Cpsm  Jenn Mc Govern

28 Sep, 2015

My CPSM Journey: Jen McGovern, CPSM

Jen McGovern

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As one of the newest CPSMs in the DC chapter, I can tell you that the certification exam is no joke. I came back to work after taking it and promptly told my coworkers, “That is the hardest test I’ve ever taken in my life, and I am like 90% certain I failed.” One coworker replied, “Well, even if you failed, do you think it was worth it?”

That question rocked me back on my heels a bit. The hours and hours of studying, traveling to and from downtown on the lovely Silver Line, giving up lunches for webinars … I had poured a lot of time and effort into pursuing my certification. After I thought about it for a second, I responded confidently, “Yes. It definitely was worth it.”

Like many people, I kind of “fell into” the A/E/C industry, never realizing that I harbored a secret passion for civil engineering. As part of a large firm (2,500 people and counting from coast to coast!), I’m part of a marketing department that cranks out a ton of proposals … but I wasn’t getting a lot of exposure to other parts of marketing like promotions or business development or even market research. A lifelong learner and avid reader, I figured there had to be somewhere I could turn to see what I was missing and how I could better support my firm.

Unlike a lot of my fellow CPSMs, I was more a member of SMPS on paper than in practice … in fact, I had attended exactly zero events prior to pursuing my certification. I started digging around on the SMPS website to find resources to grow my knowledge, and stumbled across the CPSM page. The idea of continuing education and learning best practices from across the industry—and, let’s face it, getting letters after my name like the engineers all have—really appealed to me. I signed up for the process, attended my first SMPS event (a CPSM informational mixer … just like the one coming up on October 13), and had no idea I was about to change my career and my life.

Participating in the CPSM Bootcamp (led by Laura Ewan, CPSM, and Amy Cuddy, CPSM) and studying for the CPSM exam really filled in the gaps in my knowledge—even gaps I didn’t realize were there. I gained a more thorough knowledge of the entire marketing cycle and a greater confidence in my ability to do my job. I provide a much higher level of service to the project managers I support, and the quality of my proposals went up a level. I can even hold my own in a conversation about multiplier, which previously would have caused my eyes to glaze over.

As an added bonus, it’s been amazing how the SMPS community has welcomed me as I’ve become more involved since achieving my CPSM certification. I had the awesome opportunity to attend Build Business 2015 in Los Angeles, I was invited to join the Career Advancement Committee, and I even successfully pitched an article to Marketer (keep your eyes peeled for the December issue!). I’m proud to be a CPSM and am excited to see how this certification and related opportunities continue to impact my career in the years to come.