Session 05: Closing the Deal

Date: February 07, 2020
Location: 700 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
Led by: Tanya Ally and Krutika Shah

Downloads: Session 05

Through a series of presentations and activities the session covered topics such as branding, presentations, business development, and networking for different types of businesses and us as individuals in the industry. The first two presentations of the day focused on tools to develop ourselves professionally as we take on new roles and responsibilities in our careers – from the values of good presentations to using your own personal ‘branding’ to better represent yourself and your firm. A quick tour of the venue provided an opportunity to move around. A discussion with the project’s architect informed scholars about the architectural approach and how the building’s design was adapted during construction for incoming tenants. The day was rounded out with a panel discussion with four industry professionals about business development strategies – including the importance of building relationships, having a plan, and following up.

Presentation #1 – How to Capture your Audience by David Gerson

The first presentation of the day was by David Gerson, the Chief Brand Officer for Inscape, and centered around the art of presenting. David walked through his tips and tricks on how to focus your audience while not being over the top or demanding and emphasizing the importance of speech control. Before any presentation there are steps you can take to be successful, including arriving early with ‘tech support’, introducing yourself to members of the audience to learn names because “people want to hear their own names,” and PRACTICE. He also showed how pacing your speech, inserting pauses, and asking questions can keep members of the audience more engaged for an overall more successful presentation.DSC_0059

Presentation #2 – Brand & Beyond by Laura Ewan

Laura Ewan, Director of Marketing and Communications at Hickok Cole, presented on the importance of marketing and branding for any individual and company to further your future or the future of an office. Laura introduced what a brand really is – Mission, Culture, Projects, and People – and how having these topics developed is important for the office to be able to move in their desired direction. We were reminded that a firm’s brand “is not what you say about your office but what others say about your office”. We learned that we market ourselves through our ‘What, How, and Why’ and of the importance of not only being brand ambassadors for our firms but also advocates for our personal careers in our ‘elevator pitch’ and social media profiles.


Presentation #3 – Building Tour of 700K by Siobhan Steen

A quick building Tour of 700K at Anthem Row with Siobhan Steen, a Project Manager from Hickok Cole, demonstrated how the building was developed and the design adapted during construction to meet specific client needs – tech companies occupying the lower floors to support the new neighboring Apple store at Carnegie Library and law offices on the upper levels. Working with the existing structure, the design team made major structural changes at the upper level to expand square footages and allow for wider bays. The expansive entry lobby was created by removing part of an existing second floor, changing the level of the first-floor slab, and relocating the main entrance from a previous pedestrian entry around the corner.


Presentation #4 – The Art of Rainmaking – Panel with Kathleen Coxe, Brad Marson, Barbara Miller, Laura Roth moderated by Krutika Shah and Tanya Ally

In the final activity of the session, Tanya and Krutika moderated a panel with a group of local business developers from the design and construction industry. Each of the panelist explained how their company has approached business development, which varied across their respective fields, and shared insights into how they learned to set themselves apart from the competition. Kathleen Coxe spoke about how their team has a company meeting at the beginning of each year to make goals for each month and how individual offices across their network respond with a planned approach based on their local industry. Brad Marson spoke about how attending conferences and meeting people working on the specific types of work they are interested has helped broaden their client field at Wiencek Associates. Barbara Miller and Laura Roth both discussed the importance of keeping in touch with clients, consultants, and new contacts because one day they could be the person who gives you a job or recommends you for one. Barbara noted that she was once told that only about one of every ten people you meet at a networking event may follow up, so FOLLOW UP!