SMPS Member Thy Daniels

June 15, 2021

In our member spotlight, Thy Daniels takes time out of her busy day to chat with SMPS. Thy is senior proposal coordinator for Bora Architecture & Interiors and has been a member of SMPS for seven years. She sits on the SMPS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force and is the SMPS Oregon director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. In this spotlight, Thy 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’ve always joked that no one ever says, “I want to be an A/E/C marketer,” but somehow you just fall into it. I’ve always been interested in architecture and design, but after an internship, I decided that wasn’t the exact career path for me. Being a marketer in the built industry allows me to be integrated in the design process, while being able to utilize my passion for marketing and communications.

How would you describe your role/job? My role is to bring together pursuit and project teams to develop a winning strategy for getting new work. I’d also describe my role as a project manager of all things, including pursuits, interviews, processes, events, and so much more.

What’s your favorite part of the job? My favorite part of my job is the collaboration with colleagues and others in the built industry. Lately, we’ve been having a lot of discussions on how to bring authentic equity and inclusion into the design process that moves beyond just checking a box.

What have been the challenges and rewards of your career? The biggest challenge in my career has been the lack of diversity in our industry. There aren’t a lot of people who look like me or have shared experiences. The most rewarding part is seeing a lot more candid conversations about this issue and how we as an industry can come together to drive change.

What has been your most meaningful project? The most meaningful project I’ve worked on was with my ElevateHerTM Cohort team members. We spent most of 2020 not only navigating the pandemic and social justice movements, but also focusing on how to help our industries become better through an accountability-focused index.

Inspired by LEED, DRIVE is a points-based index to measure diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at both quantitative and qualitative levels. Through indicators and metrics at the project, stakeholder, and community levels, DRIVE will lead to higher-quality projects that better serve the community. With an end goal of becoming an owner-required metric on projects, DRIVE can be used to raise public awareness of DEI issues, and ultimately increase diversity at the design team level. More important, DRIVE will ensure inclusivity for project end-users at every level of the community

Why is membership in SMPS important to you? When I first started in the A/E/C industries, SMPS really helped me grow my network and connect with so many seasoned professionals who’ve helped shape my career. These connections have grown into a little community and also some of my closest friends.

How has membership in SMPS helped you to advance your firm and your career? SMPS has provided a lot of wonderful educational opportunities I wouldn’t have gained otherwise and pushed me to continue to learn and grow in my career.

What’s contributed to your success? The connections and knowledge of my amazing network!

What advice would you give to someone about to enter marketing or business development? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to network and meet people. It may seem scary and daunting at first, but A/E/C is all about connections and conversations.

What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding your career or working in A/E/C? Always fight for a seat at the table by bringing solutions. And once you’ve won a seat at the table, help bring someone to the next open seat.

What’s the best career advice you’ve given? Find a place to work that aligns with your beliefs, values, and passions—everything else will work itself out.

What’s on your bucket list? Presenting at Pacific Regional Conference (PRC) or Build Business about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.