The Young Planners Group (YPG) of the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association (SDAPA) wrapped up its 6th Annual Mentorship Program last month with a Milestone Celebration at Spitz in Hillcrest.  The Celebration provided an opportunity for the groups to come together and celebrate all their accomplishments over the course of the Program. The Mentor and Protégé of the Year Awards were also announced at the event. The awards served as an opportunity to recognize those individuals that go above and beyond their mentorship duties. Congratulations to our winners!

  • Mentor of the Year: Claudia Tedford
  • Protégés of the Year: Kiran Kaur and Meagan Openshaw

The Mentorship Program was started six years ago with a mission to foster an exchange of professional expertise and innovative planning practice in an effort to enhance both personal and professional skills while creating mutually beneficial relationships and friendships between students, young planning professionals and experienced planning professionals in the industry.

Unlike other traditional one-on-one mentorship programs, the SDAPA YPG Program creates a team environment with each mentorship pod comprised of 3-5 members. Generally each group contains one (1) Senior-level Planner; one (1) Associate or Assistant-level Planner; and 2-3 Protégés.

This year we welcomed over 70 participants to the Program, which made up a total of 17 groups. The teams had a wide array of interests and experience, including land use & zoning, transportation planning, environmental planning, and urban design.

The Program launched at the Kick-Off Orientation in November where all Mentorship Participants met their teams. Each team committed to holding four (4) meetings throughout the program cycle, which ran from November through June. Teams planned mock interviews, resume reviews, and site visits.

In addition to team meetings, multiple Program events were hosted including: 2 Lunch & Learns, a Mid-Cycle Social, and Milestone Celebration. The Lunch & Learns, hosted by Civic San Diego and SANDAG, offered young planners an opportunity to see a planning firm in action and hear about various planning topics from planners in those fields.

Complementing the Program events, many Mentors planned their own events throughout the County and opened it up to all Program participants. Some of these events included a land use presentation in the City of La Mesa, an art walk tour in Coronado, walking tours in Kearney Mesa and downtown Vista, and a site visit to learn about habitat preservation in the Tijuana River Valley.

Thank you to all the mentorship participants for making this another successful program cycle. A special thank you to all the Mentors that volunteered their time to help the next generation of planners succeed in the profession.