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Presidential Thoughts: Service is the Starting Point of Success

above: Ben Sawa pictured with SMPS President Barbara Shuck and Build Business Keynote Speaker Chris Bashinelli

I write my last letter to you on a plane hurtling back to Boston after a wonderful and excitement-filled week at SMPS’s Build Business conference. This annual gathering of more than 600 AEC industry professionals is the ultimate highlight of what I think this organization stands for – education, enrichment, friendship, and celebration.

During the conference one of the most thought provoking and engaging sessions was the closing key note from Chris Bashinelli, an actor turned activist. He discussed his life journey for meaning and purpose that took him from his humble beginnings in Brooklyn, NY to the farthest reaches of the world. My favorite quote from his talk was this:

“Service is the starting point of success.”

How true this is.

The ultimate paradox in life is that the more you give the more you receive – and while this allegory often felt true, science and research now backs it up. I think that I can speak for all of our volunteers that there is no better example of this than SMPS.

But I’m a slow learner. It took me 4 years as an SMPS member before I finally became a volunteer. But once I finally did get involved – I never looked back. Not only has this been one of best decisions I’ve made in my life, it has been one of the most rewarding. From life-long personal and professional friendships to learning and skill building – the examples of “successes” are too numerous to mention.

I’m so thankful and proud of all our volunteers and our collective achievements this past year. Thank you for your service. And thank you for letting me be part of it.

Benjamin Sawa

P.S. A very special thanks to the following people. Couldn’t have done it without you guys!

  • Sarah McGillicuddy for her leadership and planting of the seeds of change
  • Anna Luciano for her unwavering support and dedication
  • The Boston BOD for exemplifying the true meaning of service
  • Julie Pampuch & Amanda Payne for their friendship, mentorship, and commitment to collaboration
  • Boston Past Presidents for their insight and continual engagement

And finally to all of our volunteers, members, and anyone that was part of SMPS this past year. Thank you all!

The SMPS Boston Board of Directors for 2014-2015

The SMPS Boston Board of Directors for 2014-2015


Benjamin Sawa is the Director of Marketing at GEI Consultants. He served as President of SMPS Boston in 2014-2015.

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