What do Nora Jones and Rap Music Have To Do With AEC Marketing?

Who inspires you? Who do you look up to? Is there someone you’d like to be in five years?

My biggest professional inspirations are two beautifully and talented women, who are taking the Central Florida AEC marketing world by its reigns. Carrie Davis of Hensel Phelps and Alycia Pollock of H.J. High Construction are SMPS SUPERwomen! Carrie is currently the President-Elect for SMPS Central Floridaand Alycia is the Director of Communications for SMPS CFL. Both are extraordinary ladies who are dedicated to their profession and also to the AEC community. They care about the people they work with, they even take newbies under their wing (like myself) and mentor them through this crazy, fun business.

I got the chance to ask them some questions about themselves, their marketing experience and they shared some advice for new and fellow marketers.

Favorite part of working in the AEC industry?

Alycia Pollock
The beautiful Alycia Pollock

AP: What I love most about our industry is knowing about the developments that shape our community before most people. It’s like being in on a very exciting secret! So often developers come to architects, engineers or contractors with an idea that our teams get to bring to life. Those ideas go on to be iconic Central Florida establishments like Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Amway, the Orlando City Stadium, SunRail, theme parks and so many more places that our community lives their lives in.


Do you listen to any podcasts or read any blogs that you think others in our industry could benefit from?

AP: Yours! J

CD: I enjoy both podcasts and blogs. My top three are…

  1. Communiqueso – https://communiqueso.com/
  2. Help Everybody Everyday – http://www.helpeverybodyeveryday.com/
  3. Circle S Studios – http://circlesstudio.com/blog/tag/aec-marketing/

Any trade secrets or tips?

AP: Proofread, proofread, proofread! Typos look lazy.

CD: Something that has helped be tremendously is keeping lists and prioritizing things on those lists. Having a game plan or plan of attack for everyday is a huge time saver and you will surprise yourself with how much more efficient you become.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally and how did you overcome it?

AP: Being a woman in the AEC industry is difficult. Our generation has a lot that past generations didn’t but the unfortunate truth is that women still have to fight for respect in a predominately male-filled industry. I’m a big advocate for women in business removing “just” and “sorry” from their vocabulary. Don’t accept disrespect. Take your seat at the table and speak up. If the firm you’re working for has a problem with that – find another firm.

Carrie Davis.jpg
The gorgeous Carrie Davis

CD: By nature, I am not an outgoing person. So being in the Marketing Industry was a strange choice of profession for me. When I would walk into a room full of people my first inclination was to hide in a corner somewhere and hope no one noticed me. It was a struggle of mine long before I even started in the A/E/C industry. When I started at my first job in the industry my boss at the time saw this in me and I am sure that is why I was “volun-told” to join SMPS. Which scared the heck out of me but ended up being the biggest blessing. Slowly, but surely, I gained confidence in myself and my fears disappeared. Get engaged, put yourself out there, be vulnerable and you will reap the rewards tenfold.

What do you look for in a Marketing/BD/Communications coworker?

AP: In any coworker I look for someone I respect, can learn from and can laugh with.

CD: Trust. You can have the most technically savvy co-worker in the entire world but if you can’t trust them nothing else matters.

What’s something you do to help you get in work mode? 

AP: Starbucks Tea Latte (soy) and gangster rap.

CD: I have several different habits when I need to really focus on something but the one that remains constant is music. I turn on iTunes Radio and choose a station depending on what I am in the mood for, usually some variety of country music, Nora Jones, or John Mayer.

How do you keep yourself motivated and engaged?

AP: For me to stay engaged, I have to remember to disengage periodically. Take walks to break up the day. Keep a book handy and read a couple pages every now and then. Use your vacation time! It’s all about perspective.

Favorite event you’ve attended?

AP: I think my favorite event hasn’t happened yet. The SMPS Central Florida AEC Art Gala at the Orlando Museum of Art in August 2016 is going to be one for the books!

Advice to someone new to the industry?

AP: Join SMPS! Find your people. There will be others like you that want to get involved and grow. Find them, befriend them, and before you know it you’ll be vacationing together and find them to be in all your photos. There’s also a good chance you and your people will be the next generation of SMPS Central Florida leadership.

CD: I couldn’t narrow it down so here are my top four tips to someone new to the industry:

  1. Ask Questions.
  2. Be a sponge – soak it all up!
  3. Find a Mentor.
  4. Get involved on a committee.


-Courtney Franklin, Marketing Strategist


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