Impact the A/E/C industries through our collective leadership

Welcome to a new SMPS program year! I am honored to serve as your 2023-2024 Society President. As we approach this new SMPS year – our 51st – I can’t help but think of our incredible opportunity to impact the A/E/C industries through our collective leadership. SMPS and its members have established best practices in A/E/C marketing for 50 years. We have researched, written white papers, published books, documented successes, and helped our firms grow. While SMPS’s impact on the industries is evident, there is more work to do, and as our industries change, we must grow along with it.

I use the words “change” and “grow” interchangeably for a reason. Growth is required for change to happen. Staying stagnant does not allow for growth, and numerous books and articles say, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” One of my favorite quotes on this topic came from Lou Holtz, famed Notre Dame football coach, who said, “In this world, you’re either growing, or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow.” The great news is that growth can mean a lot of different things. It doesn’t need to mean size or status. It can simply be an evolution.

So, what does growth look like for our society and, more importantly, our members?

The great news is that we have a robust strategic plan to ensure our growth for the next three years and beyond. Our winning aspiration is that on January 1, 2026, SMPS will be an accessible and indispensable community for all professionals who drive growth and sustainability for A/E/C firms. Furthermore, SMPS is bold, anticipatory, and resolute in advancing a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our organization and the industry. We will work to define further what our winning aspiration means and how our members can help us achieve this winning aspiration.

We have created three strategic pillars to support the achievement of our winning aspiration. These pillars encompass the growth areas necessary to ensure SMPS is relevant in the future and a thriving, critical resource to our industries.

Through Strategic Priority A, investing in digital transformation to deliver community and education wherever people live and work, we will engage professionals of all ages through learning and networking online at all hours of the day as the digital world adjusts to the long-term impacts of the hybrid work environment. SMPS needs to meet people where they consume content and have experiences by expanding our digital infrastructure and creating new models for community in a digital world.

With Strategic Priority B, we will cultivate professionals with diverse expertise critical to sustaining a thriving industry. The roles within our firms are expanding with new challenges each day, and we must support the profession through new career pathways, competency models, expanded education offerings, and meeting our members at each step in their career journey.

Strategic Priority C is to create a best-in-class experience for professionals responsible for business growth. With ever-changing demands on our time, we want to ensure that SMPS membership is considered critical to professionals in their firms. This means strengthening our components by delivering consistent value in membership, the volunteer experience, and our offerings.

So, how do we, as individual members, grow?

As professionals, let’s consider how we can level up. We must understand what is happening in the world around us and how it impacts our respective firms and the industry. By expanding our mindset beyond day-to-day marketing responsibilities, we can provide additional value to our firms and become a trusted resource to the team.

Professionalism can also relate to how we behave. One of my biggest pet peeves is when marketers complain about their operation counterparts and don’t stop to understand the tremendous pressures that their colleagues are under. I know our roles are complicated, and I remember my early days as a marketing coordinator working until all hours on proposal deliverables. When I changed my approach and began providing solutions to my colleagues rather than sharing more challenges, I emerged as a leader they could rely upon. I challenge you to consider your professional approach and how you can grow this year.

Thanks for reading my first column as your Society President. I am thrilled for the opportunity that lies ahead for all of us. I hope this article inspires you to consider growth opportunities this year and how you want to grow in SMPS, your firm, or your personal life.

Cheers to a year of growth for all of us!



Article written by SMPS President Dana Lancour, FSMPS, CPSM, who is vice president, branding + communications of Barton Malow. She can be reached at

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