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Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Leadership.  An intimidating word!  You’ve been hearing your whole life that you should be a leader, not a follower.  But what does being a leader really mean?

Leaders inspire others.  They can identify a problem before it gets out of control. They find a way to connect with others and take them where they need to be.  They are the decision makers.  They show their leadership through results, not talk.  And they know how to achieve goals. A really great leader motivates people to do things they didn’t even know they wanted to do and leaves them with a feeling of personal accomplishment.  They let others shine.

In this world where we are too often more interested in taking the credit then accomplishing the goal, it is difficult to be a good leader.  It’s hard to put the objective ahead of ourselves and let others get the praise.  But if it was easy, everyone would do it. 

John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  SDA embodies this sentiment by providing an opportunity for both to all members.  Who has inspired you?  What leadership role are you motivated to try next?  

Wendy Callahan is the Director of Financial Analysis

with Davis Brody Bond LLP in New York, NY

Tags:  Leader  Leadership  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Who Do You Have on Your Personal Advisory Board?

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 12, 2015

I came across the following article and thought the message, Developing Your Personal Advisory Board, is so similar to how SDA members network and connect with one another that I had to include it in this month’s blog. Collectively, we as SDA members, give and get solid advice and productive feedback from one another, we promote and learn leadership skills to help accelerate our successes, and support each other in our personal and professional goals. 

When I was reading this article, it made me think of the offices I have held as a chapter and national officer and serving on chapter and national committees where I’ve learned for myself how SDA is its own advisory board. The criteria above on how to select your personal advisory board is enlightening, which makes me hope and wonder if I am unknowingly on someone’s advisory board.

Do you have a personal advisory board? Who do you call for advice and what’s the best feedback you ever received? Who has encouraged you or inspired you in your personal or professional life? I’d love to hear your stories.


Natalie Newman is the Office Administrator for Jensen Hughes in Anaheim, CA.

She currently serves as the SDA National President.


Tags:  Career Coaching  Peronal Advisory Board  Professional Advice  SDA 

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Make Your Bed

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 20, 2015



I just heard a very short address by Admiral McRaven to the University of Texas called Life Lesson #1. In a short 90 seconds, he explained the importance of making his bed properly in boot camp. “It isn’t going to change the world in the short term,” he said, “ but it could change your life.”

The life lesson is, if you can master one simple, mundane task to perfection, if you make your bed in the morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day, it will give you a small sense of pride, and encourage you to accomplish another, and then another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will turn into many tasks completed. And making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things.

And if by chance you have a miserable day, you’ll come home to a bed that is made – that YOU made, and encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

So if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

What little thing can you start mastering today?



Betsy Nickless, CDFA, is the Business Manager for Mark Scheurer Architects in Newport Beach, California and is a member of the SDA National Past Presidents Council. 

Tags:  change the world  Life Lessons  make your bed  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Creating a Habit

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 30, 2015
Updated: Monday, April 27, 2015

Does your desk look like a tornado?  Mine usually does because I am a paper pusher.  I take papers and then I process them and they leave my desk, but in the meantime my desk looks unorganized.  I have tried many different ways to keep my desk cleaned off of the paper because the as the saying goes… ‘a messy desk means a messy mind’.  I am normally a very organized person and I can put my hands on the item that I am looking for on my desk within about 20 seconds.  But…

As I get older, it is driving me crazy.  I made a deal with my brain.  I would try to keep my desk mess to a minimum.   I knew that I had to create a habit of cleaning my desk and that it would take me 21 days.  After 23 days, I have done a pretty good job of keeping the paperwork to a minimum.  I have created a one touch policy – only touch the paper once and don’t put it in a pile (this has helped the most).  I have also started sending people to the correct person instead of work flowing through me.  The one thing that has stood out in this process is how impressed everyone has been on my progress and that they noticed.  So I ask myself, "Why didn’t I do this years ago?"

What about you?  Is your desk neat and tidy, or full of piles of paper?   Share your greatest tip for keeping a clean desk in the comment section below.



Sabrina Heard, CDFA, is Office Manager with Randall-Paulson Architects in Roswell, Georgia. She currently serves as the SDA National Treasurer. 

Tags:  Daily Habit  Organization  Society for Design Administration 

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Welcome to the New SDA Blog

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 20, 2015
Updated: Monday, April 20, 2015

Selecting a Mover – the Make or Break of Any Office Relocation

By: Sarah Wallace, CDFA, LEED Green Associate

One of the most intimidating responsibilities facing an office manager can be an office relocation.  And one of the most important decisions you have to make is selecting the relocation company.  Here’s a quick recap from my selection process.

Step 1:  Confirm all the Details

When your company prepares for a move, you will certainly get inundated with phone calls from several office relocation companies who are anxious to set-up a meeting right away.  I recommend that you wait until you have the basic parameters of the move confirmed (date, items to move, items to liquidate, etc.)  I downloaded the Office Relocation Checklist from the SDA website to help make sure I addressed all aspects as I went through the process. 

Confirm the available times for office relocations with both your existing and new property management companies.  Often times they require moves to be after business hours or on the weekend.  You will need to coordinate the selected date with your IT and Telecommunications to ensure your infrastructure has the required time to ensure they are operational when needed.

Confirm what items are to be relocated from work stations to contents.  If there are items that will not be relocated, perhaps there is an opportunity to negotiate with the new tenant for these items or you can request a separate quote for liquidation of those items when you meet with the relocation companies.

I put removable stickers on all items that either said “Move,”  “Stay,”  or “Donate” to assist with easy identification during walk-throughs with moving companies and the new tenants.   

Step 2: Meet with at least 3 movers

I set-up appointments with prospective movers 6 weeks prior to the move and they all provided full proposals within a week following our meeting.  I asked other SDA members in Atlanta for recommendations, which was also a great resource.  I created a simple spreadsheet listing the proposed services and total anticipated costs for all companies.  Be sure that you clarify if the proposed amounts are “not-to-exceed” or if you will be charged for additional time if your move exceeds the anticipated amount of time. 

We actually had two separate moves; the first was our storage unit, and the second was the office itself.  I would encourage you not to underestimate the intangible value of repore when you evaluate the proposals.  While all the proposals were relatively close, I selected a mover based on the positive repore and great customer service.  Moving can be stressful; and after spending a full 10 hours just moving the storage unit, I was extremely grateful that I had such a great repore with our move coordinator. 

Step 3:  Ancillary Services

Many relocation companies provide additional services from hanging pictures in your new space to computer relocation specialists if you don’t have your own IT team, and even document storage facilities.  Be sure you ask about any additional services you might need so they can be included on your original proposal. 

These are a few simple steps as you get started in the relocation process.  What additional advice do you have for others who are facing the daunting challenge of an office relocation?



Sarah Wallace is the Controller for Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein Architects, an Atlanta-based boutique architecture firm specializing in high-end residential and mixed-use development.  She is the current SDA National President.



Tags:  office move  office relocation  Society for Design Administration 

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