SDA e-Wire
Blog Home All Blogs
Welcome to our new SDA Blog which we've called the e-Wire. We hope you enjoy the insights and information that will be shared here by our authors. Be sure to leave a comment and share with others.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: SDA  Society for Design Administration  New Members  President's Message  Word Nerd  EDS19  Leadership  EDS18  PPC Grant  EDS17  Emergency Planning  Networking  Organization  Resolutions  SDA National  To Do List  Welcome  A/E/C Contracts  A/E/C Industry  Accounting  AEC  Annual Business Meeting  Belayer  Berkley Design Professionals  Better Person  Better Writer  blockchain technology  Boost Visibility  Business Contingency Planning  Business Continuity Planning 

Welcome Our Newest SDA Members - January 2018

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Please join us in welcoming our newest SDA members:

First Name Last Name Chapter
Jennifer Bang Orange County
Amber Barber Baton Rouge
Carlton Burton Member-at-Large
Nora Carey Minneapolis/St. Paul
Eve Collins New York
Clarissa Eckart Atlanta
Maryann Elizondo New York
Natalie Esfandiary Houston
Carlos Granados Member-at-Large
Rachel Hernandez Atlanta
Jessica King Seattle
Angie Lawley Member-at-Large
Kate Meehan Member-at-Large
Abigail Nickle Hampton Roads
Sarah Poquette Minneapolis/St. Paul
Michelle Ruddy Atlanta
Keri Scott Portland
Victoria Teplitz Denver
Stephen Watson San Diego
Jenny Weaver Member-at-Large

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Get the Most Out of Your Meetings

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I recently read a blog article entitled "Five Secrets of Great Leaders Who Get the Most Out of Meetings" that I found to be helpful. It had the basic, essential information that everyone who runs meetings should follow, but I thought it might be especially timely as most of our chapter boards are transitioning.Through my SDA journey, I have been a part of many committee meetings and these tips are essential to committee chairs and board leaders. Obtaining the skillset necessary to run an effective meeting is a big part of learning to lead. Here are five key ways the article said that a skilled leader gets the most out of meetings.

  1. Everyone knows that a meeting without a clearly defined and communicated purpose is a recipe for ineffectiveness.  Successful leaders will go beyond merely providing a purpose statement. They will arrive at a meeting knowing what they need to get out of it and they will be prepared to steer the meeting in the right direction should the conversation go off-topic. A creative approach that can be useful in meetings is to map out the agenda using a visual diagram, such as a mind map, and use it to document discussion points, decisions, and action items during the meeting.
  2. A good leader makes sure everyone speaks the same language. In a meeting, it can be easy to misunderstand what others are saying. It's also easy to be misunderstood. When speaking in front of people - and, in some cases, on the spot - there is a risk that messages may come across in a skewed or less than clear way. A great leader recognizes this risk and takes steps to ensure that everyone is speaking the same language. This could include developing an annotated agenda that includes key messages, coming to the meeting prepared with speaking points, and taking the time to speak slowly and asking others to clarify any positions that seem vague. This is just as important for a small team meeting as it is for a large board meeting.
  3. A good leader is patient and encourages everyone to engage in a conversation. Imagine the worst meeting you've been to. Did the chair point fingers, assign blame, or - worst of all - resort to threats? This is no way to run a meeting, nor is it an acceptable way to treat staff. Conversely, a good leader will run a meeting in a way that fosters respect, empathy, and professionalism. Productive meetings focus on strategy, information, and decision-making.  A way to ensure this is to never go into a meeting blind. Know what the problems are before the meeting starts, so you can react in a calm and professional manner.
  4. A good leader doesn't treat differences as weaknesses. Make the most of a meeting, it's important to consistently and repeatedly focus on results and not on egos. If you demonstrate to others, through consistent actions, that you will value and respect different opinions, you will build trust and encourage meaningful dialogue. You never know from where, or from whom, the next great idea will come!
  5. A good leader buys the first round. In fostering professionalism, there can be a tendency to become distant, disconnected, and impersonal. A good leader knows how to maintain professionalism, while building meaningful relations with staff. Don't be afraid to get to know your people personally. After a tough meeting, find other ways to relax and build camaraderie. Get to know them, and let them know you, too. Meetings hold great potential. By treating each meeting as an opportunity, you can create a culture where meetings are respected and productive, and seen as a positive part of the business day. Take lessons from great leaders, and don't settle for mediocre meetings.

What tips would you add to make this list even more complete? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.




Monica Hodges, CDFA is the SDA National Past President for the 2017-2018 term.

She is the Office Manager for Barker & Associates in San Antonio, TX


Tags:  Leadership  Meetings  Productivity  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Taming the Paper Monster - My Approach

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Currently there are numerous digital tools available to (theoretically) reduce our reliance on paper in our work environments, yet personally I seem to be handling just as much paper today as I did in the past. But in this age of open office environments and limited storage space, it’s important to implement effective systems to manage the relentless flow of information.

According to Barbara Hemphill, author of “Taming the Paper Tiger at Work “, “clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” Her statement sums up my workstyle so well. I delay making a decision until I’ve figured out the smartest place to store something with the goal of being able to easily retrieve the information again when or if needed. The problem with this plan is that paper continues to accumulate in my workspace until that storage decision is made. Frustrating! Overcoming this challenge is a work in progress for me. Here is my current process for taming the paper monster on my desk.

Just like most of you reading this, my days are filled with competing priorities and multitasking. I make time to routinely review and quickly analyze the items in my inbox. My approach is similar to triage in the ER - assign degrees of urgency to what needs to be done. As I go through my inbox I use sticky notes to flag required actions such as to be copied, requires a phone call, needs approval, etc. I then clip similar action items together and do them in batch mode which is more efficient for me than handling each action individually. On reference documents, I highlight or flag the most critical info. This makes the main point obvious and saves me from having to hunt for it every time that document resurfaces. From reference items I also log brief notes into my journal notebook that is always open on my desk and is taken with me to every meeting. Having a portable central record helps me overcome the concern that once something is filed out of sight, it could slip my mind. Once I’ve jotted down the important points, the paper is then free to be filed, scanned or shredded. Finally, I have added a recurring filing appointment to my Outlook calendar as well as semi-annual shredding.

I still have too much paper clutter but these steps are helping me to make progress. I may never achieve a fully paperless office, but the more piles I can eliminate, the better.  I apply some of these same strategies to managing the flood of information that I receive digitally. Software such as Outlook, Google Drive, Dropbox and Evernote are amazing tools for categorizing and retrieving data. But in the end, the key to eliminating either digital or paper clutter is to eliminate postponed decisions. I’m working on it.

SDA has some great resources including an article in the Office Administration PEG section  "Conquering Clutter the 5S Way" and a webinar recording "Get Organized to Make This Your Best Year Yet".  Check these out when you have a chance.  In the meantime, share in the comments below your tips/tools/resources that you use to reduce the amount of paper clutter on your desk.


Consuella Clarke, CDFA, CDA  is a Project Accountant

with Rosser International in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tags:  Organization  Paper Clutter  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)

Welcome Our Newst SDA Members - December 2017

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Please join us in welcoming our newest SDA members:

First Name Last Name Chapter
Jessica Boyd Member-at-Large
Rachel Brown Baton Rouge
Dana Eddowes Member-at-Large
Michael Geary Member-at-Large
Vernie Gilmer Member-at-Large
Jennie Grunstad San Diego
Lark Hilliard Northern California
Tamara James Minneapolis/St. Paul
Joyce Larson Seattle
Anna New Orange County
Paula Ann Shawber Atlanta
Suzzette Sinclair San Diego

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  Welcome 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Paid Time Off

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017

Recently, I have been doing a lot of research relative to our Paid Time Off (PTO) policy, and I have found that many employees think that PTO is required and governed by the Department of Labor (DOL).  This reference article from the DOL website (below) helped me to clarify the issue. Did you know the FLSA only covers certain types of leave? 

There is a common misconception that Department of Labor regulates leave benefits through the Fair Labor Standards Act. But, the FLSA only covers certain types of leave. In fact, there are a number of employment practices which FLSA does not regulate. For example, it does not require:

  • Vacation, holiday, severance, or sick pay
  • Meal or rest periods, holidays off, or vacations
  • Premium pay for weekend or holiday work
  • Pay raises or fringe benefits
  • Discharge notice, reason for discharge, or immediate payment of final wages to terminated employees.

 Here is a link to the DOL page for your reference. What issues are you facing on the topic of PTO?







Brooke Simcik, CDFA, is the Business Manager for VAI Architects Incorporated in Dallas, TX

She serves as the 2017-2018 SDA National Vice President.

Tags:  PTO  SDA  Society for Design Administration  Time Off 

Share |
PermalinkComments (2)
Page 17 of 22
 |<   <<   <  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22

Shop at Amazon and Help SDA

Just click the Amazon banner image or use this link: SDA on Amazon and you'll help SDA at no cost to you.

SDA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

7014 Old US Highway 68
Georgetown, OH 45121

(M-TH 9am -4pm Eastern)