Lean on your friends. Lean on your family. Lean on your network. Lean. Lean. Lean. There is nothing wrong with seeking support in volatile times. So many aspects of our lives are currently not the norm. Not typical. Not predictable. And to great extent, not recognizable. Our potential feelings of instability are valid. It is at these times that we must lean on our people! And yes, connections are different. Communication is different. Your people are still there. Trust me. Perhaps more than ever. It is with this thought in mind that I highly recommend truly embracing your ability to connect. This is when you need your people the most. And they need you. I didn’t want to get too hokey or cliché about being thankful in this President’s Platform. That said, I’m going to say it. I am truly thankful for the mechanisms in place that bring us together, including SMPS. Virtually? Yes. Distanced? Yes. But still together. Thankful for the technology, though as we know a bit iffy at times, that enables us to stay connected.

Your SMPS, as a whole, does this on a tremendous scale. Think about the all the people in the SMPS network, which reaches every region of our country. The sheer volume of expertise, comradery, and friendships that exist. New members experience this locally at first, and over time it naturally expands wider and wider. Until you get to the point where you have friends you can call on and count on to answer virtually any challenge, share advice and resources, and celebrate our professional, and yes, personal, wins. SMPS is way more than a professional organization – although it is very much that, in spades! It is also an incredible community that becomes a constant throughout your professional journey. At the chapter level, you develop the day to day, week to week, relationships forming bonds that can get you through pretty much anything. I speak from experience. And again, I am so very thankful.

It’s pretty amazing to me how even during our current circumstances, our dedicated leadership and committee volunteers continually strive for excellence in all that we do. Operating a large chapter is not easy, and yet our board of directors shows consistent passion and drive to truly be there for our members. We have adapted in so many ways over the last nine months. This flexibility has challenges along the way, and we support and help each other to achieve success. This manifests itself in many ways. I’m so proud of our chapter’s events so far this year, and of what we have in store in the months ahead! I hope you have been able to take advantage of some great programming and wonderful community-building events.

As our holiday season begins, I hope you can build upon the many ways to stay connected. Leverage the technology we’re lucky enough to have. Seek commonality to bring groups together. Build and expand community. SMPS-NY has some great events coming up designed to bring us together and strengthen the ties that bind. On December 1st, our NJ Affiliate will host the next in their series of Knowledge Sharing – Creative PR Strategies for AEC Firms, during which members will share their expertise followed by discussion and questions. Then on December 3rd, we invite everyone to join us for our virtual Home for the Holidays: 2020 Holiday Party, where I promise a great time will be had by all! On December 10th, our Leadership Committee presents Visionary Leadership – Leading your Virtual Teams to be Effective in 2021, which is a timely and welcome topic! And finally, on December 16th, we continue our Virtual Meet & Greet series, during which we meet chapter leaders and network with our peers. A great way to top off the year, connecting with our colleagues and friends.

As we bundle up more these days, it’s more important than ever to find ways stay connected. It’s vital to spend time with your people. I have learned to lean. And hope others will lean on me. It’s our community that keeps us grounded. SMPS is here for you, lean on us! And I thank you for being part of our tribe!