Tough Talks & Climbing the Ladder - Career Development Panel

October 14, 2020
1:00 PM EDT - 3:00 PM EDT
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Virtual Program
Registrants will receive the access link in the bottom section of their registration confirmation email, and a reminder email the morning of the virtual program.


Career Development Panel + Breakout Sessions

Career development is the lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure and transitions to move toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future. Developing your career is not something that stops when you get a job or once you've achieved your dream position. It is a work in progress and something that you should always be improving.

While striving for greatness there are many challenges and obstacles that can make an already difficult process even harder. Join SMPS CT for a candid career development panel discussion with breakout sessions centered around having tough talks while climbing the corporate ladder.

Who should attend?
  • A/E/C industry members seeking career advancement or a promotion
  • Employees satisified with their firm but looking to make an internal change
  • Professionals seeking career guidance
  • Senior level professinals who want to keep evolving and continue to be an integral part of their organization
  • Employers and/or employees seeking HR advice on how to handle a tough situation
  • Job seekers
  • Anyone interested in achieving their career goals


Breakout Sessions: 

Career Advancement & Job Seeking Best Practices – facilitated by Dave Dunning, S.W. Cole Engineering
This breakout session is ideal for professionals at any stage in their career. Topics include:
  • Advocating for yourself
  • Negotiating for a promotion/raise
  • Setting career goals
  • Getting a seat at the table
  • Job seeking best practices


Diversity & Company Culture – facilitated by Kim Thompkins, Cumming
This breakout session is ideal for those looking to improve the diversity and culture of their firms. Topics include:
  • Working with and managing a variety of people – multi-generations, different cultures and backgrounds, etc.
  • Adding value to your firm aside from your daily responsibilities
  • Being a part of the solution – creating an environment where people want to work for or with you.


Managing Career Transitions – facilitated by Steve Duvel, Gilbane Building, Co.
This breakout session is ideal from mid to senior-level professionals seeking advice on effectively managing career transitions from promotions to joining a new company to changing careers. Topics include:
  • How to transition into a new role or department
  • 6-month surge - how to continue to be successful in your new role
  • Expanding and keeping your network strong
  • Keep the momentum going – continue to be an integral part of the company


Personal Branding - facilitated by Kathy Nanowski, Fuss & O'Neill
This breakout session is ideal for young/emerging professionals looking to develop their personal brand or those looking to improve their personal brand. Topics include:
  • What impression do you leave and how understanding that can it help in your career development?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • Opportunities to highlight your abilities to consciously build your brand.


Uncomfortable Conversations – facilitated by Heather Halotek, BL Companies
This breakout session is ideal for anyone seeking advice on having a difficult conversation in the workplace. Topic include:
  • Accepting and soliciting feedback
  • Preparing for a tough talk
  • When to involve HR or a Manager


*Attendees will have the opportunity to select their preferred breakout session during the registration process. SMPS CT program planners will do their best to match you accordingly, but we cannot guarantee you’ll be placed in your preferred session.


Event Details: Wednesday, October 14, 2020  | 1 PM to 3 PM EST

12:55 PM to 1:00 PM: Access virtual program
1:00 PM to 1:10 PM: Welcome & Program Overview
1:10 PM to 1:40 PM: Meet the Panelists – learn about their career journeys
1:40 PM to 2:20 PM: Breakout Sessions – each panelist will facilitate a breakout session (listed above)
2:20 PM to 2:30 PM: Breakout Session Takeaways – panelists will share the key takeaways from their breakout sessions with the entire group
2:30 PM to 2:55 PM: Q&A – open forum for attendees to ask the panelists questions
2:55 PM to 3:00 PM: Closing


Location: The comfort of your home, office or mobile device.


Meet the Panelists and Breakout Session Facilitators:

Dave Dunning - Vice President of Marketing & Human Resources, S.W. Cole Engineering

Dave Dunning, SHRM-SCP, SPHR worked one summer as a lab technician at S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc. before he graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Environmental Technology. He has now had an over 33-year career with S. W. Cole Engineering, Inc. based in the corporate office in Bangor, Maine. He was an Environmental Scientist for 30 years while also serving in other capacities including Health and Safety Officer, Marketing Director, and he was appointed to Vice President of Marketing and Human Resources in 2010. He has been part of the leadership team instrumental in the firm’s growth to 9 offices in New England and 130 employees. He is also a shareholder and he has served on the Board of Directors since 2002.

An SMPS member since 1993, Dave served ten years on the Board of Directors of the SMPS Northern New England chapter, including 2 years as President, 6 years as Treasurer as well as serving on several committees. He is currently Chair Elect of the Board of Directors of the 800 member Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce and a member of several Human Resources professional associations.

Stephen Duvel - Sr. Vice President, New England Division, Gilbane Building Co.

As Senior Vice President of the New England Division at Gilbane Building Company, Steve Duvel is a leader in the business and construction industry. He is responsible for operational, sales and administrative functions for Gilbane’s New England division, which encompasses 365 staff in offices located in Boston, MA; Providence, RI; Glastonbury, CT; Stamford, CT; and Merrimack, NY. With over 25 years of experience, one of his passions is mentoring young individuals in the field of construction.

Steve received a BS degree in Civil Engineering in 1993 from the University of Massachusetts. Early in his career Steve traveled nationally, working for a company which remediated hazardous waste sites in the public and private sector. In 2000, Steve relocated to Rhode Island and since that time has provided leadership for many large-scale commercial building projects, including the URI Ryan Center, Connecticut Convention Center, Dunkin’ Donuts Center Renovation (formally known as the Providence Civic Center), and the Worcester Psychiatric Hospital. Most recently he served as the company’s Rhode Island District operations manager where he demonstrated a major focus in cultivating successful teams through workforce development, inclusion and diversity.

Steve is the Co-Chair of the Governance Committee of the Roger Williams University Construction Management Professional Advisory Board. Steve is currently a member of the Rhode Island chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, Construction Management Association of America, and American Society of Civil Engineers. He graduated Leadership Rhode Island in 2012, was selected as the class speaker for his graduating class, and currently serves on the Board of Governors as the Vice Chair. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the New England Council.

Throughout his career at Gilbane he has earned several awards and accommodations. He was nominated by Gilbane for the Iver Johnson Builder of the Year in 2008 and 2012 for demonstrating leadership in construction. In 2011 Steve was awarded the Class A Safety Award for outstanding performance in safety leadership. He was nominated for the Manager of the Year in 2012, representing the Gilbane New England Business Unit. In 2016 Steve earned the President’s Innovation Award as well as the prestigious John J. McCoy Award for exemplifying Gilbane’s core values.

Heather Halotek - Executive Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Principal, BL Companies

Heather Halotek is the Executive Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications and Principal at BL Companies. With over 20-years of experience and success in marketing, communications and business development, Heather knows the key to getting results is having the true belief in your brand (love what you do), planning (a lot of it), and communication (listen!). Having a strong team, creative mindset and respected corporate culture only makes her job easier. As part of the executive team at BL Companies, she helps facilitate the leadership training, spearheads initiatives that help sourcing and understands that the people who work for BL are truly what make the company successful.

Kathy Nanowski, CPSM- Vice President, Director of Marketing & Business Development, Fuss & O'Neill

Kathy Nanowski, CPSM has played a lead role in transforming the Fuss & O’Neill’s marketing and sales practices at the firm, instituting consistent, proactive approaches to relationship-based business development. Recently made both an owner and appointed to the Board of Directors, Kathy helps identify new opportunities and works directly with all levels of staff to bring in new business.

A graduate from Connecticut State University, Kathy has helped the firm use more data-driven processes, a subject upon which she has written and spoken about at a national level. She is a sought-after contributor to written content for both the Marketer and PSMJ journals. She completed a term as President of the Connecticut Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services and now services on the Board of Connecticut Main Street.

With nearly two decades of experience, Kathy understands the value of prepositioning. She has taken proactive strides to change internal processes to improve win percentages. Communication, strategies, client relationships, and metrics have all improved under her change management.

Furthermore, Kathy is a proponent for new client development, while recognizing the importance of maintaining relationships with existing clients. Kathy has used her experience in Business Development to facilitate both internal and external training. She has spoken numerous times at the National Deltek Conference, various Regional SMPS conferences, created a national webinar for SMPS, and most recently provided sales training for one of our important clients.

Kim Thompkins, FSMPS, CPSM - Director of Proposals, Cumming

Kim is the Director of Proposals for Cumming, a multi-faceted consulting firm specializing in project and cost management services. Kim manages the proposal team and serves as the primary proposal contact for the company. Kim has been marketing professional services in the AEC industry for 30 years. She has been instrumental in coaching and mentoring numerous marketing professionals to meet their optimum performance level.

Kim is currently serving as At-Large Director on the SMPS Society Board of Directors. She is a Past President of SMPS Atlanta and serves on the Chapter’s Past President’s Council and Membership Committee. Kim earned the Society’s Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) designation in 2005 and was elevated to Fellow in 2019. Kim has co-presented “Making A Case for Certification” at numerous SMPS regional conferences. Recently, she wrote an article for the Marketer entitled “A Seat at the Table”. Kim received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from San Jose State University.

Meet the Moderator:

Samantha VanSchoick - Director of Strategic Partnerships, CIL

Sam lives every day passionately, which sometimes means passionately napping, but mostly means passionately & meticulously infusing creative energy into high-impact marketing and business development campaigns. Strategic, creative storytelling is is her life’s work, not her “work life.” That’s why she works for the people, products, and organizations I can get behind. As Director of Strategic Partnerships at CIL, a nonprofit real estate development organization, Sam seeks out opportunities to help the communities CIL serves. She believes that through strategic partnerships, we can create a world where all people with and without disabilities have access to quality housing that enhances independence in neighborhoods of their choice. 

Door Prize Sponsor: 1 Available

Continuing Education Units (CEUs):

This program is eligible for 1.5 SMPS CEU credits in Domain 6 (Management).


Register by Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 12 PM EST. Registrants will receive an access link in the bottom section of their registration confirmation email and via email the morning of the program.

Please note:
  • If registering after 12 PM on 10/13/2020 please email [email protected].
  • Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance to receive a refund.
  • No shows are responsible for payment in full.
  • Unauthorized sharing of the program's access link may result in higher registration costs.



$25.00 SMPS CT Member

$25.00 SMPS Other Chapter Member

$0.00 Member Sponsor

$35.00 Non-Member

$0.00 Non-Member Sponsor

$250.00 10/14/2020: Career Development Panel Virtual Program Sponsor