By Colleen Chappell, Immediate Past President, AMA Tampa Bay
The chance to serve as chapter president of an international organization is a once in a lifetime opportunity. As president of the American Marketing Association (AMA) of Tampa Bay, I was able to be a part of growing an organization – while growing my own professional skills.
I began my presidency in the throes of unparalleled economic times. Our chapter risked outpacing our structure with consistent year-over-year membership growth, while chapters across the country were losing rather than gaining strength. In many ways, we faced the perfect storm. It was daunting to take on this leadership role while so many risk variables were simultaneously at play. Now, looking back, the challenge proved to make us all stronger.
I am incredibly proud of the milestone successes we achieved this fiscal year. Some highlights include:
· Adding more new members this year than any year in the history of the organization.
· Winning the international membership drive for all other organizations our size.
· Breaking the 400-member mark for the first time in our chapter’s history.
· Closing the year as the 8th best chapter (out of 75) in member retention.
· Setting new attendance records for both a regularly scheduled and a specialty interest event.
· Most importantly, positioning AMA Tampa Bay as the source and resource for marketing professionals in our area.
How did we do it? In a single word – tenacity! Our board and volunteers harnessed an inner passion to succeed that inspired me as a leader. Being a part of an international volunteer professional organization can be as demanding as a full-time job. It takes extraordinarily strong professionals to put in the quantity and quality of time, passion and strategy it takes to move an organization like this forward. Looking back, the unwavering resolve of each individual contributor was the key to our collective success.
Handing over the reins to Tara Hustedde, our 2010-11 fiscal year president, we are poised for even greater success as we continue to hit the “best in class” bar across the U.S. and Canada.
Tara, if I can pass one thing on to you, it would be to never lose sight of that individual member as we continue to grow. AMA is far more than a professional network; it’s a critical asset to marketing professionals who want to move their careers forward. Best of luck to you and your new leadership team as you take this chapter “Above and Beyond.”