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Young Designers Professional Development Institute (YDPDI) / back to Programs page »

Enrollment information

The first YDPDI session begins September 28, 2017, and enrollment is now open. Please complete a copy of this registration form for each registrant. Scan/email to Li Lam at, or mail to YDPDI, c/o BSA, 290 Congress Street, Suite 200, Boston, MA 02210.

For information about program content, contact William Ronco, program director at or 617-686-5005.

September 2017–August 2018 Workshop Schedule

Workshops are scheduled from 2:00–6:00 pm and include an office tour and lunch.

*Program dates listed in green are joint BSA Young Designers and AGC Young Contractors sessions. These often include post-session pub visits and networking.

September 28, 2017
Accelerating Your Career Development
William Ronco, YDPDI director, YDPDI Alumni
Parke MacDowell, Payette

Location: Payette, Boston 

Young designer special challenges, opportunities. Building on your strengths, addressing weaknesses. Clarifying, achieving your goals. Starting now.

October 24, 2017
Project Management / Time Management
Elizabeth Spatola, Dyer Brown

Location: Dyer Brown, Boston ​

New project management tools, strategies. Beyond schedule and budget, building the project team. Improving your own time management.

ABX CONFERENCE—November 8–10

Location: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston

YDPDI fee includes any 3 ABX 2017 workshops.

December 14, 2017
Building Sales and Marketing Skills​
Dana Kelly, Bruner Cott
Kristine Gorman, Jacobs

Location: Jacobs, Boston

Why, how to sell and market to existing and new clients. Identifying your unique sales/marketing identity and approach. How to “work a room.”

January 30, 2018*
Improving Designer / Contractor Teamwork
Marc Truant, Marc Truant Associates
George Takoudes, NBBJ
Kimberly Plummer, Partners Health Care

Location: TBD

Understanding architect/contractor differences; using differences as a resource. Improving meetings discussion and follow through. Building real teams.

February 27, 2018*
Increasing Negotiations Skills
Mary Feeney, Esq., Bowditch & Dewey
Robert Douglas, Town of Andover

Location: Bowditch & Dewey, Boston

Recognizing your negotiations style, strengths, weaknesses. Getting to, and beyond, Yes. Increasing your effectiveness achieving 1 + 1 = 3 results.

March 27, 2018*
Human Resources: Pitfalls, Opportunities
Jess Smith, Bergmeyer 
Shelley Kolesar, HR Consultant
Diana Hasan, CE Floyd

Location: Bergmeyer, Boston

HR beyond salary and benefits. Knowing your HR rights, opportunities and Achilles heels. Understanding architects’ salary policies. Why, when and how to work with your HR manager.

April 19, 2018*
What Clients Really Want
Maggie O’Toole, Lab Central
Emma Corbalan, MIT, Town of Andover
Ralph DeFlorio, Harvard University
Kim Plummer, MGH

Location: LabCentral, Cambridge

Clients from four markets explain how contractors and architects do and don’t understand their real priorities. Issues, opportunities, best practices. Increasing client satisfaction.

May 17, 2018*
Improving Financial Management
Mark Paronich, New Focus Consulting
James Bryson, TROJungBrannen
Scott Lerner, Consigli

Location: TRO-Jung Brannen, Boston

Pitfalls, key indicators and best practices for managing project finances. Beyond projects: understanding, contributing to your firm’s financial performance.

June 14, 2018*
From Manager To Leader
Roger Goldstein, FAIA, Goody Clancy
Steve Eustis, Commodore Builders

Location: Goody Clancy, Boston

Life beyond AM and PM. Increasing awareness and focus, clarifying personal vision, thinking strategically. Achieving your next career goal. Increasing professional productivity.

July 10, 2018
Improving Writing Skills
William Ronco, YDPDI director
Chris Floyd, CE Floyd Construction

Location: TBD

Skills-building workshop improves your writing professionalism, efficiency and coherence and speed with emails, reports and proposals. How to write more persuasive emails. Why and how to get published.

August 7, 2018
Improving Presentation Skills
Kathy McMahon, National Development
Alex Dupnik, Dyer Brown

Location: National Development, Newton

Clients and principals want young designers to present. Hands-on workshop increases confidence and builds skills. Learn to improve your materials, tell compelling stories and facilitate engaging, lively discussion.

Program Costs, Benchmarks, ROI

The $3,800 fee for the 12-month program is an excellent and small investment for any firm to make in its employees and in its future: 

  • Cost of conventional two-day management seminars = $2,100, much more per session for a “canned” program that lacks the sustained continuity and networking YDPDI provides.
  • The cost to a firm of turnover, often triggered by frustration with career development, is typically 1.5 times the person’s annual salary.
  • The cost to a firm of diminished productivity resulting from lack of skills = ?????

Benefits / Outcomes For Participants

Training and development are intangible but they can produce very tangible results. Participants’ outcomes from participating in the program include:

  • Improved ability to add value in their firms
  • Increased skills taking on new, challenging tasks
  • Increased performance in areas that matter most for the firm’s performance
  • Improved ability to develop meaningful relationships with clients
  • Increased performance in marketing, business development and networking
  • Development of essential skills e.g. communicating, writing, presenting, managing projects, managing finances, marketing, managing CA and CD, etc.
  • Acquisition of perspective resulting from interaction with peers from other firms, instructors, and interaction with contractors in the Young Contractors program
  • Increased insight and self-awareness resulting from work with personality profiles
  • Increased focus, job satisfaction and motivation resulting from all the above

Benefits / Outcomes For Sponsoring Firms

Beyond the individual participants, it is also quite possible for sponsoring firms to benefit as organizations from participating in the program:

  • Improved retention and development of key talent
  • Increased marketing and business development activity and success
  • Improved morale and firm spirit resulting from clear demonstration of the firm’s commitment to professional development for young designers
  • Increased understanding and improved working relationships across levels, departments and groups in the firm
  • Acquisition of current ideas and fresh perspective on best practices being developed by other firms and industry experts participating in the program
  • Improved employee alignment with the firm’s strategic plan
  • Raised expectations for job performance and productivity from program participants
  • Use of the program to strengthen the firm’s efforts at mentoring and coaching between senior managers and younger designers
  • Recognition of the firm as an Excellent Employer

What’s YDPDI Really Like?

Young professionals encounter a skills gap several years after they begin their design career: their job responsibilities shift to include many more tasks that involve communications. YDPDI fills this gap, and more. Each monthly YDPDI seminar builds understanding and ability in young designers’ most important communications and management competencies. Participants build both essential skills and relationships with each other. YDPDI provides opportunities to explore alternative paths for professional development and insights to build a highly satisfying career.

YDPDI First-Person Blog 

Describing her personal learning experience, recent YDPDI participant Aminah McNulty, a landscape architect, wrote an excellent blog. Some excerpts:

From the What Clients Really Want session:
“Our instructors Kim Plummer, Partners Health Care/MGH; Emma Corbalan, MIT; Chris Cronin, Town of Andover; and Ralph DeFlorio, Harvard University spanned a range of experiences. This session revolved around targeted questions to probe into the minds of these clients and hear their genuine account of the receiving end of A/E/C services.

From the Improving Writing Skills session:
“I found this session incredibly empowering. This summer, I was asked to create a webinar for a local organization. Countless hours of perfectionism, procrastination and self—sabotage were swept off the table as I was able to draft an outline in ten minutes.”

From the Improving Negotiating Skills session:
“My key takeaways are: listen, find shared goals, understand the other side, know your facts, admit fault and reach a common ground. These tools will no doubt prove useful and effective as I hone my skills as a mediator, persuader and negotiator.”

Here is a link to the complete blog, which also includes terrific pictures:

About YDPI Director William Ronco, Ph.D.

President of Gathering Pace, Inc., William Ronco founded YDPDI 17 years ago. He directs the program, collaborating with the Boston Society of Architects/AIA. Dr. Ronco also founded and directs the Young Contractors Professional Institute in collaboration with the Massachusetts Associated General Contractors. Dr. Ronco consults on strategy, leadership and partnering with design, engineering, owner / client, construction, and biotech and science organizations.

He is author of The Partnering Solution (Career Press) and Partnering Manual For Design and Construction (McGraw-Hill). A former professor in Northeastern University’s MBA program, Dr. Ronco earned his B.A. at Rutgers University, his Ed.M. at Harvard and his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.