Membership Gave this Board Member a Way to Connect and Stay on Top of Marketing Trends

Maggie Bahler Rizzio
VP, Membership Relations, AMA Chicago
Communications Manager, Renew My Church, Archdiocese of Chicago


Early in my career, I worked at a BIG agency in a BIG city. I was a production manager for a retail client, and, I’m not gonna lie, it was grueling work. Long days and late nights were the norm as we rushed to fix last-minute changes, update pricing and keep our clients happy. There was lots of anxiety, lots of swearing, and little time off. Yet, in hindsight, that experience was a real gift. How can that be possible?

First of all, it was an all-hands-on-deck effort, so everyone pitched in, and we truly felt like we were all in it together. I formed strong bonds with my work colleagues, aided by the requisite happy hour EVERY Friday evening, and am still friends with many of those people today. Second, did I mention it was a BIG agency? As colleagues left for other agencies and client-side work (can you blame them?), it created an instant and powerful network. I could easily pick up the phone for a referral, a real-time brainstorm, or a quick lunch on a sunny patio. We had informal reunions and enjoyed celebrating each other’s successes out in the “real world.” We cheered on our ex-colleagues as they won awards for appreciative clients and patted them on the back as they landed new opportunities.

When I moved to Chicago, I found it difficult to replicate that network. I wasn’t interested in joining another big agency and wasn’t quite sure where to start tugging the proverbial networking threads. I knew it was critical to my success and my mental health to develop relationships with colleagues in a wide variety of areas. I knew it was important to connect with experienced marketers as well as new grads. I knew it would serve me well to connect with agency stars, client-side wizards, and non-profit marketing experts. And I knew I needed to stay current with marketing trends and learn new skills, especially in digital media. How could I accomplish all that without ready-made connections?

Lo and behold, I stumbled on the Chicago chapter of the American Marketing Association! (Well, technically, I didn’t stumble, I Googled.) Joining the AMA Chicago chapter has been a game-changer for me, especially coming from the non-profit world. The workshop events consistently provide actionable tips, and the free content has proven invaluable in my work. I can easily keep up with trends via our LinkedIn group, and the connections I have made have expanded my network more than I thought was possible. A huge variety of members with varying levels of experience make every interaction worthwhile. Plus people are nice, and interesting!

Membership provides a plethora of benefits, like the aforementioned content as well as monthly events (most of which are free), which solidify my standing as the “marketing expert” in most of my meetings.  Whether you want to keep up with marketing trends, learn new skills, or connect with a network of experts, AMA-Chicago is the place to be. And the price is right too – a great value at $149/year. I can’t wait to meet you!

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