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Going Deep: (Re) Discovering Passion for the Industry through CPSM Certification

By Melanie Cochrun, CPSM, GLY Construction

Thinking about going to the CPSM certification information session on Wednesday? Good for you! I bet you’re thinking: what’s in it for me? I’m here to give you the real skinny. What will it really do for my career? Shore up your essential knowledge base – the 6 Domains of Practice – boost your confidence, and inspire you to think, plan and lead in new ways. Is it hard? It can be, if you assume you already know everything and don’t study! Should I join the study group? Yes. If you’re intrigued enough to still be reading, call Marcie Lohr right now. If you have a few more minutes, I’ll tell you how pursuing the CPSM brought everything into focus for me.

After earning an English degree – as I strongly believe that English students can be highly valuable to any job that requires strong writing skills, Melanie Cochran, CPSMcritical thinking and good communication – a series of serendipitous events led me to GLY in 1999. I was truly fascinated by this industry; a masterful symphony of planning, design and craftsmanship bringing virtual ideas to real life. Underpinning it all were relationships carefully built, nurtured and leveraged. A bona fide career I never knew existed was born.

More than a decade on the job taught me the realities of A/E/C marketing and business development, and in 2004 I joined SMPS to grow and expand my skills. By the end of the 2007-2009 recession, I became curious about CPSM certification. The CPSMs I knew were chapter leaders, roundtable facilitators, generous teachers, and role models in their firms. I wanted to take my career to that level, but wasn’t sure how to do it. I wasn’t confident I could do it. I needed validation, assurance; a deeper connection to the industry. What I needed was 360-degree expertise.

Achieving the CPSM accreditation gave me an internal compass for my professional journey. Going deep into the domains helped me identify my strengths and work on my weaknesses. I made new friends while steadily building a solid foundation for future leadership. And guess what? The beauty of requiring continuing education units to maintain accreditation ensures you’re always tuning your crystals! As a result, I’m moving beyond responsive marketing to designing and leading strategic initiatives. I find it easier to chart courses for success, easier to remove obstacles that get in the way. But perhaps most importantly, as a CPSM I feel confident, relevant and connected.


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  1. carla thompson

    Dec. 15, 2013

    Thanks for your blog post, Melanie, and congrats on all your success at GLY--a firm I respect a lot. As a CPSM, you've set a great example: Everyone needs to take personal responsibility for their career and professional development--no one will hand it to you. And no one could ask for a better CPSM mentor than Marcie. Cheers to you both!

  2. Estrella

    Dec. 3, 2013

    Agreed. It not only gave me a boost in overall industry knowledge, but I believe a certification eventually will lead to a pay raise.

  3. Gail Kinner, CPSM

    Dec. 3, 2013

    Great post, Melanie! And I completely agree...A personal investment in a "professional journey" worth taking!


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