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#SMPSCTWeek2020: Maria Loitz

With a Little Help From SMPS

What was the best career advice given to me in my 25-year career? On my first day working in the A/E/C industry, I was told to join SMPS. As I think back, I still remember the first SMPS meeting I attended at the Farmington Country Club in 1995. And what amazes me is that many of the people I met are still involved today, which is a testament to SMPS and our industry. During each stage of my journey, I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by smart, caring people – and it’s through SMPS that I got to know each of them.

Throughout my career, SMPS has been with me and taught me so much, every step of the way. From mechanics of marketing programs to presentation skills training, local programs to regional and national conferences, there are opportunities to learn about new trends, gain valuable business development insight, meet new people, hone one’s skills, and forge new friendships. In the end, it’s the friendships that I value most. When I need career advice, information on a new lead, or just someone to talk to after a long week, it’s the bonds made through SMPS that I lean on the most.

As I advanced from Marketing Coordinator to Chief Marketing Officer at BVH, I was always fortunate to have mentors through SMPS to guide me. The most challenging part of my profession was never winning the next project with a kick-ass proposal or creating an award-winning marketing campaign – it was when I needed to be my own advocate to get to the next level of growth. That’s where SMPS helped tremendously. I never hesitated to reach out to my mentors for guidance, and always researched SMPS salary surveys, read through Marketer articles, and gained confidence through training workshops.

Participating in many focus groups on women in the workforce, I was introduced to a book that shaped my outlook, Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You're Worth by Mika Brzezinski. I frequently recommend this book to women seeking to advance their careers – I’ve given numerous copies as gifts to SMPS members – and highly encourage all to read it, especially before any salary negotiations. Stories from many successful women are featured throughout the book, including Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, asserting, "A lot of getting ahead in the workplace has to do with being willing to raise your hand...If we as women don't raise our hands in the workplace, we're not going to get the same opportunities men do. Because men keep their hands up." When fellow SMPS members reach out to me for advice or guidance, I always think back to this chapter in the book and the profound impact it has had on how I approach my career growth.

My last piece of advice: Get involved. Join a committee. Take on a leadership role. Chart your path to success. It’s certainly within your reach, with a little help from SMPS.



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  1. Cathie Reese

    Oct. 14, 2020

    Maria is an inspiration, a leader and a legend!

  2. Nichole Petersen

    Oct. 9, 2020

    Amazing blog post! So grateful to have Maria be our Chapter Advisor and my mentor!


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