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Membership Milestones

Written by Regina Sibilia, Tighe & Bond

Through our Membership Milestones we celebrate the involvement and achievements of our members. We want to extend our congratulations to Geryl Rose (25 years), Cathy DeFrances-Vittorio (20 years), Amy Ray (5 years), and Jocelyn Taylor (5 years) on their anniversaries with our organization. All these women have taken their membership to new heights by becoming leaders among our SMPS CT family. We are taking a moment to highlight all of them to showcase excellence in the marketing profession. We look forward to recognizing more members throughout 2021!

Geryl Rose, Marketing Coordinator | Fuss & O’Neill | 25 Years

Geryl Rose is marking her 25th year as a member of our SMPS CT family. Geryl is currently the Marketing Coordinator for Fuss & O’Neill’s Buildings and Hazardous Materials business line. Before taking on this role, she gained an unshakeable foundation for her career by working in many areas of marketing, communications, and business development.

Geryl broke ground on her career foundation when she was a student at the University of Connecticut (UConn) creating her own major so she could learn about journalism, television and public relations. Creating her own major was an example of her vibrant personality shining through and encompassing her desire to learn as much as possible about her craft. She would go on to intern for a public television station, work for a local newspaper and then focus on public relations in the non-profit sector.

An interior designer reached out to Geryl about a job in their marketing department and once she was in the A/E/C industry she found her niche. She continued to work for firms throughout the industry, developing marketing departments, spearheading the re-branding efforts, and honing her skills. Geryl then went out on her own, establishing a successful marketing consulting firm gaining valuable and fulfilling experience working primarily with A/E/C industry clients.

Her membership with SMPS CT has been an integral part of her career since she took her first job in the industry. Her first supervisor was a big proponent of SMPS and the benefits it provided its members. Geryl dove into all that SMPS CT had to offer joining committees, becoming a member of the board and eventually president of the chapter. She loves the professional development and leadership opportunities SMPS CT offered and the continued comradery among chapter members.

“I can do what I do because of the years of exposure and involvement with SMPS. You can’t learn everything you need to know about marketing in this industry just at your firm or in school. You need to learn from your peers at SMPS to understand the specifics of marketing and have access to an enormous network beyond your SMPS chapter. You get to meet a lot of different people with a lot of different experiences – it’s important to be exposed to that invaluable and indispensable experience. You also make life-long friends, for which I’m grateful.” She emphasized that being able to share experiences and help others coming up in the industry is a plus. “Take advantage of everything SMPS has to offer,” she advises. “It will make a difference personally and in your career.”

Cathy DeFrances-Vittorio, CPSM, Associate and Director of Business Development | Fuss & O’Neill | 20 Years

Cathy DeFrances-Vittorio has reached her 20-year membership milestone with SMPS CT. Cathy is an Associate and Director of Business Development for Fuss & O’Neill. She loves the thrill of the chase that comes with following business development leads and forging strong relationships with clients. She holds a unique position in the firm, being the only person in a business development role who is not an engineer or an environmental scientist. Her work ethic and experience managing responsibilities in real estate development, and construction, and building a very strong background in architecture is what helps her find success in her current role.

Cathy wasn’t always chasing down leads, she started her career in the A/E/ C industry in the accounting department of an architecture firm. She later moved into a marketing role to take on proposals and knew that she needed to learn more about the industry. That’s when a colleague helped her become involved in SMPS. Cathy felt the meetings she attended were like graduating from the “College of SMPS” where she learned the ins and outs of marketing in the public services industry. Once she began her focus in marketing, she knew she had found the career she was meant to pursue. 

“You get a taste of working in this industry and it’s hard to break away. There’s something about the built environment that makes you proud of the work you do. You can see the tangible results from a project. I knew I was hooked when I went to the opening of a school my firm had repaired. It was overwhelming to see that these kids now had a clean and safe school to attend.”

As Cathy has advanced in her career, her commitment to SMPS has only increased. She is a two-time past president of our Connecticut chapter and a mentor to other members. Mentorship is one aspect of SMPS that Cathy underscores as a benefit to all members.

“Getting a mentor is such a great opportunity within SMPS. I still have a mentor I talk to. I find that it’s a crucial part of member’s professional development. It gives them a chance to talk to another marketing professional about anything going on in their career.”

Amy Ray, Director of Business Development | edm | 5 Years

SMPS member Amy Ray is celebrating 5 years of involvement with SMPS CT. Amy is the Director of Business Development for edm, focusing on the growth of its integrated architecture and engineering groups, and industrial and building services divisions. Before she started her current role, Amy found a unique path into the A/E/C industry. Originally thinking she wanted to study architecture, she later found her love for graphic design. She interned for an architecture firm in college discovering how to blend her creativity in graphic design with the marketing needs of a firm. Throughout her more than 20-year career, Amy’s talent for graphic design led her to work for several firms’ marketing departments providing branding guidance and re-designing websites.

Amy brings a unique perspective to her current role in business development. Her understanding of design, creativity, and the strategy behind building a brand allows her to think holistically about the needs of a firm and foster its growth. As a self-proclaimed “connector” who is always looking to expand her professional network, Amy says that SMPS has enabled her to continue learning and advancing her career.

“Without SMPS I wouldn’t have met as many people in my industry or gain the knowledge and advice from them. The networking provides opportunities to learn about and potentially partner with other firms as well. Without SMPS I wouldn’t be exposed to the trends of the market both regionally and nationally that I need to know to support my company’s business goals.”

Outside of networking, Amy has used her membership to become involved in our Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. She joined the task force to support the important mission of providing learning opportunities about DE&I topics and making SMSP CT even more diverse to other professionals.  

Jocelyn Taylor, Marketing Coordinator II | BL Companies | 5 Years

Jocelyn Taylor is celebrating her 5-year anniversary with SMPS CT. She is a Marketing Coordinator II for BL Companies at their corporate headquarters in Meriden, Connecticut. Focusing on the promotion of the firm through her communications role, Jocelyn has found her home in their marketing department after discovering the architecture world upon graduation from college. Before she headed out into the workforce, she only knew about marketing from the perspective of an ad agency but falling into the A/E/C industry has allowed her to relish in the tangible outcomes of her firm’s work. Jocelyn enjoys being able to explore communities and see the brick and mortar results of the projects she helps promote.

SMPS CT has been part of her career from the very beginning. The Senior Marketing Manager at BL Companies, Jessica Fasi, CPSM, is a past president of our group and encouraged Jocelyn to join.  She attended one event which led to two, then three and soon Jocelyn found herself joining as a Communications Committee member. She wanted to explore this committee to broaden her knowledge about communications and bring those skills to her firm. Jocelyn is now in a leadership role at SMPS CT as the Communications Chair and an active Board Member.

As she explores all facets of marketing, she continually uses SMPS CT’s planned programs to build on her skillset.

“I love that SMPS creates programs with such engaging speakers on relevant topics for our industry. For example, I attended a program about how to produce a standout proposal and cut through technical jargon. It was an amazing presentation that I reference to this day. Many programs through SMPS are like that, they give you knowledge you can use throughout your career.”

As she grows her career, Jocelyn says the mentorship of her Senior Marketing Manager both at work and through SMPS CT is invaluable and seeing her fellow members excel in their own niche of expertise continues to inspire her. 

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