Photo: Mark Fenske.
It is sometimes easy to get wrapped up in what your individual AMA chapter is doing and lose sight of being part of a massive international network. Twice each year, chapter leaders are given the opportunity to connect for a weekend of learning, idea sharing, and networking. It is at these points when it all comes into focus. Each spring, all chapters come together in Chicago for the Leadership Summit. And in the fall, smaller subsets of chapters convene for Regional Retreats. Along with the Alaska, Portland, Puget Sound, Reno-Tahoe, Sacramento, Silicon Valley, and Utah chapters, San Francisco is part of the Northwest region. Our Regional Retreat was held in spectacular Vancouver, British Colombia. I may be a bit biased, but I think we got the best destination of all the Regional Retreats this year.
Our host chapter, BCAMA, kicked off the sessions on Friday night with not only a mixer and reception but also a moderated panel discussion featuring David Godsall, Director of Publishing and Education with Hootsuite; Maya Lange, Vice President of Global Marketing with Destination BC; and Nikki Hellyer, Marketing and Communications for Rocky Mountaineer. As a former Programming Chair, I truly appreciate the extra time and effort that panel must have taken to put together. BCAMA really went above and beyond for us and set the bar high for the weekend.
(As a side note, we are working to get David Godsall involved in a SF AMA speaker panel in early 2018. Stay tuned…)
Photo: Alex Khaliq.
Saturday was filled with a series of intensive sessions, punctuated by breaks for food and to take photos of ourselves out in the snowfall. Topics of discussion ranged from leadership skills, board structure and best practices, to previews of exciting initiatives on the horizon from the AMA. Some brilliant ideas came out in the presentations and roundtable discussions that, quite frankly, none of us in San Francisco had ever considered before. Our chapter representatives returned home motivated to put some of those ideas into action.
But, maybe the biggest takeaway from the Regional Retreat was that the whole of the AMA is much greater than the sum of its parts. As AMA members, we are part of an extensive community of marketers and thought leaders, about a half-million strong. Being a part of that network allows us to learn from one another, help each other, and advance in our careers. We need to take advantage of every opportunity that it affords. I look forward to seeing everyone again next April in Chicago.
And now that the official recap is out of the way, I will share a few thoughts on my personal Vancouver experience:
- When the camera at the Customs checkpoint repeatedly tries but fails to capture your image, it does not necessarily mean that you are a vampire…right?
- I’m not gonna lie, the Japanese tech toilet seats in the hotel rooms were a little weird.
- What is considered “a hill” in Vancouver bears no resemblance to what is “a hill” to San Franciscans. If you are following directions that tell you to go up a hill, you will think that you are going in the wrong direction when you see no hill.
- Visitors to Canada should probably steer clear of cocktails containing maple syrup, no matter how much they feel that they want to experience the local offerings. Lesson learned.
- By the time I figured out what the two-tone coin was, it was time to go home.
Authors’ LinkedIn: Amy Franjesevic