Learn more about marketers in the Chicago AMA. Check out our Member and Volunteer Spotlights each month below for special Chicago AMA Q&A sessions.

Volunteer Spotlight

JustynaKuczajAMA

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
JK: I started my career in the non-profit and education field and after business school I moved to the business and consulting world. Although my jobs have centered on marketing, I’ve always been naturally drawn to the technological aspects of work and have been lucky to always be able to practice both. Currently I am a Solutions Manager for Comarch, a global IT solutions provider.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA Volunteer?
JK: I have been volunteering with CAMA for over 5 years. I am the Membership Communications Coordinator.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a volunteer?
JK: My involvement with CAMA began in the midst of my MBA studies. As a student, I wanted to become more involved with the marketing community and to supplement my learning outside of the classroom. I continue to volunteer with the organization because as a Membership Committee volunteer I help to grow the community of talented professionals, which is one of the major benefits of becoming engaged with CAMA.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
JK: I really enjoy seeing how CAMA grows each year and how the strategies for engagement develop. It’s been a wonderful learning experience supporting the new initiatives and has inspired me to approach problems at my job in a new light.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job? What projects are you currently working on?
JK: As a Solutions Manager for the Loyalty division at Comarch, I bridge the sales and technical parts of the sales process – making the not-so-interesting technical aspects of the project fun. I also deliver presentations and product demonstrations and respond to RFIs and RFPs.

Currently, I am working on Gamification platforms for clients across different industries who plan to use them for employee engagement and customer engagement. We’ve also been throwing Beacon technology into the mix which has been exciting as this type of technology allows clients to engage their customers on a completely new level.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
JK: Transitioning into the business world from non-profit has been challenging and very rewarding. My experiences with these two types of organizations have helped me to develop a unique and creative problem-solving style that I bring to the table for each of my clients.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
JK: We’ve all heard it before – networking is key. And there is no better place to do it than Chicago! At a recent CAMA networking event I met a woman who just moved to the city. She was thrilled at the welcoming and friendly nature of the community. As someone who has been involved with CAMA for quite some time now, I can confidently say that there is a high probability of walking away from an event with a promising new lead, a connection for a new job, or even a new friend.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
JK: I really like Snuggle’s commercials that are uploaded to their Facebook page, especially the Happy Hug Day commercial. Their videos border on weird and charming. Yes, the commercial is cheesy but it emphasizes the brand image and I think it works.

CAMA: Which social media platform(s) are you most active on? How do you use it and whom do you enjoy following?
JK: LinkedIn. The business-oriented nature of the platform gives me quick updates and career-related information. I use it to keep up with colleagues and to discover news in the marketing and loyalty fields.

Member Volunteer

ByronHooverFeb

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
BH: I got my start in traditional CPG brand management with P&G, but then moved on to more lifestyle oriented categories working in marketing for companies like Disney, Jose Cuervo and Jim Beam. Thanks to a study abroad program while I was in graduate school, I ended up working in Europe for several years. I love travel and being in an international environment and have been fortunate to have managed many prominent global brands.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member?
BH: I wanted to have more opportunities to network with my professional peers as well as stay informed on the latest trends in marketing.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA
BH: The first CAMA event I attended was a Sunrise Series program and it really confirmed that joining the AMA was a good decision. I was impressed with the people met and the quality of the content and speaker. I really like the format of these events, which are over breakfast, so it’s easy to make time for and focus on a single speaker and topic. But I really like the facilitated aspect where you work with others at your table on addressing some questions posed by the speaker. This is a great way to break the ice and get the audience engaged and talking with each other. The most recent Sunrise Series about Customer Experience with a senior executive from Western Union was fascinating.

CAMA: As a member, what do you enjoy most?
BH: The networking opportunities. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing about what they are working on and their professional experiences. You discover just how small the world is sometimes. I’ve also gotten involved on a couple of committees which has given me the chance to be even more engaged. Plus the AMA puts out a lot of great relevant content which I find useful.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
BH: After many years working for companies and advertising agencies I’ve recently started my own consulting practice. I named the company Squeaky Wheel Marketing after the first piece of advice I got from my first boss: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”. I work with clients on their brand strategies, innovation plans and consumer engagement programs. A lot of my work is helping clients re-boot or re-launch brands that may have lost their relevance or competitive edge with consumers or helping them extend their brand into new categories or channels.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
BH: My last job at a company was with Beam Suntory, and I had the opportunity to lead their global innovation program. It was a lot of fun working on new ideas for spirits, and it’s been rewarding to see the success of some of the new products I helped launch in the marketplace. More recently I’ve been consulting for a large privately held wine company helping them develop an e-commerce business for their portfolio. This has been a big paradigm shift as they traditionally have had more of a B2B orientation and it’s been interesting helping them learn how to become more consumer focused. Plus the online channel is a huge and growing opportunity for the wine industry.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
BH: I moved to Chicago for a job after spending several wonderful years in New York City. One of the things that impressed me is the sense of community among marketing professionals here. People seem more connected and willing to take time to help others with networking or referrals. In New York everyone is so crazy-busy it’s more challenging to get people to engage.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
BH: Remember the importance of building relationships within the organizations you work in. There is so much more cross-functional collaboration required in marketing these days, and you’ll be more successful if you are able to leverage a strong internal network. Get to know people in departments outside of marketing and invite their input. Even the finance person may have a useful insight about your consumers or an innovative cost-saving idea.
CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
BH: I tend to think more about a brand’s campaign overall….these days most companies are realizing that they need powerful brand ideas that are fully integrated online, offline, TV, digital, social, PR, etc. With the recent Super Bowl there were some great ads, but I thought the Always “Like a Girl” campaign really stood out (Full disclosure: I worked on this brand when I was at P&G several years ago). Linking the brand to a theme of empowerment for young women and creating engagement by starting a conversation about sexual stereotyping was smart and highly relevant for this brand. This campaign has many online and social components in addition to the TV spot. And while it may at first seem an odd media choice, P&G wisely realized that the Super Bowl is watched by women and families, not just guys, so I believe they created a lot of impact. I just read that the TV spot was ranked #1 in terms of digital engagement of all the Super Bowl ads, again reflecting the synergies that can be created between online and offline channels.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
BH: I like LinkedIn for staying connected with professional colleagues and discovering interesting content about marketing and management. I follow a lot of companies on Twitter, but confess I don’t tweet that often myself. And since I have a lot of friends spread out across the country and around the world Facebook is still a great way to keep in touch with them.

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
BH: I’ve spent many years in the wine and spirits industry and am an amateur mixologist in my spare time. I love concocting new drink recipes to try out on my friends. I have this dream in the back of mind to own a bar one day.
CAMA Bonus Question: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
BH: I was very interested in politics in college, and when I graduated I had an opportunity to work as a staffer on Capitol Hill in Washington. My plan was to do that for a couple of years and then go to law school. But I was also interested in having an international career and came to realize that’s not easy to do as a lawyer. So that’s what led me to go to business school and become a marketer instead