What’s Your Story?

May 3, 2019

At the most recent President’s Leadership Symposium, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a few presidents-elect (PEs we call them). One of the best takeaways that still rings in my ears was the statement the SMPS Ozarks PE Joan McQuaid said to me: “What’s your story? Everyone has a story … and everyone’s story matters.” The four of us proceeded to share our stories of where we were in our current positions in the A/E/C industries and how we got there.

The best thing about learning everyone’s story at that dinner table was that we’re different, but we all struggle with the same issues. We all see growth in our experiences and can ultimately share these experiences with others. The stories told between us were about personal struggles, professional achievements, company challenges–each with interesting and intriguing outcomes.

Talking about how we overcome adversities, or what we’ve accomplished, can help others learn. That evening we all left the table knowing a lot more about each other, drawing a better connection amongst ourselves and allowing an intimacy that broke down walls. I feel today I could call any one of those ladies with an A/E/C profession-related, or even a personal matter, and they would have no problem spending time to help me. I would do the same for each of them.

That’s what SMPS leadership is about: listening to stories, telling stories, and helping others craft their stories. Perhaps it’s about a small business and how it grew to 100 people in only five short years. Or it’s how an engineering firm did its due-diligence to win a project. Or possibly about a receptionist who climbed the ladder to become the chief marketing officer.

Our job as marketers is to tell a story. Remember to stop for a moment and ask those inside and outside our firms about their story. Knowing about another’s world can help us understand where they’re coming from and what struggles they’re going through, therefore, opening the door for better communication. Let’s reach out to those around us to learn more about what makes them tick and let them know we care.

What’s the Society’s story? It’s one of business transformed through marketing leadership, which is told through each of our members through their personal and professional growth—and how they’re leading the charge in their firms.

What is your story? Feel free to reach out to me and tell me.

Article written by SMPS Society Director At-Large Catherine McCullough, CPSM. She can be reached at catherine@mlasd.com.