print logo
© 2020
International Interior Design Association

Chicago, IL
Toll Free: 888 799 4432
International: +01 312 467 1950

Mentor FAQs




Why should I mentor?
Take advantage of this chance to give back to the design community. The IIDA Student Mentoring Program is an opportunity to inspire young upcoming designers and possibly make a connection for potential employment opportunities in the future.

Do I have to be an IIDA Member to mentor?
No, both IIDA Members and non-IIDA Members are encouraged to participate as a mentor.

What are the dates of the Student Mentoring Program (SMP)?
The program runs for the entire month of March, but mentors and students are only required to meet once for a day of job shadowing. Sessions should be scheduled to fit into both the student's and mentor’s schedules. The mentoring window has been extended through June 5, 2020. We encourage students and mentors to connect virtually over the course of one day or multiple, shorter sessions.

Back to top.




How do I register?
Registration is currently closed and will re-open in November 2020. 
Do I have to mentor the whole month or can I just sign up for one day?
Although the Student Mentoring Program is a month-long event, we only ask that you participate for one day. When you register, we will pair you with one or two students in your area and you will be able to contact them to coordinate a date on which to meet. We encourage students and mentors to connect virtually over the course of one day or multiple, shorter sessions.
How many students will I be assigned?
We assign 1-2 students per mentor based on demand and availability in your area.
I can mentor more than two students. How do I do that?
On the sign-up form, you have the option to select multiple students. Additionally, if you or your office would like to take on more than one pair of students, we ask that you register additional mentors at your company.
May I request to be assigned to a specific student or a student studying in my area of practice?
We will do our best to incorporate the information you give us when you sign up to find the best match for you. If you have any specific requests that need to be considered, please contact or include them on the sign-up form.
When will I be notified of my pairing?
We will inform all mentors and students of their pairing on Monday, February 10, 2020.

Back to top.




Will I have the ability to contact the students I am paired with?
You will be notified of your pairings on Monday, February 10, 2020. With this notification, you will receive contact information for your student(s) so that you can reach out to them regarding details, directions, and any other additional information. If you haven’t connected with your mentee, please contact them again. Many have had school closings or have had to move back home as their schools transition to online learning, so please be patient.

How much time am I expected to spend with the students?
We ask that you spend no less than four hours with your students, and no more than eight. Virtual mentoring can be completed over several virtual sessions or on one day. 

What if I or the student(s) I am paired with cancel?
Once you are paired, if any changes in day or time occur, we ask that you work directly with your student(s) to reschedule.

I am not available to participate in the Student Mentoring Program. Is there another way that I can show my support?
Of course! Spread the word to your friends, coworkers and associates to sign up to be a mentor. Promote the program on your social media channels and encourage friends and coworkers to do the same. Make sure to use #IIDAsmp in your social media posts and tag us. 

This is my first time mentoring. Any tips? 

We encourage you to read the IIDA Student Mentoring Guide for Mentors for more information on how to prepare and what to do to make a lasting connection and best first impression with your mentee. Read the guide.

Back to top.




What should I do with my students?

  • Project tours
  • Firm tours
  • Team brainstorming sessions
  • Client meetings
  • Project presentations
  • Site visits
  • Review contracts and client binders
  • Review student's resume/portfolio
  • Demo new software

The possibilities are endless. Please remember, students are there to observe and accompany you on a typical workday — not to act as an assistant. We recommend virtual mentoring to support social distancing. Virtual mentoring can still include many of the items above through phone or video conferencing. 

I am a designer currently not working. Can I still mentor?
Certainly. You can walk them through past projects you have done, view the completed sites, review portfolios/resumes, and discuss projects you have worked on, places you have worked, and any other design career topics that could be useful for a student.

Back to top.


Manufacturers Reps and Dealers:


I am a manufacturer representative/dealer. Can I still mentor?
Absolutely! A well-rounded education in the interior design industry is important and we know what a crucial role you play in the design community. Students do not always get the chance to see the design process from the industry side. Take your student(s) with you on client visits and show them what kind of impact you make on the design community.

What are some examples of things I could do during my time as a mentor?
As a rep or dealer you offer great insight into the design field through manufacture tours, firm visits, project presentations, etc. This is your chance to expand the knowledge and understanding of the next wave of interior designers.

Back to top.




I am an educator. Can I still mentor?
Absolutely. This is an opportunity to dive deeper into projects, processes, and critiques, as well as to bring students out into the field to experience some real-life scenarios.

What are some examples of things I could do during my time as a mentor?
Take students on a tour of some of your past projects, visit showrooms and firms, introduce students to new connections that they might not have made inside the classroom.

What else can I do to help my students?
Spread the word. Encourage your students to participate, and your friends and associates to mentor.