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Winter 2020 SMPS CT NewsletterPrint

President's Report

Happy Winter,

In my fall message I expressed how time flies when you’re having fun – I must be having a ton of fun because it is officially my 6th month as the SMPS CT President! Leading this amazing Chapter is filled with opportunities to work with incredible A/E/C industry professionals. I love meeting new members, learning new techniques and developing partnerships and collaborations.

The best part of the job by far is leading an amazing team of volunteers! Without dedicated helpers, movers and shakers we would not be able to sustain our Chapter’s reputation, programs and initiatives. Since February is the official month of love, I thought there isn’t a better time or way to utilize my president’s message than to express my love and appreciation for our SMPS CT volunteers.

In order to get where we’re going, it’s important to see where we came from. Thank you to all the past presidents, officers, committee chairs and volunteers who helped lay the foundation for us to succeed today! Speaking of past presidents, there are four that are still actively making a difference! Maria Loitz is our Chapter’s Fellow/Advisor. She is our go-to when advice or guidance is needed. Sharon Pomeroy and Jessica Osborne co-chair the CPSM committee. They ensure our CPSMs receive credit for CEUs and help soon-to-be CPSMs through the exam process. Samantha VanSchoick holds the board position of Immediate Past President and she Chairs the Leadership committee. Sam is in the process of setting up a Past Presidents’ Think Tank and Mentor/Protégé Social. I am grateful to have the four of you “on-call” for support and suggestions!

Alicia Washington is a force to be reckoned with - literally! Not only is she President-Elect but she is the founder and Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion task force (DITF). Alicia is leading the charge to create a greater variety among the members, geographies and professions SMPS CT serves. Her team consists of fellow board member, George Jacobs, partnering sponsor, Lindsey Mathieu, membership committee liaisons, Luke Glendenning and Ruth Millward, Ani Chaghatzbanian, Amy Ray, Cynthia Colon and Allison Puzycki. In addition to her role on the DITF, Allison Chairs the Chapter’s Job Bank. Thank you all for pushing SMPS CT into uncharted and untapped territories!

Without a leader like Marta Dabrowski, Chair of the Communications committee, resources like the Job Bank and this newsletter would not be possible. She and her team are responsible for the promotion of all our programs, initiatives and news through use of the website, print collateral (thanks Burke Reprographics/Plans4Less), media (thanks High Profile) and digital platforms. Board member, Jocelyn Taylor has been a long-time communications volunteer and is joined by Cynthia Colon, Hannah Sullivan, Ashley Remmers and Anna Cruz. Ladies, although your committee may be lean, you are promoting machines – thank you!

Cathie Reese and her team from Geomatrix Productions are honorary communications committee members. They are our partnering video sponsor and film “Show Us Your Notes,” MAX Talks and more! Cathie is also an official member of the Membership committee. Co-Chaired by Chapter Secretary, Kate Anderson and Luke Glendenning, the Membership committee is responsible for recruiting new members and creating a positive member experience. Long-time volunteer, Ruth Millward has been a huge asset to this committee along with John Olson and Beth Taylor. I appreciate this committee’s warm and welcoming presence!

Aside from the Membership committee, our programming is the other driving force of our membership growth and retention. The Programs committee, led by Jessica Brown, is responsible for planning, organizing and executing every educational program, networking social and special event hosted by the CT Chapter. Jessica Parkins, Chapter Treasurer, has been a great influence and resource for the Programs committee. She is joined by Carley Oliveto, Lisa Pavano, Kathleen Roche, Hannah Sullivan, Kristen Torvinen, Nicole Lee and Past Presidents, Samantha VanSchoick, Sharon Pomeroy and Jessica Osborne. Although fun, event planning is no joke and you ladies rock at it! Special thanks to our in-kind photography sponsor, Time Frozen Photography, for always capturing the essence of SMPS CT and our programs!

We would not have the ability to offer such excellent programming without the persistence of our Sponsorship committee Co-Chairs, Barbara Klimaszewski and Julia DeFrances. They secure our Annual and Door Prize Sponsors. It’s our sponsors’ generosity and support that provides funding to bring in industry expert speakers and secure well-reputed venues. Thank you for always hustling ladies!

I can’t express enough gratitude or my love for our volunteers’ dedication and commitment to SMPS CT. I truly believe that I am a part of a supportive and accepting community. I encourage everyone to join our community and become involved!

Thank you all!!!

Nichole Petersen
President, SMPS Connecticut 2019/2020


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Calendar of Events

Memory Power | 03/18
In today’s business world, having the ability to remember names and faces, beat absent-mindedness, and recall facts and figures puts you at the head of the pack. In this fun-filled session you’ll learn time-tested techniques for recalling names, speaking without notes, and gaining control of your day without the fear of forgetting. When you're skilled in memory all your other skills get better. This program shows how.

Mentorship Mixer | 04/15
SMPS CT Members will hear success stories from Mentors and Protegees, mingle with current and prospective mentors and protegees, and enjoy a free wine tasting in the beautiful private room at Total Wines & More in Manchester! Registration is limited for this free, members-only event, so sign up early and guarantee your spot!

Tough Talks & Climbing the Ladder | 04/22
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 centered around having tough talks while climbing the corporate ladder.

Mechanics of Marketing | 05/20
Save the Date! 

Annual Meeting & Client Panel | 06/17
Save the Date! 

You can register for these events on our website.

SMPS Northeast Regional Conference (NERC) | 05/06-05/08

Are you ready for NERC 2020?

Hosted in New York - the city known for its attitude, culture, diversity and cutting-edge thinking, the Vision 2020 conference will converge 350+ of the region's top A/E/C marketing and business development professionals, firm leaders, speakers and industry practicioners to learn and network.

The annual SMPS Northeast Regional Conference (NERC) brings together innovative thinkers/doers from multiple industries, geographies and SMPS Chapters to dialogue about the future of the industry and the ongoing transfromation of A/E/C marketing and business development.

CT Chapter President, Nichole Petersen will be planning a dinner for all CT Chapter members attending NERC 2020. Planning on attending the conference? Let her know and she’ll update you regarding the details.


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Chapter News

Diversity & Inclusion Task Force

HRP's Director of Marketing and SMPS CT President-Elect, Alicia Mojica Washington, sat down with Anastasia Barnes on High-Profile's Build Better Podcast to discuss SMPS Connecticut's new Diversity and Inclusion Initiative as well as her own journey as a person of color in the A/E/C industry. Alicia also shares how leaders can have those difficult conversations about diversity and inclusion that promote real change within our industry. 

Listen to the full "Episode 22: Creating Spaces for Diversity in the AEC Community with Alicia Washington", here!

The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force's mission is to expand SMPS Connecticut’s existing membership base and increase Chapter participation to include more technical professionals, including men and women from diverse cultural backgrounds. In order to track our progress, we have added optional demographic questions to all program registrations. Answering these questions will help us determine further improvement and success.  

SMPS CT Job Bank

An important part of the SMPS CT’s mission is to support our members' career development and advancement. In addition to educational events, seminars, networking and mentorship opportunities that help contribute to our members' career success; we also provide a forum for locating career opportunities and for companies to seek skilled marketers in the A/E/C industry.

The SMPS CT Job Data Bank is a data resource only and is not a referral or job placement service.

Connect with Clients and Colleagues - Become an SMPS Committee Member

Are you an SMPS CT chapter member and want to get more involved? Are you looking to gain valuable industry experience, get exclusive access to speakers, connect with clients and peers? If you answered yes then consider joining one of our committees - we are always looking for new members!


Have you checked out the latest SMPS CT blog posts? Read on a variety of topics such as Event Recap:Fireside Chat with Cathy DeFrances Vittorio, New Member Spotlight, Show Us Your Notes: Social Media & Content Marketing, and much more!

Interested in contributing? Contact Marta Dabrowski.

Call for Speakers!

We are always on the look out for speakers for our upcoming programs and events. We invite and welcome new speakers to enlighten our chapter in a variety of topics relevant to the six domains of practice: Marketing Research, Market Planning, Client and Business Development, Proposals, Promotional Activity and Management. If you have a topic, idea, or work process that you think others can learn from fill out our online application.

Call for Industry Events!

SMPS CT is in the process of compiling an A/E/C industry event calendar. If you’re planning an event or if you volunteer for another industry association and would like your event(s) listed on our calendar, please submit your request to [email protected].


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Past Program Recap

How to Focus in a World of Distraction
SMPS' November program, "How to Focus in a World of Distraction" was all about reclaiming time, both professionally and personally, in today's overstimulated world. Speaker Ellen Moriarty, coach and owner of Clarion Coaching, shared her thoughts on how to make the most of the day's 24 hours.

Check out our blog post to gain some insightful tips on becoming more "in-distractable"!

Fireside Chat with Cathy DeFrances-Vittorio, CPSM
Members cozied up by the fireside and enjoyed learning about seasoned Marketer, Cathy DeFrances-Vittorio's milestones, defining moments, challenges and accomplishments.

During the chat, Cathy emparted some Words of Wisdom to SMPS CT members, including:

  • Remember to have fun (this often yields the best results!).
  • Get out of your comfort zone and learn to do something you don't know how to. 
  • Share your great ideas no matter who you are or how intimidated you may feel.


Find the complete list on our blog!

Social Media & Content Marketing 
SMPS CT Members learned all about content marketing in this engaging program!

The event started with an informative presentation about how to utilize content marketing in the A/E/C industry and ended with a hands-on workshop where attendees applied their knowledge and recieved instantaneous feedback. 

Member, Hannah Sullivan of Standard Builders, shared her experience in our latest Show Us Your Notes! 

Be the Firm Your Client Can't Live Without
Brent Robertson and Ben Callaghan of  Fathom, demonstrated the art and science behind establishing ideal client partnerships and connected how that relates to the cultural and operational aspects of firms, that if present, favor client partnerships.

In this workshop, attendees learned how to build and maintain meaningful partnerships, set themselves apart in a competitive market, and how to develop the ability to be indispensable for their clients. 

Volunteer Appreciation & New Member Social
Volunteers and New Members gathered at Hog River Brewing Co. in Hartford, CT to enjoy networking, games, food and, of course, beer!

CT Chapter President, Nichole Petersen, welcomed everyone with opening remarks about SMPS CT and the value that each member brings to the chapter. It is with the help and enthusiasm of all volunteers, members and sponsors that makes the Connecticut Chapter continue to thrive!

The event continued with games and a raffle which included a FREE registration to the upcoming SMPS NERC Conference!


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Member Milestones

Congratulations to Mia Picardi of Perkins Eastman for passing her CPSM Exam and becoming a Certified Professional Services Marketer! What an amazing accomplishment!

Welcome New Members! 

Chris Abel
Membership Director
Associated Builders and Contractors

Kathleen Cloud, WBENC, LEED GA, AIA
M. Frank Higgins & Co., Inc. 

Katelyn Dobrowolski
Marketing Coordinator
BVH Integrated Services, P.C.

Alrun Hylwa
Director of Project Development
O,R&L Construction

Chris LeBlanc
Project Manager
Pac Group, LLC

Dana Anne Lee
Marketing Manager

Raianne Raymond
Marketing Coordinator

Milone & MacBroom, Inc. 

Christine Schilke
Marketing & Development Director 

Connecticut Main Street Center

Brianna Tozzo
Senior Marketing Coordinator


Did you know?

It pays to recommend new members! Current SMPS members receive a 3-month membership extension if they recommend a colleague who joins as a new member ($100 value). And it gets better! Current SMPS members who recommend a second colleague who joins as a new member will receive a $25 gift card.

For further information on how to proceed with membership referrals, contact Ruth Millward.

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Become a Door Prize Sponsor for one of SMPS CT’s amazing programs and maximize the opportunity to get in front of a captivated and engaged audience!

Benefits to your Firm:

  • Firm name recognition as door prize sponsor on specific program(s) communications including Website.
  • Verbal and visual logo and company name recognition throughout the program.
  • The chance to speak about your company before the door prize drawing.
  • Access to all door prize participants' contact information.
  • Be viewed as a generous and fun company by program attendees


Increase your brand exposure by becoming a SMPS CT door prize sponsor! Our March, April and May programs are still available. Only one door prize is available per program, secured on a first come first serve basis. Firms can sponsor multiple programs based on availability. Remember the sooner you purchase this sponsorship, the greater the exposure your company receives.

For more information on Sponsorship opportunities, please visit our online catalog.


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Thank you Sponsors


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Mentorship Program

Calling Mentors and Protégés!

One of the foundations of SMPS CT is our commitment to our member’s personal growth and professional development. This members-only benefit will connect experienced professionals with aspiring talent of any age or at any stage of their career development in a supportive, one-on-one environment. Your experience will be unique, based on your needs and availability. This is not a one size fits all program.  

If you are looking to build a strong personal and professional relationship with someone in our industry, please contact Leadership Committee Chairperson, Samantha VanSchoick with questions and more information. 

Check out the events page for details for an upcoming Mentorship Mixer! Space is limited for this free, members-only event. 

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In Other News...

Congratulations to Ani Chaghatzbanian of Diversity Construction Group on welcoming her second daughter Lenna! Mom, Dad and big sister Lucine are doing great!

Congratulations to the winners of AGC/CT Build CT Awards! Some of our members' firms took home first place!

  • Newfield Construction won an Award for its Smalley Elementary School. 
  • O&G Industries, Inc. won a Merit Award for its Ocean Avenue LEARNing Academy. 
  • Petra Construction Corporation took home its 4th Construction Award for its Two Roads' Area Two Experimental Brewing project. 
  • Standard Builders won an Award for its Otis Elevator/OSC Site Transformation project. 
  • Turner Construction Company won a Merit Award for its UConn Student Recreation Center. 

David Brownell hosted an amazing Mardi Gras Party for PES Structural Engineers! This annual event was held on Tuesday, February 18th at Black Eyed Sally’s in Hartford, CT.

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