Connecting with others in the marketing community, and learning from each other, is important to the success of any agency; and fortunately for Tunheim, our team takes pride in our involvement in various associations and organizations. For this blog post we sat down with Director of Corporate Communications Paula Wright to learn about her experience as the current President of the American Marketing Association – Minnesota Chapter, what a membership looks like and how the global pandemic has affected the association.
1. For those who aren’t familiar, what is the American Marketing Association and how can it benefit members?
The American Marketing Association (AMA) is the essential community for marketers. We are a national organization focused on marketing as a whole, with more than 65 chapters across the country. As the Minnesota chapter, we strive to be a vibrant, engaging and diverse community of marketers committed to supporting and expanding the marketing profession in Minnesota.
2. How did you get involved with the AMA? And as the President of the Minnesota Chapter, what are your responsibilities?
I am the type of person that likes to jump in with two feet. Earlier in my career I spent five years on the board of the International Live Event Association and took on most roles, EXCEPT the presidential track.
A few years ago I was looking for a new opportunity that was more broad. I was familiar with our local AMA chapter and wanted to build my local network. I learned they were looking for board members and reached out right away. I was brought on to fill the director-at-large, volunteers – a role that had been empty for some time and no longer had any processes or pipeline. It was a great role because it gave me the opportunity to reach out to people in our marketing community and recruit them as volunteers. I made a lot of wonderful connections, and really enjoyed my role on the board. After 2.5 years in that role I took on the three-year presidential track (president-elect, president, immediate past president).
3. In the age of COVID, how have the activities and structure of the AMA changed?
This has been a very challenging time for AMA – and for other similar types of organizations. We have completely changed the structure of our programming as well as our revenue streams. We had to shift very quickly from 1-2 monthly in-person programming and networking events with a charge, to fully virtual events. As with many organizations, that also meant providing virtual events free of charge. Providing free or reduced-fee events has allowed us to support our marketing community through a very difficult period. However, that also meant our revenue stream had to change, and our focus on finding sponsors has become much more important.
While going virtual has had its challenges, it has also provided some amazing benefits. AMA Minnesota is one chapter of a national organization, but typically in the past, interaction between chapters has been more limited to board members at a couple of key times throughout the year. Facing the same challenges, there has been much more interaction between chapters to share successes and challenges and to learn from each other. This has also extended to our members and program participants – they are now often networking with other attendees across the country.
4. What types of memberships does AMA offer and what are the benefits of each?
AMA offers individual, group and student memberships, with individual being the most common. Annual Membership is now just $149 ($12.42/month) and includes:
- Weekly perks just for members
- Reduced or free programs and events
- Access to AMA.org with extensive resources, white papers, etc.
- Member discounts and members-only events
- My AMA Daily e-newsletter
- Access to a national organization with 65+ chapters
5. What can new members expect for 2021?
We REALLY hope we can begin to gather again in person sometime in 2021, but we also don’t want to lose what we’ve gained – a greater ability to network nationally, attend AMA events across the country and build our community. Until we can meet in person, we expect to continue to provide quality programming and networking opportunities for our members and marketing community as a whole.