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01 Sep, 2016

President's (b)Log: September

Laura Ewan

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A Monthly update from SMPS DC President Laura Ewan, CPSM

On behalf of the Board of Directors, welcome to the SMPS DC 2016-2017 program year!

I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be serving as your chapter President. SMPS has done so much for me personally and professionally, and I’m truly humbled by the opportunity to give back in this capacity to an organization that I love so much – especially since I get to do so alongside this group of local heroes.

Serving as chapter President has always been a goal of mine, but I don’t think it truly sunk in that it was really happening until this Spring. Every April, President-Elects from chapters across the country convene in Alexandria, Virginia for the Presidents Leadership Symposium (PLS), a three-day workshop where incoming Presidents can share ideas and solutions regarding leadership, chapter management, membership, educational programming, and communications. As an incoming President, this is when things start to get real, and fast. PLS was an enlightening, and slightly exhausting, experience, but mostly it helped make one thing very clear to me – SMPS DC is a VERY fortunate chapter. We enjoy many luxuries that others do not, including an extra large and engaged membership, an active local AEC community, close proximity to SMPS HQ and all the resources they have to offer, and the ability to support many targeted programs that address the diverse needs of our membership. However, in the wake of these targeted efforts, we’ve experienced some unforeseen silos developing within our membership, and a growing disconnect between generations who need each other to continue pushing our profession forward.

That’s why this year’s theme, Connectivity, is all about breaking down those silos and finding new ways to live the third pillar of the SMPS mission to Advocate, Educate, and Connect. As a chapter, our efforts in 2016-2017 are driven by four goals:

  • Connecting our members with each other to form relationships across the different generations and experience levels.
  • Connecting our firms with the tools and opportunities to build business and a stronger return on investment for your SMPS membership.
  • Connecting our volunteers across committee lines to strengthen our program offering.
  • Connecting future leaders with opportunities to grow professionally and make a difference.
Feature  Image  Board  In  Super  Hero
The 2016-2017 SMPS DC Board of Directors at this year’s strategic planning retreat, where we explored our individual superpowers, developed new ways to add value and give back to our members, and conducted a comprehensive audit of the SMPS DC brand.

The new Board has been hard at work all summer planning an outstanding and robust program year full of educational, mentoring, leadership development, and networking opportunities to achieve these goals while addressing the needs of members at all stages of their career. We have some pretty exciting things planned, many of which were inspired by the feedback so many of you provided in the Member Feedback Survey we conducted in June. Some highlights worth noting include:

  • National-caliber programming aimed at increasing your knowledge and mastery of strategic marketing planning, seller-doer models, proposal essentials, rebranding and differentiation, public relations, and firm financials.
  • The chapter’s first CPSM-only event.
  • A new leadership development series coming in the Spring of 2017 to provide managers with the training and tools they need to succeed.
  • Continued partnerships with Open Architecture Collaborative and AIA|DC’s Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program, and support of a new philanthropic partner, InscapePublico.
  • New venues, topics, and formats to provide quality client and industry insights at our Principals Round Table (PRT) and Lunch Program series.
  • Networking activities specifically designed to help new members engage in the SMPS DC community.
  • More frequent and formalized peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities in the form of our Guru Guidance program, Senior Marketers Round Table (SMRT), and new Market Share initiative (more to come on that soon).
  • A refresh of the SMPS DC brand and communications platforms to ensure our organization remains a best-in-class example of modern marketing and communications practices within the local AEC community.


As you can see, we’re gearing up for a very busy and ambitious year – but that’s nothing new for SMPS DC. One thing I love about this chapter is that we’re always looking for new ways to improve and increase the value of your SMPS membership. The Board of Directors and our dedicated volunteers are here to serve you – but we need something from you in return. What I ask of each of you today is to engage. Embrace this year’s theme of Connectivity, and find new ways to connect with the SMPS DC community. Try one of our many new programs. Give back through mentorship. Join a committee. If you see room for improvement, speak up, or better yet, get involved. We’re currently seeking new committee members for our Special Events, Lunch Programs, and PRT/SMRT committees.

I truly believe that the more you invest in this organization, the more you will get out of it. Over the past ten years, SMPS has educated and inspired me, introduced me to some of the most important and influential people in my life, and helped me find and thrive in a career that I love. I promise to do everything I can this year to ensure it does the same for you.

It is my privilege to be serving as your President, and look forward to all we can accomplish together in the year ahead. I hope you all can join us in two weeks when we officially kick things off at our Pack the Promenade event at Del Campo on September 14th.

Here’s to another great year!

Laura Ewan, CPSM