This is the first story in a series titled ‘The Inside View’. In this series I will be interviewing, profiling, and generally sharing a yarn with interesting people and companies who cross paths with Keystone Trust.

In September, I caught up with Richard Archbold (Arch) from Warren and Mahoney to chat about all things Keystone. Being a chatty lass myself, I was very interested to meet the infamous Arch. Arch is a Principal at Warren and Mahoney located in their Auckland office and has been advocate for Keystone Trust at Warren and Mahoney since they became a sponsor in 2016. Over their time as a sponsor, Warren and Mahoney have been huge supporters hosting and attending numerous events, most notably the site visit at their new Auckland studio in 2017. Meeting at their spacious, versatile and slightly golden (it’s the ‘interior wrap’, I have learnt!) studio in Wynyard Quarter, Arch and I sat down for a catch up. With Keystone Trust’s mentoring programme launched and ready for take off in the New Year, Arch and I discussed the value of mentorship, cross discipline collaboration and the wide-ranging benefits of a Keystone sponsorship.

Having been the Trust’s champion at Warren and Mahoney since the partnership was formed, and with several scholarship cycles under his belt, I asked Arch about his favourite memory of being a sponsor. He paused, before responding with a clear “I enjoy the site visits. They’re in the sweet spot of what we do as a sponsor. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to show people what we do. To take students on a site visit, through a site under construction is very special; it’s a unique experience. It’s much more unique for them than it is for us so it’s nice to be reminded of how special it is through their eyes.”

This was a heart-warming answer for me, to hear that their sponsorship was bigger than patting themselves on the back as another student got their degree. He went on to add that site visits added significant value to both his company and the students. “While we are doing the site visit as architects, it’s a great reminder that the process is one that involves all these different people and disciplines and that’s no clearer than when you’re standing on site.” As architects, Warren and Mahoney are one of only four architectural firms as sponsors.

Arch noted, with a practiced directness “there’s an image that architects like to think they’re special, like they’re the only one that matters. I flatly reject that. We don’t achieve anything without collaboration. When you go on the Keystone site visits you have students from all different disciplines, all standing at a building site, seeing how it comes together.” Indeed, though the sponsor group only has a handful of architectural firms and students, on every site visit there is a menagerie of surveyors, engineers, construction students, planners and future property tycoons.

 

The opportunity that students through Keystone get to work together across all disciplines is something Arch values highly. “What I can see as really beneficial is the exposure that each of the students get to other disciplines. It’s better to learn about the importance of collaboration from the outset than to show up to your first deign meeting and say you’ve got to listen to my brilliant idea.” As Arch so succinctly put it, “I think that’s a kind of hidden gem of what Keystone offers – For students to actually go through their studies in parallel with people from other disciplines is really powerful.”

While Arch was extolling the value of the Trust I thought I would squeeze him for more feedback, this time about our mentoring programme and what he saw as the benefits. Arch highlighted that mentoring can bring value for all parties. “It’s as good for our people to participate in mentoring as hopefully it is for the students to gain some mentorship.” For Warren and Mahoney, who are very active at our events to start with, it is important to get top value out of their sponsorship. “What is that investment? It’s access for people in our firm who have leadership potential to practice and deliver that leadership through something like mentorship, for example. To get the double benefit of giving something back in a way that develops your own people is a real win.”

Take note sponsors! Not only will we provide you with around 20 fresh new faces each year, for you to ooh and aah over, but we will provide personal development for your staff, free of charge!

After our chat, I came away thinking about the different things that each sponsor could take out of their partnership with the Trust. Regardless of if your company is a sponsor for the warm fuzzies, the networks, or your desire to give back, we at the Trust value your support. If you want to do a little bit more, I encourage you to have a look at our mentoring programme on our website. We are currently taking applications for mentors, so if you have been harbouring a secret desire to mould a young student’s mind, please apply!

We are always keen to hear out what our sponsors value from the Trust, and why they have chosen to support us. If you have a story you want to share, please contact me at jenny@keystonetrust.org.nz.

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