The Pinnacle Experience

OCTOBER 17-19, 2018

Due to limited capacity, The Pinnacle Experience is sold out.

A New Event for Marketing Leaders

SMPS announces a new learning and networking event for our members and colleagues specifically designed for senior marketing leaders. Seating is limited to provide for an impactful learning and networking experience.

Why Attend?

“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 is a symposium-style learning opportunity for senior marketing leaders. During this thought-provoking event, you will discuss fresh ideas, exchange unique perspectives with other marketing and business development leaders, and learn about and share inspiring successes. You will be challenged by thought-provoking speakers, addressing a variety of factors associated with setting strategic direction and leading successful firms.

Participants will engage with others as we explore resiliency, strategic planning, technology, and other forward-thinking trends affecting the A/E/C industries. As you leave, you will be armed with innovative tools and smart practices to strengthen your firm and its future while increasing business.

Program topics include:
  • The Evolution and Awakening of the Modern CMO
  • Marketing Technology
  • The Client Experience
  • Resilience: Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Business Climate
  • What Makes A Powerful CMO
  • Marketing Trends to Watch


The Pinnacle Experience returns in 2018 as 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.


Stacy Stout, FSMPS, CPSM


Scott Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM
Beth Harris, FSMPS, CPSM
Douglas Parker, FSMPS, CPSM
Gavin Parr
Carla Thompson, FSMPS, CPSM

Download Attendees List


Conference Location

Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas — Dallas, Texas

Click here to make a reservation or call 972-717-0700 (request the Reservations Department).


Room Rate

SMPS has negotiated a great rate at our deluxe host hotel. The resort fee includes premium high-speed internet, access to golf practice facility, golf bag storage, The Sports Club fitness center, three pools on property, tennis/racquet facilities and Well & Being Spa and locker room wet area.

Nightly rate: $210 + $10 resort fee (plus applicable taxes). The rate is available three days pre/post the event, based on availability.

Reserve your room before September 21, 2018. The hotel will sell out (we’re not kidding).


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Registration 3-6 p.m. – The Atrium

Welcome Reception 6-8 p.m. – The Pavilion

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Registration 7 a.m. – The Atrium

Breakfast 7:30-8:30 a.m. – The Gallery

Program 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Las Colinas East/West

9 a.m.          Why Creativity, Why Now – Whitney Mortimer

10:45 a.m.   Talent Acquisition – Rachel Kennedy

12 p.m.         LUNCH (no program)

1 p.m.           Marketing Technology – Julie Huval

3 p.m.          Brand Transformation –  Bob Fisher  & Jennifer Sebranek

4:30 p.m.    Wrap Up

6 p.m.          Dinner (Via Real, 5 minute walk)
Las Colinas Plaza
4020 N. MacArthur Blvd #100

Friday, October 19, 2018

Breakfast       7:30-8:30 a.m. – The Gallery

Program        8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.  – Las Colinas East/ West

9 a.m.             What Makes a CMO Powerful – Dr. Pravin Nath

10:45 a.m.      Influence: From Principles to Practice – JonRobert Tartaglione

12:30 p.m.      Lunch & Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line – Jackie Dryden

1:45 p.m.        Wrap up & Closing Remarks

2018 Confirmed Sessions


Why Creativity? And Why Now?

—Whitney Mortimer

Leaders today are charged with building resilient and agile organizations capable of responding to new threats and embracing new technologies so their companies can grow and thrive. But how do leaders take on this challenge effectively? As opening speaker of The Pinnacle Experience, IDEO CMO Whitney Mortimer will share the importance of creativity when it comes to your firm’s success.

IDEO has been a leader in human-centered design since its birth in the heart of the Silicon Valley 40 years ago. Best known for seminal innovations such as the first mouse for Apple, the first laptop computers, and the first smart phones, IDEO today helps companies connect powerfully to the needs and aspirations of people. A former IDEO client, Whitney Mortimer is IDEO’s CMO and a partner in the firm. In her presentation, she will explore why and how to unlock the creative potential in everyone so that they can embrace and act on new ideas that will reshape our world.

Presenter information:

Whitney Mortimer is partner and CMO at IDEO, the celebrated global design and innovation firm. Named in 2015 and 2016 as one of the Bay Area’s most influential women leaders by Business Insider, Whitney has led IDEO’s marketing efforts since 1997. In this time, she has helped shape IDEO’s position as a thought leader in design-led innovation in a dynamic global marketplace. She speaks frequently on the topic of innovation culture and methodology and creative leadership for groups in the private and public sectors.


Combating the Amazon Effect: Talent Acquisition in a Rapidly Changing World

–Rachel Kennedy

Your firm is already engaged in the fight to capture and retain talent. In this interactive discussion, Rachel Kennedy will give us an overview of today’s hiring landscape. We will discuss how to strategically position yourself on the battlefield with employer branding and prepare your firm to win—through candidate experience and the hiring process. Learn the importance of retaining key warriors and using tools, such as social media recruitment, in today’s rapidly changing world to win the war on talent.

Session learning objectives:

  • Understand the partnership of HR and marketing
  • Brainstorm examples of social media for recruitment and branding efforts
  • Conceptualize how the candidate experience mirrors the client experience

Presenter information:

Rachel Kennedy is the recruiting manager for The Container Store. She started her career in the A/E/C industries specializing in talent acquisition at The Beck Group, where she built a national summer intern and college recruiting program, mentorship program, as well as managed employee engagement and career path development. She loves her role at The Container Store and focuses on strategic social media initiatives, employment branding and talent acquisition. Rachel attended Austin College in Sherman, TX and received her master’s degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.


Brand Transformation: The Inside-Out Approach

—Bob Fisher & Jennifer Sebranek

Logos. Websites. Social media. News articles. Presentations and proposals.

The marketing leader’s daily world is full of the means and mediums through which we try to influence the market and build our firm’s brand. We obsess over finding just the right message, crafting it to fit our audience, and selecting the perfect medium of delivery. We measure the results of our choices and adjust how we are communicating with the market.

Our habit is to focus on the outside world and to think of our role as chief spokespeople for our firms. The problem is, the traditional view of marketing fails to fully leverage the most essential element of the professional services brand: the people who make up the firm.

In this session, Bob Fisher of DI Strategic Advisors and Jennifer Sebranek of GBBN will present a less conventional but more effective model. Using GBBN as a model, Bob and Jennifer will share the secrets of creating genuine brand transformation from the inside out.


What Makes a Powerful CMO?

—Dr. Pravin Nath, Price College of Business, The University of Oklahoma

Marketing represents a vital function within the firm. Yet, it’s often given short shrift in strategic decision making, perhaps even more so with business-to-business firms. Consequently, as the head of the marketing function, the CMO faces an uphill battle in the C-suite.

In this session, we’ll talk about how CMOs can be powerful within their organizations. The interactive discussion will feature findings from academic research on this important position and on related topics in the marketing discipline to arrive at recommendations for increasing the influence of the CMO and the marketing function within the firm.


Marketing Technology: Chicken and Egg Phenomena

—Julie Huval, CPSM

Maximizing and streamlining marketing can happen with technology. Measured goals must be front of mind during testing and implementation or the technology will never be part of the marketing effort. Through trial and error (and negotiation), the presenter’s company has successfully implemented 10 marketing technologies in the past year. Through a workflow process, she will share the route her company takes to determine if marketing technology is the right solution.

Since implementing the technologies, Beck Technology has increased revenue from marketing initiatives by 215 percent, increased the number of prospects inquiries directly related to marketing campaigns by 562 percent, and increased the sales opportunity pipeline from marketing activities by 1,184 percent.


Influence: From Principles to Practice

– Jon Robert Tartaglione

Influence is inextricably intertwined with success. Those who wield influence also wield power; the power to change how people think, feel, and ultimately act. In the first part of this session, psychologist and behavioral scientist Jon Robert Tartaglione will review The Five Principles of Influence, which are the five most important things to know about how people are influenced in order to optimize any influence strategy. In the second part, he will provide attendees with hands-on exposure on how to operationalize The Five Principles of Influence in real-world scenarios to effectively gain trust, change attitudes, and maximize the chances your clients make the choices you want them to make. Ultimately, participants will emerge with an advanced conceptual understanding of how influence operates as well as practical knowledge on how to apply this understanding to make an immediate impact on marketing campaigns, sales strategies, and organizational communication and behavior change.

JonRobert Tartaglione is an influence consultant, advisor, and strategist, as well as the founder and CEO of Influence 51. A psychologist and behavioral scientist, JonRobert uses his expertise in domains such as social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral economics to teach his clients how to maximize their chances of influencing how others think, feel, and ultimately make decisions. He holds a master’s (MSc) with Distinction in Social Cognition from University College London as well as a master’s (MA) in the Social Sciences (with a concentration on Political Psychology and Behavioral Economics) from The University of Chicago. He is also the co-author of Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect is Tearing Us Apart (published in 2018 by Berrett-Koehler Publishing).

The Pinnacle Experience Scholarship

The SMPS Foundation is offering one deserving senior member a registration to The Pinnacle Experience. The scholarship covers full tuition, a $745 value (travel and accommodations are the responsibility of the winner). 2019 deadline announced soon.

Learn More

2017 Recap Report

The Pinnacle Experience inaugural event in 2017 was a thought-provoking learning and networking opportunity for the participants. View the post-event report full of knowledge shared during the experience. We encourage you to share this with your colleagues.

Download Report