Tagged: Josh Fleming

Opening and Closing Remarks

1660838_10153727405680034_1392221281_nWhen 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.

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Angela Ten Clay – AMA Iowa’s next President

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!)

JF

 

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AMA Iowa Wins Chapter of the Year!

1394330_10153292485750034_1793383072_nStoked! 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.”

Life Changes

Life-ChangeThink I saw you in another place
A frame in time
You said something to me that stayed in mind
Life changes in unpredictable ways

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

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.

JF

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The Roll-on Butter Story

Josh_Fleming_Roll_On_ButterThe Business Record gives all Forty Under 40 honorees a list of about 10 questions, Miss America style, that honorees may be asked upon receiving their award.

And I felt like I was prepared for all of them.

So as we’re standing in line waiting to enter the ballroom, fellow honoree, Lindsay Alderman tells me “If I get the passion question, I’m going to tell people I am passionate about passion.

I smiled.

Then I cried a little bit inside.

Because that was my answer. Passionate people make everything better and that was the way I was going to go with my answer. I didn’t think much of it at the moment, given that there was really only a 10% chance I would be asked that.

So you can guess what happened next. I get asked, “Josh, what are you most passionate about?” I took four really slow steps to the microphone trying to plot out my answer. I’m passionate about a lot of things but what could possibly trump passion?

I had an answer.

I’m going with this.

Big Ideas.” I said. “For example, I have this crazy idea for a roll-on butter product. Imagine butter in a deodorant stick and you roll it on corn cobs.” I said, making hand gestures indicating how this would work. “But the problem is that if you use it on toast, the bread crumbs get stuck on the butter and everything gets messy.

Did I just say that out loud?

I got more laughs than I anticipated. But laughs were what I was aiming for.

I think.

So there I was in front of 450 of Des Moines brightest minds hyping roll-on butter. At least I had a captive audience.

I went on to make some sense of it all.

I think.

“My ideas make people uncomfortable. Sharing your ideas with others who can make them better allows a good idea to become a great idea. Big ideas can change the world.

Or something like that.

And I supposed I gave this answer because I have always been full of big ideas, many of them bad. But in having the bravery to share my ideas, even the ridiculous ideas, a lot of people more talented than I am have made those good ideas – great. And if only 10% of your ideas are good, you might as well give people ten of them and see what sticks.

In 2010, the startup I co-created, vineme.com. It started as Tony Muse’s IDEA of photos on a timeline. I took that IDEA and ran with strategy. Ben Milne gave us validation of the IDEA. Chris Taulborg took all those IDEAS and built arguably the most beautiful website I’ve ever been a part of. And I’ve created more than a few.

Big ideas can change the world.

Now pass the roll-on-butter.

40 Ways You Can Too

Josh_FlemingSeriously. I am honored, humbled and somewhat shocked to have been named to the Des Moines Business Record’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2013. It’s actually a little overwhelming and a much bigger deal than I anticipated initially. It seems like everyone knows about it and I feel like a meat head when I run out of creative ways to thank the folks kind of enough to take the time to congratulate me. Typically saying something silly like “The Marketing Coup of the Century!”

I guess that’s my way of humbly handling it.

Since the announcement, I’ve been wondering how to best parlay what I’ve learned into something tangible for others. Sure, it’s great for me and the organizations I’m a part of, but how can what I’ve learned through this insanity we call life benefit someone else? And make no mistake, I am still an active learner on the whole life thing.

But, I’m proof that if a middle-aged ginger with B+ marketing skills (at best) can be so honored, then I’m pretty sure you can too. Unless you’re over 40, then you’ll need to find another list!

So here’s my 40 ways you can too…(in no particular order)

  • Be passionate about what you are doing.
  • Don’t like what you are doing? Don’t do it.
  • Be engaged. With everyone. At all times. No exceptions.
  • Try something new. Central Iowa Bloggers seemed like a geek fest. It is. And I love it.
  • Find value in others. Everybody matters. You matter.
  • Volunteer. Thank you AMA Iowa!
  • Volunteer again. Thank you Prevent Blindness Iowa!
  • Ask a lot of questions. People like to talk about themselves. Listen to them.
  • Wherever you are, drink the Kool-Aid. And then shout about it!
  • Have an opinion. Just not on everything. Focus on what really matters.
  • Have fun on social media, but set limits on that fun.
  • Be self-deprecating. Saying “I collect BBQ” makes me instantly human and lets people know – that I know – I need to drop 30 pounds.
  • Take smart risks.
  • Dream big and create something. Even if it fails, you’ll learn.
  • Meet people that you met on Twitter offline. Do this regularly.
  • Take the sales call. Tell them now is a bad time. But schedule something in three weeks. Hold the appointment.
  • Don’t burn bridges – even if people have burned bridges with you.
  • Call your mom at least two times a week and tell her about your life.
  • Find a true peer. Not a mentor, but your business equal. Bounce career decisions (like this blog post) off of them. Word to you Claire Celsi!
  • Don’t settle for being average.
  • Don’t spend your time with Eeyores.
  • You are who you are. The sooner you embrace it, the sooner you’ll be embraced.
  • Surround yourself with talent greater than your own. Harness it for good.
  • Friends with photoshop skills are invaluable.
  • Your ideas are not in stone. Allow your ideas to be made better by others.
  • If you don’t know the answer, admit that you don’t know the answer. Then go find the answer and report back.
  • “Fake it till you make it” is a flawed strategy. Figure out how to make it.
  • Go out of your way for someone else. Do this more often than you can actually handle and expect nothing in return.
  • Everyone is busy, stop telling people you are as well.
  • Always say thank you.
  • Call service staff members by their first name.
  • Using smiley face emoticons in email let people know you aren’t pissed off.
  • Give praise when others do well.
  • Stand up for people you believe in and do not waver.
  • Become an expert at something.
  • Make friends with the media and return their calls. And give them story ideas that don’t benefit you directly.
  • Celebrate the success of others with vigor.
  • You can’t get what you don’t ask for. So you have to ask.
  • Close the _____. (Sale, Interview, Next Meeting). Move it forward.
  • Pick your battles carefully.
  • Karma is a very real thing and happens when you least expect it.

Ok, there are a few more than 40, but none that I wanted to leave out. A big thank you to all of you have been a part of my path, you know who you are. : )

-JF