AMA Award Winners Offer Tips for Chapter Excellence

Chapter excellence awards winners were announced at the 2018 Leadership Summit.

Turn It Up Chapter Award Winner: San Antonio, Texas

Led by: Jason Ellis, Accu-Print CEO

Ellis says his goal as president of the San Antonio chapter was to bring fun back to the chapter (he encourages people to take a shot before and after the meetings). To bring more people to the events, Ellis began e-mailing as much as possible — and it worked. The chapter began producing more social media marketing and even launched a postcard campaign to get back in front of its audience. They even made simple changes like keeping the meeting location consistent, rather than moving around.

The chapter also made an effort to talk about their successes at meetings, they announced the increase in attendance every month and had a full (engaged) board with a three-year succession plan, rebranded their marketing efforts and gained sponsors for the first time in four years.

The results: a 12% increase in membership and 148% increase in attendance at lunches.

Bronze Chapter: Iowa

Led by: Joey Taylor-Moon, director of marketing at Hubbell Realty Company

Taylor-Moon admits she was a bit nervous transitioning into the role of president of the Iowa chapter: Not only did she have two children under 20 months old, but there was the added pressure of the chapter coming off of a winning streak.

She focused her chapter efforts on aligning with the support center under the One AMA branding. To do so, the chapter hosted a kick-off luncheon to unveil the brand, during which the the online branding shifted over as well.

To boost membership, prospects were urged to attend events free of charge. A membership table was set up at these events and a master prospect list was developed to communicate with nonmember attendees. The chapter utilized Facebook ads and sent messages to lapsed members. New member orientations were hosted and new members received shout-outs at events.

The results:

  • Ended 2016–17 chapter year at 428 members.
  • Professional, young professional and doctorate memberships up 8.3%, group memberships up 13%.
  • Attendance total of 1,901 guests for 33 programs.
  • Generated 30 volunteers for United Way Iowa under a pilot program, for which they received a 95.6% satisfaction score from those who attended. Generated 50+ new ideas to implement for United Way Iowa

Silver Chapter: Triangle

Led by: Karl Sakas , Sakas and Company

Sakas stresses his three goals as president of the Triangle chapter: Make it fun, create unique opportunities, and notice and thank people. He uses the analogy of a flywheel: a machine that stores energy and is hard to start, but easy to keep turning.

To make chapter events more fun, the Triangle team focused on socializing and activities that could only be done in person. It offered unique opportunities like regional retreats and set stretch goals. To notice and thank his members and volunteers, Sakas frequently sent thank you notes, noting to the audience that, “Saying ‘thank you’ is free for you and priceless for the recipient.”

Gold Chapter: Houston

Led by: Tracie Welch-Brenton, president of Marketing Logix

Welch-Brenton introduced the acronym BHAG, which stands for big hairy audacious goal and relates to the concept of creating a goal that almost seems impossible, but is possible. The idea was introduced by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

BIG: The Houston chapter has 1,205 members, 38 events each year, 171 active volunteers and 48 board members.

HAIRY: The chapter had some challenges to deal with. Houston’s oil and gas companies were laying people off, making financials for the chapter a bit difficult. In addition, the chapter’s special interest groups were struggling, and most board turnover came from those involved with the SIGs.

AUDACIOUS: Houston launched some new approaches and changed the way it communicated with its audience, including potential members.

GOAL: Make goals achievable, have the vision and create a stretch goal, Welch-Brenton says.

The results:

  • Sponsorship: $132,000 cash, $281,000 in kind.
  • 9% net income on revenue, $43,000 net revenue, $544,000 total assets, $405,000 in reserves.
  • 4,936 event attendees, 94% event satisfaction, 65% academy growth, $11k in grants.
  • 517 e-mails sent, 397 Facebook posts, 494 Tweets, 405 LinkedIn posts, 65,000 website visitors.



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