Member Spotlight | Sarah Bundy

    Member Spotlight – Sarah Bundy, CD Companies

    I am the Director of Strategic Pursuits with CD Companies. I have been a member of the SMPS St. Louis chapter for the last four years. Throughout that time, I have served on the membership committee and the programs committee. I am currently serving as the Programs Director for the second year.

    1. As Programs Director, is there one program that you were most excited about bringing to the chapter? And why? 

    This past year, we successfully planned 18 programs, we had over 800 registrants from our SMPS events and our average evaluation score was 4.8 out of 5.0. Do I have just one program I was most excited about? How could I choose!?

    Honestly, there were so many phenomenal programs this past year. We held five-panel discussions, two project site tours at major St. Louis destinations, four idea exchanges, and two half-day education sessions – all that I believe provided incredible value to our members.

    I was more excited about our 2020 program initiatives rather than any specific program.

    My primary goals were to:

    • Establish more membership incentives
    • Raise organizations relevance to BD audience

    Of the 18 programs planned throughout the year, six of our events brought our members directly in front of potential clients raising our relevance to a business development audience. As a matter of fact, our most well-attended programs were those that provided our attendees the opportunity to network with clients and hear directly from them regarding their organization and upcoming opportunities.

    Examples include: 8-on-8, Mindful Mentorship programs, project tours, and client panels.

    With the goal of providing added value to membership, the chapter limited many of our events to only SMPS members. The members-only Healthcare Client Panel and the members-only Mindful Mentorship programs were new initiatives this year and a new benefit offered to members.

    Because of our new initiatives, and the great collaboration of the board, the SMPS Saint Louis Chapter was recognized on a national level, coming in 2nd place for membership growth!

    2. With everything going on today with the pandemic when you are thinking of new programs for the chapter’s members, are there particular things that you think are especially important? Please explain.  

     When lockdowns began in the U.S. back in March and the world came to a screeching halt, we hoped we’d have COVID-19 well under control by the fall. But, as we entered the last quarter of 2020, we’ve come to accept that we will be living with COVID-19 well into 2021 and the restrictions that come with it. We are certainly having to reimagine and remodel the way we hold and execute our events. One of the biggest challenges we are being faced with is what we like to call, “zoom-fatigue.” In a virtual setting, people are quite often less engaged and are easily distracted by incoming emails, the cat crawling into the screen, the dog barking in the background, or children begging for attention. Unfortunately, there is just no suitable replacement for face-to-face interaction. Having a coffee or a drink together is about ‘breaking bread’ and getting to know each other, it’s how trust is built.

    We understand that under these conditions, our options are limited. Our events will either have to remain all-virtual and/or be limited to small in-person gatherings until restrictions are lifted.

    Regardless of COVID-19 challenges, we are very excited about our established goals for this upcoming year:

    • Planning events that remain impactful to our attendees – virtual or not
    • Membership engagement and appreciation
    • Improving efforts that support diversity and promoting inclusion

    Even with the uncertainly COVID-19 presents, I am confident in my team and our ability to execute events that not only meet but exceed our goals set for 2021.

    3. Provide an overview of your work history with significant achievements.

    I have a BFA and a BBA from Maryville University, my CM-BIM certification, and over eight years’ experience in Marketing and Communications.  Over the past five years, I have risen quickly as a marketing, communications, and business development professional within the Design, Architecture, and Engineering arena in St. Louis.

    In 2015, I took the position as a Marketing Coordinator/Executive Assistant at Bates (now, Lamar Johnson Collaborative), a leading design and architectural firm in STL. In just two years, after one merge, one rebrand, and two acquisitions, I quickly demonstrated my value to the business and rose in the ranks being promoted to Chief Executive Coordinator, then Marketing Director.

    In 2018, I was hired by CD Companies, another leading architectural and engineering firm in Saint Louis. I spent six months as the Marketing Manager. Quickly being recognized for my business acumen, I was promoted to Director of Strategic Pursuits.

    With an entrepreneurial spirit, I question current models and open doors for positive, sustainable progress within my business. Since I started at CD Companies in July 2018, the company has grown its revenue from 13M to 18.6M. At my direction, it has also gone through one rebrand and has started three new subsidiary companies, adding to its overall service and expertise provided. Making such a positive impact my first year with the company, I took home the "Rookie of the Year" award.

    I oversee the Marketing and Business Development departments and my team also manage all the hiring needs for the firm. My primary focus is on optimizing strategies to accelerate revenue for CD Companies and all of its subsidiaries: R5 Design Agency, M/E 1 Engineering, CASCO Civil, CASCO, and FACET Architecture. My job description includes finding and marketing for work, writing both proposals and contracts, then (most recently added to my job description) managing the project or account.

    In 2019, I was featured in "The Influence List 2019" by Gazelle magazine. The list recognized 20 people within the Saint Louis area who are heavily influencing and having a positive impact on their community. Aside from the contributions made to my business, I have given a lot myself to the Saint Louis community by sitting on countless boards, committees, and planning fundraisers for non-profits. Over the past five years, I have assisted various non-profit organizations in raising nearly a million dollars. Some organizations include: Saint Louis Language Immersion School, Kids Rock Cancer, Send Me, Mending Faces, Care to Learn, the Saint Louis Aquarium Foundation, Society of Marketing Professionals, Home Sweet Home, Mercy Hospital, and others.

    4. What was the best advice you’ve received regarding your role or working in the A/E/C industry? 

    Find a MENTOR and NEVER stop asking questions! Mentors are experts in their field. They have acquired significant professional experience, which allows them to pass on their professional “know-how” and provide support throughout your learning journey.

    Steven Spielberg stated, "The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves." While there are countless reasons you should have a mentor, the biggest one for me is the empowerment that comes from having a good one.

    While I have had quite a few, the President of CD Companies, Dan Cutter has been the most influential mentor that has guided me through my entrepreneurial journey for personal and professional growth. Dan has continuously been there guiding and helping me to maximize my potential. He opens doors, empowers me, engages me, and enables me to focus on my goals. He has helped me realize what I am able to achieve regardless of the challenges that are before me.

    Dan is my mentor, trusted advisor, and dear friend, whom I am incredibly grateful to have guided me as I continue to grow both professionally and personally. If you do not have a mentor, start looking within and outside your organization for a leader that you admire, who is two or three steps above where you are at. Don’t be afraid to ask anyone of your choice to serve as your mentor, the worst that can happen is they say no… then on to the next.

    5. What is something you love to do outside of work? 

    Well, unfortunately, COVID-19 put a damper on most of my traveling plans, but I am looking forward to mud runs coming back! I love traveling all over the country doing Spartan races. There is just something about squirreling over wooden balance beams, crawling under electric barbed wire, leaping over fire, jumping off high platforms into freezing water, gripping slippery ropes, and climbing three-story high cage crawls that is just…. FUN… and MESSY!

    Another passion I have is Singing! It is incredibly therapeutic for me to sing. It affects me wholly, my mind, my emotions, my spirit… it reaches parts of me in ways that words can’t describe. Whenever I have a night alone, I always find myself recording a new song.  It is my own personal mechanism to experience, to heal, to encourage, or to create. Music… real music isn’t just a pattern of words or sounds, it’s a living, breathing thing. I even have a tattoo on my side that says “Never let the music die.”

    6. What’s one thing you already own that you believe that you just couldn’t live without? And why?

    HA! My daughter Ava! She is the one and only thing I “own” in this world that I cannot live without. Raising a child as a single, working mother is tough, there’s no denying that, but some days, it feels like magic! I absolutely love being a mom, it is well worth the hardship, constant pressures, and obligations that come with raising a child. There are so many different ways that even the most difficult days aren’t immediately cured by the way she looks at me, the funny things she’s says, the homemade crafts, and the overwhelming way she unconditionally loves me. Ava is truly my inspiration, my motivation, and the reason why I wake up every morning, give it everything I have, then do it again the next day. She is my rock, my foundation… she is my everything.


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