SMPS CT Member Post: Why I became a Living Organ Donor

By: Victoria Pancoast

People keep saying “Give one of my kidneys? I don’t think I could do that!” or “Maybe I would do it if it was for a relative, but I am not really sure.” It’s not something I ever thought about doing either, until Deb, a member of my church and friend of the family, had been added to the transplant list at Yale New Haven Hospital in the summer of 2017. I knew that she had been on kidney dialysis three times a week for the last few years. I thought, ‘what kind of quality of life is that?’ and I figured since my blood type is O-negative that maybe I should look into becoming a donor. I had never had major surgery and I didn’t know anything about kidney donation. To be honest, I didn’t even know where my kidneys were located! They weren’t something I ever thought about. 

My husband and kids were a bit hesitant at first, but once I really started considering it, God made it clear that it was something I was meant to do. Literally the day after I told my husband and kids that I was considering being tested, we went to a wedding and sat next to a woman who told us that the bride’s mother had given her a kidney. I hadn’t even mentioned anything about Deb and what I was thinking of doing. I looked at my husband and said, "That’s a sign. I’m supposed to do this.”

I went through a series of phone interviews, tests and then a full day at the hospital to make sure I was physically and psychologically ready to donate. It was a fascinating process and ultimately, I was approved as a match. The team at Yale New Haven Hospital was fantastic and our surgery on February 6th was a success. The day after the surgery, Deb’s surgeon told me that it typically takes 5-7 years for a patient on the transplant list to receive a kidney and there was no guarantee that she would have survived the wait. The photo of Deb and I posted with this blog was taken 3 weeks post-surgery. We have both been feeling great! 

Recently the company I work for, Arcadis, announced that they are building a “People First” culture. A culture where integrity matters, and individuals are valued for who they are. I love that Arcadis values people and improving the quality of life. I truly feel that helping people is what we were created to do. I am so happy that I was a match for the recipient and able to help improve someone’s life through the kidney transplant. I encourage everyone to put people first and look for ways to collectively help one another.

Blog post originally posted on Victoria's LinkedIn profile.


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By: Ashley Remmers

Are you ready to be inspired?  Come hear four great speakers share their creative ideas and stories that will provoke, inspire, and excite at SMPS CT’s second annual MAX talk event on May 16, 2018 from 3:00-6:00 PM at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street in Hartford. Join us at the networking cocktail hour after the program for an opportunity to connect and engage with the speakers and other attendees. For more information and to register for this event, please check out our website.

This year’s topics include: 

‘Design a Future of Purpose and Possibility' - Brent Robertson | Partner, Fathom

Keeping our future in focus is a tricky thing - you can't see it, you can't touch it, and language often fails us when we attempt to talk about it. It’s easy to understand then, that the overwhelming power of the present can limit possibilities for the future—for ourselves and our organizations—to nothing more than what we already know. That is, unless we train ourselves to live with intention and focus. In this talk, Brent Robertson will introduce a way to design and live in our ideal future, a future not limited by what we know, but instead, one that is as limitless as our imaginations. Through the conversation, he’ll illustrate a way to relate to our world and those around us, in a more empathetic and creative way.

‘I'm a Subject-Matter-Expert, not a Salesperson!’ - Donna Bak | Senior Partner, Sandler Training

Donna learned the hard way that we are all selling some-thing, to some-one, during the day. It may be a product or service or a request for resources, and very often it's an idea...our point of view...a cause. Donna was trained and skilled in a technical field, and the last thing she wanted to be was a salesperson! As it turned out, Donna realized her inability to influence people (sell!) was the one thing getting in the way of advancing her career. She didn't know how to sell up the chain of command for resources, across the organization to her peers for support, and down to customers. But when she told herself, "I am a Salesperson, with an expertise in Computer Science!", she started selling more effectively and even liking it! During this presentation, attendees will learn: how to sell yourself as a Trusted Advisor; how to utilize communication styles as an advantage in dealing with people; and how to bond and build rapport to gain trust faster!

‘Be a Talent Magnet! - How to Attract, Manage and Engage the Millennial Workforce’ - Jeff Butler | Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur and Passionate Millennial

Recently, the Millennial generation took the stage as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Millennials (Generation Y), born between 1981 to 2000, are your current and future leaders, and they are bringing tremendous change, innovation, and opportunity. This MAX Talk covers the Millennial employee lifecycle from hiring, to managing, and retaining. Each segment of the cycle will have both high-level theories, as well as tactical strategies that attendees can immediately begin using after the program. Some include: How to create an enticing message to attract a millennial’s attention, practical tips for managing difficult employees, and retention strategies that CEO Jack Welch implements at General Electric.

Bad/Better/Best/Beyond: A Blueprint for Building Happiness" - Jessica Osborne, CPSM | Marketing Manager and Principal, BL Companies

The A/E/C industry is unique and powerful—we know that is has the ability to literally shape the environment around us. But beyond that, it offers a close-knit and collaborative career path for those who have been fortunate to find themselves involved in this realm. For one marketer, this industry led her from the brink of despair and self-destruction to success, health, and the happiest she's ever been. This is a story of how the A/E/C industry—its people, organizations and opportunities—saved her. Jess will take you on her journey from bad, to better, to best and beyond by sharing the key factors which helped her find her happy.

What is MAX? MAX is “Market”, “Act”, and “Exchange.” MAX is about you! Bundled into a series of awe inspiring, 15-minute discussions, the program focusses attention on each presenter’s ideas about current issues, lessons, tips, and tricks of the trade.

Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) was created in 1973 by a small group of professional services firm leaders who recognized the need to sharpen skills, pool resources, and work together to create business opportunities. Today, SMPS, nationally, represents a dynamic network of 7,000+ marketing and business development professionals from architectural, engineering, planning, interior design, construction, and specialty consulting firms located throughout the United States and Canada. The Society and its 60 chapters benefit from the support of 3,250 design and building firms, encompassing 80% of the Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms and Top 400 Contractors.

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