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2017, We’re Ready for You!

We asked each staff member of Nspiregreen about theirs hopes and goals for 2017 here’s what we said:

Mei:  2016 has been a challenging year for me, but it was filled with many unforgettable moments, such as graduating from with my Master’s degree and getting married. My wishes for 2017 are more great memorable moments and a more peaceful world. I hope to get my LEED Certificate during the first half of the year, improving myself on a professional level. I hope to have the chance to go back to my hometown in China to visit my friends and family. I have many dreams and wishes, some of the simpler desires include breaking my habit of sleeping late; visit New York City, cleaning out my closet, and to stay in shape.Finally, it’s going to be a bright new year, my most important wish is for everyone’s continued happiness throughout 2017.

Christine: In 2016, a lot of things were knocked down for me, but as one of my favorite rap lyrics and personal mottos goes “sometimes you gotta get knocked down to get up”- Mystikal. In 2017, my focus is going to be on the concept of “building”. I want to build up my skills in some areas, especially hand and computer renderings, technical capabilities, knowledge base, and being a leader. I want to build in time for people, things, and experiences that bring me joy.

Fabiana: My wish for this new year is that everyone, including my family, colleagues and friends, have a and a healthy, happy and prosperous life. To create this happier, healthier and more prosperous life for myself, my goal is to keep growing personally and professionally by being in the best disposition to learn, challenge myself and try new performances in my life. My greatest desire is to enjoy from the greatest to the smallest events happening in my life.

Chanceé: Like the dawn of each year, I expect 2017 to be a year of dreams fulfilled and goals accomplished. I desire to spend more time with my amazing new little family. I dream of spending days relaxing in front of clear blue water while jotting down new ideas that I make come to pass. I wish to give more of my time to causes I care about and have goals to do new things with Nspiregreen. As my family at home grows, I pray abundant blessings over Nspiregreen in the new year so that my work family can grow too. This is my hope for 2017 may the odds be ever in my favor.

Veronica: Usually I start the year with a list of goals I’m going to accomplish and things I’m going to do for the year. After ending 2016, physically and mentally exhausted, I’m looking forward to doing less in 2017. My hope is to take some things off my plate, say “no” more, travel more, and be radical with taking personal time outs. I want to reorganize my day to provide more time to think and be creative, so I can continue to create a vision for Nspiregreen and the urban planning business unit.

These are our hopes for 2017. What are your hopes? What are your goals?

Photo from "monkeys with cameras" on flicker

Closed for the Holidays

At Nspiregreen, we believe the holidays are a time to spend with friends and families.  When we were mapping out the type of company we wanted, one of the first decisions we made was to close the office for the holidays.  We will be closed from December 23, 2016 through January 1, 2017. During this time we will not be checking email or answering phones.


We hope you have a safe and happy holidays!



Chanceé, Veronica, Christine, Fabiana, & Mei


Cultivating a Relationship with your Mentor

In my last post, I shared different resources for finding a mentor. The next step is cultivating a relationship.  If you find your mentor through a mentor-mentee program, the initial conversation can be easier. Some programs have set discussion topics or may do an e-introduction. Regardless of how you meet your mentor, most of the time it’s on you, the mentee, to start the relationship.

  1. Introduce yourself: My recommendation is keep the introduction to a short and sweet email stating how you got their contact information, who you are, why you are reaching out, and request a meeting. You can include a resume to provide additional details. Mention any commonalities like alma maters or group affiliations, but keep it concise. When requesting a meeting be specific about how long you want to meet, whether you would like to be in person or via phone, and a timeframe of the meeting. [Author’s note: I’m writing from the perspective of someone who doesn’t like reading long emails. The longer the email and the vaguer the ask, the longer it takes me to reply. Everyone is different.]


Dear Ms. Where I. Want-to-Be,

My friend, Jane Q. Boss, recommended I reach out to you about career opportunities in transportation planning. I’m currently a dog park planner at ABC Planning Company. My resume is attached. I’d like to take you to coffee to discuss how I can transition into transportation planning. Do you have availability the week of October 10th or 17th for a mid-morning coffee meeting near your office?

I look forward to hearing from you.


Fabulous N. Training

P.S. I’m a fellow Terp!

  1. Respond to their email: Since you kept your message concise and included a meeting request for a specific time period, the person is likely to respond with a date (possible dates) when they are available. Your next step is to respond within a business day to confirm the date works with your schedule. I have had people do a great job of introducing themselves, but the relationship never gets going because they do not respond to my email in a timely manner (over a week later) or not at all.
  1. Meet: Now it’s time for your initial meeting. Since you reached out to the person, you’ve already done some homework and know the basics of where they went to school and places they have worked (LinkedIN and Google are your friend!). Spend a few minutes of the conversation getting to know more about them and sharing more about who you are. You’ll want to have questions prepared that get to the heart of why you want to meet with them. Remember, you’re asking them for their wise council, so use your time with them wisely. If there’s a connection, ask them if it’s okay if you reach out to them periodically with questions AND what is the best way to keep in touch.
  1. Send a thank you/follow up: Within a day or two follow up with a thank you email or if you really want to impress them send a handwritten thank you note (I can remember every single person that sent me a handwritten thank you note. Emails not so much). Thank them for the time and advice. If your mentor offered to help you with something or your promised to send something, now is the time to follow up. For example, if they offer to look at your resume, email them a copy.
  1. Keep in contact: As I mentioned in my previous post, each mentor-mentee relationship will look different. After your initial meeting, you all may only talk again once or twice. However, it’s possible that you have a great relationship and meet regularly (every other month, quarterly, semi-annually). Schedules aside, in general, the frequency of your meetings will depend on how much you keep in contact with your mentor. Keeping in touch could be sending a quick email about an article you think may interest them or a paper you wrote, replying to their social media posts, inviting them to an event to speak or be an attendee, or meeting them for coffee.

These five steps are suggestions based on what has worked for me and my mentees. Why five? I could’ve written more, but I prefer numbers divisible by five (we all have our quirks). After writing this post, I realized I never addressed WHY you should have a mentor. I guess I’ll be writing another post soon!

Veronica O. Davis, PE is a transportation guru who uses her knowledge to spark progressive social change. As Co-owner and Principal of Nspiregreen, she is also responsible for the management of the major urban planning functions such as transportation planning, policy development, master planning, sustainability analysis, and long range planning. In July 2012, Veronica was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House for her professional accomplishments and community advocacy, which includes co-founding Black Women Bike.




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