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Mentorship Spotlight - Q&A with Stephanie and Lisa

SMPS Mentorship Q&A Featuring:

Lisa Smith
Senior Marketing Coordinator
Pacific National Group
AND
Stephanie Wood, CPSM
Marketing & Communications Manager, Pacific
Stantec


Q: Stephanie, you have been in the AEC industry for roughly 15 years. Tell us a little bit more about your background.

S: Having been formally mentored in my earlier career, as well as informally throughout, I know the impact that these relationships have had and continue to have on me and my career. And, as a manager, I have the lucky opportunity to serve somewhat as a mentor to my staff. When SMPS-OC decided to implement a Mentorship Program, I knew it was my chance to pay forward the generous advice and guidance granted to me throughout the years.

Q: What was it like meeting your Protégé?

S: As fortune would have it, I had connected with my assigned Protégé, Lisa Smith, the prior year at an event. Afterward, she’d asked for my input on a project she was working on. I was quite impressed with her work and knew she would be one to watch. So, it was an absolute delight to have us “matched.”

Q: Lisa, tell us a little bit about howand how frequentlyyou connected with your mentor?

L: Stephanie and I met regularly once a month for lunch dates and would email back and forth at least a few times a month to follow up on various topics we discussed. I would also shoot her a quick email or phone call when I had something more urgent - she was always willing to chat and give her thoughts and feedback. The face to face meetings also really facilitated a casual, open environment.

S: My goal was to make this a meaningful process for Lisa, while not over-formalizing it. During a few of our meetings, I implemented some exercises and activities from a leadership training program I’d participated in a few years earlier. Essentially, these tools provided both of us an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the What, Why, and How of her needs, expectations, and goals.

Q: As a protégé, how did you grow from the experience?

L: Stephanie really challenged and inspired me to think more like a manager and less like a coordinator. It is very easy to get swallowed with the daily tasks that constantly bombard your phone and email box, but she encouraged me that upward growth comes with managing a team successfully. She sent me various resources covering communication, management and leadership styles, as well as shared her personal experiences in the industry. I recall Stephanie saying to take advantage of opportunities as they come, and run with them! A year later with her guidance, paired with the growing needs at my firm, I am now currently leading a branding overhaul and website refresh for our company, as well as highly involved in three committees covering marketing, culture and events.

Q: Stephanie, what would you say was your major contribution to the relationship?

S: My main contribution was to offer Lisa a safe, confidential space to express her thoughts, feelings, and ideas. As she requested and needed, I provided her with counsel and direction on a wide range of topics and situations. My recommended guidance and approaches came from my experiences as both an employee and a manager/supervisor. We focused on strategically applying Lisa’s strengths to her role and work, as well as discussed communication styles, how to navigate challenging situations, and tactics to advancing her career.

While I served in the Mentor role, I learned so much from Lisa. She is an exceptionally talented and energetic Marketing professional with impressive writing, graphic, and coordination skills. In fact, during our mentorship, she earned a well-deserved promotion to Senior Marketing Coordinator!

Another contribution of mine, if it can be called that, was identifying an outside Marketing consultant who could help carry Lisa’s incredibly heavy workload while she was out on leave. That arrangement has been so successful that they continue to partner as needed.

Q: What was something that surprised you about the experience?

L: I don’t know how they matched up mentors and protégés, but I feel like we were a perfect match! Stephanie and I have high-energy, driven personalities and we love talking about marketing and our professional experiences. All of our meetings seemed to fly by and there was never a dull moment. Also, even though the 2019 SMPS OC Mentorship Program concluded, that connection is still there and I know I can still reach out.

Q: Any final thoughts?

L: I would highly recommend this program to other Marketers looking for a mentor. There are so many positive aspects about it – I can see only good to come of it. It is a great opportunity for someone who is new but dedicated to growing in this industry to learn and glean from someone more senior who is willing to share their professional experiences and knowledge. The networking prospect alone and involvement in SMPS is highly beneficial, as well.

S: Lisa’s tireless work ethic, passion, and drive continues to impress me. Her fresh perspectives are invigorating and inspirational. I have no doubt she will soon find herself in the role of Mentor.

My experience as part of SMPS-OC’s Mentorship Program was wonderfully positive and one I hope to have again!

Board Member Blog: My SMPS Story

By Bonnie Temple, CPSM
President-Elect, SMPS Orange County Chapter
Marketing Specialist, Tetra Tech

Hi, I’m Bonnie Temple, President-Elect for our Orange County Chapter, and I’m delighted to share my SMPS story with you. My first job out of school was for an insurance company. I quickly learned that no one calls insurance companies for good news, and since I’m generally a very positive and happy person, I realized it was not the place for me. When I was interviewing for roles outside of the insurance industry, I found and was hired by A/E/C firm out of Amherst, New York. By A/E/C I mean they had all three - Architecture, Engineering, and Construction. What an exciting place to start in this industry!

I learned so much about the built industry—market segments—such as power, commercial and government buildings, transportation, other types of infrastructure, and some very unique entertainment projects for the private sector (confidential major theme parks)! Beyond the day-to-day work, I was fascinated by the worldview this industry gave me. I learned what makes up a building, a roadway, a power plant, a drainage ditch—I learned what riprap was! I’ll never forget the first time I saw that term and thought, “This has to be a typo!” So, I asked and learned what riprap was, and over my career, I kept asking and learning.

This intrigue and curiosity are still with me today! I found my calling in those first few years, and I found SMPS in 1995. By 1998 I became a member and by 2005 obtained the coveted CPSM. Over the years I moved to several states with family and was fortunate enough to have a local SMPS chapter nearby. I don’t know what I would have done without the people, education, programs, and networking events that the chapters hosted. I also can’t say enough about the mentors I was so fortunate to have. The organization and people helped me grow professionally much faster than if I stayed behind the monitor and safety of the office walls.

My SMPS career went from attendee to committee member to Chair and then Director and now, here I am, preparing to serve as President of the Orange County chapter! I was always encouraged to go beyond my comfort zone, to believe in myself. I discovered that every time I did, something wonderful happened. Last year, I took a leap of faith to trust my abilities and apply for the path of Presidency.  Currently, in the first year of this three-year commitment, I am so excited to lead this impressive group of people.

Thanks to the many people reading this who made a huge difference in my professional life. It is because of you that my core goal for the coming term is to give back what has so graciously been given to me—to share our collective experiences and knowledge, to provide support and encouragement, to connect people to what and who they need to know to be the best they ever imagined.

To say I am grateful for SMPS is an understatement. It is much more than an organization; it’s a family to me. We go through the good and bad times together, we support one another, and sometimes we even kick each other out of the comfortable nest we’re in for the sake of growth and discovery. Although there is much uncertainty in the world today the vision of SMPS will continue through our efforts and determination! I look forward to leading us through these challenges as we look to the future. 

The SMPS vision is Business Transformed Through Marketing Leadership – learn more at www.smps-oc.org or www.smps.org.

2020 Member Appreciation Awards Nominations Are Now Open!

Honoring Excellence in Marketing Communications & Professional Achievement

SMPS Orange County’s Member Appreciation Awards recognize excellence in marketing communications and the outstanding achievements of top marketing professionals.

Member Appreciation Awards are granted to “Rising Stars” in the industry and Member of the Year. These professionals will be recognized for exceptional accomplishments in our industry.

Submissions are judged by a selection panel of SMPS leaders from the Orange County Chapter and Chapters throughout California. The awards provide an opportunity for peer recognition and to showcase the outstanding efforts made by those with a passion for our industry. Nominations may be submitted by both members and non-members with offices located in the Orange County region. However, only members are eligible to receive awards. If you need to confirm your nominee’s membership status, please contact [email protected].

2020 Member Appreciation Awards

Rising Star (<5 years of experience):

  • A feature on SMPS-OC website/social media
  • $75 credit toward SMPS-OC education event in the 2020-2021 year
  • Free luncheon in the 2020-2021 year
  • Engraved award


Member of the Year (5+ years of experience):

  • A feature on website/social media
  • $150 towards SMPS-OC education events or PRC registration in the 2020-2021 year
  • Free luncheon in the 2020-2021 year
  • Engraved award


For more information, download the following nomination details and form:

    

 

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Board Member Blog: My Path to SMPS

By Suzie Bravo
Membership Director, SMPS Orange County Chapter

My plan entering college was to become an English Literature professor at a prominent university. Prior to that, I wanted to be an archaeologist, and prior to that, a dentist. My earliest recollection of what I wanted to be “when I grow up” was an architect. In a sense, I ended up incorporating all those professions into one. The effort needed to excel as a marketing and business development professional is much like the lesson planning, preparation, and delivery of a professor. Like an archaeologist, you research historical facts and dig up relevant information to uncover meaningful truths to improve business. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get everyone on board, but in the end, we are the architects drawing out plans and presenting strategies for building business.

When I graduated college, I was still on track to become a college literature professor. My plan was to get my secondary education degree and teach high school for two years before landing a position at a university. What I did not plan on was the early realization that teaching might not be the profession for me. I still gave it two years and came away with some wonderful relationships with faculty and students, yet I was left wondering…what next?

I happened into an engineering firm through an employment agency. I was placed in accounting for which I am ever grateful because I met great friends and colleagues. Again, I realized accounting was not my forte’ and I transpose numbers. Not good for bank drops. Luckily, a position opened in marketing, and I somehow knew that was my calling.

I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of amazing marketing teams at some great firms and recently transitioned into a business development role. Although change is the norm in my career—and my life—SMPS is a comforting constant. Early in my career I saw successful, albeit very busy, professionals donating time with professional organizations. I wondered how they found that time and what was the return on investment? I joined SMPS and my questions were answered. From my perspective and experience, following are some values and benefits of joining and volunteering with SMPS OC.

Broaden your knowledge: SMPS OC offers great round-table discussions, educational programs, and Webinars on the latest industry innovations, research, and trends. Staying informed on your industry’s trends will establish you as a professional in your industry and put you one step ahead of the competition!

Take charge of your career: SMPS OC provides job listings online. These postings are a great way to stay on top of open positions as well as networking and helping clients recommend great candidates for their hiring needs. It’s also a great way to find targeted job postings for your area of interest.

Build your resume: Listing your association membership on your resume is impressive to current or future employers as it shows that you are dedicated to staying connected in your profession. There are also resume writers and editors available for collaboration within SMPS OC’s members.

Enhance your network: Making connections is critical in our industry and joining SMPS provides countless opportunities to connect with technical staff, business development experts, and marketing professionals on a local and global level. Even more importantly in my opinion, joining SMPS has given me a sense of security and trust. I have been supported and helped in reaching my professional goals, and I’ve had the opportunity to do the same for others.

Be a leader and mentor: SMPS has provided me with so many opportunities to develop my skills as a leader. It also provides an opportunity to pay it forward. Giving back can be the greatest reward and benefit. Participating in forums, chat groups or discussion boards sponsored by an association is also a great way to grow your network. This allows you to use your peers as sounding boards and often make some great friends with the same interests as you.

Give back to the community: SMPS OC coordinates socially conscious initiatives to support community efforts. We donate to local charities and support a charity each year.

Stay Inspired and Stay Motivated: SMPS OC reminds me that I love what I do. I found my calling, and SMPS helps me to hone my skill. There may be parts of your job that remind you why you didn’t want to be a dentist—pulling teeth to meet deadlines— but it’s important to be proactive about discovering the things you do love on this journey.