The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) has honored Donna J. Corlew with the 2019 Weld Coxe Marketing Achievement Award (MAA). Corlew, a member of SMPS Nashville, accepted her award during Build Business, the SMPS annual conference, during The Evening of Excellence on Aug. 1.
Corlew is the 28th recipient of the award, named in memory of marketing pioneer, SMPS founder, and past honoree Weld Coxe. Watch the full tribute video to Corlew here.
A 32-year professional services veteran, Corlew got her start as marketing coordinator at Gobbell Hays Partners (GHP), a Nashville-based firm. Early in her career, she learned that building relationships with technical staff was key to understanding the industry. This lesson has served her well throughout her career working with top A/E firms.
In 2012, Corlew formed C*Connect, where she is the Chief Whatever-It-Takes Officer. With the goal of making her clients more successful, she has taken on projects ranging from research and social media campaigns to coaching.
An active SMPS member since 1987, Corlew helped launch SMPS Nashville. She has served in many chapter and Society leadership roles, including president, Build Business co-chair, and Marketing Communications Awards juror and chair. Within the A/E/C industries, she has volunteered and partnered with a number of peer organizations to empower and teach the next generation of leaders.
In her acceptance speech, Corlew acknowledged that she was humbled to be standing on the stage where she once watched the very first MAA being bestowed in 1987. She highlighted the importance to her career of the values instilled by her upbringing on a dairy farm, “I learned early the lessons of responsibility, accountability, hard work, and perseverance—some might call it stubbornness!”
Corlew thanked her husband of 36 years, Clay, as well as citing a long list of “mentors, collaborators, and partners who made her a better person, marketer, and leader.” She noted, “‘Thank you’ are not sufficient words. I am so grateful for each of you and your impact.”
Perhaps the most important and characteristic moment on stage for this servant leader occurred when Corlew turned the spotlight to the audience, “Each of you bring value to your firms, the potential and ability to personify SMPS’ Vision of Business Transformed Through Marketing Leadership…..Get out there and be brave, be bold, and speak out.”