Cullen Ashley

10 May, 2018

Member Spotlight: Ashley Cullen, CPSM

Kyle Veater

Member Spotlight  
Blog Types

Read time: 2 minutes, 55 seconds

For this month's veteran member spotlight, we caught up with Ashley Cullen, Marketing Coordinator at Kimley-Horn. Check out what keeps Ashley engaged with the chapter and what drove her to get her CPSM!


Name: Ashley Cullen, CPSM

Company: Kimley-Horn

Title/role: Marketing Coordinator

Hometown & Current town: Centreville, VA and Ashburn, VA

Alma Mater(s): Virginia Tech – GO HOKIES!

Family/pets: Hubs – Michael; two adorable boys - Jake, two years and Luke, six months; and one patient pup – Barley

Favorite DC-area restaurant: Matsu Sushi (out in the ‘burbs)

Favorite DC tourist destination: National Museum of Natural History

Favorite travel destination: Kauai, HI, but any Hawaiian island will do.

Favorite book – business and/or pleasure: Let’s be real, it’s still Harry Potter (The Goblet of Fire is my fave in the series)

Food you always crave: Ice cream

Favorite celebrity/brand to follow on social media: skinnytaste —I’m a sucker for those quick food videos

Favorite app: Google Photos…all that photo storage for a zillion kid photos and videos!

Favorite movie: Clueless. As if! [Editor's note: for the uninitiated]

Currently binging on Netflix: Nothing currently, but the last thing was Stranger Things. Time to find a new show!

When I’m not at work you’ll find me: Hangin’ with my boys, most likely at the playground. Or at Wegmans.

Dream job: Interior designer. Or, judging by some of my answers provided, a professional teenager.

Let's Get To It...

What got you into the AEC industry and what keeps you here?
Happenstance. I was just a kid looking for any kind of marketing position during the recession and ended up joining a civil engineering firm. At the time, I liked the exposure to a lot of different aspects of marketing professional services. Now, I like leveraging my experience to help my team identify strategic themes to win work. It can be stressful, but it’s also extremely satisfying when big deadlines are met—even better with a win!

When and why did you first join SMPS, and what keeps you coming back?
It was essentially a mandatory job requirement to join and get involved in SMPS. However, it has been an amazing resource in terms of creating relationships and learning about the industry.

What advice do you have for our newer SMPS DC members about getting the most out of their membership?
No surprise here—get involved! Not only is it fun, but you’ll really be setting yourself up for a successful career with a wide-reaching network. This is definitely one of those industries where who you know matters and can help your career growth.

[Checkout SMPS DC committees and get involved!]

What has been your favorite SMPS DC or SMPS event?
I’ve had a few opportunities over the years to attend Build Business. It’s always been inspiring to see what other people and firms are accomplishing as well as coming up with creative ways to implement new ideas back home. Also, the parties, obviously.

Do you have your CPSM? If so, why did you get it and how has it impacted your career?
Yes, I do. I got it in 2015 (time to recertify!). I pursued it as a commitment to myself to raise my own bar and to prove to myself that I could do it. It was a challenge and a commitment, but has been a tremendous resource in so many aspects of my job. I think the biggest impact to my career has been how highly valued the certification is in the industry. Not only did it help me stand out from other candidates to land this sweet gig with Kimley-Horn, it also has helped me identify my interests to expand my role and take on more and different responsibilities.

What part of the SMPS mission to Advocate, Educate, and Connect most resonates with you and why?
Well, with two littles at home, I’m not doing it as much as I should nowadays, but Connect. I was really fortunate to make some wonderful relationships early on in my career and they have grown over the years. I’ve had some seriously great mentors and have always been thankful for their wisdom they’ve shared.

What is your favorite SMPS DC memory?
Being recognized with my fellow CPSM recipients at the Summer Celebration in 2015.

Best work-related advice you’ve ever gotten?
Be your own advocate—don’t assume someone else is doing it for you.