Meet Our Mentees: Norissa Coleman

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

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I recently moved to the Indianapolis area from Champaign, Illinois for a new job. Just before moving here, I graduated with my Master's Degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May 2018. It feels amazing to finally be done with school and to pursue the career I’ve loved since I was a child! At my new job, I have the privilege to design medical facilities such as hospitals, also research labs and university buildings. When I’m not at work, I love exploring Indy, painting, playing pickle ball, and swing and salsa dancing. I was very excited to learn that Indy has a lively swing dancing scene in the Fountain Square area, so I plan to check that out soon!

What brought you to EDGE and why did you choose to become a mentee?

When I visited Indianapolis for my job interview, my coworker mentioned that joining a young professionals group would be a great way to get connected in the city. I had never tried a young professionals group before but decided to look into it. I was pleased to find EDGE when searching online. I was very interested because of the faith aspect of the group, and the opportunity to be matched with a mentor. Soon after, I applied to be a mentee to be able to learn from another professional with more experience, and to do life with the other girls in the group.

In what ways have Your Mentor (Emily) and your EDGE group helped you grow personally, professionally or spiritually?

So far, I’ve really been encouraged by everyone’s journey in life personally, professionally, and spiritually, and how they got to where they are now. Everyone has ups and downs in life, and I'm excited that through EDGE we can come alongside each other and provide encouragement and support as joyful or challenging times arise.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from your mentor so far?

One thing we’ve talked about in our group so far is how important our mindset is in every situation. It is often easy to look at our lives and pick out what's wrong and let those disappointments discourage us from striving to be better. This negativity can be hindering in all areas of our lives, like our walk with God, our career goals or our personal goals. However, changing that mindset and intentionally choosing to be positive can be motivating and life-giving even though it doesn’t feel like second-nature to us.

What advice would you give to graduating seniors as they prepare to start their careers?

My advice to seniors would be to know what's missing for you in your life upon graduation, and to take a job or move to a city that would allow you to have good balance in life. In my experience, during college and graduate school I had to be very focused on my academics being part of a very time-consuming major (I will not miss the long nights building models and making perfect drawings to meet tight deadlines). I often felt like I couldn’t devote as much time as I wanted to being active, pursuing my hobbies and being at every event hosted by my campus ministry. Over time, it just made me burn out a lot easier, which I’m sure many college students have felt before.

When deciding on which job offer to take in which location, the office culture and the city’s opportunities were an important guide for me when thinking about how happy I would really be. I am very happy with my choice to move to Indianapolis! Moving to Indy and taking the job I have now has allowed me to find the balance I needed. At my firm, late nights of work are not a norm, I’ve been able to meet a lot of great people here in the city and I’m enjoying getting involved in church. I also have time to enjoy my hobbies and pick up new ones because of all that Indy has to offer! I think graduation is a great time to formulate goals that you want to reach for the next few years in all areas of your life. It's a good idea to make a plan for how you can realistically reach those goals in order to have good balance in your life.