In our member spotlight, Sally Clark takes time out of her busy day to chat with SMPS. Sally, who works for AFG Group as director, marketing and communications, shares the rewards of her job and the benefits of being an SMPS member.
How long have you worked at AFG? I’ve worked at AFG for three years, which has felt like a blink of an eye.
How long have you been an SMPS member? Four years
What are the rewards of your job? I’m honored to work with some of the best professionals in the program and construction management industry. Being surrounded by top-notch talent in a collaborative and supportive environment, encourages and pushes me to constantly become a better version of myself. The best part about my role at AFG is that I then get to return the favor.
What are your challenges? It’s impossible and unwise to say yes to everyone and every project that sparks your interest. Saying no, not now, or simply delegating tasks that I would otherwise enjoy can be challenging but often works out for the best in the long run.
What has been your most meaningful project? Serving as president for the Society of American Military Engineers Mid-Maryland Post (2019-2020) has been by far my most meaningful project. The post is young and vibrant, and the board of directors are passionate and purpose-driven. I have loved leading A/E/C professionals who revel in supporting STEM education for K-College, fundraising for scholarships, supporting our nation’s veterans and Wounded Warriors, and developing programming and industry-government workshops that address current regional and national infrastructure issues. The challenges in leadership are daily but the rewards for our community and nation are plenty.
How has SMPS membership helped you? A network of marketing professionals facing similar obstacles, similar rewards, and with similar firms binds us together in a unique way that allows for us, and only us, to collectively move this field forward. With my SMPS membership and now with my CPSM designation, I have an incredible community of marketers which with I lean on, learn from, and share knowledge. I’ve always enjoyed bumping into my SMPS friends and exchanging notes on the best speakers or hot tips for re-branding or finding potential staff to join the team. There’s an element of friendly competition, as well as an acknowledgement that a rising tide lifts all ships, and that’s awesome to see in action.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received? This advice isn’t for everyone, but when I was an event planner my supervisor recognized that I had a special talent for taking charge of a room, and he told me, “Get out from behind the curtain, and make your way onto the stage. Get on the stage, Sally.” It’s easy to hide, to not live up to your potential because of fear, but owning what makes you stand out and developing those skills is key to professional success.
What’s the best career advice you’ve given? I tell nearly all my mentees and employees this: Communicate what it is that you need to make you happy. And while we’re working together, how can I help prepare you for the next step in your career?
What has contributed to your success? 1) Hard work 2) A supportive community 3) Giving back. Yes, there’s a dash of right-time, right-place, but more importantly I’ve tried to be as ready as possible when the moment presents itself, or I make the moment present itself.
What’s on your bucket list? In no particular order: Travel internationally with my husband and two boys (ages 3 & 5). Do a stand-up comedy set. Save the world.
What was your childhood dream? To be a television news anchor.
Guilty pleasure: what can you not live without? Music, my violin, and good stand-up comedy.