Forging Forward Is Full of Opportunity

Forging Forward Is Full of Opportunity

It’s time to sparkle! I’ve been saying this to myself and anyone who will listen since June. The big question, though, is: Have I bought into it? YES.

While we all have been through some very personal matters on most days over the past 18 months, the truth still holds: Forging forward is full of opportunity, fulfillment, and reward for ourselves and those with whom we connect.

As of late, I’ve been thinking about reengaging. Let’s face it: Reengagement is going to be hard for some of us. Even for me, the thought of committing to in-person events, filling my calendar with coffee or lunch dates, and making new friends scares me. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s all about finding the time with small children, elderly parents, and a demanding job.

Then I took a step back and thought about the Society and our members. What could I offer to SMPS, the organization that has given me so much? Well, reengagement came to mind, its spectrum of possibilities, and the various ways to go about it.

Being an active SMPS member means that your professional portfolio is working for you and your company. Look inward and find ways to benefit both. One great way is by supplementing training programs or filling in professional gaps. An active SMPS also helps communities we live in be better. As we reengage, we have an opportunity as an industry to work together and be the leaders of the change.

While thinking about reengaging, I started to pay attention to all those life lessons that were right in front of me. Here’s what I realized and hope you can use to encourage others as you begin to engage:

Do what you can: We are in this together. Get involved as much or as little as you can. Every effort—whether big or small—benefits you, the Society, and our communities.

It’s better to ask for forgiveness: Taking chances is invigorating and keeps your teams competitive. Now’s the time to try new things and not be worried if they’re right or wrong.

Family first: Share who you are and where you come from. The diversity among this Society is our greatest strength.

It’s a journey: Time really does fly. Every impression you make will be lasting to someone. Don’t forget: the journey also includes you. Try to stop running on that hamster wheel and give your mind some space to focus on you—because everyone around you will benefit.

The future is changing. And it always will. But that doesn’t mean you should stop and wait for it—or wait to see what it brings. Now’s the time to start enhancing—in some cases rebuilding—your network. While it may feel a bit overwhelming as our immediate future is still cloudy … we know that time will go on.  What’s most important is that we share our experiences to learn and grow. Because that’s what makes us resilient and able to go forward better and stronger.

And while I’m moving forward, I’m going to call a stranger and hope they become a friend and let the world know that SMPS is a great resource for A/E/C marketers and business developers. Are you with me?


Article written by SMPS President Bernice Bako, FSMPS, CPSM, MBA, who is director, global development at Turner Construction. She can be reached at

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