Fab Friday Feature: Dana Galvin Lancour, FSMPS, CPSM

When I think of Dana Galvin Lancour, FSMPS, CPSM, the word “build” comes to mind. And it’s not just because she’s a longtime team member at Barton Malow Company, a national construction firm. Dana has built a successful career and a strong personal brand, and she builds up others through her efforts. 

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Over the past several years, I’ve collaborated with Dana on initiatives for the Society for Marketing Professional Services and other organizations. As early adopters of social media in the design and construction industry, along with Adam Kilbourne, FSMPS, CPSM, we co-researched and co-wrote a white paper on the topic for the SMPS Foundation Whitepaper. We’ve also presented together for SMPS, AIA, and Engineering News-Record’s Groundbreaking Women in Construction conferences. Through these interactions, I’ve observed Dana’s humble, yet driven approach that makes a lasting impact on both her company and her industry. 

Dana is a great example of a marketer who has grown into a key leadership role that impacts her firm on many instrumental levels. As senior director, marketing & communications at Barton Malow, she leads a robust team as well as a range of initiatives that includes workforce engagement—an ever-important issue that has become critical in today’s climate. Her leadership sets a positive example for professional services marketers to lead strategic efforts for their companies. 

Quick with a smile and encouraging words, Dana takes a genuine interest in others and their success. Through mentoring efforts and a long list of publications and presentations, Dana generously shares her expertise and knowledge, helping others learn from her expertise. In an effort to recognize and celebrate the excellence of marketers’ work, she initiated an awards program for SMPS Michigan, and four years later, led its transition into a regional program. It’s now a key part of the Heartland Regional Conference, and I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact it makes, recognizing marketers’ accomplishments and inspiring them to excel in future efforts. 

Dana says it can sometimes be challenging to be a woman leader in the male-dominated architecture, engineering and construction industry, but the key is to stay positive and focused on what you can impact and control. 

“As my team has expanded pretty significantly in the past year, I’ve worked to focus on my mindset and how my attitude can impact their work,” Dana says. “The following quote is something I think about all the time and it even sometimes trickles into my personal life: ‘Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets IN them. Don’t let what is happening around you get inside of you and weigh you down.’ #StayUp!” 

I appreciate Dana's friendship and leadership and how she has inspired me to stay positive and to keep building! 

When it comes to professional and personal growth, I owe much to those who inspire me. The Fab Friday feature highlights just some of the women I admire in the design and construction industry. 

The Benefits of Having a Quest

The first month of the year might be over, but it's never too late to set some goals! If you’re like me, in January, you make a list of what you want to accomplish over the next 12 months, both personally and professionally. This year I intend to look at that list more frequently! 

Another list is consistently on my mind. As I’ve mentioned in a previous Hashtag 59 post, my husband, Jamie, and I have a goal to eventually explore all 59 US national parks. It’s an aspiration we share with many folks we’ve encountered around the country. 

Initially calling this our “Bolton Bucket List,” I recently rebranded it as our national park quest, because the word “quest” invites a spirit of adventure and exploration. By definition, a quest involves searching for something. But even if you’re not trying to find a tangible thing, a good quest helps you find out more about yourself. 

Whether it’s visiting all of the national parks or achieving another compilation of experiences, it’s important to have at least one quest in life, for many reasons. Here are a few. 

   
  
    
  
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  At the top of Paintbrush Divide (10,700 feet) in Grand Teton National Park. This hike was a quest in its own right! 

At the top of Paintbrush Divide (10,700 feet) in Grand Teton National Park. This hike was a quest in its own right! 

A catalyst to pursue personal passions

I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of achieving items on lists. Whether it’s crossing off groceries while shopping, tackling my weekend “Holly-Do List” or trying the top 10 restaurants in my city, I love the satisfaction of checking the box. But when we’re thinking about what we want to accomplish in life, many of us focus on professional goals, from action plans at the office to the leadership positions we want to attain. How often do we make lists and set goals about what we want to experience?  

Growing up, my family didn’t take vacations, so when I started working, I rarely took time, off until friends taught me what it was like to go on a trip and explore new places. This quest is a reminder for my husband and me to step away from our busy work schedules and pursue something we’re passionate about. And it comes with the satisfaction of checking off a list!

Our checklist! We’re making progress. 

Our checklist! We’re making progress. 

Unexpected experiences and continuous learning

Another benefit of our national park quest has been experiencing new places—parts of the country we might not have visited otherwise. During every trip, we learn so much about geography, geology, the ecosystem and history. We encounter inspiring and interesting people. It’s an eye-opening experience that helps us appreciate the beautiful surroundings our country has to offer. 

Another benefit of working through a list of new places and experiences is how it shapes other areas of life. Jamie and I take this “uncharted territory” approach to shorter trips, as well. When we want to take a quick day hike or weekend camping trip—while we definitely have our favorite destinations—we also look at state parks or trails we haven’t visited in the state or region.  

Having a long quest means tacking national park visits onto other trips. I would’ve never thought about going to  Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks  in the winter, but we were so glad we did! And I learned to snowshoe. 

Having a long quest means tacking national park visits onto other trips. I would’ve never thought about going to Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks in the winter, but we were so glad we did! And I learned to snowshoe. 

Creating memories and rituals

The end of the year is a typical time for traditions, whether it’s purchasing an ornament, watching a certain movie or attending an event. Traditions and rituals aren’t limited to holidays, however, and can emerge from quests. For example, at each park, we take a picture of the park sign, buy a patch, and get our park stamp. When we’re sitting around the campfire, we write poems about what we experienced. And when we get home, we hang up our patch and update our national park poster.  

Your quest doesn’t have to involve another person to be meaningful. But when it does, you can experience rituals together and create shared memories to look back on.

Holding up 20 fingers for the 20th park we visited (note: we did not match our clothes on purpose).

Holding up 20 fingers for the 20th park we visited (note: we did not match our clothes on purpose).

Some of the national park patches we’ve accumulated, in order of the visit. 

Some of the national park patches we’ve accumulated, in order of the visit. 

If you decide to plan a quest, it’s important that it’s something you’re truly passionate about, or it becomes an obligation. And if you make a list and don’t end up achieving it or decide to change course, don’t beat yourself up about it. The most important part of a quest is not completing it, but experiencing it.  

This post originally appeared on Hashtag 59, where I'm a contributing blogger. If you're in to adventure travel, hop on over and check out the site! 

Fab Friday Feature: Karen Courtney, AIA, FSMPS

I experienced an Indy 500 of my own in May of 2003. Rather than racecars, my husband and I were driving our own vehicles 500 miles from the Kansas City area to our new home in Indianapolis. Even though the move was for my husband’s new job, I had landed one, too, thanks to the networking power of the Society for Marketing Professional Services. After contacting the Indiana chapter president to ask about industry job openings, I was fortunate to connect with Karen Courtney, AIA, FSMPS, then director of marketing at BSA LifeStructures. The years I spent working with her—and the years since—have been integral to who I’ve become as a professional services marketer.

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Initially interested in my experience with a customer relationship management system, Karen quickly discovered that my true passion was writing and focused my role at BSA LifeStructures into that of a marketing communications coordinator. She engaged me in efforts that made use of my public relations degree and love of writing—working with consultants to get the firm published, writing and editing articles and marketing materials, and preparing for conference presentations. In addition, Karen encouraged me to pursue presentation opportunities of my own and increase my involvement in SMPS.

Beyond being an encouraging and empowering leader, Karen also taught me early lessons about marketing strategy and the importance of doing the right things, not just doing things right. Many firms in the architecture, engineering and construction industry are guilty of focusing primarily on the proposal phase of the marketing and business development process. As a result, they can shortchange integral efforts related to strategic marketing planning, awareness building and positioning. Karen’s comprehensive approach to marketing “beyond proposals” heavily influenced my perspective and my path.

Now chief marketing officer at Fanning Howey, Karen’s selfless mentorship and effective leadership have inspired marketers around the country. One of Karen’s sources of inspiration is a quote chiseled into the stone of a 17th Century church in Sussex, England, “A vision without a task is but a dream; a task without a vision is drudgery; but a vision with a task is the hope of the world.” Karen influences others with her visionary perspective combined with an action-oriented approach, and I’ll always be grateful that she has made me a better marketer as a result.

When it comes to professional and personal growth, I owe much to those who inspire me. The Fab Friday feature highlights just some of the women I admire in the design and construction industry. 

Fab Friday Feature: Carrie Walden, PE

The magazine Civil + Structural Engineer recently named Carrie Walden, PE, senior project manager at CE Solutions, as one of their 2017 “Rising Stars in Structural Engineering.” From what I witnessed working with her at CE Solutions for eight years, she has been a rock star for a long time. 

When it comes to providing professional services—like that of structural engineering—the technical solutions are only part of the equation. Carrie has always impressed me with her ability to solve complex problems and effectively communicate with her clients and consultants. All the while, she builds lasting, genuine relationships by the way she interacts with people and how she truly cares about their wellbeing.

Carrie and her family have moved to different cities and states over the years, but she has remained a dedicated employee of CE Solutions, mastering the challenges of working remotely before the concept was common. And while I already had respect for Carrie, it multiplied even more after I observed her in action, doing fieldwork for one of her concrete repair and restoration projects—conditions that definitely require some grit.

Carrie and her son Alex. 

Carrie and her son Alex. 

In addition to being a wonderful mother to her three children, Carrie invests in the future generations by regularly visiting elementary schools to teach students about structural engineering. For the last two years, she has led CE Solutions’ participation in “Passport to Hi Tech.” The event at Conner Prairie is geared toward getting girls interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math—fields that need more women represented.

"Success is rarely a single event by a single person, but rather consistent effort over a course of time with many influences and impacts from other people along the way,” Carrie said. Often inspired by scripture, she encourages others to “...run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1)."

Congratulations to Carrie for being named a Rising Star and being an inspiration to women in the design and construction industry, both for today, and tomorrow! 

 

When it comes to professional and personal growth, I owe much to those who inspire me. The Fab Friday feature highlights just some of the women I admire in the design and construction industry. 

Fab Friday Feature: Kathy E. Berryhill

I was attending the 2015 banquet for the Indianapolis ACE Mentor Program, when a confident, articulate high school senior approached the microphone to present her school’s project. I immediately became a fan.

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Kathy made such an impression on me that when I was chairing a seminar, “What’s on TAP 2016,” she instantly came to mind to address our theme of attracting and retaining talent in the design and construction industry. At conferences and programs, we typically hear from post-college professionals, but I wanted a speaker who represented the next generation.

As expected, Kathy’s presentation was the perfect finale to the event. Her take on industry opportunities and hurdles combined with her energetic delivery and stories made for an unforgettable presentation. I’m grateful that D Scott Media, Inc. recorded Kathy’s presentation at “What’s on TAP” and am happy to share it with you as part of this month’s feature.

Since then, I’ve kept up with Kathy and her path. An incoming junior majoring in construction management with minors in business administration and communications, Kathy has already gained exposure to multiple facets of the industry, having worked for Repro Graphix and served two internships—one at ERMCO in Indianapolis and another she’s currently wrapping up at Turner in San Antonio. She’s attended Greenbuild, given more presentations, and continued her involvement in the campus residence hall and student government associations, all while working for Chick-fil-A and as a student crew leader for Ball State Dining.

Kathy has a lot going on and—to take cues from her TAP presentation—I’m thrilled that she decided to play (and excel!) in the design and construction industry sandbox.

When it comes to professional and personal growth, I owe much to those who inspire me. The Fab Friday feature highlights just some of the women I admire in the design and construction industry. 

Fab Friday Feature: Deb Kunce, FAIA, LEED AP

The second I met Deb Kunce—several years before she started CORE Planning Strategies—I admired her welcoming confidence and could tell immediately, “she has it together.”  

As I’ve gotten to know Deb in the years since, that admiration has only amplified. In founding CORE, she’s assembled a top-notch team of professionals that combine their technical expertise with a strategic approach to help owners manage the complexities of site development and facility projects. In addition to her busy schedule advancing projects for owners, she also helps advance careers through mentoring and serving in multiple professional and community organizations.

In the following video, Deb talks about how she advanced her own career by discovering what she was passionate about and how that aligned with her technical skills. 

What about you? What do you love about your profession? How can you translate that into value for others?  

When it comes to professional and personal growth, I owe much to those who inspire me. The Fab Friday feature highlights just some of the women I admire in the design and construction industry. 

Fab Friday Feature: Lora Teagarden, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

When it comes to professional and personal growth, I owe much to those who inspire me. To pay it forward, I’m starting a new tradition on the 3chord Marketing blog by regularly highlighting women I admire in the design and construction industry.

Lora Teagarden

To kick off this feature, I’m starting with Lora Teagarden, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, project architect at RATIO in Indianapolis and owner of L2 Design, LLC.

I first met Lora at a local meeting of the American Institute of Architects a couple of years ago. Lora and I share an affinity for social media, and she recognized me from my Twitter photo. We became fast friends, and since then, I’ve been impressed by Lora’s unquenchable ambition, her understanding of the importance of marketing, and her passion for helping aspiring architects on their paths. The AIA agrees, having recently awarded her with the 2017 Young Architect Award.

In addition to working full-time for RATIO, Lora is an active blogger and social media participant and author of AREsketches™ Visual Study Guide, Volumes 1 and 2, which help aspiring architects prepare for their registration exams through sketches and content. As a non-technical marketer, architecture fan and visual thinker, I’ve enjoyed learning from her publications. In addition, Lora takes time to invest in her own professional growth, and—on a personal level—in her historic Woodruff Place home she is renovating.

“Perseverance has always got me through,” Lora said. “That seems obvious based on the definition, but the reality is that you never know how far you can go if you don't push for just one more step.”

Keep pushing, everyone! And keep your eyes on this blog for next month’s Fab Friday Feature.

Lessons from a Logo: the Curse of Knowledge

The final 3chord Marketing logo (top left), the first iteration (bottom right), and a peek at how we got there. 

The final 3chord Marketing logo (top left), the first iteration (bottom right), and a peek at how we got there. 

Nearly one year ago, I was sitting at a local restaurant with my colleague, Travis Davis—a talented designer and my coworker at CE Solutions. We were meeting to brainstorm logo ideas for soon-to-launch 3chord Marketing. I wanted a logo that was consistent with my personal brand. And given the musical metaphors behind the company name and considering my fascination with logos featuring hidden messages—I wanted to have some fun with the symbol.

With brews as our muse, Travis and I sketched out logo ideas that incorporated guitar picks and music notes, but kept coming back to my favorite concept—a guitar body outline creating the three in 3chord Marketing. We came up with a concept we both liked, high fived, paid the tab, and Travis’ next step was to translate our sketch into a graphic with the help of his design software.

After Travis drafted the logo, it was time to get feedback. We looked at the logo and clearly saw “3chord Marketing,” but wondered… what about people who didn’t know the company name?

They didn’t see the three. And it was interesting to witness their reactions.

When I asked people if they could tell what the logo said, most of the time, they replied, “yeah, Chord Marketing!” But to the people who knew my company name, the three was obvious. “How did they not see it was a three?!” a family member asked. 

The reason: a cognitive bias called the Curse of Knowledge. When we know something others don’t, we forget what it’s like not to know, and we subconsciously assume others understand the situation at the same level we do.

Those of us who knew the company name were primed to see the three. But most of my audience wouldn’t see what we saw, so Travis and I needed to take a different approach. We made some changes to the thickness of the three and—most importantly—reduced its size, setting it in line with “chord.”

That did the trick. Right away, people I surveyed responded with the correct company name.

Being sensitive to the Curse of Knowledge helps us communicate and manage our relationships more effectively. And when it comes to connecting with our audiences, there’s no such thing as too much clarity. As it relates to the communication strategies and tactics in your organization, consider the following actions to overcome the Curse of Knowledge:

  • On a macro level, conduct internal and external perception surveys to understand your firm’s reputation and compare it to your own understanding and assumptions. Where are the gaps?
  • Use specificity and the power of stories to provide clarity in your content.
  • Engage contacts who haven’t been involved in your project (like my logo reviewers hadn't) to review your messaging or approach and provide feedback on how it resonates. 

The Curse of Knowledge is common, and with today’s multitude of interactions and the speed of incoming information, opportunities for miscommunication abound. But being aware of this bias is the first step in addressing it.

What techniques have you found helpful in addressing the Curse of Knowledge? 

SMPS Marketer: "From A/E/C Firm to Owner: Lessons Learned from Both Sides of the Table"

Over the past several years, I've enjoyed meeting, working and building relationships with many talented professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction community. Some of these professionals have made the transition from working at A/E/C firms to working for owner organizations, or vice versa. Every new role and experience provides the opportunity to increase perspectives, so I decided to interview a few professionals who have made that change, to learn what it’s like being on the other side of the table. 

I was honored to interview the four professionals featured in this article published in Marketer, a quality journal available to members of the Society for Professional Services Marketing. And I was thrilled to discover that--to supplement the text--SMPS chose photos of projects designed by RATIO and captured by Susan Fleck Photography--I'm a huge fan of both. 

Enjoy this article, "From A/E/C Firm to Owner: Lessons Learned from Both Sides of the Table" © 2016 SMPS; Marketer, The Journal of the Society of Marketing Professional Services, October 2016. www.smps.org.

(Click the icon in the lower right corner to view in full screen). 

The paths we take... and make

The barbs are worth it to get to the other side. 

The barbs are worth it to get to the other side. 

My mom still lives in the house I grew up in, five miles outside of my Missouri hometown. The house and its flower-filled yard, along with two bayed buildings now used for storage, front an acre of timber where the sun sets. When I go back to visit, I retrace the paths I traveled as a kid, like the trail that led the way from the house to my dad’s shop, where he repaired and restored cars. And the path to the barbed wire fence I would climb to explore our neighbor’s property. With streams, ponds, boulders and meadows--as well as wandering cattle that cut down the overgrowth--it was worth it to risk the barbs (and the chance of getting caught trespassing).  

My mom working in her office at UCM. I loved visiting her at work. 

My mom working in her office at UCM. I loved visiting her at work. 

My dad, a business owner who preferred writing on walls. (Those are pencil marks behind him). I inherited both traits. 

My dad, a business owner who preferred writing on walls. (Those are pencil marks behind him). I inherited both traits. 

Crossing the fence to business ownership has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I met it in 2016 by starting 3chord Marketing. Maybe the entrepreneurial spark came from my late father, who started and ran his own auto body business. And my mom was instrumental in my journey, instilling in me the value of working hard and unwittingly putting me on a path to a marketing communications career. When she became a single mother, Mom started her career as an administrative assistant at the University of Central Missouri. While spending time at her office (usually after serving detentions and walking to campus to ride home with her), I’d envision the day I would go to college.

To bring in more income, Mom sold Home Interiors, and I witnessed her presenting at meetings, helping customers and working hard to manage it all so we could keep the only home my sisters and I had known. 

All the while, the free time I had as a Gen X “latch key kid” was spent with my nose in a book or a pencil in my hand. While childhood wasn’t perfect (is anyone’s?), the positive and negative experiences--and countless ones since--were all critical parts of my path. In the years since, the people I’ve met along the way have been instrumental to every accomplishment.

During the beginning of each new year, mantras and advice abound, like “live in the moment” versus dwelling in the past, and “approach every day with a spirit of gratitude.” While mindfulness and gratitude are important, reflecting on the paths we’ve traveled and the relationships we’ve built should be part of the process, helping us appreciate where we are now while inspiring us for the future. As da Vinci said, everything connects to everything else.

As we transition to 2017, take some time to reflect on the following questions: 

  1. How did you get here? What life experiences and relationships were integral to who you are today? (And have you thanked those people lately?) 
  2. What were some of the positive experiences and successes of 2016? How did they come about? Why were they positive? 
  3. What were some of the challenging moments of 2016? What did you learn from them? 
  4. How can you apply what you’ve learned from both the positive and challenging experiences to your personal and professional goals and action items for the future?

I find this activity to be motivating and fulfilling to do during the transition to the new year, storing the top moments, lessons learned and goals in an easily accessible Google Doc I can review and update periodically. If you take me up on this challenge, drop me a note and let me know what you think. And if I can support you in any of your goals, let me know that, too! 

Wishing you all the best as you travel your paths in 2017.