The AMA SF wouldn’t be here without the humble support of its volunteer staff who generously give their time and talent to making this non-profit organization a success. To show our appreciation and gratitude, we will be featuring our top volunteers who have grown with the AMA SF, continuously donated their time and energy, and made a difference in the marketing community. This month, we’re recognizing Alex Stoeffl, our Event Programming Volunteer.
Alex assisted me with many of our AMA SF events, and it was rare that he did not join us; he helped with a lot of the behind the scenes details of our event programming.
He was one of our AMA SF Volunteers that commuted in the farthest, and oftentimes he would be onsite early already going through our event checklist.
He enjoyed doing the early, or late shift to be able to network during the event – he was a real people person. In Between Freelance gigs, he made the investment to join AMA to receive the National association discount for the Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) program.
We were sad to lose Alex’s volunteer support, but he had the opportunity to move to Texas to further his education with The University of Texas, and he is already networking with the area chapter to stay involved.
How did you hear about the AMA SF and what made you decide to join our membership?
My first real connection with AMA SF was when I came across the Volunteer Recruitment Event on Meetup. I happened to be looking for a relevant professional organization to engage with and was able to attend the event. When I got there, the first thing I realized was that all of the board members were friendly, welcoming, and engaging. Their positive attitude was perhaps the primary reason I committed to volunteering with AMA SF. After seven months of volunteering at numerous events, learning some new tips, and meeting great people, I decided to become a dues-paying member and join the organization more officially. I also wanted to take advantage of the discount on the PCM Exam for Marketing Management, which by the way, I passed!
What do you enjoy most about volunteering with us?
In addition to participating in great events, I’ve come to really enjoy the camaraderie among the AMA SF Board. They’re a lot of fun!
What is the benefit of volunteering with the AMA SF?
It really depends on what you make of the opportunity. In my opinion, the networking presents the greatest value. While you are there to fulfill a responsibility, it doesn’t mean you can’t engage with the group. Staffing the check-in desk or bartending are excellent opportunities to both help out and meet people. From students to working professionals to C-level executives, you’re certain to meet people from all walks of life in the marketing community.
Another benefit of volunteering with the AMA SF is the information you gain from the event itself. Marketing is a dynamic discipline and you never know what helpful tip or piece of information you’ll pick up to use on your next marketing assignment. For example, I attended the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Speed Networking event to learn more about D&I organizations in San Francisco. In addition to learning about the different organizations that participated, the format of the event ended up being one of my key takeaways and was added to my bag of tricks (since I also work on event planning and facilitation outside of AMA SF).
While both benefits can be achieved at the same time from a single event, attending multiple events is like gaining a compound interest on the benefits. The more you put in, the more the benefits build upon themselves.
Why do you think it is important to give back to the marketing community?
It’s important to give back to the marketing community because I believe the industry would stagnate without collaboration and knowledge sharing. It can take hundreds of cumulative work hours to organize a single high-quality networking and professional development event. AMA SF organizes at least one every month. Without the support of its members, volunteers, and Board, the AMA SF would not be able to create high-quality, affordable events where marketers can meet, exchange ideas, learn something new, and bring new life (both ideas and people) into the industry. Volunteering is my small contribution to help enable that collaboration and sharing.
What advice would you give to prospective volunteers?
As I noted earlier, attending multiple events builds on the benefits you receive from them. I would highly recommend volunteering for any events that work with your schedule rather than only picking events where the topic is of specific interest to you. I recently volunteered for an event where I admittedly didn’t have much interest in the topic itself. However, I met a partner in a boutique consulting firm specializing in lean product innovation—a subject that I’m incredibly passionate about. My point is that you actually have to go to events and go with an open mind.
How do you stay current with marketing news and trends?
The obvious answer is AMA’s Marketing News. It’s actually quite good for getting snippets of information from across the industry and I was especially intrigued by the cover story from September 2019, Shattering Gendered Marketing. I also subscribe to Marketing & Sales articles from McKinsey and follow a number of thought leaders and authors such as Dan Ariely and Martin Lindstrom. Interestingly, most of the content and insights that I enjoy most actually come from my LinkedIn feed. A recent example was a shared article from Vimeo’s blog about Square.
If you had one piece of advice to leave someone who is just starting out in marketing, what would it be?
Develop your skills in data analytics. With the vast amounts of data being generated and hypergrowth of digital marketing, knowing how to quickly and accurately analyze, interpret, and act upon that data is an essential skill for nearly all marketers going forward. There are numerous free resources available online (e.g., YouTube) and in-person (e.g., Meetups) to develop foundational data management and analysis skills in Excel and SQL. AMA’s Journal of Marketing also offers marketing-specific articles for those who are a bit more ambitious, such as Marketing Analytics for Data-Rich Environments.
Outside of volunteering, what are a few of your hobbies or activities?
Outside of volunteering, I’m an avid outdoor adventurer. I was involved in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as a child and the bulk of my career has been in the outdoor industry (retail and equipment manufacturing). I enjoy most outdoor activities, including hiking, climbing, skiing, kayaking, and sailing. A few of my notable adventures are day-hiking Mount Whitney, skiing the Haute Route in Switzerland, paddling the Grand Canyon in a sea kayak, and sailing across the Atlantic.