Member Spotlight: Jenifer Wonn

JCW HeadshotMarketing Coordinator at RLF architecture + engineering + interiors 

Member Since: 2014

How would you describe your role/job?
I am a Marketing Coordinator and enjoy the fast-pace, multiple-hat life. The ability to switch gears and do something different every day is a thrill. Sometimes glamorous, other times not so much, but working with and supporting talented designers on the architecture, interior design side of the industry is my passion. I enjoy the fact I have the opportunity to attend networking events and community service activities, which allows me to learn from others and give back.

What have been the challenges and rewards of your career?
In 2014, I joined the AEC industry as a lone-marketer of one. Everything was new – the terminology, firms, proposal process, databases like Deltek Vision and Adobe products such as Photoshop and InDesign, and the list goes on. I knew in that instant that I needed an organization that would provide training AND fulfill a sense of belonging.

Immediately after joining SMPS, I could not believe the amount of support I received from its members (even competitors), introducing me to new faces at networking events, taking time to share intel about the state/collegiate registers, bid/proposal process, and so forth. Additionally, the amount of knowledge I took away from SMPS events and programs gave me the confidence to try new programs on my own and develop a keener graphic eye.

Walking away from this challenge, I felt strong and capable, and have learned the value in the statement “pay it forward”, simply helping others achieve their success, which is what I strive to do as other members have for me.

What has been your most meaningful or interesting project?
One initiative I led was a national, internal “Market 101” which is a monthly webinar that’s broadcast from headquarters to branch offices, touching on each market segment the firm’s working in. As a company, we are all business developers, therefore the goal of Market 101’s was to provide knowledge to all employees of past projects, current projects, design trends, challenges within this market, who the right people are to connect consultants/clients with, as well goals for the year. After the first one, we received positive feedback from employees such as that it supported breaking down walls and allowed others to see outside of their segregated studios and into what the firm is working on as a whole. It increased collaboration, idea sharing, and overall became a great way to connect with others.

How has membership in SMPS helped you to advance your firm or your career?
Through my many relationships from SMPS, the opportunities to work with dynamic marketing teams began to present itself, as well as the opportunity to learn from talented architects and interior designers. SMPS creates these opportunities to shine whether you‘re looking to change careers or not!

What’s one thing you’d teach someone in your industry?
Be curious. Take your fellow engineers, architects, or accountants to lunch and pick their brains. Get to know them and their role, understand their personal or departmental challenges, even their client’s challenges. Invite yourself to meetings and simply listen or sit in a kitchenette around designers to emerge yourself in their world. You’d be surprised how much you learn and the amount of respect you receive be simply being curious.

What’s one question you always ask a potential employee?
At RLF, we interview as a team, because at the end of the day we are the ones who are in the trenches together! One question I enjoy asking that really adds an interesting spin to the conversations is, “It’s a Tuesday and you’re home sick on bed rest. What do you binge watch on Netflix”? You’ll be surprised how much it takes off the edge and enables comfort in the group.

What’s your favorite Central Florida restaurant and why?
I am a huge foodie and it’s always difficult to pinpoint one specific restaurant. If I had to pick one, it would be SOCO in Thornton Park. It has a great ambiance with the perfect mix of indoor and outdoor possibilities, and the food is just incredible contemporary southern comfort food. Recently moving here, I am always willing to take more suggestions – please reach out and share your favorite spot!

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