Kheld Member Spotlight

11 Aug, 2014

Past President Spotlight: Kathleen Held, CPSM

Member Spotlight  
Blog Types

Read time: 2 minutes, 21 seconds

DSC_0451eslenderKathleen Held is the immediate Past President of SMPS DC and Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Cini•Little International, Inc. Kathleen was president of the SMPS DC chapter from 2012-2013. We are eager to learn how being a leader in SMPS DC has made a difference in her career.


How did you first learn of SMPS and what motivated you to become so involved – and eventually be President of SMPS DC?

I literally heard about SMPS when I first joined the industry 20 years ago, but wasn’t in a position professionally or personally to join until 2006. My philosophy internally at Cini•Little has always been if we are going to spend the money to join an association you must jump in with both feet and become involved – otherwise the membership is worthless. And that is what I did, I joined a committee immediately following my first new member breakfast, the committee wasn’t a great fit for me since all of the meetings were in Northern Virginia and I was in Maryland so I joined Membership and Special Events, my second year and I jumped in with both feet. At the end of that year, Clark Ebbert, nominated me to the Board and I have been a member of the SMPS DC board ever since.

Mentors you most admired and why?

Diane Dowling, Cini•Little’s current CEO/CFO has been a huge mentor for me professionally. She challenged me when I joined Cini•Little to create my own career path within the firm, which I did and she continues to mentor me daily on topics such as strategic, management, financial and leadership.

Audrey Johnson, Past President of SMPS DC and Presentation Services Manager at Gilbane, was the president of SMPS DC my first year on the board. At our first board meeting she said we are going to win Striving For Excellence (SFE) this year and our entire year was set around the SFE requirements. We won the grand prize for the first time that year, a huge accomplishment for the chapter, and I learned what it took to be a truly great chapter and leader with SMPS.

What would you consider your greatest achievement during your term as SMPS DC’s President?

If the question is what is my Legacy for the Chapter, it didn’t happen during my presidential year…My greatest achievements personally took place when I was a committee chair…During the 2009-2010 program year creating the Student Scholarship Program, Envoy Program, Guru Guidance Mentoring Program, Registering with AIA so that we could be a provider of CEUs, during later terms on the board, I created the Pay it Forward Grant and the SMPS U Grant to reward outstanding SMPS U members for their service to the chapter and creating a CPSM rate to give something back to them for their achievement and this year helping establish the SMaRT program.

Any lessons learned during your term?

Surround yourself with amazing people and amazing things will happen…and being a part of SMPS and the DC chapter made that easy.

I also don’t recommend finding out that you are pregnant with your 4th child and a high-risk pregnancy at the beginning of your term but that just made it more interesting.

As your time as Immediate Past President comes to an end, what advice would give to the next SMPS DC president-elect?

Being president doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help and most importantly have fun.

Interview by: Shaylee Carmona CannonDesign