Mentor: Cynthia Brown, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Vaughn Construction
Length in the industry: 13 years
SMPS Member since: 2005
Why did you apply to the mentorship program?I enjoy giving back to the community that has helped me be successful in my career. I was a mentor for the first time last year, and really enjoyed the experience of watching someone else grow and learn. Plus she made me feel smart!
What do you hope to learn from each other?My protégé works in a different aspect of the industry (engineering), so it’s interesting to see the differences in how they approach new business. Their client is not always the end user of a building, like it is in construction. So I strive to understand the nuances between marketing to design teams and marketing to Owners.
How did you (or plan to) structure your mentorship? Do you meet at the same time every week? Do you have an agenda for each meeting? We meet once a month. My protégé comes to the meeting with a list of questions and topics she wants to address.
What do you like best about working in the A/E/C industry? I love the complexities and nuances of our business, and the fact that it’s an industry built on relationships and performance.
Protégé: Amanda Suehs, Director of Business Development at Gessner Egineering, LLC
Length in the industry: 2 yearss
SMPS Member since: 2016
Why did you apply to the mentorship program? As a business developer of one for my company, I felt I could learn industry standards and find a resource in a mentor. Even having someone to bounce ideas off seems like a great idea for my career development in BD. So far, I have really enjoyed my conversations with not only my mentor, but also everyone I have met through SMPS since starting the program. It has allowed me to reignite my passion for BD and I look forward to my continued relationship with my mentor.
What do you hope to learn from each other? I hope to learn how to improve my BD skills, specifically how to create a successful Business Development department for my company. My mentor can relate to my current experience because she was in a similar situation in career at one point. I am hoping to learn how she handled difficult situations, grew in her BD career, and became an expert in her field. There are unlimited amounts of information I can learn from my mentor.
How did you (or plan to) structure your mentorship? Do you meet at the same time every week? Do you have an agenda for each meeting? We have scheduled to meet face-to-face monthly, with an open invitation to reach out in between with any additional questions. It is a very loose structure currently, but we have set talking points to jump-start the conversation. Our first meeting went very well and even with set talking points, the conversation developed and transitioned naturally.
What do you like best about working in the A/E/C industry? I really enjoy the B2B aspect of the A/E/C industry. It makes for interesting and productive meetings centered on improving a project or finding a solution to a problem. It is very rewarding to see a complete project after making connections and keeping in touch with clients over the long term. Also, driving by or attending an event in a building that you helped build is a very cool feeling.