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14 Sep, 2016

SMPS - The AEC Marketer's Game Changer

Jessica Gillette

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As the 2016 SMPS DC Annual Kick-Off Pack the Promenade approaches, so does my first year with SMPS. One year ago I attended the 2015 kick-off event – a week before I started with my current firm, GORDON. I had no prior experience with SMPS, and my stomach was full of butterflies as I walked into the MAA Carriage House all by myself.

Current SMPS DC President-Elect and CPSM Pipper Mosley greeted me at the welcome table. I told her it was my first event and that I would like some help meeting people, and she was more than happy to show me around. I was expecting something similar to my attempt to rush a sorority – it was the exact opposite. Everyone was incredibly friendly and genuinely interested in talking with me.

In particular, I remember meeting current SMPS DC President and CPSM Laura Ewan, who at the time was SMPS DC’s President-Elect. I didn’t realize then just how big SMPS is or how big her role was. She must have stood there talking to me for at least forty-five minutes, not once looking bored or checking over my shoulder for someone else more interesting. She made me feel really confident about starting my new job the next week and excited about getting more involved with SMPS.

Fast forward to a year later - I feel like a completely new person thanks to this society. I have increased my knowledge of marketing and the AEC industry by one thousand percent, joined the Community Outreach committee, participated in fun and educational workshops, made valuable connections, and got involved with the Open Architecture Collaborative. For the first time in five years, when my college graduation posts popped up on my Timehop, I thought to myself, “I finally did it. I have a career.”

Not only that, I’ve made friends with wonderful people who share similar goals and values. I have people I can send my work to and ask for feedback; friends who support me when I have a major email campaign; and counterparts who will email me to tell me they loved something I put out - that’s some amazing support right there! I’ve met professionals who have personally connected me with VIPs I wouldn’t have known how to best approach. As an added bonus, I’ve made girlfriends to grab brunch with on Sunday!

The best part is, I know I’m not the only one who’s having this same great experience. Numerous members have made lifelong connections and friendships, like Laura Ewan and Kate Attilio, who run the Communiqueso podcast that was born from a CPSM study group (they both passed!). Countless members are where they are today thanks to the help of this association. SMPS is truly a community filled with people just like me who want to empower others and aid in their success.

It’s almost hard to imagine what’s in store for me and my career if all of these remarkable things have happened in only one year. I’m very fortunate to work for a firm that supports my heavy involvement with SMPS. I urge all AEC marketers to make a case for SMPS if their firms are not supportive. Show your boss this blog if you need proof! But you don’t have to take my word for it – attend the Kick-Off at Del Campo on September 14th and find out for yourself!

Jessica Gillette
Marketing Coordinator