SMPS Member Caroline Hinrichs

December 17, 2019

In our member spotlight, Caroline Hinrichs takes time out of her busy day to sit down with SMPS. Caroline, who works for HOK as director of business development of Experience Design, shares the rewards of her job and the benefits of being an SMPS member.

How long have you worked at HOK? 2 ½ years

How long have you been an SMPS member? Since 2014, when I started in the A/E/C industries. I even attended Build Business that year and every year since!

Tell us more about your role in Experience Design at HOK and what a day-in-the-life looks like for you. Experience Design at HOK is a newer discipline (at least in its current iteration). I focus on building relationships across the HOK network and connecting to our practice leaders in various regions and markets. I seek out strategic partners (many in the space of digital content design, emerging media/technology as our team strategizes the integration of brand/message and tech). I travel to our various HOK offices to team up for pursuits and pitches, as well as visit our Experience Design team members since we’re a remotely distributed team. I also engage with the “experiential” marketplace by attending and presenting at conferences, from CoreNet (corporate real estate) to InfoComm (AV/IT and experiential tech) to AIGA (graphic design and branding).

What are the rewards of the job? I’m constantly on the go and travel multiple times a month (I’ve become a very efficient traveler and I enjoy seeing new places!). I get to see the HOK network and connect with our team and partners globally.

What are the challenges? Ha, well, I’m constantly on the go and travel multiple times a month. I work very independently so I’m sometimes lonely and want a peer or colleague to grab lunch or download with. HOK is a big place so spreading our message to the far reaches is an on-going effort.

How did you decide to have a career in the A/E/C industries? I actually worked with an executive coach after selling my experiential marketing firm and we developed some non-negotiables: flexibility based on trust, a seat at the decision-making table, opportunity to be creative, work independently but still part of a team, and to positively impact the community. I did not filter based on industry, and I ended up the director of business development for a small architectural design firm.

How has your SMPS membership helped you? In my job interview for my first A/E/C marketing role, I asked if there was a professional association I could join and the firm leaders suggested SMPS! Though initially, the SMPS community was for me healthy group therapy for sharing our unique but mutual challenges, I have since been engaged in my local chapter as a volunteer, board member, and elected president in 2017. SMPS has allowed me to hone my BD skills through daylong workshops/trainings, and webinars and luncheon programs have always been my favorite place to learn, connect, and grow. Not to mention the endless resources online and in the Marketer journal. I should really go for it and get my CPSM … for as much as I respect and appreciate my SMPS experience!

What’s the best career advice you’ve received? Act as if (in response to how to overcome imposter syndrome).

What’s the best career advice you’ve given? How you do anything is how you do everything.

What’s on your bucket list? Current short-list is Bali, Croatia, and Maldives, but basically as much world travel as possible.

What was your childhood dream? To perform on Broadway.

What can you not live without? Daily fitness! From dog walks to spin class or just foam-rolling in front of Netflix, I have to get some movement and mobility in daily.