Kirsten Haas

Marketing Director

Acoustic Distinctions

Kirsten Haas
  • Member, Professional Development Committee
October’s Member of the Month is a seasoned A/E/C industry professional who has brought her years of experience to our New York chapter. We are honored to have Kirsten Haas as a member of our professional community. Her talents have extended into her work with the Professional Development Committee in addition to her full time role as the marketing director at Acoustic Distinctions. Let’s read below as Kirsten has shared some of her thoughts and ideas with us.

[expand title=”Click here to read the interview…”] Where are you from originally and what brought you to New York City? Technically, I am a native New Yorker – conceived in an elevator during a blackout (which my mother continues to deny, but, hey, the math works out and it makes for a more interesting story) and born 8 ½ months later in NY Hospital. I grew up in upstate NY (Binghamton) where I earned an MBA in Arts Management. After spending 15 years as a displaced Yankee in Atlanta, GA, I returned to NY to help my mother recover from knee replacement surgery. A colleague turned me on to the opening at AD and thus commenced my stint as a NYC resident on the uber west side (Washington Heights). How has being a member of SMPS influenced your career? Since becoming a member in late 1996, SMPS has been my go-to resource for staying on top of standards of practice and industry trends. Attending monthly programs supplemented knowledge gained from school and reinforced my visibility in the built environment community. Working side-by-side with my peers (and competitors) on chapter initiatives helped broaden my perspective, motivated me to excel and established strong personal relationships that have prevailed for 15 years+. SMPS involvement resulted in invitations to be part of countless project teams my employers otherwise would not have been part of – and eventually landed me in my current position at AD. In all 7 national conferences I’ve attended, being exposed to exciting thought leaders fueled my propensity to challenge the status quo and leverage my creative side to bring out the best in myself, my co-workers and peers. Can you describe for us a typical day as the Marketing Director at Acoustic Distinctions? The beauty of my current position is that each and every day is different. AD is a 17-person specialty consulting firm (acoustics and AV System design) that works in a broad spectrum of markets nationwide (arts, culture, education, corporate, broadcast, mixed-use and worship). My position requires that I wear many hats and I’ve assumed a change agent role and hands-on approach to bring order out of chaos. After launching a new brand a year ago, I am the pain in the ass (PITA) that holds everyone up to the promises associated with positioning as integrated design leaders dedicated to enhancing the end-user experience. I’m about “keeping it real” (genuine connections) and I champion the mantra “Keep Moving Forward”. On any given day, I counsel, write, chug (out proposals/quals), teach, coach, edit, explore, gather data, assess, poke, prod, read / discover, motivate, conceive, re-think, challenge and test ideas. One week, I’m kicking out 15 RFP/Q responses that dropped in our lap – all wanting something right away – the next week I’m strategizing the thought leadership portal to the firm website including navigation infrastructure and crafting provocative headlines for subsequent content population. After two decades of (what feels like) crisis management, I am perfecting the art of striking harmony between downtime, go time and go-go time. Can you tell us more about your involvement with the Professional Development Committee? Working in New Rochelle, I felt isolated from the Chapter community and figured that involvement on a committee would bring me out of “the fringe”. I surmised that aligning myself with the champions of TME would be a good starting point. In my year on the committee, I’ve written a few blogs, attended PD events, and been a regular participant in PD monthly meetings. I contribute different perspectives and ideas to assure that PD offerings are fresh and inspired. I validate good ideas too – as the best part of being part of the PD committee is learning from people newer in the industry than I am and gaining a better understanding how they see the world – after all, their perspective is what ultimately drives the future. As I see it, the purpose of the PD committee is to generate offerings more on the cutting edge of industry practices to draw the thought leaders of our community into the fold and get them more actively engaged in re-defining our standards of practice. Describe your perfect Saturday. Awake refreshed from a coma-like sleep. Take the dog for a long walk that includes a romp through unpaved terrain where we can do some casual bird watching/listening. Enjoy a leisurely brunch with accompanying full-bodied mug of coffee that is so good I can bypass adding half and half. Adventure mode commences (preferably on a bicycle or boat) to rendezvous with close family / friends and spend good quality time laughing at ourselves. My 3 young nieces in Queens are always good for that. A swim in the ocean would be awesome – particularly if conditions are conducive to body surfing. Evening highlights include a hearty meal and high spirits. The day concludes with cascading onto a freshly made bed with clean linens and fluffy lavender-scented comforter. [/expand]