Being President of AMA Houston

June 30, 2016

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Houston, Texas with the heat index somewhere near 110 degrees.  I've just arrived home from a planning retreat for the American Marketing Association Houston chapter's Board of Directors. 

Tracie, President Elect 2016 - 2017From July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 I had the distinct pleasure to serve as President of the American Marketing Association - Houston chapter. I appreciate the faith and trust that the 1,110+ members and 40+ person board put in me to lead for a year. 

What I've Come to Appreciate in the past year: 

1.  Herding Cats would be easier. AMA Houston's board is made up of some of the best minds in marketing in the 4th largest city in America. They are smart, creative, questioning, and full of ideas.  Their energy is boundless which makes reaching consensus a sometimes Sisyphean task.  

2. Resilience is important.  You can't measure yourself to past years or other people's expectations. The Houston chapter has long been award-winning; it would be easy to compare to prior years and be defeatist in comparison but I learned to persevere and keep trying new things. We ended on several high notes having achieved most of our goals and even surprising ourselves on some. 

3. Team Building is more challenging with volunteers. I own my own company. When I want team building impact, I can hire trainers, block out an afternoon and fix the problem. Barring vacations, everyone is on board. With volunteers, you have to work harder to fit your initiatives into their lives. 

4. Professional Organizations change lives. You might think that volunteering with a professional organization is somehow less "worthwhile" than a children's cause or a animal rights group or a homeless organization but I think that's because you haven't tried it. Helping a college student build a network and get their first job is rewarding. Helping people laid off as oil approached $27 per barrel feel hopeful of their prospects has value. Sharing professional education so that people can earn a living and raise their families in a field they are passionate about is AMAZING. 

What I've Gained in the past year:

1. Awareness of Friendships. It's one thing to have colleagues you have met from time to time at events. It's another thing entirely to have friends who you can call and get a pep talk at a moment's notice, or people who offer to support events or activities.  AMA Houston has delivered that in spades. 

2. Sense of Self.  With age comes wisdom?  The past year was a BEAST.  As a 4 a.m. riser, my typical work week is 55 to 60 hours.  Adding in AMA Houston added about 10 hours per week on average. And I survived it. Not only survived; I thrived. My company grew, my client base grew and I am still happily married.  My life was enriched from the experience and I know that I can handle the next challenge. I also know that all I missed were a couple of hours of mindless television here and there; my brain is likely better off as a result. 

3. Appreciation for my Blue Sky Marketing Team. My team is a solid group of rock star marketers. I could say so much more but they absolutely handled my last minute AMA requests, their regular client load, and pitched in to help me more than once. 

Final Thoughts:

I grew up in a volunteering family. My mom and dad were active in the church and mom was President of the Southeast Louisiana Girl Scout Council even with her eight kids. I always knew that I would participate in the communities I lived in. Get involved. You'll meet people with different backgrounds, you'll make adult friends based on shared interests, and you can feel good knowing that you helped someone or many someones. 

Research even shows that volunteering is good for your mental state so what are you waiting for? Find your passion and volunteer. AMA Houston can always use a few good minds, email me and I will connect you. 


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