Life as a 1st year Graduate, Silvia Pisano

29 August 2016

Life as a 1st Year Graduate - Silvia Pisano.

Originally from Sardinia, Italy – I have travelled, studied and worked my way across the globe to settle in the city of sails as a budding architect. I am currently an architectural graduate working at Beca in Auckland.

While studying in an Urban Strategies Postgraduate Programme at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, I gained an overseas internship at Christchurch City Council, and so my New Zealand architectural life began.

My role at Christchurch City Council involved taking on responsibilities as an urban designer; assisting with urban regeneration, landscape planning projects and transitional projects. Following further work experience with an architecture practice in Christchurch, I moved to Auckland in late 2015 for a role as an architectural graduate in the Design Practice at Beca, a large firm which includes the design disciplines of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture.

I have recently attended a Beca Graduate Development Conference, an event held annually, which brought together 119 graduates from all disciplines at Beca. One of four graduates from the Design Practice, this opportunity has allowed me to make connections within the large firm, understand a clear position and pathway for myself, and to find mentors.

The theme of the conference was ‘Discover’ and covered three main areas. Discover self, discover work and develop technical expertise. The conference offered an insight into the professional world. Graduates were invited to find solutions to hypothetical scenarios and challenges the whole business might face. During the event graduates also had the opportunity to hear from senior individuals in the business on how their own careers had developed.

A strong voice for me came from Darryl-Lee Wendelborn, the Operations Manager of Environments including Architecture, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Planning & Environmental Science disciplines. During the conference Darryl-Lee spoke about her evolution at Beca across six different roles, and the changes she has witnessed through her twenty plus years spent with the company.  She considers her personal motivation, along with the support she has had from her own mentors, a key to her success.

For me, it was invaluable to be able to absorb knowledge from not only a senior professional, but another female who had been in the industry for some time. There is a great focus on development at Beca. I do not see any bias of discipline, gender or career level. I am encouraged everyday alongside my other graduates to take on new projects and challenges. This conference really opened our eyes to the opportunities that are available and allowed me to consider my own career path.

I have a passion for design and intend to use all the tools at my disposal to develop with creativity and practice my craft, under the talented individuals around me. Buoyed by the information from the conference, I have also understood my own aspirations of management and business development within the architectural space. I am thankful that my efforts will be readily supported, and that I can identify people in my workplace who can guide me along this path.

L-R: Silvia Pisano, Jo Wong, Ann O'Meagher, Anjali Pondicherry