Panel E1488217713885

27 Feb, 2017

Event Recap: On the Road to Fellow Recognition

Jen McGovern

Event Recap  
Blog Types

Read time: 1 minute, 45 seconds

Ushered through a curtain into a back room at Cities Restaurant and Lounge, attendees of the On the Road to Fellow Recognition panel discussion program on February 15 may have gotten the impression they were about to be inducted into a secret society. While no induction ceremony took place, our distinguished panel of Fellows—Susan Merrigan, MBA, FSMPS, CPSM, Senior Marketing Manager at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); Andrew Weinberg, FSMPS, CPSM, Regional Business Development Manager at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.; and Tom Townes, AIA, FSMPS, CPSM, Director of Business Development at Clark Nexsen—did share secrets about what it means to be a Fellow and how the application process works.

The Society provides simple guidelines on the qualifications for Fellowship application. To apply, you must:

  • Be an SMPS member who has been active in the Society for at least 10 of the previous 15 years
  • Have 15 years of experience as a marketer and/or business developer in the AEC industry
  • Have held a current CPSM certification designation for at least 5 years

However, as Susan, Andrew, and Tom shared, achieving Fellowship isn’t as simple as checking those three boxes. The Fellowship designation is limited to 5% of the total active membership in the Society—while applicants aren’t competing against other applicants each year, they are competing against the high level of involvement expected from Fellows. Fellows are selected by a jury of Fellows appointed by the Fellows Delegate of the SMPS Board of Directors—the jury is looking for evidence of continued, sustained involvement in the Society on a national scale.

When asked for one piece of advice to share with prospective Fellow applicants, the panel agreed that the main theme of Fellowship is contributing to SMPS.

“Think about your reason for becoming a Fellow. If it has nothing to do with giving back to the Society, it’s the wrong reason.” Tom Townes, AIA, FSMPS, CPSM
“If you love what you’re doing, keep going. If you love what you’re getting out of SMPS, keep going.” Andrew Weinberg, FSMPS, CPSM
“SMPS helped me figure out what to do with my life—I love the idea of paying it forward to help preserve SMPS for the next generation.” Susan Merrigan, MBA, FSMPS, CPSM

So, how do SMPS DC chapter members start preparing for Fellowship, whether eligibility is days or years or decades away? Start tracking what you do—dedicate a section of your resume to your SMPS involvement. Start locally—join a committee and try to work your way up to serving on the Board. Attend regional and national conferences and start building your network. Raise your hand in response to calls for volunteers or abstracts—or reach out to SMPS Headquarters and ask where there’s a need and how you can get involved. Pitch articles to the Marketer or answer calls for presentations. Before you know it, you’ll be growing your knowledge of and involvement in SMPS and paving the way to achieve Fellowship yourself!

For more information on the SMPS Fellows Recognition Program, please visit or search for the Fellows Recognition Program: Informational Webinar on

Jen McGovern, CPSM
Mid-Atlantic Regional Marketing Manager