The Pinnacle Experience

Save the Date

November 16-18, 2022

Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas

An Event for Senior A/E/C Marketing Leaders

Get ready to network and share perspectives with thought leaders in the industries.

The Pinnacle Experience is the event for professionals with significant experience (10-15+ years), who serve as the “first chair” for leading their firm’s marketing and business development efforts. This may include CEOs, CMOs, directors, principals, vice presidents, and SMPS Fellows.

Attendance is limited to approximately 100 qualified professionals in order to guarantee an impactful learning and networking experience.

This year’s experience was led by executives and other experts who are driving transformative marketing and business development strategies within their firms.

The Pinnacle Experience Advisory Committee


Stacy Stout, FSMPS, CPSM


R. Tim Barrick, FSMPS
Ida Cheinman
Dawn Savage, FSMPS, CPSM
Heather Ward
David Werking, FSMPS, CPSM



Session Title:

So you think you’re ready to, or, have a CX Program? Let’s Chat

Speaker Bio:

Blake Godwin, Partner, President at Client Savvy, has helped firms of all sizes realize revenue potential through solving critical business problems for over 16 years. Through Client and Employee Experience Strategy, Blake empowers and enables his clients to capitalize on opportunities while accomplishing both short and long term Strategic Priorities. Blake Lives in the Apex, NC and holds a B.S. in Business Marketing as well as a B.S. in Business Management from the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he also played Golf. He has a 3 year old named Palmer, and a wonderful Golden Doodle named Yogi. He welcomes any questions at

Session Description:

Catch the CX/EX wave across AEC. Client Experience is the fastest moving wave in the industry right now and you do not want to be the last one to catch this wave ashore! It’s statistically proven to be a differentiator and the firms who are operationalizing this are seeing top quartile outcomes while setting new expectations for the industry! That’s right, they are making it harder for your firm to win work and keep it! Marketing and Business Development leaders are seeing new opportunities arise around differentiating through Client Experience and are learning how to write less proposals and focus more on macro level marketing strategies which, is why they got into marketing in the first place! Learn how to do the same in this 90- minute session on Monday, October 4, 2021.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the risk of not creating a cohesive CX plan for your org.
  2. Be able to articulate the costs of not implementing a plan.
  3. How to ensure your voice continues to be heard after launching a CX program.
  4. Learn what other firms are doing
  5. Learn the outcomes of other firms who have started their CX journey
  6. How to build a business plan for every problem challenge in the firm and quantify it!


Attendee Experiences

“The Pinnacle Experience challenged me to stretch my mind in new ways.”

-David Werking, FSMPS, CPSM
Business Development Manager, ERMCO, Inc.

“The Pinnacle Experience gave me the tools and data to expand my thinking with tangible takeaways.”

-Sarah Hoff
Owner / Principal Consultant, Hoffhaus Creative

The Pinnacle Experience 2021 Headliners:

Carla Johnson

Session Title:

RE:Think Innovation

Speaker Bio:

As a marketing and innovation strategist, Carla Johnson has partnered with brands and conferences globally to train thousands of people how to rethink the work that they do and the impact they can have. She’s inspired and equipped leaders at all levels to embrace change, welcome new ideas, and transform their business. Her book, RE:Think Innovation, explains why, to be a successful company in today’s hyper-competitive, customer-driven world, finding opportunities through innovative thinking must be everyone’s business.

Session Description:

How the world’s most prolific innovators come up with great ideas that deliver extraordinary outcomes.

We’ve all seen the examples of Apple’s product launches, IBM’s Watson and the ALS ice bucket challenge. They’re held up time and time again as beacons of killer creativity. Enough already. It’s easy if you have sexy products, big budgets and household brand names. But in the “real” world there are all kinds of restraints. Those innovative examples don’t have anything to do with us.

Or do they?

It turns out, we all suffer from something called Brand Detachment Disorder (B.D.D.). We can’t connect the dots between big-name brands and the work that we do. And this blindness kills creative ideas before we even get started. But guess what — the most brilliant minds understand that an innovation mindset is something you consistently nurture, rather than leave to chance.

Welcome to RE:Think Innovation®.

In this captivating workshop, best-selling author, and marketing and innovation strategist Carla Johnson shows you how combating B.D.D., recognizing inspiration everywhere and iterating ideas breeds unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation for you and your firm. You’ll learn how to rethink everything you believe about innovation and its role in the A/E/C industry. She’ll teach you how inspiration from anywhere can lead to measurable business outcomes. You’ll walk away feeling confident to introduce new ideas, make good ideas better, and instill a culture of innovation by everyone.

You’ll learn:

  • Why we’ve lost our natural ability to think innovatively and to get it back
  • Ways to draw inspiration from the iconic brands, but make the ideas unequivocally your own
  • The simple, repeatable, and scalable 5-step process that teaches you how to come up with great ideas on demand
  • How to teach everything you’ll learn to your team, so innovation becomes a natural mindset

Nikkolas Smith


Session Title:

The Power of Art to Change the World

Speaker Bio:

Nikkolas Smith, a native of Houston, Texas, is an Artivist, children’s book author, and Hollywood film illustrator. He is the author/illustrator of The Golden Girls of Rio, nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and My Hair Is Poofy And That’s Okay. As an illustrator of color, Nikkolas is focused on creating captivating art that can spark important conversations in today’s world and inspire meaningful change. Many of his viral and globally published sketches are included in his book Sunday Sketch: The Art of Nikkolas. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Session Description:

Through his powerful Artivism and his experience as a Black Artist, Nikkolas Smith takes the audience into a visual journey to show how Art can spark important conversations around our society’s greatest problems and inspire to make positive changes.

Jeff Hurt

Session Title: 
Visionary Leadership

Speaker Bio:

Jeff Hurt, Chief Epiphany Officer
Empowered Epiphanies

Noted digital, engagement, learning, strategic and governance thought leader and consultant for associations, education and meetings, Jeff Hurt is an expert in applying human behavior and neuroscience to customer experiences. After nine years as executive vice president of education and engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting and more than 20+ years facilitating high-performing, strategic, future-focused experiences and events, from small to large, Hurt is now “Empowering Epiphanies” across the globe.

Dan Gingiss

Session Title:

How A Remarkable Customer Experience Can Be Your Best Sales and Marketing Strategy

Speaker Bio:

Dan is an international keynote speaker and coach who believes that remarkable customer experience is your best sales and marketing strategy. His 20-year professional career included leadership positions at McDonald’s, Discover, and Humana. He is an author of two books, The Experience Maker and Winning at Social Customer Care, and is the host of two shows, the Experience This! podcast and The Experience Maker LinkedIn live show.

Session Description:

Let’s face it: Competition is tougher than ever these days. Competing on price is a loser’s game—just ask the two gas stations across the street from each other. And competing on products is getting harder and harder as almost everything is copyable—just ask your favorite ride-share company.

So what’s left? How can we stand out in a crowded marketplace that is constantly evolving?

In this fun and engaging keynote, customer experience coach and former Fortune 500 executive Dan Gingiss will teach the audience how customer experience can be your company’s ultimate differentiator, creating a competitive advantage that cannot be copied.

The Pinnacle Experience 2021 Schedule At-A-Glance:

Time (CST)Session
Monday, October 4
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Registration Opens to Attendees
3:00 PM- 4:30 PMCX/EX Precon Workshop
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM Welcome Program & Reception
Tuesday, October 5
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Breakfast & Networking
8:30 AM – 4:00 PM Full-Day Experience: Includes breakfast, lunch, and all programming
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Reception
Wednesday, October 6
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Breakfast & Networking
8:30 AM – 1:45 PM Full-Day Experience: Includes breakfast, lunch, and all programming
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Final Remarks: Wrap-Up & Dismissal

Registration TypeSMPS MemberSMPS FellowSMPS Nonmember
Early-Bird Registration Rate (May 3-August 31)$949$849$1,149
Regular Registration Rate (September 1-October 4)$1,049$949$1,249

Check out the list of The Pinnacle Experience 2021 attendees

Network with fellow senior-level marketers, business developers, and firm leaders representing firms from across the country.
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Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be submitted in writing and sent to SMPS, The Pinnacle Experience Attn: Antonio Payne, 625 North Washington Street, Suite 302, Alexandria, VA 22314, or The registration fee will be fully refunded if the written cancellation is received two weeks prior to the event. No refunds will be refunded with less than two weeks’ notice. A substitute may attend for no extra charge provided SMPS is notified of the substitution or transfer prior to the start of the event. Please see our complete registration and cancellation policy.