By Siokey Gastelum-Galvez, F.SAME
Working for a small business can be challenging at times. Usually in a small business, one person wears many hats, as resources and budgets are stretched.
As a result, we must be extremely selective about the networking events and conferences that we attend. We have to ensure that we get maximum benefit from the dollars we spend on marketing and networking efforts. SAME’s Small Business Conference is the one conference I have always found to be profoundly beneficial, both professionally and personally.
Education & Networking
I work as a Business and Proposal Development Division Manager for J.G. Management Systems Inc., a Small Disadvantaged Business that provides technical and professional services to the public sector. For those in similar positions, SBC provides a dynamic venue in which industry has direct access to public sector clients and potential private sector teaming partners. In addition, SBC provides enrichment by offering educational sessions that are geared towards helping small businesses grow their companies and enhance their marketing skills. These sessions provide up-to-date legal and regulatory information that affect the small business community, as well as lessons learned by other firms. These sessions also teach small businesses how to improve their proposal writing, their capabilities writing, and their approach to establishing strategic teaming arrangements (both with other small businesses and with large businesses) to make them mutually beneficial to partnering entities.
Although I have been a member of SAME for 14 years, and a volunteer at the Post, regional and national levels, the value that SBC brings to me as an individual is in the number of professional relationships that I have formed in the five years that I have been attending the annual event. I have found that most attendees, when approached, are happy to share their experience and perspectives within the federal marketplace.
These relationships have led to my being mentored by industry leaders, peers, small business owners, and large business professionals. They have also allowed me to mentor both peers and young professionals. An example of the power of these relationships: several years ago, when the company I was working for closed down its Phoenix office, I was able to reach out to my network and was employed within a week.
I also encourage small business attendees to reach out to SAME’s Small Business Council while onsite at SBC, or visit our webpage to learn more. I am honored to be currently serving as the Vice Chair of Communications for the Small Business Council. Becoming involved at the national level will help the Society in shaping the programs and activities for future small business events.
I hope to have the opportunity to meet even more passionate and driven people working within our profession. I wish you all luck at the 2018 SAME Federal Small Business Conference for the A/E/C Industry, and I hope to meet you Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in New Orleans!
Siokey Gastelum-Galvez, F.SAME, is Business & Proposal Development Division Manager, J.G. Management Systems Inc.