- Member, SMPS-NY
- Communications Committee
As an active member of our chapter and a significant asset to the communications committee, September’s Member of the Month is someone you should get to know if you don’t already! Serving as the Marketing Manager at Vidaris, Inc., Michelle Maxwell has transitioned her architecture background into her work as an effective A/E/C marketer. Her enthusiasm for design, ability to connect with people, and drive are all critical elements to Michelle’s success within our industry. Let’s read below, as Michelle has shared some of her thoughts and ideas with us.
- Where are you from originally and what brought you to New York City?
I grew up in South Haven, Michigan (Check it out! It’s the quintessential quaint beach town on Lake Michigan), a city of around 4,000 people in the winter and 10,000 in the summer thanks to tourism. After completing architecture school at the University of Michigan, I worked for an architect for a year in an even smaller town in Michigan, called Richland – population: 801 – helping create 3D models for high-end residential work. It was during this time that I really began entertaining the idea of moving further than 2 hours away from home. Being an indecisive person, I can’t tell you the one thing that brought me out to New York, but I can tell you three things that played a big part:
i. I wanted a big city experience having lived in a very small town most of my life
ii. I wanted to explore architecture (my degree) in one of the best US cities to do so
iii. I wanted to be with my boyfriend/now fiancé who had already moved out to NYC for medical schoolOctober will mark my 4-year anniversary with New York <3 and I am so happy to be here and experiencing all that the city has to offer.
- What motivated you to join the Communications Committee and what is the committee currently working on?
Alexis! We met for drinks at the Ace Hotel and she won me over. The committee is divided into subcommittees for managing the SMPS NY website, collateral materials for events, and email blasts – so something is ALWAYS going on, especially now since September is the start of a new year for the chapter. I am a part of the email team, helping Erika with the weekly emails. The communications team is amazing and everyone truly supports each other; I highly recommend checking it out!.
- What are some challenges that you face daily in your career and how do you overcome them?
As Vidaris’ Marketing Manager, and the only employee within the Marketing department, I am very busy – with tasks including (but not at all limited to) maintaining our website, assembling qualifications packages, running social media, managing our events calendar, placing advertisements, and leading two groups at Vidaris: Pulse (which is focused on maintaining a great company culture) and VIEW (an acronym for Vidaris Inspiring and Empowering Women, a new women’s group that was recently launched). Not only do I have to coordinate deadlines for each of these tasks, but I also have to coordinate with the schedules of our principals and division heads as most times I need their approval or input. And don’t forget the frequent fire drills that come in! Prioritization is critical – and I have really had to learn to say no (not today) because saying yes to everyone was stretching me too thin; I couldn’t focus on one task well, and I wasn’t having a proper work/life balance. Organization and communication have proven key for performing my role as efficiently as possible. I have also found that a planner is my solid rock, reminding me of the day’s priorities. For those who love florals, Rifle Paper Co. is my go-to.
- What degree(s) do you hold, and from what school(s)?
Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!).
- Describe your perfect Saturday.
Spending the day at my family’s cabin on Saddle Lake with family and friends. We would go swimming, tubing, kayaking, grill out for dinner, and start a bonfire at dusk to roast marshmallows.
Interview by: Elise Martos, Director of Marketing and Communications for Dominick R. Pilla Associates PC