Event Recap: Women in A/E/C Leadership

On November 12, SMPS-OC put on our Women in AEC Leadership Roundtable Event at Twenty Eight Restaurant in Irvine, CA. Over 60 individuals across the AEC Industry in OC and other areas took part in this sold-out event to listen and engage with these industry-changing women. 

Anne Bretaña (Gensler), Christine Arbogast (Tetra Tech), Donna Bloom-Crook (HDR), Jamie Lai (City of Yorba Linda), Julie Lyons (OCPW), and Melissa Dugan (City of Irvine) were the featured speakers, inspiring attendees through the experiences they shared on rising through their respective ranks, the challenges they endured, and ultimately how they navigated those challenges to where they are today in their careers. 

Attendees were able to ask an assortment of personal questions due to the intimacy of the roundtable format, not typical of a panel format. A big takeaway from the event was how successful the roundtable format was from an engagement standpoint and a nice break from panel formatted events.

Gratitude for Our Community and Industry

The A/E/C industry is dedicated to building a better world. As marketing and business development professionals involved in SMPS Orange County, we bring that philosophy to life through philanthropic endeavors. For several years, we have supported Families Forward in its mission to help families in Orange County achieve self-sufficiency. To observe Thanksgiving 2019, we collected over 300 pounds of food and provided many gift certificates for turkeys.

We are grateful to all the SMPS members who supported this important drive that was led by Past President, Keelin Cox. Exemplifying the spirit of community were Board members Bonnie Temple and Sarah Roberts. They ignited support at their firm which resulted in Tetra Tech employees generously donating so much food, they literally filled their breakroom.

Gratitude radiates across the SMPS Orange County Board. Our leaders share their personal and professional gratitude as we bid farewell to 2019 and welcome a new decade.

I am grateful for the health of my family and friends who support and encourage me. This year, I am particularly grateful for the awesomeness of the 2019-2020 SMPS Orange County Board. The team's focus on serving our members is impressive. It is a privilege to be affiliated with warm, caring colleagues I consider friends. They inspire me professionally and personally. They make the A/E/C industry a better industry.
Kelly Teenor


I am grateful for adventures abroad. Experiencing different countries and cultures inspires, shifts perspective, and refreshes appreciation. I am thankful to be part of a company that makes a difference in our community and supports the infrastructure that affords such convenience in our daily lives. I look forward to joyful journeys in the decade to come!
Denise Scott, CPSM


As this decade quickly comes to a close, I am thankful for constant change. Changes over this past decade have brought me to the A/E/C industry, to SMPS, and to the Orange County Chapter. And while change has also brought hardships over the decade too, I am thankful for the lessons learned in those times and the comforting thought that change will come again bringing new adventures and opportunities.
Sarah Roberts


I’m thankful that my job is not just ‘work’ and there are organizations like SMPS to bring like-minded people together to improve the industry in which we live. My support system includes family, friends, and professional acquaintances; as well as professional acquaintances who have become friends and family. I’m excited for what the future holds and can’t wait to create memories—and continue building relationships— with SMPS OC.
Suzie Bravo

Membership Director

Closing out the 2019 year, I'm particularly grateful for joining SMPS-OC and being pushed out of my comfort zone to take on a board role supporting the Programs for 2019-2020. I've enjoyed meeting like-minded and professionally driven individuals who've pushed me to constantly become a better version of myself. I look forward to spending the years ahead and watching everyone grow as well as continually elevating SMPS-OC as a leader in the A/E/C community.
Nick Groeniger

Programs Director

I am thankful for my tight-knit family, wonderful boyfriend, and all the support I have received this year with my career not only at Stantec but through being a board member of SMPS.
Courtney Johnson
Communications | Social Media

I'm grateful for people who are professional, helpful, inclusive and patient – looks like I’m in the right place!
Tracey Hope
Membership Committee

This is a special time in my life with the addition of new family members in numbers and closeness. I am particularly grateful that my family, friends, and associates are healthy and enjoying life.
Jan Powell, CPSM
Strategic Plan Chair

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve, you, the SMPS Orange County member. Our goal is to provide you access to information and ideas that support your professional journey. Please submit to Contact Us ideas for programs and topics you’re interested in learning about. We wish you success in 2020 and beyond!