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!)