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Building Your Networks

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 17, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2018

What does the term “Networking” mean to you? Does it conjure images of going to a social function where you awkwardly stand around waiting to find someone to talk to? Or do you think of it as something only our firms’ marketing and business development staff are responsible for, so you, as an administrative professional, don’t even think about it?

While we would hope that our firm’s marketing and business development staff would be busy networking 24/7, the reality is that it everyone’s responsibility to network on behalf of their firm. Relationships are often the key ingredient to firms learning about projects as well as winning those projects.

Below are some common, easy and effective ways to begin building your networks.

Social Media. Think of your favorite platforms and start using them to connect with others in our industry. My personal favorite one is LinkedIn because the focus in on building your business/professional network. You can easily check your feed a few times a week to see who is doing what, find out about industry events, who has started a new position, great articles to share with others, and other people that you can invite to join SDA. Make sure to check through the suggested people to connect with that LinkedIn provides you. You might find out that the person you went to college with years ago is now a vendor that you have been thinking about utilizing for office supplies (this actually happened to me)! Don’t forget to utilize these platforms to join SDA’s social media sites:





 Company/Industry Events. Meet and get to know others better by introducing yourself to the presenters and other attendees at:

  • Corporate parties
  • Corporate education sessions
  • Project meetings
  • Receptionist duties

How are you connecting with others in SDA through your chapter meetings, EDSymposium, canstruction® and other associated events and opportunities? Are you introducing yourself and offering help to your fellow members? Almost two years ago, I was offered a great opportunity for at a different company because of my connections through SDA.


Personal Networks. Your very first network began with your family and from there you began building your friend network. These are some of the very best networks to grow and nurture. What opportunities await you and your family as you share that Thanksgiving turkey? How about graduation parties, weddings and even funerals? These are some of the biggest and best networking opportunities because people often ask you what you do for work or what your interests are.


Many of you also have some great hobbies and volunteer in your communities. Who are you meeting and getting to know through those great activities? How can you leverage your knowledge and skills to help others out?

You have so many networks that you have already worked hard to build, including your network through SDA at both the local chapter and national levels. Consider reaching out to others in your chapter to discuss how you can better network both as an individual and as a chapter. You will begin to see many new opportunities come your way by putting even a little extra effort into it.

What are you doing to expand your network? Share your methods in the comment box below.



Danika Larson, CDFA, is the Executive Assistant to the CEO at

Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc. in Minneapolis, MN.


Tags:  Connections  Networking  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Welcome Our Newest SDA Members

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 30, 2018

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


First Name Last Name Chapter
Ruth Escobedo San Antonio
Christi Hallman Seattle
Erica Hobbs San Diego
Carolina Luna San Diego
Alexa McDonnell Dallas


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

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Welcome Our Newest SDA Members

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Please join us in welcoming our newest SDA members:


First Name Last Name Chapter
Cassandra Alvarez Member-at-Large
Jeannie Carrasquillo New York
Paige Chaussee Minneapolis/St. Paul
Marie-Claire Correa New York
Misty Emler San Antonio
Kendall Kettle Dallas
Sopha Lim Dallas
Kaitlin Medley Portland
Brian Rothmeier New York
Susan Rowe Seattle
Sheila Wharam Member-at-Large
Danielle Winkelmann Seattle
Tonya Wollschleger Seattle


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

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That One Thing

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

With deadlines approaching and multiple requests hitting left and right—Anne, are you going to be able to get to that letter today?  What about that Task Order?  Can you review this contract now and provide comments by three o’clock?  I have a meeting at four—I’ve reached the inevitable conclusion that there isn’t enough time to get it all done on a given day.  Why couldn’t I get that one thing accomplished?  It was the first thing on my “to do” list!  I sometimes jokingly refer to this phenomenon as work-induced A.D.D. 

Yes, I’m a user of the “to do” list.  I write it out every day, usually the day before, so I can focus on those items that need to be accomplished, either that day, or during the week.  If I don’t, I stress out and my poor little brain won’t turn off at home because I worry about forgetting something that needs to be done at the office. 

I go to work.  The day is progressing and I’m moving fast and furious.  The wheels are turning and things are moving right along.  I’m productive, right?  Sure I am, but I’m looking at my list, now modified with multiple pen colors; check marks here; additions there, and there’s that one thing, still undone.  I tell myself it’s the next thing I’ve got to do, before anything else—except there’s another email request.  It will only take a minute to shoot a response back.  A phone call.  A quick drive-by question from a co-worker.  A need to clarify something from someone else at the other end of the office—need to catch them while they’re actually in the office.  Two hours have gone by and I still haven’t gotten to that one thing. 

It isn’t just me though so I’m readdressing something basic that I touched on quite a few years back in a Behind the Design article.  Most of us (if not all) juggle time management on a daily basis. 

More and more often, I wonder why I’m unable to accomplish everything I need to.  Where does the time go and why can’t I get more of it?  Well, first things first: time doesn’t go anywhere.  It isn’t lost and I can’t get any more or less of it.  I’m living it. 

Time management is not about managing time, it’s managing myself around it.  I did a little research into the matter and came across some very helpful hints I thought I would pass along.

Time management is crucial in business (time is money) as well as on a personal level.  Too often, how we spend our time is only thought of in terms of “What am I going to do today?” and “What should I do next?” 

The first step in effective time management is not to develop a schedule, but instead develop a time strategy based on a short list of priorities every day.

How long will it take me to accomplish that one thing and what do I need in order to get it done?  How do I work best?  What time of day gives me the most focus?  

Me, I am easily distracted by “bright-and-shiny” email.  Now, I turn off outlook for the duration it takes me to accomplish the task. 

Establishing priorities is subjective, especially when dealing with activities that are neither urgent nor particularly important in relation to other tasks requiring immediate attention.  Take a look at the job that just isn’t getting done and see if it can be redefined in terms of the ultimate benefit received for doing it. 

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a procrastinator when it comes to a few things needing to be dealt with.  There are many reasons why: I haven’t really committed to doing it; I’m afraid of doing it; I don’t place a high enough priority on doing it; I don’t know enough about it to do it or, I just don’t want to do it. 

The fewer priorities I focus on at once, the more productive I am.  Multi-tasking is great in theory, and a popular trait to list in job descriptions but does it work?  Not for me, or at least, not anymore.  My role is now specialized whereas twenty years ago in my career, I was trying to discover my niche and could juggle more.

Next, try to make sure day-to-day issues don’t push priorities.  Constant interruption kills any hope of effective time management.  (Earplugs might be helpful.  Mine are shaped like headphones.  Oh wait, they are headphones!) 

I have learned that it is best to be prepared for the unknown events that will inevitably pop up: the last minute project my boss plops on my desk needing to be done now.

Finally, it is important to keep career life and family life separate.  In doing so, you can create a value-based time management plan.  In layman’s terms: spend more time on what you value most.  Make a list of what is important to you.  How much time do you devote to the top three priorities on your list?  Does the way you spend your time truly reflect your values?  Are you mistaken about your priorities?

So, with all that, I can safely say that I successfully got that one thing done and off my “to do” list.  Whew…

Check out some valuable SDA resources available to you for items that might be on your “to do” list:

Share your tips in the comment box below for getting things accomplished in your daily world!



Anne McNeely,  CDFA is the Project Administration Manager

for Fentress Architects in Denver, CO

Tags:  SDA  Society for Design Administration  Time Management  To Do List 

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Welcome Our Newest SDA Members - February 2018

Posted By Administration, Sunday, February 25, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Please join us in welcoming our newest SDA members:

First Name Last Name Chapter
Wanda Albert New York
Carlton Burton Member-at-Large
Nora Carey Minneapolis/St. Paul
Makenzie Finks Baton Rouge
Emily Meyer Seattle
Sandra Moore Portland
Michelle O'Brien Orange County
Sarah Poquette Minneapolis/St. Paul
Michelle Ruddy Atlanta
Sasha Shipman Orange County

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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