2018-19 PUMP Kickoff A Big Hit!


The Annual PUMP Kick-off was hosted on October 18 at Tasu Asian Bistro.  This social, organized by the Directors-at-Large, is an opportunity for mentors and protégés to connect and establish goals for the year.


SMPS Triangle PUMP (Partnering Up Mentoring Program) was established in 2014 by Amy Burlin, CPSM, and Kellie Ford, who envisioned a program where A/E/C marketers could find support and guidance in their personal and professional development.  PUMP is an embodiment of SMPS Research Triangle Chapter’s commitment to its members.  By participating in a mentor-protégé relationship, members gain career insights and build relationships with fellow industry professionals.


Starting its fifth year, PUMP has nine pairs of mentors and protégés.  Mentors range from first timers to those returning for a second year, third year or more.  Lauren Guy was a protégé for two years before deciding to become a mentor herself.  Pat Perkins has mentored every year since the program started.  When asked what brings her back each year, Pat says she feel she learns something from each protégé.  “The relationships are mutually beneficial – the more experienced person gains insight from the newer-to-the-industry protégé’s questions and concerns and the protégé has the opportunity to discuss their questions in a “safe space.”

As a first-time mentor, I am honored to join this impressive group of professionals as we offer our experiences and lessons learned:

  • Jennifer Barker, CPSM, WK Dickson
  • Kim Fowler, CPSM, Falcon Engineering
  • Tracey Gould, MS IMC, CPSM, Froehling & Robertson
  • Cara Greening, Stewart
  • Lauren Guy, HH Architecture
  • Sallyann Hulick, BSA Lifestructures
  • Pat Perkins, O’Brien Atkins Associates
  • Stephen Shanks, Mosher Engineering
  • Jessica Urso, Smith Sinnett


Protégés are marketing and business development professionals at various stages of their careers.  Many hope to gain valuable insight on:

  • Results Driven Marketing
  • Proposal Development
  • Technical Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Social Media
  • Business Development
  • And much more

This year’s group of protégés include:

  • Kate Aten, Lynch Mykins
  • Kelly Brown, Ramey Kemp & Associates
  • Jess Cannon, WK Dickson
  • Justine D’Andrea, CPSM, Ramey Kemp & Associates
  • Sarah Findlay, McDonald York
  • Kylee Nolan, Lynch Mykins
  • Andrew Sowders, Apogee Consulting Group
  • Elizabeth Stephenson, Froehling & Robertson
  • Hali Whittington, CAI


The kick-off started with drinks, appetizers, introductions and an icebreaker led by Director-at-Large, Lauren Guy.  Then mentors and protégé broke off into small groups.  I will admit, I was a little nervous going into the evening, concerned I didn’t have enough to offer.  During our small group discussion, the other mentors set my mind at ease and offered guidance and support on the role.

 Protégés discussed their expectations for the coming year, and a general idea of how to get the most out of the program.  Elizabeth Stephenson, one of this year’s new protégés says “we are all very excited and hopeful to gain more insights into the A/E/C world of marketing and business development from our mentors.  Phrases like “I’m a sponge that wants to soak up everything” and “I want to learn all the trade secrets” were discussed among us.  The consensus was we are all still riding the wave of the learning curve and have everything to gain from the PUMP protégé program.

After the small groups finished their discussion, it was time for my favorite part of the evening – mentor/protégé one-on-one.  I had an opportunity to learn more about my protégé.  She is a talented and motivated professional.   This year we plan to:

  • Meet in person several times
  • Share articles, books and podcasts
  • Attend SMPS programs


The PUMP program is well designed, and participation is at an all-time high.  I am not entirely sure what to expect as a mentor in PUMP, and I can only hope sharing my experience is of value to my protégé.  I can say that after attending the kick-off, I feel prepared, supported and encouraged.  I am looking forward to the mid-year check in and PUMP Graduation!

Nikki Ricketson

Blog Post Written by Nikki Ricketson, Marketing Manager | Business Coordinator – PEG Contracting

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