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Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

“It is not a lack of resources; it is a lack of resourcefulness that creates many roadblocks.” The wise words of my first boss that has played a thousand times in my mind since hearing it for the first time over two decades ago. The lessons we learn from mentors that stick with us throughout our career is often priceless. 

Certainly, this was one message that prompted my pragmatic and analytical approach to resolving problems.   In advance to making informed decisions that I must stand behind, I aim to ensure that I am turning over the "appropriate amount of stones" to arrive at the best choice for the team and ultimately our firm. Of course, research takes time, especially when the paralysis by analysis kicks in. Google will only tell you so much. However, I have found much solace in reaching out to others who do what I do, within the same industry, every day.  Since 2010, the information that I have received from SDA members has saved me time, money and provides a higher degree of confirmation that I am on the right track to making well-informed decisions. Let me share a recent example with you. On Social Link, I posted a question about a new tax law called the Qualified Business Income Deduction (QBI), that I and our CFO were having a hard time understanding. I did some minor research and concluded it would take days if not weeks to do enough research to lay it all out for our team in a meaningful manner. Within a day or so of my post, Sarah Wallace FSDA, LEED Green Associate, shared with me an entire presentation on the subject. It answered most questions we had on the QBI deduction. Her quick response and the information she shared saved me hours, which equates to money, and helped our finance team make a knowledgeable decision on how to move forward with our end of year tax planning strategies. 

What a fantastic and valuable resource we are to each other, and each other’s firms. Over the years, my most valued asset in my resourceful tool-box is SDA and the members we represent. I’d encourage you to embrace this aspect of the SDA experience. Being backed up by the knowledge of hundreds of business professionals in the A/E/C industry is a win-win for your professional development, building your credibility, and ultimately helping advance your firm. Thank you, SDA!



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

She currently SDA 2018-2019 National President-Elect

Tags:  Resourcefulness  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Welcome to Our Newest SDA Members

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Please join us in welcoming our newest SDA members:

First Name Last Name Firm Chapter
Jennifer Belman INNOVATE Architecture & Interiors Hampton Roads
Terri Bolner Marmon Mok Architecture San Antonio
Erica Collins CallisonRTKL Seattle
Stephanie Deaton Warner Summers Atlanta
Maryann Elizondo GB Geotechnics USA Inc New York
Dani Greene Kathy Andrews Interiors, Inc. Houston
Lisa Harris Perkins Eastman Architects New York
Malika Junaid M Designs Architects Northern California
Desiree Lee Perkins Eastman Architects New York
Kristi Litton Perkins Eastman Architects Orange County
Sandra Milligan Conceptual Design and Planning Company, Inc. Orange County
Molly Poes Cosentini Associates New York
Devaki Rani Sakhamuru Energy Consulting Advisors Member-at-Large, North Olmstead, OH
Jasmine Seaman Rolluda Architects, Inc. Seattle
Martha Szekley J R Miller & Associates, Inc. Orange County
Becky Whiting Ferguson & Shamamian Architects New York
Tiffany Woodruff Perkins Eastman Architects New York

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

Tags:  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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SDA National President's Message - January 2019

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2019

It's a new year and SDA National President, Susan Lankey, CDFA is back with her January 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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Word Nerd: Is it Assure, Ensure, or Insure?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Word Nerd:  Is it Assure, Ensure, or Insure?



There is a difference between assure, ensure, and insure. In my experience, the more troublesome words are ensure and insure. Ensure has to do with making sure something’s going to happen or not; insure has to do with purchasing some type of insurance to recoup some loss of something. Assure means you will promise something.


Can you use them in a sentence, please? Why yes, I can; here are some examples:

  • I know I haven’t attended the last two Membership Committee meetings, and now that my workload has lightened, I can assure you that I will attend next week’s meeting.
  • You said we gained two new members last month for a total of 40 members in our chapter. I can assure you that’s not correct, and here’s why: Even though our membership list shows those as two new members, I checked and HQ said it has not yet received their membership fees. So they are not official members until HQ receives their payment, which may or may not happen this month; thus we only have 38 members in our chapter.
  • The company announced the new phishing button will be installed within the week. “We want to ensure that employees have an easier way to report suspicious emails, and the PhishAlarm plug-in from Microsoft Outlook will do that for us. It will forward the message to our IT Service Desk and auto-delete the message from the employee’s inbox,” said the company’s president.
  • To ensure we increase our chances of gaining more chapter sponsorship, Jim has agreed to reach out to all of his associates in Washington.
  • Before we hold the A/E/C Scavenger Hunt, we should insure the Board of Directors for up to $100,000.
  • Now that HQ has a permanent location to work from, please insure the building with extra hurricane coverage.

For more about these words, Merriam-Webster is a good place to start.

Bonus info! Did you know that two of these Word Nerds are on the red flag list, according to AXA XL (formerly known as DPIC - Design Professionals Insurance Company)? Back in the day, SDA handed out a bookmark (from DPIC) that said, “Think twice before using any of the following red flag words in your contract!” Assure and ensure are on that list.



Judy Beebe, FSDA is a member of the SDA National Membership

Committee and serves as the 2019-2020 Seattle Chapter Vice President.

Tags:  SDA  Society for Design Administration  Word Nerd 

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Be It Resolved

Posted By Administration, Saturday, January 12, 2019
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2019

It’s that time of year again.  The time when we make resolutions to lose weight, take charge of our finances, manage our time more effectively, etc., etc., and etc.  We all make resolutions to improve something in our lives at the beginning of each year.  In some cases, we maintain these resolutions throughout the year.  But more often than not, they will fall “by the wayside” fairly quickly.  Our intentions are good, but our ability to “stick to the knitting” often falls short.

According to historians making a new year’s resolution is a tradition that may date back nearly 4,000 years to Babylonian times.  It is reported the Babylonians believed that whatever a person did on the first day of the year would have an effect on their lives that lasted throughout the year. 

This tradition continued with the Romans when, in 153 B. C., Julius Ceasar set January 1st as the date for making new year’s resolutions to honor the Roman god Janus, a two faced god.  It was believed Janus could look backwards to the past while simultaneously looking forward to the future.  Janus is the god of beginnings, transitions, doorways, gates, and endings.  The month of January, viewed as the beginning of one year and the ending of the prior year, is named after Janus.  This was seen as a symbolic time to make resolutions for the upcoming year. 

Why do we continue to make resolutions?  Even though the success rate for New Year’s resolutions is reported to be less than 20%, nearly half of all Americans do make at least one New Year’s resolution.  Reasons cited for making resolutions include the appeal of a fresh start; the idea of improving yourself; or just because it’s a tradition.  Most resolutions are somewhat vague. We promise to quit smoking, to stop eating junk food, or to lose weight.  Or we resolve to start an exercise program, volunteer in our community, save (or earn) more money, or just to enjoy life. 

The one common denominator in each of the goals listed above is they often do not include any way to measure their effectiveness.  In order to achieve any goal it must be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.  Those individuals who really think through what they want to achieve and set clearly defined parameters that allow them to measure their progress, enjoy a much higher success rate.

Alternatively, there are those among us who just refuse to make New Year’s resolutions.  The main reason cited for not making even one resolution is that we are doomed to fail.  Certainly we can all understand their reasoning.  Why set a goal when you cannot imagine yourself succeeding?

So at the beginning of this New Year 2019 we can choose to do nothing.  We don’t have to set any goals or make any resolutions.  But for those among us who wish to restart the clock and set about reaching our full potential, we can and should consider making a New Year’s resolution.   For me making resolutions in the New Year is the triumph of hope over experience. Best wishes for a happy, prosperous, and successful new year!

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” - Abraham Lincoln.

"New Year's Day. Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." – Mark Twain

Please share your thoughts on New Year’s resolutions in the comment box below.  Did you make any for this year?  Why or why not?



Marsha Witherspoon, CDFA is the Business Manager for Cole & Denny Architects in Alexandria, VA.

She currently serves as the 2018-2019 SDA National Treasurer.





Tags:  Goal Setting  Resolutions  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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