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!)
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.