National Volunteer Week 2020

National Volunteer Week 2020
Celebrate National Volunteer Week with SMPS from April 19–25, 2020.
Our volunteers are the heart of the Society. So this week, we celebrate you and thank you for your service.

If you weren’t able to share your story with us in our survey, let us know how you have benefited from volunteering with SMPS on social media using #SMPSvolunteers.

Society President Melissa Lutz, FSMPS, CPSM, has a special message to thank SMPS volunteers for all the work they’re doing. She also provides some great tips on the benefits of volunteering. View the video:

We’re also showcasing the great work you do by sharing your SMPS volunteer stories. Here’s what some of our volunteers had to say regarding what they’ve gained from volunteering with SMPS:

“I have always been a big supporter of professional associations so when I came into the A/E/C world, the first thing I did was look for one that would give me a leg up in an industry that was brand new to me. I found in SMPS exactly what I needed. The programming and support provided to me through SMPS and SMPS Kentucky has been invaluable in both my personal and professional development. The bonds that have been created through networking and working with other volunteers has been equally rewarding.”—Lance Allison, SMPS Kentucky


“Volunteering with the special events committee has allowed me to cultivate relationships with other marketing professionals who have taught me so much about everything that goes into putting on a great event.”—Chris Anderson, SMPS Austin


“Volunteering is about serving others, not ourselves. It is an opportunity to give, to share and to listen. I am grateful to be able to volunteer with like-minded givers through SMPS. The volunteer teams are fun, purposeful and engaging with one another as well as with those we are serving.”—Doreen Bennett, SMPS Boston


“Joining a committee and becoming involved in the Boston chapter has been invaluable to me. I deeply value being part of this wonderful community and am thankful for the support, friends, and knowledge I have gained from being a volunteer.”—Britt-Anya Bursell, SMPS Boston


“Five years ago, I started my job with no education or experience in business development or marketing. Nearly everything I’ve learned has been through SMPS and while achieving my CPSM certification. But far more important than any of that knowledge, are all the amazing people I’ve met in KC and across the country through SMPS. Not just because they’ve become important network connections but because they are my role models, my mentors, my teammates, and some of my best friends. There is no greater return on investment than that which you receive being involved with SMPS.”—Tiffany Cartwright, SMPS Kansas City


“Through SMPS, I am able to stay on top of my game thanks to the outstanding educational programming, resources, and network of colleagues.”—Terry Casey, SMPS San Diego


“On a personal level, it’s the relationships and friendships I have forged! Volunteering for SMPS has given me an opportunity to meet, work with and learn from many remarkable people I would have not a chance to meet or work with otherwise. On a professional level, leading chapter programs, leading my chapter, and leading regional and national committees, has allowed me to strengthen my interpersonal and leadership skills. Leading a team of volunteers is different from leading a team of employees and, I believe, it requires to be even more attuned to individual needs and personal styles. It made me a better leader!” —Ida Cheinman, SMPS Maryland


“The most enduring lesson SMPS taught me is that it truly takes a team to accomplish great things. It takes a team with diverse thoughts, experiences, perceptions, and insights who trust each other and know they can share freely and be heard. I’ve learned we might not always agree, yet out of candid exchanges come growth, new ideas, understanding, and clarity; lessons in leadership, compassion, silent strength, and bold vision. I learned these lessons from mentors, collaborators, and partners who made the journey fund and rewarding and made me a better person, a better marketer, a better leader.”—Donna Corlew, SMPS Nashville


What haven’t I gained may be easier to answer! However, I will share some of my personal benefits. Not only are our members amazing, many of them have become part of my tribe. I know I can go to any member and they will help me, whether it is figuring out complexities we face, celebrating a victory, or learning something new. Volunteering has expanded my knowledge, which has been instrumental in growing my career. Without volunteering for SMPS, I am not sure where I would be at this point in my life. Do yourself a favor – volunteer. You won’t regret it!”—Heather Cox, SMPS Indiana


“I have always loved participating in SMPS to support professional development. I spent much of my early AEC career attending SMPS events and networking with others to find my career path. A decade plus later, I have the pleasure of sharing ideas to host events and professional development programs for my Chapter and am able to give back as President so that future generations can enjoy and participate in the same process…in hopes they too pay it forward!”
—Kat DeMercurio, SMPS New York


“I am a big fan of peer to peer learning and my work volunteering through SMPS helps me connect to experts in my chapter and share ideas.”—Janki DePalma, SMPS Boston


“I learned so much about the industry and the role of marketing in the AEC industry because of my involvement with SMPS. Most importantly, the networking and professional friendships I’ve made is amazing and I’m so grateful for all of those connections.”—Krystle English, SMPS Michigan

“I have gained leadership and decision-making skills that far exceed my professional level and opportunities. I have learned about myself, how to work with people, and how to lead through my volunteer experiences with SMPS.”—Michelle Erste, SMPS Atlanta


 “My volunteer experience with SMPS has brought me so much, not just on a professional level, but also personal level. I’ve become much more confident in myself and my ability to network, which was such a challenge for me in the beginning with my shyness. I’ve developed so many professional relationships with my peers that it makes my job much easier when reaching out to team members for information. I have overall loved my experience with SMPS and if given the chance to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat!”—Nikki Fortugno, SMPS South Florida


“Without a doubt, SMPS has been the organization that has enhanced my career the most. My volunteer story began with joining the Communications Committee and then becoming Chair. I then served the three-term seat for Presidency and now serve as Secretary. All of these positions have afforded me the opportunity to improve my leadership and management skills, while also pushing me outside of my comfort zone. Naturally an introvert and “people-pleaser’, serving as President was the most challenging, yet rewarding position I’ve held during my professional career. I felt I had accomplished something I never would have imagined.”—Kim Fowler, SMPS Research Triangle

“I have gained valuable friendships and the rewarding feeling of giving back to my community and helping others in the industry. It also gives my firm a lot of exposure and provides leads that benefit my firm and show the value of what I do.”—Jessica Gillette, SMPS Washington DC


“I’m an active duty military spouse so I have moved around the country a few times. SMPS has been a tremendous asset to my career over the past 15 years. Not only does it feel good to contribute and grow professionally by serving on Chapter committees and Board, the value of the SMPS network cannot be overstated. Right after my husband and I got married, he got orders to San Antonio, TX. I was serving as the Las Vegas Chapter Treasurer so I felt comfortable reaching out to the San Antonio Chapter President, at the time Sally Smith, to ask if she had any job leads and in fact she did−her company was hiring but hadn’t advertised yet. I ended up interviewing and getting a job offer with her firm before I left Las Vegas! Honestly, that’s just one of many examples of what I have gained from volunteering.”—Donata Gilliland, SMPS Sacramento


“Amazing networking contacts and new knowledge of our industry that I either wasn’t familiar with before or didn’t even know existed. Professionally, the SMPS Oklahoma Chapter has been focusing on learning opportunities and training seminars recently, and being the Communications Chair means I know of all the upcoming events. These events, I feel, have really helped me shape a path forward in my career.”—Bonnie Hardwick, SMPS Oklahoma


“Volunteering with my chapter has had a profound impact on my career. It’s helped me exponentially grow my network, hone my leadership skills, and even led me to become a CPSM! Before volunteering, I felt like an outsider. After attending my very first committee meeting, I suddenly knew I was part of something much larger than myself. It opened doors for me that I didn’t even know existed. I’ve made many great friends through my SMPS volunteer service, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve my chapter.”—Erin Hatch, SMPS Seattle


“I’m a past president of the SMPS Wisconsin and current co-chair of the Heartland Regional Conference, as well as served in several board roles in WI over the years. So, by taking on volunteer roles, especially early in my career, I’ve built leadership skills that I apply in my role as a manager with HNTB. Volunteering provides me with different perspectives on how to grow and thrive in the A/E/C industry. Through volunteering, I’ve gained an expanded network and friends who I can rely on for ideas, best practices and support.”—Justin Juley, SMPS Wisconsin


I learned valuable leadership and management skills from being involved at the chapter level. These skills have enabled me to grow to become a leader in my own firm, and I currently am the only non-technical professional Principal, also serving on our corporate board of directors. Being a marketing/bd professional contributing to the high level discussions adds a different perspective to our business.”—Melissa Lutz, SMPS Cincinnati


“Resources, connections and insight into the A/E/C industry.”—Kelli Manegre, SMPS St. Louis


“In my time as a volunteer with SMPS, I have been able to connect with peers and use their experiences to be better in my day to day, I have gained access to clients through program planning and made lifelong friends.”—Sadie Maney, SMPS Philadelphia


Confidence. In myself and my abilities. I usually consider myself fairly confident and capable, but the support of my chapter has given me a higher level of belief in myself and what I can contribute to Society and the industry. I have gone from processing proposals and designing them to teaching others how to do so, and my career elevation is founded on the belief that my SMPS colleagues have in me.”—Roxanne Marquez, SMPS Sacramento


“Volunteering with SMPS has given me the confidence and leadership skills that I wouldn’t have received from work. Also, the networking opportunities and relationships built are irreplaceable and something I can carry with me for a long time to come.”—Lillian Martin, SMPS San Francisco


There are so many things I have gained from volunteering with SMPS, but perhaps one of the most important things is building a tribe of peers that I can reach out to anytime I need guidance or input on a task at hand.”—Lisa McClintock, SMPS Sacramento


SMPS = Community + Growth + Education. Volunteering with SMPS over the last 13 years at the chapter, regional, and society levels has given me an incredible community of colleagues and friends across North America. This community has provided support, advice, guidance, and encouragement while pushing me outside my natural skill sets and comfort zone to continue to grow. I have had the opportunity to mentor others while also being mentored. I’ve shared my talents while developing new skills and sharpening existing ones. With SMPS, volunteering has been one of the best opportunities for my professional and personal growth.”—Jen Newman, SMPS Utah


I have gained an invaluable network of people I know I can reach out to for a variety of reasons. SMPS has given me the opportunity to further hone my leadership skills.”—Jennifer Nix-McGerald, SMPS Tampa Bay


I have gained confidence in my professional marketing abilities and have developed many lasting friendships. I am no longer nervous speaking in public settings or networking with strangers.”—Nichole Petersen, SMPS Connecticut


SMPS has taken me places I never would have imagined. Through the relationships gained and skills developed I became a public speaker and traveled as far as Alaska and became a leader and served as chapter president. However, those accomplishments pale in comparison to the network of friends and colleagues I’ve gained. It’s the people you meet that make your SMPS volunteer work truly invaluable.”—Valerie Puchades, SMPS Boston


I have gained more knowledge and understanding about the A/E/C industry and I also have made some really good friends.”—Rachel Rauscher, SMPS Northeastern Ohio


Volunteering allows you to expand skills that you otherwise might not get a chance to, like event planning, social media, etc. Volunteering also greatly expands your network in the A/E/C industries and puts you in front of people that can help you every day.”—Chuck Raymond, SMPS Boston


I owe my career to SMPS. I’ve been mentored and coached, encouraged and trained, challenged and corrected by SMPS volunteers. As a volunteer myself, I’ve passed on these same benefits to others and gained confidence, developed leadership skills, and expanded my priceless network of friends and peers. The passion and camaraderie of SMPS members is unequalled.”—Barbara Shuck, SMPS Nebraska


Through my SMPS board experience, I have gained valuable public speaking and leadership skills. I have become more comfortable in networking at events, and I know that I’ve found my tribe throughout the organization.”
—Shannon Stewart, SMPS Inland Empire


I have gained friendships and connections in the industry that I know I can turn to, and have turned to, for advice in my career. I have only been in the industry a few years, but the year I have been a part of SMPS has been the best year yet, and the year of my most growth!”—Hannah Sullivan, SMPS Connecticut


I care deeply about SMPS and count chapter president, programs director, committee member, mentor, researcher, certified marketer, speaker, and published writer among my various SMPS “titles” over the years. That I have benefited immensely from all this activity is an understatement. I have accumulated the necessary wealth of visibility, knowledge, and experience to elevate the marketing profession, advance my career, and help build the brand and foster more meaningful client relationships for my employers.”—Jeffrey Taub, SMPS New York


As an SMPS volunteer, I joined a community of like-minded professionals that help each other, share ideas and experiences, and offer opportunities for the firms I work for. I’ve been involved on a local, regional, and national level and have always felt the benefits of SMPS active membership is a large part of my professional and personal growth and well-being.”—Courtney Van Ostran, SMPS Columbus


“One thing we are all realizing right now is how important community is to our well-being. I volunteer with SMPS because from the minute I walked into my first program, I saw my people. The creative, smart, insightful folks I get to surround myself with at the local level and at the regional and national conferences all make me better at my job every day. If you are the sum of who you hang out with, I’m incredibly proud to be hanging out with SMPSers!”—Samantha VanSchoick, SMPS Connecticut


“I have grown as a leader because of the opportunities I was given to serve on the SMPS board in multiple roles over the past 15 years. I have made deep and lasting friendships through SMPS that I wouldn’t trade for the world.”—Lindsay Young, SMPS Wichita

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