In our member spotlight, Uniqueka Walcott, proposal manager at Moffatt & Nichol, took time out of her busy schedule to sit down with the Society. She shares the challenges and rewards of her job—and some great advice that her aunt once gave her.
Please describe your current role. I coordinate proposals with project managers throughout the company. We have 36 offices (including a few international locations) and multiple disciplines so there is a lot to explore.
What is a typical day like for you? I don’t think a typical day here has been quite defined yet. I started here in August after relocating from the Baltimore area to Raleigh, North Carolina. The people are great and the workload varies just like similar, previous roles. However, I feel very confident I can tackle any challenges that arise. I’m also looking for opportunities to expand my contributions to the team whenever possible.
What are the rewards of the job? The challenges? The rewards come in the form of great people who are all very talented and passionate about their roles. Their enthusiastic energy is like oxygen to my fire. My greatest challenges aren’t work related at this point in my career. I know what is expected and how to deliver consistently while persistently seeking ways to raise the bar.
I’m focusing on getting out of my own way at this point. As someone who loves to strategize and ask lots of questions to get familiar with clients and the nature of our firm’s relationship, it can be hard to shift gears and just do it every now and then.
What has been your most meaningful project to date? My most meaningful project to date is at a previous firm. (I think this is only because I’m so new to my current workplace). It was acting and providing voice-over services as part of a public outreach video for Baltimore County. It was great for several reasons. 1) I got to do billable work as a marketer. 2) It was exhilarating to finally put my many years of freelancing and media internships to use at my job. I don’t know that most people would call standing in a creek in 90 degree weather in a velour hoodie and jeans exhilarating but, it was a fresh challenge, and I think I nailed it. The clients were pleased and the video is now published on YouTube.
How did you decide to have a career in the A/E/C industries? Answered prayers led me here. Prior to joining the industries, I began praying and asking God for an opportunity to use a particular set of skills that my mortgage industry role didn’t really fulfill. I prepared corporate newsletter and other additional tasks to stay as sharp as possible but, after three years I knew the road ahead wasn’t leading where my heart desired. When the opportunity to relocate for an eight-week, temporary opportunity to work as a marketing coordinator at a small firm in Maryland, I made the leap of faith and it turned into a full-time, permanent role where I was able to make some significant contributions to the firm’s top initiatives.
Why is membership in SMPS important to you and how has it helped you? There have been numerous benefits to my membership so I’ll offer a few. 1) Being an engaged member in this organization has helped me engage my executive team members more effectively. 2) SMPS has given me an instant community during my transition from Georgia to Maryland and now North Carolina. No two chapters are exactly alike but, I feel like no matter where I go I always have “my people” when it comes to SMPS. My fellow members support me in any way they can. It can be as small as helping me find the best local restaurants or as complex as planning a presentation or event.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received? I think the best advice I got wasn’t exactly career advice, but it applies to my career. It came from my Aunt Patty. She told me: trust yourself. I think this is powerful and important in a professional setting. It’s not to be mistaken as stubbornness and refusing direction or expecting perfection. We are all fallible. We will fall on our faces. I have fallen a lot more than I share, but then I also learn and that is where my power begins. I get to move beyond hurt and fear, accept my faults, and evolve as a professional.
What’s the best career advice you’ve given? None. I feel like advice is very individual. What’s best for someone might not be that great for another, so I’ll keep it to myself.
What’s on your bucket list? I am checking an item off my list in November. Visiting anywhere on the continent of Africa has been a dream for a long time. I’m going to Kenya in November, and I’m speechless.