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SDA National President's Message - December 2018

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 17, 2018
Updated: Monday, December 17, 2018

SDA National President, Susan Lankey, CDFA is back with her December President's Message. Be sure to check it out to learn the latest happenings at SDA National and share your comments in the box below.

Tags:  President's Message  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Holiday Party Smart Talk

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2018

 As Toastmasters, we are taught that all speaking is public speaking.  Whether we are doing a prepared speech, practicing impromptu speaking through Table Topics or counting “ahs” and “ums”, we recognize that all conversations can benefit from a little practice and preparation. 

I recently came across an article about how to “Talk Smart at the Holiday Office Party”. Here are a few of the conversation faux pas that the author suggests we watch out for to keep our careers on track during the holiday party season as well as year-round:

Making inappropriate comments, even in jest. Remember that an office party is a business situation and business etiquette rules apply. Using sexual innuendo or telling off-color jokes at the holiday work party is a sure-fire way to attract the wrong kind of attention.

Not shaking hands when the opportunity presents itself. When introducing yourself or greeting people you know, do you hesitate to extend your hand when you meet a member of the opposite sex?  Not offering to shake hands with them will peg a man as a sexist and a woman as unsure of herself. Therefore, at office celebrations and everywhere else for that matter (except for religious, cultural or physical reasons) both men and women should take the initiative to shake hands with everyone they meet. And make sure the handshake is a good strong one that exudes confidence.

Talking only with your officemates. Chatting with your work buddies for a few minutes is part of the fun but staying with your closed circle too long could cast you as cliquish, not interested and not open to outsiders. Staying on one place too long may give the impression that you are shy, self-conscious or lack confidence. Instead, chat with your friends for a few minutes then move on to work the room and introduce yourself to others you want to get to know better.

Complaining or gossiping about colleagues or clients. It’s tempting and may even be well-deserved, but never get involved in a gripe session while attending the holiday office party. It’s obvious, but people seem to do it all the time, especially after a few drinks.  Even if you aren’t doing the complaining, being part of the group could cost you a great price. Try to politely excuse yourself from the conversation as quickly as possible, or at least take the initiative to bring up something that changes the conversation to a more positive topic.

The holiday office party is a great place to make small talk and build better relationships with coworkers, clients and other acquaintances.  Focus on topics that lead to sharing comment interests, goals and experiences and you’ll have plenty to talk about. For more conversation faux pas to avoid, read the entire article “Talk Smart at the Holiday Office Party” by Don Gabor in the December 2009 issue of Toastmaster Magazine using the link here.

Do you have any holiday party conversation tips? Share them in the comment box below.



Stephanie Kirschner, CDFA is the SDA National Executive Director.



Tags:  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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SDA National President's Message - November 2018

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 8, 2018
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2018


SDA National President, Susan Lankey, CDFA has prepared her November President's Message to share the latest happenings at SDA National. Be sure to check it out and share your comments in the box below.

Tags:  President's Message  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Welcome to Our Newest SDA Members!

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 5, 2018
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2018

Please join us in welcoming our newest SDA members who joined in the month of October:

First Name

Last Name






Orange County



Kara Mann

Member-at-Large - Chicago, IL



PBK Architects

San Antonio



Radium Architecture

Member-at-Large - Greenville, SC



Forrec, Ltd.

Member-at-Large - Toronto, Ontario




Orange County



Huntsman Architectural Group

New York



Cooper Carry




TWO CPAs and Consultants

Member-at-Large - Columbus, OH

Be sure to connect with our newest members on SocialLink and encourage them to join in our many discussions!

Tags:  New Members  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Thoughts on Learning and Learners Everywhere!

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 8, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2018

As I reflect on the past several weeks, I have been thinking about learning. I’m sure we all have stories of our own “Back to School” moments. In my own life, my grandson experienced a first of many “Back to School” poses for social media as he embarked on his learning journey with his first day of Pre-School. With excitement in his eyes and butterflies in his tummy (I suspect), no doubt he will experience many ups and downs along the way. His life-long learning journey has begun! My newest daughter-in-law to be has begun her Residency in Atlanta this past August. With a passion for oncology research for women and ethnic minorities (she hails from Colombia, South America), she will be an awesome Doctor! Her learning journey continues…she recently admitted to us that she would be perfectly happy to continue cracking books and studying her entire life – aha! A true-life-long learner!

I’m not getting any younger…learning keeps my brain going, so I consider myself, by necessity to be a life-long learner. We’ve all heard about learning styles – that process of gathering, sifting through, interpreting, organizing and storing information. I recently read an interesting article entitled "Learning Styles" from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching, suggesting that one’s learning style is really tailored to the content of the instructional content, and we can all find value in all types of learning. That notion really makes sense to me – using the kinesthetic learning style for painting or woodworking classes; visual activities must work well for a course in geography or map-making; reading activities would be great for a course on American Poets; and my favorite – haul out the old turntable and put those auditory skills to work with activities for a class on the music of The Beatles. I have always found myself drawn to an eclectic mix of musical tastes – I love a good Chopin Nocturne, and my favorite bands run the gamut – from Green Day to AC/DC to The Eagles. I can really embrace the fact that we might all have a bit of every learning style in us. With that in mind, I encourage everyone to take a class this next year just to develop one of those learning styles that might be hiding out in the dusty crevasses of our brains!

One more thing – if you haven’t already been certified by SDA, take this opportunity to consider signing up for the Certified Design Firm Administration (CDFA) exam – this winter might be a great time to brush up on your learning skills, plan to take the test next May during EDS19, and work towards earning a very useful certification at the same time!

What learning are you planning to do in the coming months? Tell us in the comment box below.



Marie Tomala, CDFA,  is an Associates and the Data/Project Analyst at Cuningham Group Architecture in Minneapolis, MN.

She also serves as the 2018-19 SDA National Secretary.


Tags:  AEC  Lifelong Learning  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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