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    CPSM Week Seattle Style

    Our Chapter is proud to represent CPSMs. Want to know more about the CPSM designation? See a quick questionnaire completed by some of our very own!

    Crystal Sackman, CPSM – Brown and Caldwell

    Chris Imbeau, CPSM – Rafn Company

    Jenni Lachner, CPSM – NAC Architecture

    Elin Headrick, CPSM – Rice Fergus Miller

     1. When did you first become interested in the CPSM certification?

    Crystal: I started seriously thinking about getting my certification in 2014. Two of my bosses were certified, so they encouraged me to explore it for myself.

    Chris: Circa 2007. I was Director of Communications for SMPS Seattle and learned of the certification. I joined the study group in 2009 but due to workload at my day job I didn’t finish or test. I rejoined the study group in 2010 and took the test in 2011.

    Jenni: As soon as I joined! It was something that my boss at the time greatly encouraged.

    Elin: 2010

    2.  What was the greatest challenge to becoming certified, and how did you overcome it?

    Crystal: There are six domains and I was well-versed in a couple of them. The greatest challenge was getting my knowledge up-to-snuff in two of the domains that were my weakest areas of expertise. I overcame this by studying extensively and working one-on-one with the endlessly generous Marcie Lohr.

    Chris: Studying the domains that didn’t (yet) apply to my job. Started to think about how I could incorporate what I was learning about research and planning into my job for the future.

    Jenni: Balancing my time between my job and studying. I did participate in our chapter’s CPSM study group, which divvied the reading assignments up between all of us.

    Elin: Carving time out to study.

    3.   Give us your best studying tip!

    Crystal: I found success in reading the material, distilling it into a lengthy set of hand-written notes, and then distilling my notes again into a condensed set of notes. This repetition helped me to cement the key details in my mind.

    Chris: Don’t tell Marcie, but I crammed the night before by re-reading through all of the study materials.

    Jenni: Flash cards! I would grab a stack with me each day and study them during down time at work.

    4.  Be honest … did you pass the first time?

    Crystal: Nope! I failed the first time and passed the second.

    Chris: Yes.

    Jenni: Yes… but barely (grin).

    Elin: Yes : )

    5.  In one sentence, what is the biggest professional advantage of being certified?

    Crystal: Having one’s CPSM certification is a signet of excellence in professional services marketing.

    Chris: Being viewed as a professional in my field by my technical staff co-workers.

    Jenni: RESPECT - people in the AEC industry know what a CPSM certification means, and how much work it takes to earn.

    6.  What does being a CPSM mean to you personally?

    Crystal: For me, it represents my hard work and dedication in my career and to this industry. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am today and having these letters after my name is one way that visually represents that.

    Chris: It means that professional services marketing is my career, not just my job.

    Jenni: I see my certification as a personal AND professional accomplishment. And It has given me a body of knowledge that I apply every day in my role.

    Elin: I enjoy the network of people, learning new things, building my knowledge, and the confidence being certified brings.

    7.  How do you maintain your credential?

    Crystal: I take advantage of as many of the free SMPS education opportunities as possible, including regular attendance at Roundtable meetings, participating in the Learning Lab webinars, watching older SMPS HQ webinars, reading the Marketer articles and submitting responses, and delivering educational presentations to other Roundtable groups.

    Chris: Roundtable participation, a conference or luncheon here and there, and some webinars.

    Jenni:  Primarily through my round table, lunch programs, and other credit-earning workshops.

    Elin: I try to attend every monthly luncheon, Fellows Forum, and two SMPS PRCs for far, plus other conferences. I also read articles and do some writing.

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    1. Melanie Cochrun

      Jan. 31, 2018

      Terrific and truthful! Thanks to these four for sharing their wisdom and experience.


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