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28 Feb, 2020

Veteran Member Spotlight: Andrea Fitch

Anne Morris

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Member Spotlight  
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Read time: 3 minutes, 41 seconds

For this month’s veteran member spotlight, we spoke with Andrea Fitch, MarCom and BD Director of Maven Consulting. Find out why Andrea stays engaged with SMPS and what drives her approach to our industry.

Quickfire

Name: Andrea Fitch

Company: Maven Consulting (Independent MarCom/BD Consultancy)

Title/role: MarCom/BD Director

Hometown & Current town: Alexandria, VA

Alma Mater(s): University of Miami

Family/pets: Misty Luna (the Cheeseball Smiling Dog -- A Rescue)

Favorite DC-area restaurant: I adore all of Chef Jose Andres’ culinary spots.

Favorite DC tourist destination: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Favorite travel destination: Europe

Favorite movie: Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell who originated the Broadway role (not the one with Lucille Ball – sorry, Lucy!)

Currently binging on Netflix: Grace & Frankie

When I’m not at work you’ll find me: Always creating something – paintings, recipe tweaking, etc. Ha!

Let’s Get To It……

What got you into the AEC industry and what keeps you here?

I started my career envisioning I would be the female I.M. Pei only to realize that my first few months entailed all the tokens of junior architect duties. Then one day, the firm’s marketing coordinator up and quit, there was a huge proposal going in for the DoD, and I volunteered to help letting them know I did well in all my writing classes – the principal asked around for someone who could write. The firm won the contract and I stuck with marketing, communications, and then business development. In a way, I’ve found that roles for marketing, communications, and business development are variants of being an architect, engineer, and construction company.

When and why did you first join SMPS, and what keeps you coming back?

I was at HITT Contracting and it was suggested that SMPS would be an ideal opportunity to help expand my network by attending events and getting involved. I started with the DC Chapter PR Committee, helped launch the chapter’s awards program and then moved onto the national level serving as National MCA Chair, then Foundation President, and ending up as National President. The people are key to what endears SMPS to me. The longstanding connections and more so the friendships borne through the years of my being involved are bar none the main reasons I keep coming back and staying involved, albeit these days more from the wings, per se.

What advice do you have for our newer SMPS DC members about getting the most out of their membership?

Get involved! Find a committee or event that taps into one of your passions and lend your energy and ideas. The opportunities are truly endless, and personally, I’d love to see another DC Chapter member serve as National President.

What has been your favorite SMPS DC or SMPS event?

I’m partial to the awards programs – seeing everyone’s creativity and moxie to bring a vision forward into a viable campaign is inspiring all-round. I relish seeing how everyone applies their own spin to “thinking outside the box”.

What part of the SMPS mission to Advocate, Educate, and Connect most resonates with you and why?

Every bit of it and namely because it was during my year as National President that our national board collaborated and worked with National Staff, national volunteers, and chapter leaders to create SMPS’s very first strategic plan. We entitled it, “SMPS 2020: A Perfect Vision – Advocate, Educate, and Connect.” How ironic that this year – 15 years later – is the arrival of our initial target year of 2020 and it’s been wonderful to see the plan in action, updated/renewed, and helping SMPS, all chapters, members, and even their firms thrive. In many ways, this year represents the culmination of my personal legacy to give back to SMPS for all that it gave to me over the years. Seeing us reach 2020 and all the great things that have happened and evolved since those very early days of synthesizing the environmental scan data into a roadmap for the Society and our members, make me very proud to be and remain a member of SMPS.

What is your favorite SMPS DC memory?

Ironically, it was during the National Board retreat on Block Island and having dinner with Weld Coxe – one of SMPS’ founding members. This retreat was during the summer before I officially joined the National Board as President-Elect. Nonetheless, during our one dinner, Weld sat to my right as head of our table. Towards the end of our gathering, Weld quietly stated, “It’s nice to see that SMPS hasn’t changed much from my days as a Society leader.” That moment has always stayed with me. Weld was such a quiet force of inspiration and affirmation during our retreat that it empowered all of us to roll up our sleeves and get going on SMPS’ strategic plan.

Best work-related advice you’ve ever gotten?

I must admit that Brett Hitt always bestowed many “pearls of wisdom”, as I’ve grown to call them over the years. One of his more invaluable tips was to remember that as a leader, when we cast out our finger to point to a person for a mistake or having done something wrong, we must always first look to the three fingers pointing right back in our direction. Go ahead and point your finger at something. You’ll see the three pointing back to you even if they are curved inward. So, we should always ask ourselves – what did I do wrong in this situation, what did I do to contribute to this situation going bad or a person’s mistake, and what can I do to make it better?