to our community.”
Since it’s conception, LMNOP has expanded to a community of over 1,300 members and is still growing. Graham explains that the organization doesn’t have a traditional membership structure, which helps keep administrative costs down and enables them to not administer membership fees. For those interested in joining, sign up for LMNOP’s mailing list and access program information on www.lmnopnyc.org.
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