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A Day in the Life of a Programs Committee Volunteer

As the premier professional association for AEC Marketers, SMPS Boston is full of fun and creative leaders, who join the organization in search of opportunities to help elevate their marketing game. As any member begins to evaluate the best ways to get more involved within this community, a committee is normally the first place to start.

Scroll through the list: Education, Communications, Membership, etc, some of us spy the Programs Committee and think, “An event planning committee…sign me up!” Upon arrival at their first meeting, they walk into the team members catching up on daily lives, weddings, kids, vacations and the latest proposal drama. The new member is giddy with excitement to see what party they are planning that day. The meeting begins and discussions about sponsorships, speakers, panelist, venues, and attendee outreach swirl in the air. It becomes clear there is much more to the Programs Committee than meets the eye!

The Programs Committee is tasked with planning events for the Boston AEC community relating to latest trends hitting the marketplace. Whether it be Science and Technology, Higher Education, or even How to Brand a Building, we have thought of them all. Once the topic is confirmed, the committee works closely together to plan and provide a program that is intriguing and thought provoking for all those present.

It starts with a concept and then moves into who will lead the discussion. Would a moderated panel work best? Or just one main speaker? Who will best appeal to our audience? Have the spoken to the organization before? The target speakers/moderator are then approached and brainstorming begins.

As the program outline is being developed, we look into creating target goals for audience and attendance. It is with that number that we can narrow down our venue options and start to contact spaces to reserve. Loyal SMPS members are always the first to sign up, while SMPS’ E-Flyer and abundant social media posts create a buzz. The final push comes from the committee members who get creative on how to spread the word and entice people to register. Through a swarm of emails, phone calls, and social shares the event nears its target attendance.

In the weeks leading up to the program, it takes a village to coordinate the travel of the speakers, plan the food and beverage with the venue, and ensure attendee name tags are stuffed and ready for pick up. The morning of the event, with the help of coffee, the team assembles the room and prepares the registration table while awaiting guests’ arrival.

The I’s have been dotted and T’s are crossed as the speakers begin putting the months of planning into motion. As the program goes off (almost) without a hitch, the volunteers could not be prouder of what they’ve accomplished as a team. With high-fives and hugs, they head off to start the day at their full-time jobs and begin to think about next event.

Each SMPS leader pushes through demanding deadlines, in their own lives and careers, while maintaining the deadlines and responsibilities of being a part of this professional organization and committee. Any new member to SMPS or to the Programs Committee will quickly know they are involved in an organization that cherishes friendships, mentors others, and sets them up to be successful in their career. Each member takes the time to reach out and nurture others and it all begins from the first time someone steps into a program that leaves them saying, “How can I get more involved with these amazing people?”

Interested in learning more about the Programs Committee? Come to their next event or contact Sarah Shields about becoming involved:


Sarah Shields is the Architectural Account Representative for Dal-Tile Corporation serving the Downtown Boston and Cambridge communities. She has been working within the A/E/C industry for 8 years as both a Business Development and Marketing professional. A passion for learning, hard work and meeting new people has allowed her to grow a strong and supportive network - giving her the opportunity to travel throughout the United States serving different companies and market sectors.

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