October 17-19, 2018


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.


The Pinnacle Experience. Reach the peak. Seating is Limited.

The Pinnacle Experience

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • Register

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.

Join your colleagues for The Pinnacle Experience.

Stacy Stout, FSMPS, CPSM

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

Download the attendee list.


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

Just announced—session previews:

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.

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

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.


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).


Program Logistics
October 17
Registration 3-6pm
Welcome reception 6-8pm

October 18
Breakfast 7:30-8:30am
Program 8:30am- 4:30pm (lunch provided)
Thursday evening networking event 6pm

October 19
Breakfast 7:30am-8:30am
Program 8:30am- 2:00pm

Our speakers and program details will be announced soon.


“The opportunities for business development and marketing professionals to be leaders in our companies and in the industry are more than ever before. The Pinnacle Experience challenged me to stretch my mind in new ways to understand how to capitalize on some of those opportunities.”

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

“There are so many challenges and opportunities we face as we look to the future of our industry. I truly enjoyed being able to engage with my peers in a think tank setting and discuss how we adapt to meet them and build resilient firms. I’ve always advocated for the important role marketing plays in the success of a firm.

The Pinnacle Experience not only reinforced this, but gave me the tools and data to expand my thinking with tangible takeaways.”

-Sarah Hoff
Owner / Principal Consultant, Hoffhaus Creative

Registration is now open:

Registration Rates*
Early-bird: $745 (ends September 21st)
Regular: $835
Fellows: $650

Click here to register >>

*Your registration fee includes learning materials, receptions, hot breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks on Thursday and Friday, and the Thursday-evening meal.

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].


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

-David Werking, FSMPS, CPSM

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

-Sarah Hoff

New for 2018: 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). The scholarship is funded by the foundation’s Memorial Leadership Endowment. Deadline to submit is July 1, 2018.

More about the scholarship

Submit an application

A Recap of The Pinnacle Experience 2017

The inaugural event in 2017 was a thought-provoking learning and networking opportunity for the participants. You can download the post-event report to utilize the knowledge shared and appreciate the experience. We encourage you to share this with your colleagues.

Participating Sponsors