SMPS Member Maisha Hagan
February 16, 2021
In our member spotlight, Maisha Hagan takes time out of her busy day to chat with SMPS. Maisha is owner and head coach of Beauty & the Boss, a career-coaching service for women in male-dominated industries. She has been an SMPS member for 12 years and sits on the SMPS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. In this spotlight, Maisha shares the rewards of her career and the benefits of being an SMPS member.
How did you decide to have a career in the A/E/C industries? I joined Barton Malow’s Phoenix office as a marketing coordinator in 2008. Four years later, I joined a local general contractor. During my time at Jokake Construction, I climbed the ladder to marketing director and executive leadership team member. That’s when I also started coaching and speaking around the country.
When I resigned from Jokake after seven years, I made the big leap into entrepreneurship as a career coach. That’s when Beauty & the Boss was born. And she is my heart! I started Beauty & the Boss because I believe career-minded women need support navigating male-dominated industries and landscapes. When they get that specific, strategic support, they learn to prioritize their careers in a way that brings exceptional value to their firms. I also believe career coaching should be available to all growth-minded employees and not an exclusive benefit of the C-suite.
How would you describe your role/job? As a career coach, my job is to help people get “unstuck” from frustration, crappy self-talk, blame, and stop-and-go progress. Sometimes I’m a sounding board. Sometimes I’m a strategist. Sometimes I’m a résumé editor and interview coach. Most times I’m an advocate and encourager.
What’s your favorite part of the job? My favorite part is the aha moment—the moment when someone grasps a concept or leans into courage and confidence.
What have been the challenges and rewards of your career? I’ve been fired. I’ve been bullied. I’ve been sexually harassed. I’ve been called “the marketing girl.” I’ve lost when I knew I should have won. But I’ve also won. People listen when I speak because they know I have something honest to say. I’ve led when others waited. I’ve surprised people who thought I didn’t have it in me. I’ve helped encourage people who didn’t think they had it in them.
What has been your most meaningful project? My most meaningful project in 2020 was hosting my own two-day workshop. It was a lesson in persistence. As the host, I had to create and run everything—marketing, registration, technology, presentations, workbooks, etc. I got very discouraged and almost canceled because people were slow to register. However, in the end, I worked with a great group of people from across the country and was able to pull everything off successfully.
Why is membership in SMPS important to you? Although I’m a career coach, it’s very important that I stay abreast of what’s happening in the A/E/C industries, in marketing, and in business development.
How has membership in SMPS helped you to advance your firm and your career? SMPS gives me access to industry news, research, and educational opportunities where I can share my expertise and learn from others.
What has contributed to your success? I’m extremely committed to figuring it out—whatever “it” may be.
What advice would you give to someone about to enter marketing or business development? People are going to judge you based on your ability to do your job well, so focus on mastering that first. Second, find an internal mentor that can help you navigate the landscape and fill in the blanks for you. Who are your key clients, target clients, or competitors? What technical staff can you call on as you ramp up? Finally, marketing and business development roles provide leadership, so identify your leadership style and cultivate your leadership skills.
What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding your career or working in A/E/C? There was a moment in my career when I wanted to leave the industry and pursue agency work, even though I had a job offer on the table. A mentor advised me to be patient: “You’re right at the place where you can really start to climb the ladder. Don’t throw that away. Take the job.” It turned out to be the best advice.
What’s the best career advice you’ve given? Apply anyway.