When I was first hired as a marketer in the A/E/C industry almost ten years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in communications, I suffered through a series of unfulfilling jobs. I sold yellow page ads and job postings; I waited tables; I worked for a publishing company and eventually a small educational start-up. It wasn’t until I moved back home to St. Louis that I stumbled into this profession – a family friend knew of an open position at a small construction firm. I applied and was quickly hired as their marketing coordinator. Little did I know, that after years of searching, I had finally found a career.
I was fortunate to have a boss who pushed me to join SMPS immediately. Attending that first meeting, it was so refreshing to be amongst a group of my peers who understood what it was like to be one of the few marketers in a world of engineers. I attribute much of my success in this industry, in this position, and personally, to this organization. SMPS taught me how to do my job better. I had a peer group to bounce ideas off, who understood my proposal frustrations, and felt my pain trying to meet crazy deadlines. The educational programming, both locally and nationally, has enabled me to market smarter.
As I continued my career, I have served on the SMPS St. Louis Chapter’s board in a variety of roles: Programs Director, Education Director, Secretary, President-Elect, President and now Past-President. When I first joined this organization I guarantee that no one, including myself, would have guessed that the painfully shy girl sitting in the corner would eventually become a chapter leader.
The St. Louis Chapter has come a long way. Last year, for the fifth time in six years, we won the national Striving for Excellence award in the Medium Chapter category. In 2015, we also reached the 100 member mark, officially making St. Louis a Large Chapter. At the Board’s 2015-2016 planning meeting, our goal was to to raise the bar by continuing to advance professional services marketing and business development through excellent programs, strong leadership, increased membership and quality communications.
I am proud to say that we have done just that. In 2015-2016, we organized 14 programs with more than 950 total attendees. Our member numbers are at an all-time high with an 86% retention rate. In fact, the St. Louis Chapter won the SMPS Derby Membership Campaign, growing our membership 16.8% between March and May 2016. And we are continually giving back by increasing the amount of scholarships, stipends and member benefits that we offer.
THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who spent countless hours working to make this chapter great. Be proud of your many accomplishments. I am so grateful that I was able to spend this past year working alongside each of you.
For those of you new to SMPS, I encourage you to get involved. Your membership is a valuable tool that can help you on so many different levels. The future is bright here at SMPS. Get engaged in this organization – SMPS will inspire you to reach your full potential and help ignite your career.