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#SMPSCTWeek2020: Martin Fenicien

It’s amazing how a simple conversation could shift your entire career path.

It was getting close to the holiday season, back when we still gave handshakes and our faces were maskless. I was working at the Apple store in New Haven, CT, selling iPhones and helping people get them set up. It was coming close to the end of my shift when a woman, Amy Ray, came to me for help. One of the things about customer service is that you get to talking with patrons and you find out tidbits about their lives. For instance, I found out she worked at Newman Architects, a firm that was literally a minute walk away from the store. A building I have passed by numerous times but never knew what it was for. Amy found out I was a senior studying at Southern Connecticut State University, majoring in Communication with a focus in Advertising and Promotion. Some people don’t believe in fate, but it was too much of a coincidence that our paths would cross at that moment to call it anything but that: fate.

She was gracious enough to give me her card, offering a tour of their office and more information about what they did there. She couldn’t guarantee me an internship, but at least she could put a face to a name and a name to her peers and colleagues. It was early into 2020 that we set up a meeting and she mentioned NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) and SMPS to me. It took more digging and research on my end to really understand what it was that SMPS provided. I came to learn that it was a society that offered resources for the A/E/C community. She put me in contact with current president Alicia Washington, who called me as I was on my way to a morning class. Alicia seemed eager and excited when it came to SMPS and the places it could take me.

Many people make it to the top, but never send the elevator back down. What drew me to Alicia, and by extension SMPS, was their commitment to diversity and bringing in new members to mentor and nurture. While I never saw myself working anywhere near the A/E/C field, I think that SMPS could be a beneficial place for me to see how great minds can work in this field, seeing their passion for their career and dedication to current and new members, as well. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and network with a number of talented and intelligent professionals, and as a recent college graduate, no less.

I’m excited for the elevator ride that SMPS will take me on.

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  1. Amy Ray

    Oct. 8, 2020

    I am so proud of the path Martin is paving for his professional career. Who would have known buying an iPhone would turn into a great relationship! I just knew SMPS was a place where Martin could get involved. I am thankful for all you do Martin!

  2. Nichole Petersen

    Oct. 5, 2020

    I loved this post! It really exemplifies how networking and having a basic conversation with someone new can make all the difference!


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