When Kelly Moore asked me to be the next American Marketing Association – Iowa Chapter (AMA Iowa) President, my initial thought was to scream, “No Way!” That would have been a selfish reaction. So I heard her out. And I thought about it for a couple of weeks. I also called some of our amazing board members and asked them, “If I do this, can I count on you, your support and your talents if I take this leap?” There was a resounding “Yes!”
But the reasons I accepted the role are no longer the reasons I cherish it now. Yes, it would open doors and help me meet new people. It certainly has. Yes, it would help me build my personal brand. It has done that as well. But as I look upon my six remaining weeks as President of AMA Iowa, I’ve come to learn that this role has done more for me than any of the networking and self promotion I somewhat selfishly accepted it for.
It taught me how to lead.
I have learned to truly trust others. To provide good direction and trust in the foundation – the machine – that is AMA Iowa.
While your own leadership style may different, I have been able to truly find mine by following this philosophy over the last year. While I often joke with some of our board members that I haven’t messed this up… yet, the truth is I never put myself in any position to fail mightily. When you count on others and they consistently deliver, running an all volunteer non-profit organization you are passionate about becomes a team sport.
During my tenure we were awarded Chapter of the Year honors by the American Marketing Association’s International Headquarters largely for the foundation laid by former AMA Presidents, Georgann Smith, April Schmaltz and Kelly Moore. And these three ladies remind me every time they get the chance that my role as AMA Iowa President was not only to lead, but to raise the bar. To help the chapter consistently improve. To leave it better than i found it.
We have done that. Yes, we. There is no I. And if there is an “I” it is that “I” simply gave a little direction and got out of the way.
You see, when you lead the AMA Iowa Chapter as President, you discover that talent can solve all challenges. And while there are no shortage of challenges, we have talent in droves.
- Talent that has allowed us to break attendance records at our monthly luncheons and our special interest group events.
- Talent that created the AMA Iowa Experience, attracting over 160 marketing professionals to the first ever Iowa marketing conference featuring Iowa only speakers.
- Talent that hosted the first ever regional retreat held in Iowa attracting over 50 marketing professionals from around the country for an entire weekend.
- Talent that broke entry and attendance records at our 2014 NOVA Awards event.
- Talent that rebranded our entire organization across all platforms.
- Talent that made AMA Iowa the Business Record’s 3rd Most Influential Board.
Talent that has collectively raised the bar.
But my work with AMA Iowa isn’t over. My job now is to help the board and incoming president, Angela Ten Clay continue to raise the bar. To help our members learn, link and lead. To further our members goals while we gain experience and wisdom that exceeds anything we may include in our LinkedIn profile. To lead in a completely different way. And I’m looking forward to it. And with Angela steering the ship, you should be looking forward to it as well! Raise the bar, Angela!
To our sponsors, thank you! We appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. You make so much of what we do possible.
To our members, we do everything with you in mind. And your feedback (usually glowing) is validation of the hard work we put into making AMA Iowa the best business organization in Iowa.
To my fellow board members, it’s been an absolute honor and I’ll never truly feel worthy of the privilege I was given. And I will never be able to thank you adequately for the amazing work you do.
I will read the above to my wonderfully talented volunteer board of marketing studs during my last board meeting as AMA Iowa President today. It’s my hope that by sharing it with you that you might considering doing a couple of things that may enrich your professional lives.
1. Learn how to lead. Sometimes, all you need to do is get out of the way and count on others to do their job.
2. Raise the bar, in whatever you do.
3. Talent is the cure for any challenge. Surround yourself with talent and you will look a whole lot smarter than you are. (I really needed this one!)
Stoked! Honored! Humbled! I can’t believe that I get to be part of such an awesome group of professionals. Nor can I even begin to give proper kudos on how we got to this wonderful accolade. So here’s a few some shout outs to our past presidents. Georgann Smith set us up for success, April Schmaltz took us to new heights leading us to a Runner Up award last year and Kelly Moore fulfilled the ultimate goal. A big thanks to Lori Howe from Share Marketing and the folks at ColorFX for sponsoring our award winning entry. In other news, as this year’s AMA Iowa President, I have some pretty big shoes to fill. : )
Here’s the press release that went out this morning.
AMA Iowa Awarded International Chapter of the Year
Experienced membership and a crew of volunteers drive chapter to success
Citing 22 percent growth and all-time record membership in the last year, the Iowa chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA Iowa) announced today that it has received the highest professional chapters award – 2012-13 Chapter of the Year. Last year, the chapter was runner-up to Houston, Texas, and the AMA Iowa all-volunteer board of 23 marketers set a goal of capturing the crown. This annual awards program, hosted by AMA International Headquarters, highlights excellence among the organization’s 75 chapters across the U.S. and Canada.
“AMA Iowa’s recognition as Chapter of the Year is a testament to the thriving marketing professional community in Iowa and in the Des Moines region,” said Susan Ramsey, senior vice president, communications/marketing, Greater Des Moines Partnership. “Central Iowa is experiencing an amazing economic development boom. This recognition will help us support new and expanding Iowa companies to recruit, retain and further educate the nation’s top marketing talent.”
Judges of the competition cited AMA Iowa’s strong membership growth and retention numbers, along with financial stability and strategic planning, as key factors in receiving 155.33 points out of a possible 181 in the Chapter of the Year competition. The average score of all AMA chapters entering the competition was 114.58. Comments from the judges included:
• “Iowa’s leadership strength and accountability is very apparent.”
• “The chapter’s financials were very strong, and you saw great growth over the previous year as well as against budget.”
• “It’s evident that a lot of good things are going on in Iowa!”
“With their grasp on communication, business intelligence and the power of connection, marketers are among the most influential leaders in any given business community,” said Kelly Moore, president of Kelly Moore Consulting and AMA Iowa 2012-13 president. “Our chapter’s growth is evidence of the fact Iowa businesspeople understand this and are willing to invest in a network of educated, energized marketers.”
The AMA Iowa board members set a program goal this year to encourage members and company executives to (re)think AMA Iowa. The strategy had three components – (re)brand, (re)tain and (re)ach the C-suite. With 58 percent of AMA Iowa membership holding 10-plus years of experience in the marketing, it was important for the chapter to provide a variety of challenging and diversified programming.
“This award is both an extreme honor and quite humbling,” said Josh Fleming, current AMA Iowa president and brand counselor at The Meyocks Group. “While the board does an excellent job in preparing our chapter for success, we are nothing without the 357 members who consistently support us through chapter activities and their desire to learn more about their profession, network with their peers and lead their organizations.”
Father’s note: My son, Harrison, age four, has seen signs around the Waukee, Iowa area that read “Harrison for City Council.” These signs are for a gentleman named, Brian Harrison, who is ACTUALLY running for Waukee City Council. However, my son believes he is running and has come up with a platform of his own to improve life in Waukee.
The words below are Harrison’s – that’s… the four-year-old Harrison, who had no opening statement, merely the platforms he will be running on if elected.
- An indoor pool inside our house
- I want all the hobos to have houses
- I want an ice cream truck to deliver ice cream
- Bounce house in every house
- Get rid of Once Upon a Child and put a Happy Joe’s back there
- Outdoor movies in the park every night
- All the bees to die so they won’t sting anybody – no wasps either
- Do you know anywhere where a Disney World could move in somewhere close?
- The mean lady that mom was talking about – to be nice
- Get rid of the Veggie Monster and bring back Cookie Monster
I asked Harrison what would be the the first thing he would do if elected. He answered, “Follow my list!”
Father’s note: Anyone interested in learning more about the four-year old Harrison can like him on Facebook.
My apologies to Once Upon a Child, I’m sure you run a fabulous facility.
Here is a breakdown of all four ACTUAL candidates including Shane Blanchard, Mike Watts and Rick Peterson from the Des Moines Register.
I’ve got an old friend, lives down in Nashville, named Craig Boerner. Craig is one of the best singer songwriters you’ve never heard of and the title of this post is the name of one of his songs, “Life Changes.” It’s one of those songs that immediately grabs your attention with it’s insightful opening lyrics shown above.
You can listen to the entire song here at around the 47:48 mark. (Craig is on banjo).
I won’t spoil the song for you, but ultimately the lyrics goes from how the “road is rocky along the way” to how life changes in SWEET unpredictable ways. And how sweet it’s been the last couple of weeks!
I am happily enjoying my first two weeks at The Meyocks Group. Pronounced, “Meeks” – we are a 29 year-old full service ad agency in West Des Moines. The agency is quietly one of the ad world’s best kept secrets although I’m pretty sure I’ll try to change the quiet part just a bit (insert smiley face) – while at the same time recognizing the hard working, laid back and humble attitudes I’ve found from the ridiculously talented crew around me.
Over the last two weeks I’ve done some copywriting, some research, developed digital strategies and come up with some promotional ideas. But my favorite times have been being a part of strategic conversations that will shape the future of this agency. I’ve also had the luxury of being able to simply listen, to take it all in, knowing that sometime soon the knowledge gained will pay off for our clients and our company.
I invite you to visit me and my new homies at Meyocks on September 26 when AMA Iowa’s Agency Crawl includes The Meyocks Group. (Hint: We will be serving Templeton Rye and Baraboo Beer – both clients – at this event. Word!.)
Speaking of AMA Iowa, I became the the President of the American Marketing Association – Iowa Chapter (AMA Iowa) on July 1. I am truly honored and humbled to be leading this amazing organization. We are recognized as one of the best chapters in the world (seriously) and boast over 350 members. The best part of the gig is the amazing group of board members that treat AMA Iowa like a second job – which it is. : )
Lastly, I’m thrilled to be an Adjunct Professor at Drake University this fall. I am teaching Internet Marketing to about 35 aspiring young marketers. Other than some technical difficulties during the first class (read: user error) everything went great. The class is on Monday nights through December.
Here’s some new advice for you though, as my buddy Craig Boener and his band, Ballhog! so articulately put it, “Life Change in SWEET unpredictable ways.” Embrace the change!
I hope all is well with you and yours.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I was able to make a name for myself in this town.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, those passionate big ideas I so often speak of were able to be refined by talent greater than my own – leading to more effective ideas.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I’ve been known as the Ad Maverick, and we were able to create one of Iowa’s most read marketing blogs.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, Iowa has the Battle of the Brands, one of the coolest social media campaigns I’ve ever been apart of.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I have been able to meet and be involved with a ton of wonderful people doing amazing things for others. Prevent Blindness Iowa preserving the gift of sight, and AMA Iowa, making better marketers of us all.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I have been able to do the best work of my career. I’ve become a better marketer – strategist – writer – thinker. Not to mention, a better person.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I have spoken to audiences around the country on just about every marketing topic imaginable.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I got to work with an amazing group of clients. And not just any clients, all of them, true innovators in their own right.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I was able to start my own company after hours. And not only was it accepted by Lessing-Flynn – it was embraced. As they knew I would learn about innovation and what it takes to run a company. Providing me with an even greater perspective of our business and the business of our clients.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I’ve been able to help mentor so many great young people, and somehow not screw them up beyond repair.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I was able to bring my digital dreams to life with some of the most creative people I’ve ever known.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I was empowered to help take a sleepy ad agency that had literally been quiet for 100 years and shout their praises whenever and wherever I wanted.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, I believe in myself more than I ever have, but only because Lessing-Flynn truly, and always, believed in me.
Because of Lessing-Flynn, their future is bright. With or without me, this place is going to flourish and continue to annoy their competition. I’m gonna miss that!
Because of Lessing-Flynn, a recruiter called me and offered me the opportunity of a lifetime, even though I already had one.
You see, my leaving Lessing-Flynn after the four best professional years of my life is completely Lessing-Flynn’s fault. It is because of Lessing-Flynn that this unexpected life path has taken shape and this new opportunity has emerged.
When I’m asked about social media marketing, I always tell companies that they need to provide their fans a platform for people to support them. I tell them that there are people out there that love their brand and that they simply need a place to tell the world about how great they are.
And while I am way short of great, my platform was Lessing-Flynn. And the folks at this amazing company have been my greatest fans. Their support of me has been ridiculously abundant. And I’ll never be able to truly thank them for what they’ve done for my life.
So thank you, (from left to right, top to bottom) Rosie, Chris A, Con-Dog, 3, Jess, K-Billy, Celsius, Duder, Jordan, Joel, Hanson, #NicholBeck, Spoerly Bird and Kronlage. It’s because of you. It’s because of Lessing-Flynn.
If you know me personally, you know my crush on all things LinkedIn continues to grow. I wanted to take a moment to point out an area of their site I think is too often overlooked.
Go to your profile page on LinkedIn and scroll down a click or two. On the right, you’ll find a list of people and pictures that people also viewed. Like it or not, this is the group of people most like you in your personal / business / digital space.
What do you see? Are you impressed by who is there? Are they a bunch of strangers? Is this an accurate reflection of the image you want to convey?
With the help of an awesome AMA Iowa talk I heard from Sima Dahl, I’ve given my LinkedIn profile a major make-over during the last two weeks. The biggest take-away from that event was to be purposeful with your title as it truly is a reflection of not only who you are, but who you aspire to be. Here’s what I came up with:
For the purposes of this post, (and since I can’t see your profile page through your own eyes) I’ll use what I saw the last time I logged in for the “People Also Viewed” section.
I’m personally very impressed with this list. Here’s why…
I don’t know Korrine, but she is in the same digital marketing space I’m in and also works for an ad agency that manages a lot of agriculture business – which I do as well.
Nathan and I have known each other for a few years, and he’s a huge thought leader for social media. I’m into that.
I haven’t met Tony, but he took over for the last job I had.
ATC (That’s Angela Ten Clay) makes it rain for AMA Iowa and she’ll be my President-Elect in July. A true connecter and networker.
My friend says she has a brain crush on Ben Milne. The Dwolla story has had plenty of press, but to know Ben, is to know a guy with big ideas and the drive to pull them off. I’m down with that.
Claire and Tom are both at Lessing-Flynn (where I work), and this lets me know that if people are looking at me, they are also looking at Lessing-Flynn in general. And that PR efforts announcing Claire joining LF in December are still working. Both are good for new business opportunities and company growth.
Drew McLellan has a huge national following, speaks all over the country and straight up knows what he is doing. Nice to be associated here.
I just met Lawrence Cunningham and Tony Timm during the Business Record’s 40 Under 40 festivities. And I am of the belief that Des Moines is better for having them in our community. I love being associated with that.
I’ll abruptly end this post for fear of “Fleming is talking too much about all of the people he knows” and serve it up to you to examine your own “People Also Viewed” section. If you don’t like what you see, fix it. If you like what you see, keep on keeping on. And if you don’t know the people you’re associated with, get to know them with a simple LinkedIn request.
You can linking with me here: www.linkedin.com/in/joshfleming/
Thanks for stopping by.