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

Kathryn-cama-spolight-headshotJanuary 2016 Volunteer

Katheryn Cervantes

Account Manager, Booking.com

AMA Chicago: Tells us a little about your background.

KC: Studied Hospitality Management & Marketing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Work experience includes Casino Marketing & Special Events at MGM Grand Las Vegas and Strategic Partnership Marketing for MGM Resorts International. Currently working as an Account Manager for Booking.com, focusing on growing the Chicago market.

AMA Chicago: What is your role as an AMA Chicago volunteer?

KC: As Volunteer Chair I connect interested candidates to available opportunities, collaborate with the board, committee members and volunteers to evaluate how each are utilizing each other and develop new roles as needed. Also advocate at events, and serve on the Membership Committee.

AMA Chicago: What were your reasons for joining AMA Chicago as a member-volunteer?

KC: I started attending events after moving to Chicago as a way to network and learn about marketing trends. I was immediately impressed by the quality programming and warmth of attendees and wanted to contribute to such an organization to help others get involved and trigger creativity.

AMA Chicago: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?

KC: It has challenged me to think outside of day to day work life responsibilities, introduced me to brilliant people and made me part of the community. Allowed me to contribute to an organization that helped me in a transitional period.

AMA Chicago: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job? — and/or –What projects are you currently working on?
Manage key accounts in the Chicago market. Responsible for analyzing market trends to consult clients on growth opportunities while maintaining mutual brand standards. Develop and execute targeted campaigns relevant to both the organization and partner goals.
AMA Chicago: What is your LinkedIn profile URL? We will link this to your profile picture.
www.linkedin.com/in/kathryncervantes

December VOLUNTEER


Casey Foss

Casey Foss image

Director of Marketing 
West Monroe Partners

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
CF:  I have worked in marketing and communications for more than a decade since earning a BS in Mass Communications from Boston University and a MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University. Over that time, my experience has spanned all facets of marketing necessary to build a strong brand and drive business in the professional services sector.

I’ve been in marketing management roles with West Monroe Partners (a business and technology consultancy with 600+ people and 10 offices across the United States) for nearly eight years and am now the firm’s director of marketing. During that time, we have experienced significant growth and earned numerous accolades for the quality of our service and workplace.

Previously, I was part of the Customer Contact Strategy team at Discover Card, responsible for determining the appropriate messages for card members by channel and redesigning the company’s customer relationship management system to help Discover Card influence card member experience.

Early in my career – I started in the world of public relations experience generating media interest for consumer products and creating new product launch campaigns for clients of Publicis Dialog, a Chicago-based public relations firm.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer? 
CF: I am a member of the CAMA Programming Committee. In this role, I participate in sourcing speakers for ongoing event series, such as: the Sunrise Executive Breakfast series and Evenings with Experts series. Most recently, I co-led the planning of this year’s Momentum conference.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
CF:  I joined CAMA as a member-volunteer to give back to the local marketing community. Early in my marketing career, I gained a lot from organizations such as this as I looked to build my marketing skills and a network of peers. I am where I am in my career because my marketing mentors saw something in me and took the time to mentor and train me. I am excited and inspired to have the opportunity to mentor and inspire future marketers.

Additionally, this role has allowed me to contribute a business-to-business perspective to the association’s content that helps attract B2B marketers. I believe the AMA is uniquely positioned to attract both local B2B and B2C marketing talent. Most marketers learn best from those around them, and I’ve found it particularly helpful to hear from people in other industries and about best practices that can be applied across industries. The AMA provides a venue to learn best practices from the B2C space and apply them to the world of B2B marketing—but only if the content draws attendance of B2B marketers in the first place.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
CF:  Volunteering doesn’t just allow me to give back and help develop the skills of future marketing leaders; it also provides me with an important venue to further my own skills. I don’t ever want to stop learning, and the opportunity to teach others benefits me as much as it benefits them. I consistently learn from and am challenged by the peers and new marketers I encounter through my volunteer activities. They prompt me to think about things in new and different ways.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job?
CF:  As director of marketing at West Monroe Partners, I oversee all external-facing marketing programs, including programs to build brand awareness, drive new business, and strengthen client relationships.
I recently led the creation and introduction of West Monroe Partners’ refreshed brand identity across our US offices, promoting our uncommon blend of business savvy consultants and deep technical experts, which allow our team to partner with clients to reimagine, build and transform their business with technology.

In my role I work closely with our firm’s office, solution, and industry leaders to establish effective service-specific marketing strategies; plan integrated, multi-channel marketing programs; and execute programs that generate business leads—all while reinforcing a consistent image across practice areas and locations.

Lastly, as a member of our firm’s Executive Team I work with leaders across our firm to shape our firm’s strategy and align marketing programs and resources in support of our strategic goals.

I lead a 10-person Marketing team who successfully pair digital channels and social media with more traditional professional services marketing channels such as trade shows, hosted events, webinars, and business development campaigns.

Past Spotlights

November 2015 - Volunteer

November VOLUNTEER

Jackie Maman“Jackie

Marketing and Communications Specialist
The Art Institute of Chicago

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
JM: Although my formal education is in modern and contemporary art in international contexts, I have over ten years of experience executing the development and implementation of strategic marketing communications for the Art Institute of Chicago.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer? 
JM:  I serve on the Brand and Communications committee as Content Manager leading a team of copywriters to promote Chicago AMA’s events and website content. Previous roles: Co-Chair of Communications, CMO Panel: The Future of Marketing, 2015, Web Editor, 2014-2015, Speaker Liaison, BrandSmart Conference, 2014.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
JM: My reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer were to contribute my project management and technical competencies. I also wanted to do that with people with whom I thought I’d like working with. Those desires have been more than met.
CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
JM: The exposure to Chicago AMA programs, social engagements, and expert interactions have enhanced my performance in my professional and volunteer work. I am able to innovate applying the latest marketing techniques while being supported by a community of thought leaders.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job?
JM: At the museum I am responsible for co-developing the branding, visual identity, advertising copy, and the implementation of the organization’s e-commerce website (www.artinstituteimages.org).
I lead our client strategy for Art Institute of Chicago Images developing business proposals that leverage our client base while reinforcing the collective brand architecture enabling revenue growth. An example of a proposal I am proud of–within four months contract conversion rate improved overall by 7% through calculated changes to our business model and processes.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
JM: I love tech and value visual and emotional presence in marketing campaigns, and Apple does a phenomenal job.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on? 
JM: I’m active on Twitter and LinkedIn and interested in the practice areas of management, operations and strategy. I enjoy following consulting firms and post a lot of content from IDEO.

October 2015 - Volunteer

October VOLUNTEER

Bryan NagyBryan Nagy

Manager, Programmatic Strategy & Analysis
DigitasLBi_US

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
BN: I started out on the client side at a manufacturing company called Sandvik. We manufactured a hard material used in cutting materials for products such as drills for mining, metal cans for soda, and dyes for diapers. I worked on their marketing and communications team, supporting the marketing plan, planning trade shows, developing marketing materials, and working with agencies to develop interactive catalogs.

From there, I moved into the agency world. My primary focus has been media and analysis- helping to buy and plan media to support marketing initiatives. In my first role at an agency called Doner, I helped develop content and insights for new business pitches. From there, I took more of a client services role, managing online campaigns and providing support to client agency teams.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer? 
BN: As a CAMA volunteer, I am an analytics manager. It is a new role for me. I will be pulling insights about our communications efforts from the website, pages on social networks, and emails. I previously was a web editor for two years, helping to make updates to the CAMA website.
CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
BN: I began as a member in the AMA when first going into college. I joined the AMA to learn more about the marketing world. Originally from Detroit, it was my dream to make it out to CAMA. I originally joined CAMA about five years ago, and began volunteering two years ago.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
BN: Volunteering at CAMA has benefited me in two major ways. First, I’ve met a number of wonderful fellow marketers in the Chicago region through both being a member and volunteering. Secondly, volunteering has allowed me to brush up on skills my current job cannot provide me. I’ve been able to further my knowledge of web management, basic coding, and web analytics. It means I can do things outside of work that I love doing, and still make an impact on the marketing of an organization.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job?
BN: Currently I work DigitasLBi, a digital marketing agency. I am a manager of programmatic media. I help lead strategy and activation of online marketing campaigns for several large global brands. Using real time bidding against advertising space on websites, apps, and social networks, I optimize campaign targeting based on performance against client goals.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
BN: Recently I helped lead an initiative testing several campaign platforms against one another. The resulting findings have helped us drop cost per sales by nearly 50%.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
BN:Moving to Chicago completely changed my career. There are so many opportunities in this city. From the social networking aspect to the actual responsibilities of my current role to career growth, it was a great decision. The number of companies in need of marketing and the vast array of agencies in the city makes Chicago extremely competitive.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
BN:
Network. Go to industry events. Connect to people on social networks. Create your own voice. Get active. Be active. You’ll see that help advance you further and also give you valuable insights and connections.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
BN
I would say in general Nordstorm has become great about dynamic creatives across the web and on social networks. Seeing products I’ve browsed on Nordstrom.com in ads makes me want to make a purchase. Other than that, I haven’t been active enough to be aware of any large online campaigns. I tend to like to get off my computer once work is done, with the exception of my phone.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on? 
BN: I used to be very active on Twitter, but then began following too many people and the value I was getting out of my newsfeed just wasn’t there. Since then, I’ve consolidated a bit to Facebook and Instagram. I follow a lot of business related content on Facebook, like AdExchanger, AdAge, BusinessInsider, and TechCrunch. That’s the way I get most of my industry news. On Instagram, I take a break from work and follow nature and travel related accounts. My favorites include wildlifeplanet, welivetoexplore, and ourplanetdaily. It’s a great way to get a quick break from work and daydream of future trips.

September 2015 - Member

September MEMBER

“Katie_BKatie Badeusz

Senior Marketing Manager
EPAY Systems

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
KB: After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in English, I started out in a writing and editorial role for a communications company. Within a couple of years, I transitioned into a marketing role and have continued to grow in my marketing career ever since. For the past (nearly) 5 years, I’ve held marketing roles at technology companies.

CAMA: What were your initial interests in joining CAMA as a member?
KB:  Getting involved in a professional organization that would help me become a better marketer was an important step in furthering my career. The educational resources, networking opportunities and top-notch programming our chapter has to offer has allowed me to hone my skills and bring fresh ideas to the table in my current role.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA.
KB: I currently serve as Director, Content Distribution on the Chicago AMA’s Board of Directors. Prior to serving on the Board of Directors, I was editor of the bi-weekly Connections e-newsletter for 2 years.

CAMA: As a member, what do you enjoy most?
KB:  Volunteering and serving on the board has been a great way to meet and form relationships with other marketers. I’ve learned a lot and met some awesome people by being involved with the AMA—all while having fun, too!

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job?
KB:  I’m Senior Marketing Manager at EPAY Systems—a SaaS provider of workforce management solutions. Under the direction of our CMO, I’m in charge of leading the execution of our demand generation efforts.
I directly manage a team of 3, overseeing our e-mail/nurturing, advertising, paid search, remarketing and social media campaigns. I also work on strategizing our product marketing plans and executing those activities.

Right now, I’m exploring how we can expand our search engine marketing and testing different ways to drive more inbound activity. The company is also gearing up for a major product release, so I’m working on the marketing plan as well as helping out with UAT testing.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
KB:  This spring, I spearheaded a complete redesign of our company’s website. While I’ve been involved in a couple of website redesigns in previous positions, this was my first time taking the lead on the entire project. This redesign was completely focused on SEO and I’m proud to say that we’re already seeing an increase in site traffic and significant improvements in our conversion rate.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
KB: Chicago’s tech landscape is booming right now, so there is tremendous opportunity for tech marketers like myself. The city is home to a large pool of talent, which I have been fortunate enough to experience first-hand. Throughout my career in Chicago, I’ve continuously been impressed with the talent that surrounds me. I have grown so much professionally since entering the job market in Chicago right out of college.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
KB:
  Network, network, network! Get involved in other areas of business to round out your skills. And make time for continuing education outside of your day job. With more talent out there, it’s getting harder to stand out from the crowd. I think that putting in the extra effort to learn something new or taking on an extra project from time to time are both great ways to differentiate yourself.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
KB:  As a B2B tech marketer, I’m always looking to see how other technology companies are marketing themselves online. There are tons of great examples out there, but Hubspot in particular has long been a brand that I admire. When it comes to utilizing content marketing to drive growth, I think Hubspot is a perfect example. They put out a lot of useful content that any marketer can appreciate.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on? 
KB:  I’m most active on LinkedIn. I use it to connect and stay in touch with those in my professional network. I’m active in many LinkedIn groups and I follow a number of companies in order to stay current on the latest marketing trends and business news. I really enjoy seeing career updates from my network, especially as a way to keep in touch with previous colleagues.

Aside from my professional life, I’m very active on Instagram. I definitely favor it over Facebook and Twitter. I use it to keep up on things like fashion, travel, nightlife, food, etc.

CAMA: Can you please recommend a marketing resource you’ve found useful? Such as an email newsletter to which you’re subscribed, a blog, book, etc.
KB:  I find that digital marketing agencies put out useful content. Companies like Salesforce publish a lot of helpful sales and marketing resources as well. I also subscribe to industry-specific e-newsletters to get ideas for blog content and ensure our marketing messaging is relevant to our buyers.

September 2015 - Volunteer

September VOLUNTEER

Chuck KentChuck Kent

Director of Brand Content
Avenue

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
CK: I am an English major by academic background, a writer by first love, an ad agency creative turned brand strategist and now a content director/creator for just about the smartest B2B brand strategy/activation firm you can imagine.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer? 
CK: I’m on the program committee, helping think up wild and wonderful new member events and encounters – and also helping find exceptional presenters.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
CK: I was always terrible about networking, dismissing it as schmoozing (which it often is), and so I had dismissed organizations like CAMA out of hand. But then I went to the holiday party this past December, primarily because it was in support of UCAN, a terrific Chicago nonprofit I support. The fact that CAMA was involved with a group that’s really making a difference – plus the warm welcome I got from the members I meet – convinced me to abandon my pre-judgments and jump in.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
CK: It’s connected me on a much more meaningful level with people I already knew, introduced me to many new brand and marketing folks and, in my role as a “presenter procurer,” given me license to call up just about anybody in the business in the Chicago area. Oh, and it’s introduced me to the best martinis in town (I’m looking at you, Bonnie Massa…)

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job?
CK: In my new position as Director of Brand Content for Avenue, the B2B brand strategy and activation firm, I am responsible for helping the firm tell its own story and share its trove of insights in the most helpful, and accessible, ways possible, from articles and blog posts to videos to… who knows, maybe even songs (I am infamous for singing in meetings… yes, even B2B meetings).

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
CK: Last year I created, and now moderate, The Branding Roundtable for Branding Magazine – I even led the first live Branding Roundtable at BrandSmart 2015. It’s been a wonderful introduction to some of the best minds in branding from around the world.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
CK: Once upon a time, when I started my career, Chicago had a second city chip on its big shoulders – to the point that one agency exec accused me in an interview of seeming “like a New Yorker.” This chased me out of town to NYC for a number of years, but, subsequently, the advertising and marketing industry here shifted its self-image from “second city” to “second to none,” opening up a wealth of world-class opportunities for everybody.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
CK: 
Study, follow, and be involved in things outside of marketing. This is, if done well (and for the good of all), a business of connecting on a human level, meeting human desires and needs… so it pays to get our heads out of just marketing mode and fill them with, well, life.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?CK:Not just online, but overall, I think that my old client from BBDO days, GE, continues to do great work in both B2B and B2C, with advertising, content, you name it that demonstrates, rather than just says, problem-solving imagination.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on? 
CK: LinkedIn and Twitter are my favored business social media platforms. The former I use to both publish and share content – which has the principal charm of keeping me relevant in the eyes of my long-time contacts, as well as “loaning” me the influence of their networks. Twitter, on the other hand, I use for sharing content and creating/nurturing relationships… both of which are related endeavors.

August 2015 - Member

August MEMBER

Assurance-MichelleFornier- 200x200Michelle Fournier

Marketing Communication Supervisor
 Assurance

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
MF: I’ve been in the marketing world for a little over five years now. After graduating from Elmhurst College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Communications, I started as an intern at a small PR agency and then was hired full-time to do public relations for a number of national accounts, including a mixed martial arts competition on Spike TV. I quickly realized that I wasn’t passionate about the media relations portion of my role and really wanted to utilize my communications and writing skills. I’ve been in the marketing department for Assurance ever since, working my way from Marketing Specialist to Marketing Communications Supervisor. I currently manage three young, talented individuals.

CAMA: What were your initial interests in joining CAMA as a member?
MF:  I joined the American Marketing Association once I started at Assurance. I lucked out in that our Chief Marketing Officer is a huge advocate for getting involved in the marketing community and making connections. I was young and really loved the educational and networking opportunities that AMA offered to help me in my career.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA.
MF:  I’m currently the Volunteer Coordinator for the Chicago Chapter of AMA. One memorable experience I had was at BrandSmart a few years back. I stayed for the very last session. A lot of people had left, but it was from an individual at Virgin Mobile. He was fascinating, a great speaker and really got me fired up on some of the more creative things we can do as marketers.

CAMA: As a member, what do you enjoy most?
MF:  Sometimes we get caught up in our day-to-day projects. It’s great to take a step back and learn from smart, established marketers that are doing tremendous things at their respective organizations. Each month, my team and I sit down, have a lunch or breakfast and listen to an AMA webinar. We’ll then present our findings to the entire marketing department. It’s a great, enjoyable way to connect with my team and bring in new ideas.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job?
MF:  I’m a Marketing Communication Supervisor at Assurance – a top 50 U.S. insurance brokerage. I manage the external communications for our Property & Casualty division, and more specifically our staffing and construction practices. I write many of our external communication pieces, including flyers, RFPs, email campaigns and web content. I’m also heavily involved in the company’s public relations efforts and blog writing, ensuring consistent branding and messaging across all platforms

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
MF:  I was named Assurance’s 2014 Employee of the Year. Considering I work with 350 bright and motivated insurance professionals, it was an extremely humbling honor. It’s always wonderful when you work at a company that recognizes the impact a marketing professional can have in the sales process.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
MF:  Sweet home Chicago. I couldn’t imagine having such abundant resources and networking opportunities anywhere else. Just the competitive, quick paced nature of the city and industry drive me to never settle – just as you learn a platform or think you’re on top of marketing trends – something new always comes along. You’re constantly learning in this city.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
MF:
  Be open-minded and learn from professionals outside of your field. I joined a mentorship program a few years back. I was hoping to be connected with someone in marketing, PR or communications. Instead, I was paired with the vice president of a car dealership. I was not a happy camper. It turns out though he had some amazing connections and great insight on how to become a leader in your company and community. He set up meetings for me with individuals from McDonald’s, the Chicago Bulls and Kane County Cougars. I will never forget him or that experience.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?

MF:  It’s actually not a company. I really appreciate how Taylor Swift brands herself. It’s always fascinating the way she approaches music and videos (think: Bad Blood; removing music from Spotify…etc.) and then delivers a message. Not to mention Taylor’s top notch at connecting with her audience. A girl from my hometown was battling cancer this year. Taylor reached out to her and at a concert put out green and purple light-up wristbands on everyone’s chair to “Light it up for Emily.” Even my parents, who probably couldn’t name a song, know Taylor Swift and think of her in a positive light.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on? 
MF:  Professionally, I’m most active on LinkedIn. I use LinkedIn Pulse as another source for content and inspiration – and to promote Assurance’s blog and thought leadership. Plus, I really enjoy following our competitors and ensuring our campaigns and posts are better!

CAMA: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
MF:  I thought sports marketing/PR was what I wanted to do upon graduation and for the rest of my life. I did it for one year and was done. Trust me…no college kid dreams of marketing insurance solutions and promoting slick-back hair insurance brokers. But that’s where I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

CAMA: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
MF:  I played college softball and was active in sports my whole life. Growing up in a city with great fans and teams is a blast. Anytime I can join a league, go to a professional sporting event or watch it on TV, I’m happy.

August 2015 - Volunteer

August VOLUNTEER

Scott GreenScott Green

Marketing Consultant
DS Marketing LLC

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
SG: I’m originally from the Phoenix, AZ area and went to Arizona
State University where I earned a degree in marketing. I worked for my father’s business during this time doing marketing for his home building company. When the recession hit in 2007 that presented an opportunity to explore outside the family business so I joined CVS Caremark as an Account Manager. I always wanted to have an MBA degree and the timing was right in 2010. I moved to Chicago because I was looking for a new, big city and I enrolled in the UIC MBA program as a full-time student. During this time, I re-focused my career on marketing and entrepreneurship. Since I graduated in 2012 I’ve been helping small businesses with business development and marketing. A year ago, through my professional networks, I partnered with a plastic surgeon to help his search engine marketing, so I co-founded DS Marketing with a partner. We have been focusing on helping plastic surgeons with their search engine presence since then.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer? 
SG: I’m the Social Media Manager. This role works with the managers of each of our platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) on communicating and engaging our audiences with marketing news and trends and chapter event information. I’ve been volunteering for a year and a half, and last year I was on the Board of Directors.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
SG: Primarily, I wanted to expand and enhance my marketing skill set by taking on projects as a volunteer. The opportunity to write copy for email and social media, organize content, as well as managing a team has complimented my professional background. I’m also a big believer in the importance of forming relationships so networking has also made volunteering with the Chicago AMA a great situation.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
SG: Along with the above, it’s given me great insight into running an organization. As a member of the Board of Directors I was able to see how the different teams were managed, how objectives were developed and communicated among the leadership, and how adjustments were made to meet those objectives. This helps with running my own business, as well as better understanding and preparing for clients.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job?
SG: I’m a marketing consultant and co-founder of DS Marketing. My partner and I provide search engine marketing (SEM) services to the plastic surgeon industry. Right now I’m working with a plastic surgery office on developing a new website, prioritizing their key search terms, and optimizing their site for those terms. Then of course, optimizing those key terms in their other online activities.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
SG: Starting a new business and finding leads and clients has been rewarding. We recently helped a client achieve targeted online sales growth and we are very proud of that.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
SG: Chicago has greatly helped shape my career. I moved here to attend grad school and this helped focus my passion in marketing and entrepreneurship. Chicago has a rich history in both, and greatly supports both, so there have been many opportunities to meet people in these fields. I like to attend the many marketing and technology events around town. And with Chicago AMA being the largest AMA chapter, it’s been a great resource for members and volunteers.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
SG:
 Look for opportunities to stick out. Specifically, find something that can be improved and lead a project to address it. Whether it’s for the company you work for, or it’s for your own business, or it’s for a volunteer organization, seek an opportunity and be the person accountable to address it.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?

SG:

  • I thought Apple had a powerful video when they introduced the Apple Watch. It was also easy to find, right on their homepage.
  • Chicago Tribune has done a nice job using emails to keep me updated on breaking news and provide articles from the previous day.
  • American Medical Association has a nice Facebook page with diverse content in their posts
  • The Major League Baseball app keeps you informed on all news and scores and has compelling messaging to engage in their app.
  • I’m also excited to see how presidential candidates will embrace, or don’t embrace, digital marketing (specifically email and social media) for next year’s election.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on? 
SG: I actually use LinkedIn the most to reach out to other professionals, looking for leads or partnerships. While I don’t tweet a lot, I use Twitter for news and opinions on business, entertainment, world news, etc.. @Inc shares interesting business content on Twitter and @JayBaer is a good follow for marketing, as well as @ChicagoAMA

June 2015 - Member

June MEMBER

Melissa GillhamMelissa Gillham
Global Director of Marketing, Advisor Solutions
Morningstar, Inc.

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
MG: I have 10 years of marketing experience in the financial services industry. I’m especially passionate about integrated marketing communications, which emphasizes a customer-centric marketing approach, which I studied at both Kansas University for my undergraduate degree and then at Northwestern for my Masters.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member?
MG: I find the CAMA an invaluable resource to keep up with marketing trends across industries and learn from the issues faced by other members. Each event leaves me recharged, inspired, and helps me bring a fresh perspective to my role.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA
MG: Years ago, I attended my first CAMA BrandSmart conference. Volunteers brought in an impressive line of marketers. This was in the pre-twitter era, and I couldn’t scribble down notes fast enough. This year, I was able to help with the BrandSmart conference and it was fascinating to see such a great event come to life. I was so impressed with the drive of the organizers and volunteers, plus loved the event.

CAMA: As a member, what do you enjoy most?
MG: All their fabulous events, which allow me to hear from the experiences of other marketers.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
MG: I lead the strategy for how Morningstar communicates with financial advisors, across all digital and experiential marketing channels, spanning both customer acquisition and retention activities. My team positions Morningstar so that our audience can understand our product portfolio and how we can help them. We produce and distribute impactful content to engage with financial advisors in order to generate leads for sales and deepen relationships with our customers. We’ve recently invested in a high-caliber marketing automation technology solution, so I’m also collaborating with sales and our operations team on a new approach to demand generation.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
MG: I’m proud of the integrated marketing communications campaign I spearheaded to launch Morningstar’s new iPad app for advisors. The team outlined clear and measurable goals for our work, launched an internal communications effort, plus produced a wide array of tactics which have us poised to exceed our target adoption goal.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
MG: Create a brand for yourself. Use social media to engage with other marketers and to learn from others. And nothing beats old-fashioned, in-person conversations. Ask friends-of-friends in the marketing industry out for coffee. People are more willing to give you advice and swap ideas than you realize.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
MG: I love Nike’s “Better for It” campaign. They dug deep into the psyche of a subset of their market, the more reluctant woman exerciser, and brought to life an impactful campaign that said exactly what’s on their minds.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
MG: I find twitter to be the easiest and most entertaining for marketing and business news and updates. I’m active at https://twitter.com/melissaIMC. Adobe does a great job with their content marketing work, tweeting @cmo_com. I also love @harvardbiz, @fastcompany, and @99u for general business articles.

May 2015 - Member

La SridharLa Sridhar  Photo
Consumer Insights Lead
Kraft Cheese

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
LS: I have been part of the CPG industry as a consumer insights strategist for more than 15 years, and have been in a variety of roles working on base businesses, innovation, center of excellence support, and global assignments. I took a hiatus from the corporate sector for four years to be with my family and used that opportunity to learn new skills and feed my entrepreneurial itch. During this time, I launched two businesses: an online ethnic party ware business, and a consulting service supporting non-profits with marketing, strategy and fundraising needs.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member?
LS: I have been involved with CAMA for a few years as a member and volunteer. I joined CAMA to leverage networking opportunities with the best minds in the industry – all facets of marketing and consumer strategy. This organization gave me the opportunity to build a network of peers and mentors to lean on and learn from!

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA
LS: While serving the non-profit industry, I was one of the founders of the CAMA Non-profit SIG (Shared Interests Group). It was a fantastic experience which enabled me to build a great team from scratch, and bring non-profit success stories to the forefront. The non-profit SIG has grown in number and attracted new and diverse speakers to this forum.

CAMA: As a member, what do you enjoy most?
LS: One of my personal mantras is that “knowledge breeds the confidence to act.” So sharing learnings, successes as well as failures with fellow members has been a delight and a great opportunity to grow. I have met folks from different industries that enabled me to get outside my day to day thinking and routine. Meeting new people and connecting with my peers really makes CAMA so enjoyable.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
LS: Currently, I am the Kraft Cheese Consumer Insights lead. I have been charged with bringing our consumer to life, and creating our strategic footprint for the brand and our specific business/segments for the next few years. Working cross-functionally, my team is responsible for ensuring our advertising, innovation and brand renovation initiatives are appealing and relevant to our consumers. It is a great balance of delivering both short-term and long-term top-line and bottom-line goals/obligations.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
LS: I feel proud of my recent foundational work that has helped guide the go-to-market strategy and equity pillars for our brands. The team also leveraged best in class market landscape learnings to drive our innovation. I also pioneered new ways to help measure and optimize our integrated communication plans for TV, digital and mobile (helped in optimizing spend on the brands).

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
LS: I have worked at several Fortune 500 companies in the Chicagoland area for more than 10 years, and have truly benefited in having the network of peers and mentors who have been supportive of my career. I have been able to get a breadth of experiences in many facets of consumer strategy and insights, which has allowed me to bring forth new thinking and new ideas. I’ve also been given the opportunity to be a thought leader within the enterprise on topics ranging from innovation, advertising development and media optimization.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
LS: Have a plan and network with purposeful intent. It is really critical to know your destination, and where you want to be five years from now. At the same time, you have to be open to opportunities and be flexible in taking detours that may lead to new learnings (skill sets) or ignite a passion. When you decide to take a detour, have a clear strategy to get back on track. The point of detours is that they build on your experience and enhance you marketability.
When networking/connecting with people, ensure that you are deliberate about the organizations and people you engage, so it is the best use of both your times. It is important that you network with the intent to give, as much (if not more) as you receive. I have found it very fulfilling to be there and support my connections in their searches, and building their connections.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
LS: There are a few great companies with online presence—but, I would say Lego has demonstrated presence both online and offline, with shareable and interactive content- be it specific events (Lego Oscars) or newsworthy online snippets. This integrated approach is very critical in ensuring that there is brand presence, beyond just being part of an online experience.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
LS: I have leveraged the power of LinkedIn to stay in touch with my colleagues and professional contacts. I use this platform to keep an eye on the shifts in the industry, past companies I have worked with, and people on the move. I would love to be more active in sharing ideas and best practices with my connections. I also leverage Facebook periodically, to build social engagement with my family and friends.

CAMA: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
LS: I started off as a food scientist, working to find a cure for colon cancer with yogurt! But, in graduate school, I was intrigued by some of the sensory/consumer panels and the business impact of these projects. After 100+ resumes, I moved from academics to the private sector to learn more. During this time, I also completed my MBA to ensure that I have a solid business and marketing understanding. I have worked at Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, ConAgra, and now Kraft- a perfect blend of my food background and my business experience.

CAMA: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
LS: LS: Given my experience with the non-profit industry, and my work in the corporate sector, I feel that it is important that we give back to the non-profit industry as an active participant on their boards or as volunteers. I like to leverage my connections and experiences to give back.

May 2015 - Volunteer

Pamela-Wedgeworth-Wedgeworth-Business-Communications

Pamela Wedgeworth
Sr. Creative Director and President
Wedgeworth Business Communications

CAMA: Tells us a little about your background.
PW: I am a communications strategist and creative director with over 20 years of experience leading strategic-focused external and internal communication campaigns, advising leaders on communication challenges, and providing tactical solutions that produce measurable outcomes.

I started my agency, Wedgeworth Business Communications in 1999 after leaving a successful corporate career at Amoco (due to the merger with BP). Today, BP and WBC have a wonderful sixteen-year partnership that has grown and expanded over the years.

Our clients are Fortune 500 corporations and large non-profits and business associations.

As a trusted advisor and strategic partner, I help our clients determine the best way to present important information to their employees and B2B customers.

I provide the strategic thinking and creative direction needed to ensure that the communication campaigns produce the desired business results. In addition, I oversee the WBC creative team to ensure our work meets our clients’ business objectives and quality standards.

Clients often tell me that I’m the first person they think of when outsourcing communications projects, and the hands-down best advisor when time is short and quality must be high.

They also tell me that I make outsourcing of a communications project worry-free experience and fun!

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer?
PW: I am part of the hospitality subcommittee. I meet and greet members and guests at our Connex events. I also decide and implement the networking games for each Connex. This is a great way of helping our CAMA members expand their network and our guests to feel comfortable meeting our members. It is my goal, with the networking games, to have everyone attending, leave the Connex having met at least one new person.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
PW: My reason for joining CAMA is to connect with other marketers, expand my network and make new friends.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
PW: CAMA has allowed me to expand my network and make some great new friends.

CAMA: What projects are you currently working on?
PW: I am currently the Sr. Creative Director and President of Wedgeworth Business Communications.

Currently, one of our projects is providing theme development and event management services for the 45th Anniversary Celebration for the National Black MBA Association, NBMBAA. The event will occur June 12, 2015. Our team is planning and coordinating the entire event experience, manage staging and AV services as well as onsite presence for event execution.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
PW: I recently led the WBC team to design and implement a promotional campaign to promote attendance and sponsorship for the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, ITSMF Annual Symposium and Awards Celebration.

The promotional campaign included theme creation, strategy and key message development, along with a promotional mix of traditional and social media.

Results Achieved:

  • The campaign helped increased symposium attendance and sponsorship profits as well as sold out the Innovation Center exhibition hall.
  • As a result of our work, we were hired to design and implement the 2016 event.

Direct quote from the clients letter to me:
“On behalf of the ITSMF board, we would like to thank you for all that you did for the 2015 Annual event… We would not have been able to have a great event without your hard work! Thanks again.”
–Viola Thompson, Executive Director, ITSMF

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
PW: The advice I would give to someone looking to advance their career is to first, find a mentor and share your goals. Then listen and use the advice they provide. In addition, be open to moving beyond your comfort zone and stretch your abilities because the industry changes quickly today and if you are multi-talented you will have more career options. Also, look at learning something about internal communications. Internal and external communications are slowly coming together as one. If you know both you increase your value. And of course, get involved in CAMA it will allow you to connect with other marketers and locate the next great opportunities.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
PW: I really love this Hyundai Video, Hyundai: A Message to Space

CAMA: Which social media platform(s) are you most active on?
PW: Personally and professionally, I am most active on LinkedIn and Twitter. I use LinkedIn as a platform for my company to stay connected with clients and other business associates. I also use it to share white papers and other Insights my company produces. I use Twitter to share tips and information with WBC followers on trends and that impact marketing and employee communication. In addition I also use it to stay connected with other thought leaders.

CAMA Bonus Question: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
PW: I studied and majored in video production in college and worked for 10 years as a corporate video producer until I left the corporate world and started my creative services agency in 1999.

Over the years, I have expanded my abilities as well as the offering of my agency to meet the needs of clients. What started out as an agency helping clients tell their stories on video, has grown into a creative agency that helps clients’ tell stories across traditional and social media.

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
PW: In addition to marketing, I also consult with clients on employee/internal communications. I develop the strategy and messages and my team designs and implements the creative media. I like to say we get employees thinking and acting in way that has them connecting with and advocating for the company they work for in a way that helps you achieve business results.

April 2015 - Member

April MEMBER

Steve SonnSteveSonn200x200
Director, Marketing & PR
Care Communications, Inc.

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
SS:It’s a bit of a “wear many hats” type of background. I’ve been marketing in the health care industry for more than 20 years. Health care marketing departments are typically more leanly staffed than say at a consumer products company. So, I’ve had a lot of experience in many different areas of marketing and communications, from data analysis and planning to marketing communications and public relations. I’ve worked at some of the largest hospitals and health systems in the Chicago area, and currently work in the health care B2B space.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member?
SS:I joined the AMA and CAMA in January 2010. At the time, I was feeling like I was in a bit of a silo and disconnected from the Chicago marketing community. I wanted to meet other marketers and continue growing as a professional. The Chicago AMA has proven to be a great avenue for accomplishing those goals.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA
SS:I wanted to get fully involved right away. In addition to attending programs, volunteering was a great way to do that. I joined the Membership Committee and then the Communications Committee. Later, I was fortunate to serve on the Board of Directors for two years, first as the Director of Membership Retention & Engagement and then as the Director of Member Acquisition. My volunteer experiences and the friendships that came out of those really stand out for me.

CAMA: As a member, what do you enjoy most?
SS:There are many things, but if I have to single out one I would have to say the relationships. I’ve had the chance to meet so many other smart marketers and really develop some lifelong friendships. You can’t put a price tag on those kinds of things.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
SS:Currently, I’m the director of marketing and public relations for Care Communications, Inc., a provider of health information consulting and outsourcing for hospitals, physician practices and research companies throughout the country. I lead planning and implementation for most marketing activities, from digital to “traditional” marketing and everything in between.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
SS:The most important success is that we definitely have a growing company and, of course, I like to think that marketing plays an important role in that. More specifically, we recently launched a brand new website. It took months of planning and implementation but I feel like we have one of the best websites in our industry. It features responsive design, which is critical with the explosion of mobile devices. Currently, our website is a major contributor of new business leads.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
SS:It’s really been invaluable to live the Chicago area. It’s one of the epicenters, if not the epicenter for marketing and marketing resources. When you add the fact that the CAMA is the largest AMA chapter in the country, it makes Chicago tough to beat.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
SS:Stay current on what’s happening in business and in marketing and look for ways to leverage that in your organization. Marketing is about more than just producing nice looking materials. Marketing should be viewed as a driver of innovation and growth. Marketers should help others in the organization to understand that. Also, developing a good professional network to learn from and bounce ideas off of is very important.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
SS:I really like what General Electric has done. Its products aren’t “sexy” but they are important and I think GE does a good job of making itself relevant to consumers. The team there has done a great job with social media and has developed large followings. For instance, you would think a platform like Instagram would be a challenge for the company, but they’ve used it perfectly and really enhanced their brand there in my opinion.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
SS:Twitter, by far. It’s a great source for information and place to connect with others. I more closely follow a list of local marketing and PR pros called “Illinois Marketing and PR,” but from that list some notables include Carolyn Martin, Gini Dietrich, David Armano and CAMA’s own Darcy Schuller.

CAMA: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
SS: I think the foundations of marketing will never change, in that we must demonstrate value to the consumer and move them to action. It’s just that how we go about that today, in many cases, is much different than it was in the past. Technology has been a big driver of these changes. The “set it and leave it” long-term campaign is a thing of the past. Marketers now need to assess and implement in real time. It’s definitely a fun era to be in marketing!

April 2015 - Volunteer

AArtig Portrait 200x200April VOLUNTEER

Abby Artig
Marketing Specialist
Society of Actuaries

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
AA:I was born and raised in Park City, Utah, which is just outside of Salt Lake City. After graduating from University of Utah, my biggest goal was to move out of the place in which I had spent my whole life. It was time for an adventure. A month after the commencement ceremony I had moved and was starting my new job as the Marketing & Communication Coordinator at Resurrection University. Over the past two and a half years, I have grown my marketing network and started a new role as a Marketing Specialist at the Society of Actuaries.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a volunteer?
AA:I was very active and was an officer in the AMA at the University of Utah so I know the importance of not just belonging in a professional organization, but being involved in one as well. Growing my professional network and marketing expertise also drove me to join the CAMA. My volunteer work with the AMA stemmed from the need for career development opportunities for young professionals. I saw a need that I could help fill.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer?
AA:Chair of the Up & Comers Career Development Committee.

CAMA:How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
AA:Volunteering with the CAMA has opened up the doors to more professional opportunities. It gives me added motivation to attend CAMA events, and I am able to explore marketing avenues I may not be able to in my current professional role.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
AA:As a Marketing Specialist at the Society of Actuaries (SOA), I promote professional development opportunities to our members and I promote the organization as a whole. I write and send blast emails and newsletters, coordinate sponsorship opportunities and promote meetings we host. If you do not know what an actuary is, I would recommend googling it. Actuarial Science is a leading profession and actuaries play a crucial role in pensions and insurance.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
AA:While at Resurrection University, two of the radio ads I wrote received silver and bronze Higher Educational Advertising Awards.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
AA:Marketing in Chicago has opened my eyes to more opportunities than what I originally would have had. Marketing in Chicago has mainly impacted my career by introducing me to people and fellow marketers who have broadened my horizons. I have met a number of peers and mentors that have equally challenged and grown my views of the industry.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
AA:Reach out to your contacts. You never know who will be the contact to lead you to your next role. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance, whether that is asking someone to read over your resume or pass along your information to a possible mentor. Also, do not forget to thank the people who have helped grow your career in the past.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
AA:Not just their online marketing, but Sprint’s entire campaign. They have done some remarkably targeted ads that are all tied together. Before the polar vortex became a cliché, Sprint had a print ad with similar messaging (?) that integrated social media. They are staying on top of who their market is on a micro-level.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
AA:Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Most recently I have followed National Geographic on Instagram. It is worthy of praise to see such an old brand stay relevant using modern technology. Twitter is great resource to stay up to date on industry best practices.

CAMA: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
AA: In school, I focused my marketing studies on how an agency works. It has been useful knowledge, but since graduating I have always worked on the company side.

CAMA: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
AA: I am always interested in learning more about art. In 2015, I want to continue to grow my skills as an artist and as a viewer who appreciates the work of others.

March 2015 - Member

 

Caroline BombartCaroline
Marketing Director
TechAlliance

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
CB: A French born citizen, I was very fortunate to have been educated all the way through high school here in Chicago and to become fully bilingual at a very early age. After graduating from University in Scotland and becoming tri-lingual i.e French- English -Spanish, I never really lost touch with the Windy City, my second home away from home, so to speak, as I was flying back from London for international business meetings several times a year until I moved back permanently 6 years ago. It shows how everything comes full circle in your life.

Having worked across Europe, the US and APAC, global marketing and localization are very much an integral part of my DNA. My true passion is and has always been sharing knowledge and expertise in this field i.e understanding customers and investing in what it takes to reach them in the most effective way across the globe, something that should never be an afterthought.

Looking back at my career which spans over 15+ years, I have successfully helped corporate brands and agencies to predict what their customers want and engage with them across multiple languages, cultures, channels and devices. One of my biggest challenges is always adapting campaigns for local culture whilst still maintaining global brand consistency.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member?
CB:Having enjoyed the great benefits of being a member of the European Marketing Association for over 10 years whilst living in London, joining the CAMA was a given for me. As a newcomer to the city, the CAMA events enabled me to meet and network with like-minded marketing professionals as well as develop new friendships. I have also found the online webinars invaluable in staying relevant and helping me to keep my marketing edge.

Three years ago, I was invited to rejoin the EU Marketing Association as a Member of the Board and Consultant. I can say I have a great overall vision of marketing trends, issues and best practices from both sides of the Big Pond.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA
CB: I have been a member of the CAMA for 6 years and volunteered for various committees. My most recent and memorable experience as a member / blogger was the 2014 Momentum Conference held last November featuring guest speaker Kelly Cook, CEO of DSW “America’s favorite place for shoes.” I really enjoyed how Kelly demonstrated how passionate DSW is about selling to its customers. She asked the audience to participate by showing them brand images and asking them to position themselves to the area in the room in which those images resonated the most with them. It clearly demonstrated how emotional consumers are about brands. I loved learning about how DSW differentiates itself by concentrating on creative content that speaks to its members and 10 buying personas. For instance, men, DSW’s fastest growing segment, need an incentive to drive them to the store and to target shop, whereas women enjoy browsing around the aisles before making their selection. The cherry on the cake that day was to be able to have a picture of your and Kelly’s shoes, and go home with a signed copy of Kelly’s book. I came away with lots of insights into multi-channel engagement and analytics for Big Data.

CAMA: As a member, what do you enjoy most?
CB:As mentioned earlier, the most important benefits of my membership are the networking opportunities, professional development and the thought leadership conferences from world-class speakers and top brands such Kraft, DSW, Progressive, Mead Johnson Nutrition, The Content Marketing Institute, United, and Grainger. I feel privileged to be part of this vibrant and remarkable marketing community. I have also recently noticed that my fellow AMA colleagues have created new Special Interest Groups (SIGs) such as the CPG and Financial Services. Maybe I should take a page out of their book and set up a SIG for IT or Global Marketing professionals.

I am also proud to be part of an association that gives back to its community and helps youth to become future leaders by providing them a safe place to mend, heal and grow via UCAN.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
CB:I am currently working as a Marketing Director and Consultant for TechAlliance, an IT Consulting Group in Hinsdale. My current assignment is with a leading global provider of Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and High Availability Software client. In this position, I am coordinating major IT tradeshows, partner events, digital marketing and social media campaigns as well as building a client portfolio of references and case studies across the globe. This client is transitioning to a new marketing automation and lead nurturing software, for which I received training in the past and implemented at other clients. I am looking forward to contributing and being the ‘go to person” for this implementation.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
CB:Last year, I devised the marketing and launch strategy for an Indian services company in the US. Their brand was well recognized in their home country; however, changing their business model and adapting it to the US culture was a challenge all around. I spearheaded the creation of their new brand and logo, website, digital and social media tactics. I was also instrumental in the implementation and training of their sales teams on a new CRM and Marketing Automation system. Within their first year of trading in the US, they registered record market share and sales up to $10M.

Another success and achievement in the last 12 months was the Pan-European market research project of consumer perception of advertising that I conducted for the European Marketing Association across 25 EU countries. I was invited to present the results of the highlights of this research at the European Marketing International Conference in October 2014 in Bucharest, Romania. It was fascinating to see the cultural differences across Europe. For instance, the UK and Ireland are addicted to ads on TV whereas the rest of Europe prefers a combination of online portals and relevant emails, especially Eastern European countries. I also found that 80% of Scandinavian and DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) consumers recycle 80% of magazines and newspapers. Did you know that 89% of Europeans go online after reading an ad, yet they still type the link into a search engine instead of using the short URL or QR code in the communication? This makes it more challenging for brands and retailers to track their campaigns.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
CB:Becoming a Marketing Consultant for an IT firm, I have been immersed in very diverse business environments ranging from Fortune 100 to SMB’s in the Chicago area. What I have noticed is that IT multinationals who have their HQ in the US have had to adapt more than ever before to the shift in the new global economic landscape and work seamlessly across countries. Some companies have not quite figured out their global marketing pieces. This is where my expertise comes into play.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
CB:I would tell any marketer that the most important thing they can do is always to be learning. That is the only way to keep up with the accelerating pace of change in both technology and consumer habits. You need to be agile and develop an innate ability to switch from one channel to another. Global marketers face a special challenge as consumer habits are changing in different ways and at accelerated rates across the globe. I would also highly recommend to any marketer to live in a different country, learn a new language and experience a different culture so you can understand the people. Perhaps you might learn why French people protest and go on strike to demonstrate their opinions.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
CB:As an IT professional, the brand I have always admired is Apple in terms of design and new technology. Whether they are branching out into wearables with the Apple watch, powering their Cupertino office via a solar farm or potentially building a self-driving car, the company never ceases to amaze me with their innovation.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
CB:I am most active on LinkedIn and Twitter. I use those very differently – LinkedIn keeps me up to date with colleagues and friends around the globe and I use Twitter to share relevant IT and Marketing news across 5 languages every day.

CAMA:What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
CB:Outside of my passion for marketing and learning about new cultures, I positively love cooking and entertaining. Friends pay me so many compliments and are always urging me to open my own restaurant. Somehow I don’t think I am cut out to be a chef or a sous-chef and venture into the food industry.

CAMA: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
CB: I majored in Economics with a minor in Spanish, followed by another Degree in Import/Export. Through an internal promotion within my first employer (a Korean company), I moved into marketing and have never looked back since. Telecommunications was the perfect way to launch my career in global marketing and get immersed into managing campaigns across 3 continents and 15 languages.

March 2015 - Volunteer

Danielle YocumDanielle
Marketing Coordinator
Right Hat

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
DY:I have always considered myself to be a storyteller. I did my undergraduate work in Theater and English Literature, and got my start as a professional screen actress in Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles I became fascinated with the business side of acting, and in particular the branding side. After all, as an actor you are essentially your own brand. When the opportunity arose to explore this interest deeper with branding and design agency Right Hat, I jumped at it. I now enjoy finding strategic ways to communicate brand stories.
CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA Volunteer?
DY:I am the Volunteer Coordinator, which is such a fun position since I get to meet so many different people. I attend the CAMA networking events, mingle with potential volunteers, and help them find them the perfect volunteer spot.
CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a volunteer?
DY:Being new in the city I started volunteering with CAMA to network. I wanted to meet as many people as possible with different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences. I think this is one of the best ways to get inspired and step outside your own box or comfort zone. CAMA has definitely lived up to this expectation.
CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
DY:Beyond meeting so many new people—which has been incredibly beneficial—volunteering for CAMA has also challenged me to find new ways to innovate within my own organization. Getting involved, attending the various CAMA events and engaging with other members exposes me to a wealth of cutting-edge marketing strategies that I bring back to Right Hat.
CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job? What projects are you currently working on?
DY:Right Hat does strategic branding and design for professional service organizations. At Right Hat I’m responsible for our own marketing, including developing our online strategy and promotional materials. In addition, I manage many marketing projects for our clients, which range from handling entire firm rebrands to single projects such as websites, brochures or logos.
CAMA: 7. How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
DY:I’ve found Chicago to have a very open and collaborative marketing community. It’s amazing how many people are willing to help each other out—even competitors. It’s a great environment to grow in.
CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
DY:I recently implemented an online collaboration tool at my organization that really helped us solidify our processes. In addition, I’ve been able to more than quadruple our Twitter following over the past two years with a new social strategy. Finally, I’m particularly excited about the work we’ve been doing lately to bolster our internal culture. Since we have so many satellite offices it’s been wonderful finding ways to bring the team together using tools like Google Hangouts.
CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
DY:I think one of the best ways to advance your career is to be an advocate for positive change. And not to be afraid to take risks. They have to be the right risks of course, but I believe organizations recognize and appreciate when somebody pushes for forward progress.
CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
DY:JCPenney’s social strategy is so inspiring. I had the pleasure of hearing their CMO, Deb Berman, speak at the AMA National Conference this year and it really motivated me to take advantage of timely events and seek out new ways to engage with our audience.
CAMA: Which social media platform(s) are you most active on? How do you use it and whom do you enjoy following?
DY: I am most active on Twitter and LinkedIn. I am just starting to tap into all the opportunities that LinkedIn presents for business development. The platform offers so many possibilities for marketers to connect with potential clients through discussion groups, targeted searches and categorization, and I think many marketers, like myself, are just starting to scratch the surface.
CAMA:How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
DY:What is really fascinating is that on the surface my career now looks completely different than my undergraduate studies, English and Theater, yet they are actually integrally linked. One of the main reasons I was drawn to these majors is my love of stories and storytelling. In a branding agency, one of the most powerful tools we have is storytelling. It enables a brand to connect with buyers on an emotional level.
CAMA:What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
DY:I am very interested in operations and how efficient operations can trickle down and improve really every facet of an organization.

February 2015 - Member

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

February 2015 - Volunteer

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.

January 2015 - Member

Holly-Harle

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
HH: I am a Senior Account Executive at Diamond Marketing Solutions. My passion is helping clients find the best ways to grow their businesses and build their nonprofit organizations through effective direct marketing techniques. I have provided solutions to many of the Fortune 2000 brands and their agencies across many sectors. I bring more than twenty years of experience in integrated marketing strategy, campaign management, and results analysis.

In my personal life, I’m the very proud mother of twin boys who are in first grade. I wear many hats as a PTO mom, Cub Scout mom, and religious education teacher at my church.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer?
HH: I have been a Chicago AMA member for two years. I am the co-chair of the Financial Services Special Interest Group.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
HH: I love the networking opportunities and the stimulating educational seminars. From the very first time I attended a Chicago AMA event, I was impressed with the lively discussion, fun people, and interesting topics. Right away, I knew I wanted to get more involved. Through the SIG community, I’ve made friendships that I know will last many years.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
HH: The most important benefit has been the new friends. I’ve met people who motivate me in my career and teach me something new every time we talk.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
HH: As I mentioned above, I’m a Senior Account Executive for Diamond Marketing Solutions. I’m responsible for new business development and for nurturing existing customer relationships.
At Diamond Marketing Solutions, we serve our clients with solutions designed to execute results-driven digital and traditional marketing programs, dependable literature and sample fulfillment, and high-quality critical mail services for secured document processing. Our team of experts focuses on developing communication programs with the clients’ cost containment and return on investment objectives at top of mind.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
HH: I am currently working with a Chicago-based higher education client on an online lead generation and lead cultivation campaign with a robust PURL that has had tremendous results with prospective students both domestically and internationally.

In addition to this specific success, I’m proud to report that Inc magazine named Diamond Marketing Solutions to its 33rd annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy – America’s independent entrepreneurs. I’ve been honored to be part of the Diamond Marketing Solutions team for nearly eleven years, and the Inc. recognition proves what I already know – that I work for a great company with people who have vision, ingenuity and passion.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
HH: The Chicago marketing community has always been good to me. I started my marketing career with my father’s direct mail production company, Mid-America Mailers, in 1995. In 2004, my dad sold his company to Diamond Marketing Solutions, where I have the privilege of working with my dad to this day. My dad instilled in me an ethic of giving back to the professional marketing community, so I’ve always been an active volunteer in professional associations such as the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing, the Association of Marketing Services Providers, Women in Direct Marketing’s Chicago Chapter, and of course, now the Chicago AMA. I’ve taught at many seminars and am currently on the faculty of the CADM’s Basic Course seminar series.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
HH: My biggest piece of advice would be to get out from behind your computer and meet people! It’s so challenging in our technological world to make the time to get away from our devices and have face to face interactions with others. Now it’s more important than ever to connect with people on a personal basis. These are the relationships we can rely upon at the challenging times in our careers when we need a mentor, a new job, or just someone to help us tackle a challenge.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
HH: Kohl’s does a great job of keeping me engaged with a combination of email and direct mail offers. There’s no doubt that I often shop at Kohl’s for things I could buy more conveniently elsewhere, but I can’t resist the great discounts they provide. In the long run, I’m sure they come out ahead!

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
HH: Without a doubt, that would be LinkedIn. I use it daily to learn about the background and interests of business contacts, to reconnect with old friends and colleagues, and to prepare for meetings. Admittedly, I don’t use social media much in my personal life. There are too many interesting things to do offline!

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
HH: As I mentioned before, I’m very involved in my community as a volunteer at my children’s school and our church. I love using my marketing expertise and presentation skills to raise money for these important institutions and to teach children. It brings balance and satisfaction to my life. Prior to having my children, I also spent several years as a volunteer coordinator of a bingo and pet therapy program at a nursing home. I’ve always enjoyed working with seniors. If I weren’t working in marketing, I’d probably enjoy being a nurse or a teacher.

CAMA Bonus Question: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
HH: My major was political science with a minor in history! So, my current career is definitely a departure from what I studied at Indiana University. I spent several years after college in Washington, DC as a Legislative Aide to United States Senator Dan Coats. It was a wonderful, exciting time in my life. However, eventually I longed for home and my family, and I was fortunate to have a father who took me under his wing in his direct marketing business and helped me launch a new career.

January 2015 - Volunteer

ToddNelson

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
TN: The hallmark of my career has been leading organizations to the next level through innovative strategy, communications, and marketing. In diverse for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, I have crafted and executed transformative strategies, delivering rapid growth, profitability, organizational visibility and brand awareness, competitive differentiation, and numerous external awards.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer?
TN: I’ve been an AMA member since 2008 and, since July 2013, serve as co-chair of the CAMA Financial Services SIG (special interest group) building a community of dynamic marketing practitioners that explore key issues and share the latest thinking, trends and techniques in financial services marketing.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
TN: In both professional and personal life, I am committed to making a difference, including as a multi-year board member and leader. Being a member-volunteer of CAMA bestows the opportunity to interact with other professionals who share passion and enthusiasm to bring their in-market experience and play an integral role in guiding the content deliverables to CAMA members.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
TN: The exposure to new ideas—or new twists on ones I’ve used for a while.

Being in the arena as a volunteer with world-class professionals from diverse industries forces me to be a better communicator and marketer. The opportunity to interact with—and be challenged by—other professionals from diverse backgrounds keeps me on my toes and makes me a much better marketer than I could possibly be just flying solo.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
TN: In my current role as Senior Vice President – Strategic Initiatives at HealthCare Associates Credit Union, I am responsible for communications, marketing, and business development strategies, and delivering business growth, differentiation, and brand enhancement for this national financial services organization.
For the past six months I have been focused on a website redesign that will enable us to deepen relationships with current members/customers and attract new members from our nationwide select employment groups. This arduous project involved review of our former (then current) site, analysis of our competition, clearly defining our audience, exploring new functionality (e.g., responsive design), reviewing Google Analytics to determine what was working and what wasn’t, outlining missing or inaccurate content, acknowledging ongoing marketing efforts, and making firm quantitative and qualitative goals—all while keeping the project on time and on budget.
Projects in the coming months include utilization of marketing technologies to better measure member interaction and capitalize on new opportunities to continue building our brand.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
TN: The new HealthCare Associates Credit Union website is the latest element of a complete rebranding effort that has also included registering The healthy way to bank® as our official tagline, securing the domain name bankhealthy.org, creating Twitter handle @bankhealthy, and capturing Facebook username /bankhealthy. All of this activity has been in addition to ongoing marketing and business development efforts for which I have to acknowledge my dedicated team.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
TN: More than just marketing in Chicago per se, what has had an impact is the large community of professional marketers with whom I’ve had opportunity to interact. There is a palpable vitality to the marketing community throughout the Chicagoland area; and I try to be a sponge and soak up as much as possible from my peers.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
TN: Two words of advice: be involved. Don’t settle to just do your daily job but look for opportunities to expand your network by volunteering with CAMA, your university alumni association, a not-for-profit organization you feel passionate about, or myriad others. Career success is as much about who you know (and who knows you) as it is about being book-smart. Also, do not be afraid to fail. Be willing to err, to come up short. But always learn from your mistakes and continue to expand your knowledge, skills and understanding of the world at large.
CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate?
TN: Check out Imperative at imperative.com. Created by Aaron Hurst, founder of the Taproot Foundation and author of The Purpose Economy, Imperative is developing a platform to empower employees to define what drives purpose for them, connect that to the mission of the organization and begin to tailor their day-to-day activities to optimize fulfillment. Using the science of purpose and coaching expertise, Imperative developed the first ever purpose assessment and is now consulting with companies like Allstate, PwC and Workday to infuse it into their cultures. They are using the latest research on work to build programs at scale that engage employees, reduce turnover and increase loyalty.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
TN: I am most active on LinkedIn and Twitter. In addition to expanding my professional network, I use these channels to explore new topics, to learn from other people, and to be a better person all around. Rarely do I follow vendors or companies to which I don’t have some kind of personal connection. To me, social media is much more about quality over quantity. If you do want to connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter (@tnelsonCMO), please take a moment to write a personal note rather than just sending a canned request.

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
TN: I consider myself a communication strategist more than a marketing strategist. I earned a master’s degree in Communication Management from the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
My area of concentration was Marketing Communication, which focuses on the management of business communication with customers, clients and general consumers outside the organization. It is particularly valuable for individuals with career interests in marketing and sales, publicity and promotions, market research, marketing management, social marketing, advertising, public relations, public communication campaigns, and public or community affairs.
The dean and select faculty from USC Annenberg recently met with dozens of C-level executives and thought-leaders from the media, communication and entertainment (MCE) fields to discuss their strategies for addressing the tectonic technological and competitive challenges wracking their industries.
What emerged was unexpected: top MCE executives consistently articulated that their priority is people—the need for more uniquely talented individuals who possess a rare and specific skill set. In particular, they seek people who are capable of: recognizing new patterns and connecting the dots; aligning creativity, context and strategy; analyzing and communicating across multiple boundaries; and effectively using various platforms to reach diverse audiences while upholding core organizational values. Moreover, the challenges associated with attracting, growing and retaining these talented individuals are universal, regardless of geography or industry.
In the Information Age, communication is at the center of every industry and initiative. These needs are unlikely to be fulfilled by individuals coming from existing conventional disciplines, such as the MBA or Engineering spaces. The dean of USC Annenberg dubbed this new set of 21st century communications competencies the “Third Space.” And I want to be a go-to expert in this new frontier.

December 2014 - Member

Dean-PetrulakisCAMA: Tell us a little about your background.

DP: I was born and raised in Maryland and moved to Chicago in 1988 to go to college. After graduating in 1993 I got my career started working in marketing for Rosary College (now Dominican University) in July of 1993. I worked there for 4 years before moving on to U.S. Robotics (the modem giant) to work in the employee communications department. That was short lived due to a merger. I lost my job, and it was then that I got my start working in the printing industry. I took a sales job with a printer that I used while working at Rosary and US Robotics. The rest is history! I worked there for 4 years before coming over to Rider Dickerson in 2001. I’ve had a very successful career to date at Rider. In 2009 I took on a larger role when I became the Senior VP of Business Development. In addition to my book of business, which continues to grow, I work closely with our CEO to help drive larger company growth initiatives, and I started our very successful educational brand, “printForum”, which has really become our content marketing engine. I love what I do—every day is different and I work with so many interesting clients and great people. I love being tied to a project or campaign that leads to tangible results for my clients. It’s very rewarding.

CAMA: What were your initial interests in joining CAMA as a member/volunteer?
DP: Initially I got involved in the fall of 2011 to help start and create programming for the Higher Education SIG. From there I took on a larger volunteer role on the board, and currently I’m the co-chair of the Higher Ed SIG again as we try to re-ignite that group.

CAMA: As a volunteer/member, what do you enjoy the most about being involved?
DP: I’m proud to have been part of the original Higher Ed SIG and take pride that I helped shape it along with some other really talented folks. We had the most active and well attended SIG for 2 years. Now the challenge is to give it a rebirth!

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA.
DP: I really enjoy the incredible events—always good content. I also relish the networking opportunities with so many talented marketing professionals in this great, vibrant city.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job? — and/or –What projects are you currently working on?
DP: As Senior Vice President, Business Development at Rider Dickerson, my primary responsibility is managing my current book of business while also constantly looking for new ways to add value and grow my relationship and business with my clients. And, of course, I look for new business opportunities through selective prospecting and networking. I work with clients on all types of print and integrated marketing campaigns. We used to be what you would call your standard “ink on paper” printer. It’s exciting now to be involved in so many other aspects of my clients’ marketing campaigns. We continue to evolve and add value. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, I run printForum, our educational arm that I started in 2009. I work with my marketing associate and together we churn out as well as curate a tone of meaningful and valuable content for our clients through our magazine, conference, webinars, seminars, blog, email marketing and social media. printForum is a great engagement vehicle for us, and we never sell through it. It’s been a huge success, and it has elevated our brand and really helped us build community. We are planning some cool stuff for 2015!

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
DP: Recently I was so proud to have a campaign we managed for a university client of mine drive tremendous traction and ultimately lead to a 100% enrollment increase for a particular program. The client was beyond thrilled to have the student base for this program double in 1 year! The campaign was such a success that we submitted our white paper for a presentation at the AMA Higher Ed Marketing Symposium and it was selected. My client, business partner and I presented in Austin a few weeks ago. It was a thrill and tremendous honor.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
DP: This is such an exciting city to live and work in (my English professor would not approve of the preposition ending that sentence). It’s a vibrant city full of commerce and creativity. I can’t think of a better city to have the type of job I do. There are so many talented marketers and creative representing some amazing companies, and I have the privilege of partnering with them every day, and I always love when I get to meet new people—especially through my relationship with the AMA! I know I could do what I do in other cities, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun doing it in a marketing minded city like Chicago!

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
DP: Never stop learning. There’s a saying I believe in wholeheartedly—“What got you to where you are today won’t keep you there and won’t take you to the next step.”

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate? (Can be their video, their website, their email campaigns, their ad, etc.)
DP: I love Nike’s website. The photos are unreal, and I love the Nike ID platform—where you can customize your Nike shoes choosing color combinations you like. Talk about letting the consumer take control of their purchase! Love it!

CAMA: Which social media platform(s) are you most active on? How do you use it and whom do you enjoy following?
DP: I’m the most active on LinkedIn and Twitter. I love LinkedIn for strictly business purposes. I like sharing relevant content that my connections will find value in. I like reading the informative posts by my connections. I also love Twitter, and I use it professionally and personally. Professionally I like to share links to really good articles and post my thoughts on topics my followers might find relevant. Personally, I like to use Twitter mostly for thoughts on Sports, as I’m a sports nut! I like to follow people who root for the teams I root for and get involved in discussions during games, etc.. It’s fun. Someone told me once Twitter is like a big cocktail party, and you just have to pick the conversation that interests you and join in!

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
DP: Consulting and keynote speaking. I feel like one day I will be doing that—just don’t know when. I love educating and I love engaging with all types of people.

CAMA Bonus Question: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
DP: It’s way different. When I went to school I wanted to major in journalism, and I thought I was going to be a journalist and then I figured I would be a sports information director at a big university. I ultimately majored in Communication Arts with minors in Business and English. I started out in communications and marketing working for Rosary College, and now here I am in 2014 running business development for a printing and marketing services firm. You never know the path life will lead you down.

December 2014 - Volunteer

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.Bonnie-Massa

BM: “How did you go from being a speech and theater major to an experienced professional in predictive analytics?”

It’s a question people ask a lot. You can’t hear my Tennessee twang when I write, so just imagine it as you read this.

I wanted to be on the stage as a young adult. To do that, one needs an audience. So, after college, I started a not-for-profit in my hometown, Cookeville, Tennessee, to support the performing arts.

In addition to directing plays and jumping through hoops to get federal funding, I looked at who supported the brand new organization. The season ticket subscribers were white-collar professionals with some disposable income. I started thinking about the best way to reach more of these people. I needed to keep the subscribers we had while at the same time build the subscriber base. I quite unexpectedly discovered strategy and marketing was equally as thrilling as performing in front of a live audience. That got me hooked on analyzing information and using my discoveries to create marketing strategies that would attract like subscribers. So I got into predictive analytics even before it was a mainstream field, let alone taught in college!

In the process, I also did a stint teaching a mandatory public speaking course to barely tolerant freshman at Tennessee Technological University. That taught me everything I needed to know about how to create buy-in with people who initially were not interested!

I made the move from Cookeville to Chicago a few years later, knowing a big city would provide me with more business and social opportunities. Chicago would definitely support my growing love for travel and food, too. (There are few restaurants in a town of 20,000!) That’s when I hung out my shingle as Massa & Company.

CAMA: What is your role as a CAMA volunteer?
BM: So far, I chaired the Program Committee for the brand new Momentum Conference in 2013 and 2014—and am looking forward to new frontiers at CAMA.

Give me something to lead, a budget and a timeline for reaching a goal, and I’m there! I enjoy finding people who know more about a subject than I do, and working with them to create something none of us could accomplish on our own. From the feedback we’ve received on the last Momentum conference, everyone involved in it has a lot to be proud of.

CAMA: What were your reasons for joining CAMA as a member-volunteer?
BM: Here’s what I love about CAMA. It connects me with others in the marketing analytics world—otherwise we might be back in our offices, enjoying sifting through data. It also gives me access to talented people and business resources I can use for my clients.

CAMA: How has your volunteering experience benefited you?
BM: The exposure to new ideas—or new twists on ones I’ve used for a while.

Here’s one example from the conference. Kelly Cook, the CMO of DSW, gave the keynote address. She spoke about the company’s goal of giving employees the power to make decisions on the spot to help customers have a pleasant experience at the stores. Kelly shared a short video DSW shows to new employees. It had sayings that ranged from “call your mother” to “always do your best, “be kind to others”, you know the stuff we supposedly learned in kindergarten. This reminded me that inspiration to improve my business can come in many forms—not just the latest predictive coding algorithm.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have?
BM: As founder and president of Massa & Company, I spend the day doing what I love. This includes designing how we analyze customer data for our clients and uncovering the hidden patterns and trends. Then we make recommendations on how clients can act on these, which improves the decisions they make and how they spend their money. In addition, I guide the talented staff that builds the models that makes this all possible. I know a lot of marketers think numbers suck the life out of them—but all of this really energizes me!

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
BM: My best moments are when clients tell me that our recommendations help them make better choices and spend less money. It’s also rewarding when clients stay with us for many years. My takeaway is that retention is equally as important as acquisition. It helps pay the mortgage!

Clients willingly give us all kinds of information about what they want and need. My first step with them is to help them do a good job of collecting and storing this. Then I can focus on analytics: sifting through the data and uncovering the patterns and trends behind the decisions customers make—to determine why they buy and what will make them buy some more. This allows my clients to save money while making more. Trying to reach customers when we’re not listening to them is a lot like throwing darts at a wall in the dark!

Fortunately, lots of companies have agreed with me. That’s why I’ve worked with some familiar names: Budget Rent a Car, Midas International, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Johnson Wax, and La-Z-Boy Furniture. Because of my soft spot for not-for-profits, I work with plenty of small organizations you haven’t heard of, too.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
BM: Here’s a funny story. My company used to be headquartered in Glen Ellyn. Ten years ago, I moved it to downtown Chicago. The motivation was actually personal. Being a foodie and a lover of theatre, there were a lot more scrumptious dining choices and live theatre in the city than there were in the suburbs. Secondarily, there were many more interesting networking opportunities here—without the hour-long commute.

Suddenly we got more business! Nothing else changed about what we offered clients or how we served them. Only our address. So I can definitely say that “marketing in Chicago” has made a measurable improvement in my career!

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
BM: Keep learning. Listen to what works for others and think about how it could apply to your situation or your clients. You never know where your next great idea will come from!

Because I can be a “numbers geek,” of course I believe data is extremely important. But when it comes to making decisions, you need to balance this with your experience. What you know about an industry is just as important as what the data says. Don’t undersell yourself! Use your own knowledge to inform your decisions.

CAMA: Which social media platforms are you the most active on?
BM: I pay the most attention to LinkedIn . It’s a great way to connect with other professionals—as well as potential clients. I dabble in Google+ and have a Facebook page for Massa & Company.

Twitter works for me as a consumer of information rather than a tweeter. I follow people in the marketing industry who are on the cutting edge. Eric Siegel, Mark Jeffery, Avinash Kaushik. This is part of my own commitment to lifelong learning. Most of my clients prefer to invest in proven technologies rather than being early adopters. But exposing myself to the intelligence that others create gives me the chance to get smart on it, so I can make recommendations that work when my clients are ready for them.

Then I use my personal Facebook page to stay in touch with my family, who still live in Tennessee. It’s fun to keep up with photos and news from people I don’t get to see every day.

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
BM: Is being a foodie a skill or profession? It is as far as I’m concerned. Last August, I combined this with my love of overseas travel to spend several days on a cooking vacation in Italy. Every day we worked with a chef to create fantastic meals, and what better setting to eat them in than Florence? I now make my own pasta, which is so much fun. You won’t believe how much better it tastes than products bought in the box! The Focaccia bread – well – I have no words that equal this luscious crusty bread.

On the travel: this dates back to a three-week trip I took to Asia while in college. There’s nothing like going to a country that isn’t as developed as the U.S. to expand your worldview. It started me on the journey of paying attention to other cultures—and getting pleasure out of a world where everybody doesn’t look, think, act and eat the same.

Then there is my love of dogs in general, and my own: Cookie. She’s been with me for 16 years. Earlier this year, she developed some health problems and I was afraid I might lose her. In true geek style, I developed a spreadsheet to track what she ate and when, her symptoms, and her daily activities. The vet was astonished when I shared this—but it ultimately helped us make decisions that brought Cookie back to health. Once again, I was saved by the data!

November 2014 - Member

Dan-Rangel(1)

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
DR: I grew up in Chicago in a neighborhood called Logan Square. I went to school at UIC and studied mathematics. My first job out of school was in marketing research at a company called IRI where I started out doing data entry and coding, I then moved into a programming position creating SAS programs to clean survey data. I got the job from my best friend’s wife who knew someone at IRI. The funny thing is I had no idea what marketing research was at the time but I was happy to find something right out of school and SAS programming was something that used my math skills.

Later I went to a couple of other companies as a programmer, then into client services where I got to hone my people skills as opposed to working in a corner at a computer writing programs. One day I got a call from a CEO at Blackstone Group and he asked whether I would be interested in an opening he had. It was at a much smaller company than the other firms I had been at and little did I know after accepting the role as Manager of Data Collection and Data Processing that meant wearing a lot of hats. I was at BG for 12 years and eventually became a VP. The role gave me the opportunity to learn how to manage people and clients. Moreover it opened a door in the sales field. In this role I learned a lot about cost estimation, ROI, asking the right questions to get the business and most of all how to treat everyone with respect just like as you would want to be treated as a customer.

Today I am in sales at CfMC. The reason I went to CfMC is that it gives me the opportunity to be in research but the company is a software company for marketing research firms. I am learning a lot about what goes under the hood in terms of survey data collection tools and data processing software. CfMC has opened the door to meet a lot of people because I was sent to a lot of conferences including the AMA.

I am also Board of Director in Membership for the Great Lakes Chapter of the MRA. This has further given me the opportunity to meet fantastic people from all over in the marketing research industry. Combine this with being a long time member of the AMA and being involved with the CAMA, it has been completely invaluable not only for sales but for my professional and personal growth.

CAMA: What were your initial interests in joining CAMA as a member/volunteer?
DR: My initial interest when I first joined the CAMA was to keep up with what was going on in the marketing world. This includes new technology, new approaches to reach people, and new fields that may open up due to new marketing fields.

I actually was a member years ago. My job at the time had paid my membership, and then when I started at CfMC they encouraged me to join the AMA again. Now a little older I realized more than ever how much the CAMA means to me. Through the group I have made so many professional contacts and more importantly people whom I consider friends.

CAMA: As a volunteer/member, what do you enjoy the most about being involved?
DR: I enjoy the events and reconnecting with everyone. I feel really good when I can connect people to others to help them out professionally. Since I am in sales I may meet someone through another person or directly at an event who may be a future client.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA.
DR: Being on the SIG for Marketing Research has been a pleasure. I get to work with people in my sector of marketing and I always find it a joy to come up with ideas for our next event that excites people and piques their interest.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job? — and/or –What projects are you currently working on?
DR: Currently I am working on several projects that are for ad agencies. My company CfMC does survey research and our online survey software can contain ad clips, supports threshold tests, can support concept ad heat maps that you select what you like, and other sophisticated methodologies such as conjoint studies. I find ad research to be a lot of fun, especially pre- and post-ad surveys to find out what the consumer remembers from commercials and other media.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
DR: Funny you should ask this question. Just yesterday I won the Chapter Service Award for my work on the board for the Great Lakes Chapter of the Marketing Research Association. I received it for the record number of new members we have gotten during the past 3 years in a row while being the Director of Membership. It was certainly a privilege for our board to also have won Chapter of the Year Award twice in a row as well.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
DR: I think Chicago is one of the great centers for marketing. We have all the big firms here as well as the AMA headquarters. I was never at an agency per se but I have worked indirectly with a lot of agencies doing their research. The nice thing about being in Chicago you can meet someone for lunch or coffee face-to-face. I think it really helps cement the relationship and it’s something you might not get working in a different city.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
DR: I am all about networking and getting your name out there. Nowadays you have Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram as well as your phone and your legs to get in front and center of people. The moment you stop doing that someone else will take your place. You constantly need to be visible. Everyone is so busy that we all have short-term memories. Do not take it for granted that someone is going to remember you when everyone else is jockeying for everyone’s attention.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate? (Can be their video, their website, their email campaigns, their ad, etc.)
DR: Okay so I have been in the market for a new motorcycle. I really liked Triumph’s website. I thought it was really sleek and you can customize the bike online. Harley and others have it too but I thought Triumph’s was really cool.

CAMA: Who do you follow on twitter? Please provide 3 handles.
DR: Well I bought a Triumph bike so I follow that. I also am a news nut so I follow CNN and of course I follow CAMA!

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
DR: I actually do a lot of photography. I have freelanced for the Chicago Tribune on the side shooting for Latino Fashion Week. I have a show this weekend and I am in a show in October as well. Keep an eye out for me walking down the street with my camera!

November 2014 - Volunteer

Nancy-Graham(1)

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
NG: During my career, I’ve worked in three major verticals: telecommunications, banking and insurance. For the last 4 years, I’ve been in Digital Marketing project management, working in between development creative teams and the client.

CAMA: What were your initial interests in joining CAMA as a member/volunteer?
NG: The opportunity to meet other marketers and to share ideas and experiences.

CAMA: As a volunteer/member, what do you enjoy the most about being involved?
NG: I enjoy meeting other CAMA members and hearing about their marketing experiences at a broad spectrum of companies and industries.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA.
NG: I’ve made some new professional contacts and have been able to introduce other members to some of my network connections.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job? — and/or –What projects are you currently working on?
NG: I am currently working on two projects: one is an Adobe Sitecore installation for a large pension fund in the suburbs and the other is an Adobe Experience Manager installation / web site redesign for an international filtration company in Minneapolis. My role on these projects is to work with the client and the creative/development teams to develop the project timeline and identify the project deliverables. My job is to manage the development and creative teams to produce the deliverables according to the project schedule, within budget and on time.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
NG: My digital marketing experiences have helped me transition into a new role as a Senior Project Manager at Rauxa, a full-service marketing agency. We are expanding into the Chicago market and also have offices in New York, San Francisco, Costa Mesa and Atlanta. I look forward to helping grow this office and working with our talented marketing colleagues on some very interesting projects.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
NG: Here in Chicago, networking is key. So I’d encourage people to get out there, meet people, schedule coffee meetings with other marketers and learn what’s happening at Chicago businesses. Chicago’s marketing world is very inter-connected, so odds are you can meet people who can introduce you to target companies or employees.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate? (Can be their video, their website, their email campaigns, their ad, etc.)
NG: I really like the online marketing done by Birchbox. Not only do they promote new products to try, but their videos help explain hairstyles or styling techniques.

CAMA: Who do you follow on twitter? Please provide 3 handles.
NG: @maximumbeth: Beth Santos, Founder of Go Girl Travel Network
@beauwillimon: creator of HBO “House of Cards”
@gladwell: Malcolm Gladwell

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
NG: I studied Journalism at the University of Kentucky and for the first few years out of school, I worked as a copywriter. Through my career, I’ve been attracted to new business opportunities, like cellular communications, Internet banking or dot com ventures. I have been able to put my project management skills to use in a variety of industry sectors. I think the liberal arts composition of Journalism, plus my natural curiosity, has served me well in moving between sectors, especially in new or emerging businesses.

October 2014 - Member

Kelsey-Diao-LI

CAMA: Tell us a little about your background.
KD: I spent four years working on Madison Avenue (TBWA\Chiat\Day and Young & Rubicam) before leaving to earn an MBA from Duke. After business school, I joined the world of management consulting and have been focused on consumer insights and innovation in the CPG and Retail spaces with roles with The Boston Consulting Group and now IRI.

CAMA: What were your initial interests in joining CAMA as a member/volunteer?
KD: I sought a marketing community in Chicago after having had a very positive experience with a marketing organization in New York. It’s great to get to know a group of people with similar professional interests in the same city.

CAMA: As a volunteer/member, what do you enjoy the most about being involved?
KD: I most enjoy feeling connected to the Chicagoland marketing community. The more events I attend, the more great people I meet. Everyone has interesting experience and something new to share.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA.
KD: I have met so many people willing to lend a hand or make a connection. I’ve appreciated the collaborative nature of the organization.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job? — and/or –What projects are you currently working on?
KD: I help clients at CPG and Retail firms figure out how to grow their businesses. Often this involves understanding consumer needs and figuring out how a client can best meet them. I work with brand managers, consumer insights folks, strategy roles, and more.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
KD: In this past year, I led IRI’s reinvention of its relationship with a key retailer. I reinvigorated a relationship that had been dormant and leveraged proprietary IRI technology and technology teams to provide client teams with the tools they needed to inform business decisions around assortment, promotions, shopper strategy, etc.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
KD: While Madison Avenue is in New York, Chicago has such a strong base of CPG firms in the region. I often find that I don’t have to fly far to reach my clients, which makes work-life balance much closer within reach.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
KD: Think about whether you’d like to advance your career in the space you’re currently in, or if you’d like to switch to another area of marketing – There are so many different areas. Either way, speak with those more senior to you in your own area as well as peers in other areas in marketing to figure out what the next best move is.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate? (Can be their video, their website, their email campaigns, their ad, etc.)
KD: A number of firms have been – wisely – developing blogs catering to Hispanic moms recently. This Hispanic, Millenial population is critical to brands’ futures. A good example is Kellogg’s Dias Grandiosos.

CAMA: Who do you follow on twitter? Please provide 3 handles.
KD: @chicagoAMA, of course! @brandchannelhub @Pogue

CAMA Bonus Question: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
KD: I majored in Design, so now having an MBA and working on the business end of marketing is really quite different than where I anticipated I’d be. But I’ve found that marketing has been a great sector in which to leverage both my creativity and business acumen. It’s a good match!

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
KD: I periodically consider opening a small business, which would leverage my MBA training as well as all the on-the-job marketing skills I have gained over the years.

October 2014 - Volunteer

Martin-McGovern-LICAMA: Tell us a little about your background.

MM: Craving more than a suburban perspective on life, I left Arlington Heights to pursue a degree in Marketing and Design at DePaul University.

Here, I cultivated my first interaction with the American Marketing Association by reviving our fledgling chapter alongside my now business partner to revive the organization. During our time, we increased membership and member involvement with the organization, while competing nationally in New Orleans at the AMA Case Study Competitions.

With a constant eye out for perspectives different from my own, I continue to build on my education through photography, yoga, brand consulting and career in advertising. I seek to push my comfort zone and take as many people as I can along for the ride.

CAMA: What were your initial interests in joining CAMA as a member/volunteer?
MM: While wandering BrandSmart in a corduroy blazer, I met so many fascinating and interesting people that when I was asked to help reinvigorate the Young Professional group I had to jump at the opportunity. I could feel my DePaul mindset creeping back in and was excited for the opportunity to explore a new niche within the organization.

CAMA: As a volunteer/member, what do you enjoy the most about being involved?
MM: Seeing where I can push the envelope and engaging current and future members has been my favorite piece so far. As with any growing organization, there needs to be a good balance of formulaic operations and organic experimentation. Testing ideas with the Launchpad arm of the Up&Comers group over the past year has been eye opening and we have learned so much. Now, I am looking forward to the next step of bringing the three legs of the group together and start finding the balance between these two extremes.

CAMA: Tell us about your involvement or a specific memorable experience you have had with CAMA.
MM: Two years ago, while attending the BrandSmart conference, there were a handful of people in attendance to whom I owe a great deal of thanks and admiration. These connections were so generous that I can trace back my current job, my volunteering involvement in the AMA, the speedy development of my brand consulting services, and even participating in the CAMA Spotlights all back to that one day.

CAMA: What marketing responsibilities do you have at your current job? — and/or –What projects are you currently working on?
MM: Each day, there are schedules to piece together, banners to develop, and campaigns to be sent out, but what keeps my role grounded is an understanding of the mindsets that need to be managed throughout the process. Pushing for the happy balance between corporate goals and user experience is not easy, but I feel it is essential when working as an Account Executive.

Thinking in this way also opens additional opportunities in your career, which has led me to working on two new recent projects. The first, a new business pitch that is very hush-hush, and the second, an event that will connect Chicago Startups with industry experts for a night of marketing and business development coaching.

CAMA: What recent professional successes have you had?
MM: After graduation, I worked in a marketing role on the client-side of the business for about three years. It was a good job, but I realized that working downtown in advertising was really where I wanted to be.

While leaving a “safe” job for the uncertainty of a career change can be overwhelming, I knew it was necessary in order to move my life in the right direction. The transition was difficult, with months of networking, freelancing, and uncertainty in-between. But this month, I am happily celebrating my one-year anniversary at MARC USA, a full-service agency downtown, and can check “career transition” off as a success in my professional life.

CAMA: How has marketing in Chicago impacted your career?
MM: With the introduction of 1871 and the rise in technology and educational startups in the city, I feel that Marketing has taken on a new mindset in Chicago in recent years. Moving away from the cereal-box-character perspective of the past and focusing on storytelling, engagement and value through marketing has been monumental in my career. Events like NPR’s “The Moth”, which takes place at Haymarket each month, to the “Yes, And…” learnings of The Second City, there is no end to what this city consistently teaches me every day.

CAMA: What advice would you give to marketers looking to advance their career?
MM: Do interesting things in your personal life. Stop waiting for other people to put on the event you want to attend, and go start building it with your friends. Create mastermind discussion groups with your peers and start talking about real things like relationships, life, struggles, and aspirations. House of Cards is interesting, but at the end of the day it won’t get you a promotion.

Three weeks ago, a fellow AMA colleague and I went skydiving and this week I organized two outings with the Up&Comers group. On Monday we went to “The Moth”, followed by floating in the SpaceTime Tanks in Lincoln Park on Tuesday night.

Live an interesting life, learn how to tell stories, and use the things you learn to help your clients and your company build their business.

CAMA: Which brand’s online marketing have you recently seen that you really appreciate? (Can be their video, their website, their email campaigns, their ad, etc.)
MM: Podcasts. I love podcasts. Start with Freakonomics Radio, This American Life, NPR: TED Radio Hour, The Moth Podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, and then move on to anything any of those podcasts recommend you check out.

CAMA: Who do you follow on twitter? Please provide 3 handles.
MM: I don’t twitter. However, I am on Instagram!
• @joshjohnson – because he is a brilliant photography marketer. Seriously, his community is amazing #jj
• @suflanda – because she is able to capture something in tattoo art I’ve not seen anywhere else.
• @groovebookstore – because we should all read more.

CAMA Bonus Question: How is your career different compared with what you studied in school?
MM: Whenever I talk to undergraduates, they can’t wait to get out of college because they are “done with homework!” Sorry to break it to you, but a career is a never-ending stream of homework that you get to do all-day-every-day.
The difference is that you get to choose what you study! So start enjoying your homework. Figure out the homework you want to do every day and try to do as much of it as possible. Explore things outside of your day-job and try to incorporate them into your work.

CAMA Bonus Question: What kind of professions or skills are you interested in outside of marketing?
MM: Human studies are fascinating. Behavioral Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Photography, Yoga, Meditation, and anything that will offer me a different perspective from what I’ve been pre-programed to think piques my interest.