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.”