When I joined the board as president on July 1, 2021, I was energized and excited about a new year where we could have more events in person and begin to get back to a more normal year. With that in mind, we set a theme for the year as: HEAR US ROAR!
Hear Us Roar is about the reemerging we’ve done over the last year. It’s about bringing AMA Chicago back into the Chicagoland marketing community, amplifying our brand and voices to be louder, bolder and more connected than ever.
I want to thank every single person who joined in to make our ear-shattering ROAR! From our new members to guests to veterans of 30+ years, every person who supported AMA Chicago this year played a role in making this year record-breaking in countless ways. But most importantly, we know that every marketer who connected with the chapter had the opportunity to grow professionally, expand their community and lead our multi-faceted field forward. To each of you: thank you, sincerely.
These efforts were collective, too. Every one of AMA Chicago’s volunteer committees aligned to strategically deliver our bold brand and strong connections among marketers. For a few highlights:
- Our programs featured thought leaders across the diverse areas of marketing, especially our monthly workshops and LinkedIn LIVE interviews. And we had consistent, meaningful engagements with our community through the LinkedIn members only group and in-person networking at Connex and other events.
- We recognized outstanding volunteers by showcasing each Volunteer of the Month and sharing each committee on LinkedIn to celebrate their commitment to professional development. Plus, our membership committee launched a new quarterly Volunteer Party to make connections and keep volunteers apprised of chapter happenings and accomplishments (and have fun with games and contests)!
- All of the Midwest heard us ROAR on April 27, with BrandSmart back in person at city landmark Navy Pier! The conference featured some of the best speakers we’ve ever had – from Mastercard, Chicago Public Media, Twitter, CDW and many more – and we each made connections, saw the future of branding and gained actionable insights for the next day, month and year.
- Our communications committee focused on sharing regular, relevant and timely content in our brand voice that is friendly, smart and supportive to our community. Be sure to follow us on your platforms of choice: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
- We built partnerships with major brands based in Chicago, including Kimberly-Clark and Google. We continue forging these relationships to keep our programming free to members and to connect marketers with the tools, resources and careers that these national brands have to offer.
- We built on our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), with each committee setting goals for improvement, and we appointed our first-ever director of DEI, Kevin Davis.
- We learned from research that our members our looking to find like-minded specialties, so we brought back our Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) in a new, 2.0 format. We piloted two of these groups, and we’re ready to launch even more this fall.
- Another thing we brought back was our Strategic Relations committee to make connections with future marketers at colleges and universities. One of my favorite events this year was a marketing bootcamp for students at Columbia College Chicago, and the students were so appreciative!
- We set big goals a year ago, and through our new KPI dashboard and the help of our marketing insights committee, we were able to stay focused on these goals. And I’m thrilled to say that met or exceeded almost all of them.
Whew, that’s a ton of accomplishments and a bunch of noise. And even better? We had a lot of fun along the way. From committee meetings to programs, from our volunteer slack to our quarterly parties, I have loved every opportunity to connect with and serve our 700-member-strong community.
As I step aside to serve as immediate past president, I am in awe of everything AMA Chicago has accomplished. And I am so grateful to have led such a committed, strong, engaging, clever and bold community. Even more, I am thrilled to see where our new president, Leslie Marshall, leads us from here.
From the bottom of my heart: Thank you for an incredible year and for all you do as marketers.