By Jennifer Cheek
Like many A/E/C marketing professionals, Valerie’s path to the industry was not entirely traditional. After moving to Boston fresh out of college with a marketing degree, Valerie applied to several marketing-related jobs and nearly accepted a job at a chemical brokerage firm where she was temping. Sensing that her heart wasn’t in it, Valerie instead chose a position with Sterling Associates Architects Incorporated as their first ever marketing person.
Valerie’s involvement with SMPS Boston’s Communications Committee started, quite aptly, with a tweet. “After tweeting my excitement for the launch of the SMPS Boston blog, I was almost immediately drafted on to the Communications Committee.” She quickly moved from committee member to chair, to Communications Committee’s Director, overseeing all communication channels for the Boston chapter. In addition to the committee’s responsibilities of coordinating SMPS Boston’s public relations program, setting up online event registrations, publishing the weekly eFlyer and managing the chapter’s social media channels, Valerie’s term as Director included a challenge: a redesign of SMPS Boston’s website, which debuted in early 2015. Valerie is now currently serving as SMPS Boston’s President.
When asked about the value of SMPS, Valerie explained that it was twofold: “First, there is a lot of collaboration among different firms when pursuing work. One day you’re collaborating with Firm X, the next day you’re competing against them. SMPS helps to foster those relationships through networking. Second, marketing departments in the AEC industry can be very small and isolated. A lot of us are one-person marketing departments. SMPS gives you a large network of colleagues to bounce ideas off of. I’ve gotten some great advice from both my local colleagues and those in other chapters through the groups on MySMPS.org.” Valerie’s involvement in SMPS has allowed her to sharpen and learn new marketing tactics that she might not otherwise be exposed to.
Outside of her role at SMPS Boston, Valerie regularly attends yoga classes at South Boston Yoga and is an avid baker who makes an amazing banana bread (the secret is cacao nibs). Valerie enjoys paddleboarding along the Charles River in the summer and running along East Boston’s greenway and harbor.