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Mentoring Workshop #1: Soft Skills

Are you interested in learning more about soft skills?

Join AIA|DC's Emerging Architects Committee for an informal seminar with experts Sandra Tkacz, AIA, ACHA, EDAC and Brandon Tobias, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, to identify and improve your soft skills. The evening will feature a workshop format starting with an overview of soft skills and an interactive mapping exercise to explore actionable steps for strategizing your career path.

After breaking into small-group discussions, Sandy and Brandon will discuss the importance of growing your soft skills, assessing your skill gaps, navigating transitions, as well as how firm culture influences your career path.


Presented by: Sandra Tkacz, AIA, ACHA, EDAC and Brandon Tobias, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Sandra Tkacz serves as the Principal for HDR Architecture in Richmond. She is a recognized expert in the planning and design of total health environments with a passion for innovation strategies and collaborative solutions. She has over two decades of experience working in 19 states with academic medical centers, community and regional hospitals, ambulatory facilities, and women and children hospitals, and is a frequent presenter at conferences. She is board certified by the American College of Healthcare Architects in the specialty of healthcare design and is EDAC accredited in the application of evidence-based design research in the design of physical environments. Sandy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design and a Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

Brandon Tobias is the Architecture Branch Manager for Naval Facilities Enginerering Command (NAFVAC) Washington located in the historic Washington Navy Yard.  He directly supervises ten senior architects and interior designers and is responsible for the community management of fifty designers of all ages throughout the National Capital Region. His fifteen-year federal career includes time with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Kansas City, Afghanistan, and headquarters in Washington, DC. While at HQ USACE, he spearheaded the creation of multidisciplined career maps to promote early and continuous career development.


Organized by: AIA|DC Emerging Architects Committee 


At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify social, communication, and personal characteristics that are soft skills;

  • Analyze current methods of communication and incorporate strategies to improve;

  • Apply information gained from interactive mapping exercise to strategize career path action items; and

  • Identify skill gaps, navigate transitions, and opportunities to improve firm culture.