SMPS Moments — My First SMPS Friend

By Nicole Apel, O’Day Con­sul­tants, Co-Chair, Pro­fes­sion­al Devel­op­mentapel

SMPS Moments are a series of blog posts that high­light the val­ue that our col­leagues receive by being mem­bers of SMPS. This month, we meet Nicole Apel from O’Day Con­sul­tants. Nicole is the co-chair of our Pro­fes­sion­al Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee.

In fall 2001, I joined the AEC indus­try in San Diego Coun­ty as a Mar­ket­ing Coor­di­na­tor for a small envi­ron­men­tal firm in Carls­bad. My boss Lisa sug­gest­ed that our Mar­ket­ing Assis­tant and I attend an upcom­ing SMPS lun­cheon. I knew noth­ing about SMPS beyond her enthu­si­as­tic rec­om­men­da­tions, but she had so many pos­i­tive things to say about SMPS, that we gave it a try.

We arrived at the Dou­ble­tree in Mis­sion Val­ley (the same one where we still meet!) at 11:30 for reg­is­tra­tion and net­work­ing. The area out­side the ball­room quick­ly filled up with well-dressed men and women who all seemed to know one anoth­er. There were lots of hugs and smiles and waves all around. For the first time in many years, I was intim­i­dat­ed.

My colleague—a bit on the shy side—was look­ing to me to lead us both in the net­work­ing and I was com­ing up emp­ty. For the first time in many years, my palms were start­ing to sweat. What to do! Thank­ful­ly, a very sweet young lady came over and intro­duced her­self. “Hi. I’m Heather with IMS,” she said bright­ly. I wasn’t just relieved, I was saved! I admit­ted we were new and she assured us this was a very friend­ly group and we should have no trou­ble get­ting to know oth­er mem­bers.

Every­one we met that after­noon had the same nat­ur­al friend­li­ness that came so eas­i­ly to Heather. I don’t remem­ber the top­ic the pan­el dis­cussed that after­noon, but I do remem­ber the kind­ness showed by so many that helped me feel wel­come.

Over the next few months, Heather intro­duced me to sev­er­al oth­er mem­bers who also became my long- time friends, includ­ing our cur­rent Pres­i­dent, Cather­ine McCul­lough. I real­ized SMPS was as awe­some as my boss said and a great place to make new pro­fes­sion­al con­nec­tions. I will always be grate­ful to Heather, my first of many good friends in SMPS.

If you’d like to share your “SMPS Moment,” con­tact Olga Fish­er, Mem­ber­ship Com­mit­tee Co-Chair.


3 comments on “SMPS Moments — My First SMPS Friend
  1. This is great, Nicole! Thanks for shar­ing on why SMPS has been a place where you’ve built valu­able con­nec­tions. I’m so glad you kept com­ing back!

  2. Evelyn Shields says:

    As an EX SMPS mem­ber, with fond mem­o­ries of the remark­able peo­ple I have met there, I feel com­pelled to chime in. New to the Indus­try, many years ago, I too felt total­ly over­whelmed at my 1st SMPS meet­ing. It is there, how­ev­er, that I made good friends w/ so many incred­i­ble pro­fes­sion­als AND learned SO much. Please be sure to nev­er for­get the gra­cious wel­come that Heather and Cather­ine extend­ed to you, and wel­come new or ret­i­cent peo­ple to the group. Fur­ther­more, con­cern for oth­ers, makes you get beyond your own inner inse­cu­ri­ties. Good wish­es for much suc­cess to all of you in your jour­ney. Eve­lyn Shields

  3. This is a great series. Please keep them com­ing. It also fur­ther demon­strates that pow­er of sto­ry to allow us to get to know, like, and trust peo­ple.

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