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 kicking off our Volunteer Spotlight program with Brad Dressler, our Event Management Volunteer.
As the VP of Events, I have had the pleasure of working with Brad on many events. He has been a part of AMA for many years prior to me working with him and has been an active contributor over several board terms. As an onsite event Volunteer, handling Registration and event setup, he was responsible, an active contributor, he was very open to the transition of new event practices I activated over my tenure, and he became an ambassador in training other event volunteers. His passion for Marketing carries over to many outlets and he would be a great asset to any team and is staying ahead of the curve by participating behind the scenes of AMA but also by attending our robust Educational Programming which is a perk to Volunteers. — Jeanavive Janssen, Vice President of Events, AMA SF
Why do you volunteer?
I volunteer because I believe it’s the right thing to do. To contribute and help in some capacity. I have been volunteering for various nonprofits since I was 16 years old. The first nonprofit was a sea turtle rescue, where we learned all about the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and the organization would actually save the newborns of this endangered species. Since then I have volunteered for many types of non-profits — orgs that support women, represent the LGBTQ community, provide resources for the homeless, advocate for comprehensive Diversity Equity & Inclusion, raise environmental awareness, and of course provide professional resources and programs, like AMA. Specifically, I volunteer for AMA SF for several reasons. They provide a variety of programming and resources. Plus, the people involved are amazing. They are truly supportive. They are genuine, good people. And it’s great to make connections with fellow marketing professionals.
What is your role and what have you gained from volunteering with the AMA SF?
I’m a DEI Program Manager at Google. I manage and work with cross functional teams on all Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) speakers, panels, sessions, lounges and receptions for Google Cloud Next — a conference with over 40,000 attendees who work in tech and want to learn about cloud engineering. One of the greatest things about working with AMA SF has been building connections. I’ve developed working relationships with so many marketing professionals from various disciplines. Plus, I’ve made a lot of good friendships too.
You have been doing marketing work for a while. What’s your current career path?
I have worked in various marketing roles over the years — in-house, agency, tech, software, product, eCommerce, education, and more. I even managed a digital marketing agency for a while. For several years before I got this job at Google, I was doing consulting work with mostly tech companies. Sometimes I help them build their marketing strategy, refine their audience and targeted content, or create an engaging event to build their brand and drive growth. The work varies depending on the company’s specific needs at that moment. But, I am so excited to be working at Google on this new role that combines many of my skills and areas of expertise.
You mentioned some event experience. Has there been a specific AMA SF event that you really enjoyed helping with?
Honestly, I have had a great time at all of the AMA SF events. But, one does stand out a bit more than others. I am a big believer that collaboration leads to greater reach, impact and success. Several months ago, AMA SF teamed up with PRSA SF and we developed an event called Diversity & Inclusion Speed Networking. It was such an amazing event! We reached out to a lot of nonprofits with a DEI focus and invited them to have a table at the event. Then all event attendees went around with a special ‘BINGO’ card that encouraged them to meet each organization in order to be entered to win some great prizes donated by sponsors. It was extremely well attended, everyone had a great time, and most of all it gave over a dozen nonprofits a platform to interact with constituents. We wanted to increase their exposure while also educating members about all of these outstanding organizations in the SF Bay Area.
If you had one piece of advice to give to marketers interested in becoming an event manager, what would that be?
Narrowing to one piece of advice is a challenge, but I would say the best recommendation is to work with a variety of people and go to as many events as you can. Find companies and organizations that you’re passionate about and reach out to them about work and volunteer opportunities. I made many connections and gained a lot of experience by working at SXSW, TechCrunch events, Dreamforce, StartUp Grind, VM World, and of course Google Cloud Next. You can also do consulting work and find companies that need help planning or assisting with off-site demos, activations, lounges and receptions.
Outside of volunteer and work, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
Overall, I’m a big geek. I love movies (especially SciFi), reading books and graphic novels, going to the theatre, and binge-watching shows on Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and DC Universe. I also enjoy going out with friends, exploring the city and traveling.
Lastly, share a fun fact about yourself.
I love independent film so much that I actually founded an LGBTQ+ film festival in College Station, Texas, when I was working at Texas A&M University. In its second year, the festival received 100+ submissions from filmmakers in 11 countries around the world.