Welcome Home

We Have a New Website!

Unless this is your first visit to the Austin AMA website you almost certainly have noticed some changes. Today marks a complete refresh of our principal marketing asset! 

Even if you’ve never personally had a hand in overhauling a website, as a marketer you surely have witnessed the process. It’s a lot of work:

  • It forces you to think about why you even have a website. Is it to attract new audience members? To serve your existing audience? And if the latter, serve them in what way[s]? Is your relationship transactional? Are you here to inform? To bring people together? To exist as a resource? 
  • It also demands a new look at who that audience actually is. Who is your website talking to? What are they looking for? What questions are they asking online, the answers to which could and should be on your site? What do they need? And how can you meet those needs? 
  • And then of course, there are all the issues of user experience, design, voice, navigation strategy. How does your audience prefer to consume information? Is yours an audience that wants a lot of detail? Are they put off or distracted by particular design approaches? Do they expect you to treat them with formality, or do they prefer a looser communication style?

We of course had to wrestle with all of these questions and issues as we revisited our own site. The result of our deliberations is on your screen. And I think we’re confident that it talks to the needs of marketers in Austin in 2020. 

Today most of us are grappling with a savage business environment and a time of unpredictable change. Many of us are suddenly idle, either because of contraction or market sludginess. We are looking for answers. And we feel alone. 

Austin AMA – and our new website – has a message for you: Welcome home. 

We exist to bring marketers together. To get answers to their questions, to see how others are dealing with today’s business challenges, to make themselves more marketable, perhaps to start down the path of getting back to work. 

Most importantly, Austin AMA is a vaccine against feeling alone. Interacting with marketers from all over Austin’s diverse economy, sharing, commiserating, hanging out with people who get it. 

The popular meme right now is we’re all in this together. Frankly, that doesn’t provide me with much comfort. What I like about Austin AMA, and what I invite you to experience if you haven’t already, is that here you aren’t alone. 

Our new site is simple and clean, but dramatic. It sets high design standards, which you’d expect from a bunch of marketers. We wanted all of our constituencies – newcomers, members, volunteers, sponsors – to have easy access to what they need. We’ve got all kinds of content meant to provide orientation, but expect much larger helpings of thought leadership going forward as well.

Ascend Marketing, an Austin AMA sponsor, was instrumental in the conception, design and execution of this new site. Ascend is a regionally and nationally prominent, full-service marketing agency with particular strengths in digital marketing. Ascend’s Kyle Herbst was our go-to guy at every step of the way. 

Austin AMA’s Jen Miller, the chapter’s president-elect, had the hardest job of all: she got this project off the ground. And Elly Call, a volunteer member of my Communications Committee, typed or influenced every word on every page of the new site. 

Let me know what you think about the new austinama.org. What else could this site be doing for you? You can reach me directly at don@austinama.org. And thanks…   

AMA AUSTIN’S SEPTEMBER 2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: EMAAN ABDELBAKI

Emaan is a results-driven marketing executive with a solid track record of developing and executing multi-channel marketing campaigns and promotional strategies. With over 20 years of marketing experience, Emaan relocated to Austin, TX to be closer to family and enjoy amazing tacos and BBQ. He is currently volunteering for the Austin American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter as their director of engagement, and one-on-one collegiate mentor for AMA university members. 

We had a chance to sit down with Emaan and find out a little more about him:

Where did you grow up?


I grew up in two places. Fort Collins, CO, where I learned about walking to school in the snow. I can actually use this on my son one day! I can’t wait. And Baton Rouge, LA where my Dad became a “full” professor of veterinary medicine at LSU’s Vet School. So, naturally growing up in Tiger-town, I became a huge Tiger fan and graduated from LSU in Journalism and
Advertising. Louisiana’s culture is so unique that I always recommend friends and family to visit and hit a festival. They don’t disappoint. Laissez les bons temps rouler!! Oh, and since LSU is currently #1 in NCAA college football rankings – GEAUX TIGERS!

What is your volunteer role?


I am the director of membership engagement. I’m helping the Austin Chapter recruit and retain its members. Basically I call people and tell them how awesome the AMA Austin Chapter is! 😀 There’s also email campaigns by segments and engaging with members and prospects at events. I also mentor soon-to-be college graduates. Wow, I get to shape a mind that’s coming into the market, sorry Cole! ;D In all seriousness, this part of my role is one of the most rewarding. I wish I had someone guide me into marketing when I was a senior in college. If you have the opportunity to help do it. You’ll be glad you did, and the student you mentor will be better
prepared for their new career.

What is your day job?

I am currently in the hunt for my next adventure. And as a results-driven marketing executive, I have a solid track record of developing multi-channel marketing campaigns to grow business competitive markets, i.e. Austin. I’m going to take my skills as a marketing director with LSU, Sirius XM Radio, and creative department lead with Verizon Connect, and apply them to a great company here in Austin. Stay tuned!

How did you get involved in the AMA?


I’ve been a member of the AMA for years on and off. At first, just as an addition to my resume. When I moved to Austin last year I attended a few events and realized that the Austin Chapter is a great way to network and really get involved with a group of like minded people. So I decided to get involved by volunteering and helping out anyway I can. It’s a hoot! Morning coffees with members that become friends, contacts, and have the ability to help move your career forward. GEAUX for it, join. (“GEAUX” is how we spell “go” in Louisiana, it’s a thing.)

Name three of your must-read blogs or sites for industry news:


I really comb a few sites for info, my current favs are:
● adage.com (old fav)
● www.ama.org (The goods!)
● mashable.com (trends)
● LinkedIn.com (the DAILY RUNDOWN is a quick, great source for what’s happening in business overall)

You’ve got a free afternoon in Austin. Where do you go?


Are you kidding?! Tacos and Beer. I’d map out my favorite places to hit for craft beer and tacos, and probably end up at Lazarus Brewing Co. since they have both and a great cup of Jo. I homebrew beer, so moving to Austin with its craft beer and food scene was such a bonus for me. See you at a brewery!

Describe yourself in one word:

Kind

Outside of work you’ll find Emaan coaching his son’s Little League baseball team, homebrewing beer, cooking new things he finds online and traveling with his family.


AMA AUSTIN’S AUGUST 2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: EKATERINA KONOVALOVA

The combination of Ekaterina’s wealth of international experience and curiosity as a social scientist distinguishes her from many other professional marketers. Ekaterina leads the digital and social media team at Ascend Marketing and oversees Ascend’s internal marketing and public relations initiatives.   

Outside of work, you might find Ekaterina creating visual art or traveling with her family to foreign countries to enjoy new cultural experiences. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ekonovalova/

Where did you grow up?

Krasnodar, Russia. Many people don’t realize that there are regions in Russia with humid subtropical climate where you can enjoy warm winters and palm trees. I grew up close to the Black Sea, and some of my fondest childhood memories include swimming in the Black Sea and growing organic vegetables and fruits in my garden.

What is your volunteer role?

I am helping the Austin AMA chapter find panelists and speakers for professional events.

What is your day job?

I lead the digital team at Ascend Marketing, a marketing services firm that specializes in journey marketing and customer engagement. I enjoy helping my clients, large international enterprises, create and execute effective marketing campaigns that increase customer engagement and improve the bottom line.

How did you get involved in the AMA?

I initially joined the AMA DFW chapter as a special interest group volunteer for the Market Research SIG. Later, I led the Mentor program at the AMA DFW, where I paired senior marketing executives (Directors, VPs and C-level executives) with junior professionals. This role allowed me to meet over a hundred marketing professionals and form a tight marketing community over the course of two years. I moved to Austin over a year ago, and I’d like to continue to create strong connections within the marketing community in the Austin metro area. 

Name three of your must-read blogs or sites for industry news:

  • www.ama.org blog
  • https://ascend.marketing/frontier/ – A shameless plug – Ascend’s Frontier blog, an e-trove of content related to journey marketing, marketing automation and AI.
  • martechtoday.com – a great resource for marketing technology news

You’ve got a free afternoon in Austin. Where do you go?

If it is not too hot outside, I may take my daughter for a stroll at the Pioneer Farms. Surrounded by a forest, this living history museum always brings me peace and tranquility. It also reminds me to be grateful for modern day technology such as the air conditioner, washer, dryer and other things that we tend to take for granted.

On a hot day, I like to paddleboard in Colorado River or chill at the pool.  

Describe yourself in one word: 

Driven

AMA AUSTIN’S JUNE 2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: EKATERINA KONOVALOVA

The combination of Ekaterina’s wealth of international experience and curiosity as a social scientist distinguishes her from many other professional marketers. Ekaterina leads the digital and social media team at Ascend Marketing and oversees Ascend’s internal marketing and public relations initiatives.   

Outside of work, you might find Ekaterina creating visual art or traveling with her family to foreign countries to enjoy new cultural experiences. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ekonovalova/

Where did you grow up?

Krasnodar, Russia. Many people don’t realize that there are regions in Russia with humid subtropical climate where you can enjoy warm winters and palm trees. I grew up close to the Black Sea, and some of my fondest childhood memories include swimming in the Black Sea and growing organic vegetables and fruits in my garden.

What is your volunteer role?

I am helping the Austin AMA chapter find panelists and speakers for professional events.

What is your day job?

I lead the digital team at Ascend Marketing, a marketing services firm that specializes in journey marketing and customer engagement. I enjoy helping my clients, large international enterprises, create and execute effective marketing campaigns that increase customer engagement and improve the bottom line.

How did you get involved in the AMA?

I initially joined the AMA DFW chapter as a special interest group volunteer for the Market Research SIG. Later, I led the Mentor program at the AMA DFW, where I paired senior marketing executives (Directors, VPs and C-level executives) with junior professionals. This role allowed me to meet over a hundred marketing professionals and form a tight marketing community over the course of two years. I moved to Austin over a year ago, and I’d like to continue to create strong connections within the marketing community in the Austin metro area. 

Name three of your must-read blogs or sites for industry news:

  • www.ama.org blog
  • https://ascend.marketing/frontier/ – A shameless plug – Ascend’s Frontier blog, an e-trove of content related to journey marketing, marketing automation and AI.
  • martechtoday.com – a great resource for marketing technology news

You’ve got a free afternoon in Austin. Where do you go?

If it is not too hot outside, I may take my daughter for a stroll at the Pioneer Farms. Surrounded by a forest, this living history museum always brings me peace and tranquility. It also reminds me to be grateful for modern day technology such as the air conditioner, washer, dryer and other things that we tend to take for granted.

On a hot day, I like to paddleboard in Colorado River or chill at the pool.  

Describe yourself in one word: 

Driven

AMA AUSTIN’S FEBRUARY 2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: KRISTA SHORT

Krista is the Director of Marketing at Falcon Structures and was nominated as the AMA Volunteer of the Month for February for her work as PR Coordinator. We had a chance to connect with Krista and find out a little more about her. Thank you, Krista, for your time and dedication to the Austin AMA. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristashort

Where did you grow up?

  • I was born in Cincinnati, but I grew up in several places in the US and spent a couple years in England. I graduated from Ohio University.

What is your volunteer role?

  • I am the liaison between Programming and our Public Relations sponsor, Pierpont. I work with Pierpont to write and distribute any Austin AMA event press releases, as well as ensure the events are posted on the local event calendars.

What is your day job?

  • I am the Marketing Director for Falcon Structures, a manufacturer of modified shipping containers for working, living and industrial applications. From a simple mobile office to a multi-family apartment complex, Falcon is a single source for modified shipping containers for businesses and developers.

Why did you join the AMA?

  • I joined the AMA almost 15 years ago when I was new to marketing. I wanted to connect with and learn from others in the field. I not only learned more than I ever expected, I met the most wonderful people who have gone on to become some of my closest friends.

What (or who) is your favorite marketing blog or thought leader?

  • MarketingProfs is still my go-to. They have a wide variety of authors on any topic imaginable, so it’s easy to find something new each time I visit their site or receive an email.

What is the one thing you’ve been inspired by lately?

  • I’m always inspired by the leadership at Falcon Structures. Each of them has a unique way of leading, motivating and teaching that makes you want to work hard every day and accomplish amazing things.

Describe yourself in one word: Disciplined (kinda boring I know – but true!)

Austin AMA Leader Stacy Armijo to Receive National Recognition

We are thrilled to announce that AMA Austin member Stacy Armijo has been selected as the 2019 AMA Ric Sweeney Chapter Volunteer of the Year. Stacy’s contributions to the AMA organization are recognized at the local and national levels. She is a former president of our Austin chapter and serves as chair elect of the national AMA Board of Directors. As a volunteer and community leader inside and outside of the marketing profession, she is well known for her many positive and valuable contributions. Many of our members may know Stacy through her current role as Chief Experience Officer of Amplify Credit Union here in Austin. 

In recognition of Stacy’s exceptional service, she will be honored during the AMA Leadership Summit to be held in Chicago in May.

To read more about Stacy’s contributions, visit: https://myama.force.com/s/article/2019-Ric-Sweeney-Chapter-Volunteer-of-the-Year

AMA AUSTIN’S JANUARY 2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: JENNIFER MILLER


https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenmmiller/
Jennifer Miller, Director of Marketing, Support Ninja
President Elect, Austin AMA

Congratulations, Jennifer! Thank you for all you do for AMA Austin.

Where did you grow up?

  • I grew up in Victorville, CA. Over the last year I moved to Austin, TX and am loving it.

What is your volunteer role?

  • I get to work with the membership committee helping in anyway possible through support of events and connecting with other members.

What is your day job?

  • I am the Director of Marketing at SupportNinja, a wildly unique outsourcing company, where I get to connect businesses with outstanding customer support integrating Support Ninjas onto their teams.

Why did you join the AMA?

  • I joined AMA in California for the chance to collaborate and learn from other marketing professionals. Marketers are unique and impactful leaders and I have been able to learn so much from everyone I’ve gotten to interact with as a part of the AMA.

What (or who) is your favorite marketing blog or thought leader?

  • Simon Sinek is one of my favorite thought leaders. He has an amazing way of understanding people and how to invest in those you work with. “Leadership takes work. It takes time and energy. The effects are not always easily measured and they are not always immediate. Leadership is always a commitment to human beings.” – Simon Sinek

What is the one thing you’ve been inspired by lately?

  • Honestly, the team that I work with and the dedication they have to always improve themselves and make an impact on those around us.

Describe yourself in one word: Organized

AMA AUSTIN’S NOVEMBER 2018 VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: RUSSELL BOYER

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Russell was nominated as the AMA Volunteer of the Month for November. We had a chance to connect with Russell and find out a little more about him. Thank you, Russell, for your time and dedication to the Austin AMA.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/rdboyer/

Where did you grow up?

  • I am a native Texan, born and raised in Fort Worth. I earned both my Bachelors in Management Information Systems and MBA from Texas A&M University, so Gig ‘em Aggies!

What is your volunteer role?

  • I volunteer for the Austin AMA on the programming committee and the collegiate relations committee, helping to create valuable events for both our professional and student members.

What is your day job?

  • I like solving client problems. I am the Global Energy Field Director at Dell Technologies, specifically focused on developing strategies, alliances, and solutions targeting the global Utility IoT market. I work with sales, marketing, presales, and solution development groups on a daily basis.

Why did you join the AMA?

  • When I moved to Austin four years ago, I didn’t know anyone. I wanted to join an organization where I could meet other professionals and learn more in the marketing and sales fields. It just so happened that the National AMA conference was in Austin that year, so I decided to attend and really enjoyed what I learned. I also met the Austin AMA chapter president. We had a great conversation over lunch, where we brainstormed a lot of potential ideas for the organization, so I expressed that I wanted to volunteer.

What (or who) is your favorite marketing blog or thought leader?

  • One of the marketing leaders that comes to mind is Guy Kawasaki who gave the keynote presentation at the National AMA event in 2015. He really made an impression on me  and I remember he said that if you want to make an impactful presentation choose a few powerful words, simple images, and always use a black background.

What is the one thing you’ve been inspired by lately?

  • I live near Lake Travis, and always enjoy spending time on the lake. Recently, I have been learning how to sail. It is a simple, ancient yet eloquent way to harness the power of the wind. There is nothing more inspiring and exhilarating than the feeling when a gust of wind catches your sails!

Describe yourself in one word:

  • Passionate

Jacob Smedley

AMA Austin’s October 2018 Volunteer of the Month: Jacob Smedley

Jacob Smedley

Jacob Smedley, blog and LinkedIn manager at American Marketing Association, Austin Chapter.

Jacob Smedley: SEO Content Strategist

This October, we’re nominating Jacob Smedley as our Volunteer of the Month! Jacob manages the AMA Austin blog and LinkedIn profile. He’s looking for new ways to bring even more value to your AMA membership, and we really appreciate his efforts to accomplish that. Need great website content written for your business? Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn. Thank you, Jacob!

What’s your volunteer role with AMA?

“I manage AMA Austin’s blog and LinkedIn profile. I promote upcoming events and I post member spotlight interviews.”

What do you do for full-time work?

“I work in digital marketing for a Texas mortgage company – The Wood Group of Fairway. I work in SEO, paid search, content writing, some social media – the whole digital enchilada. I also operate my own business. We write website content from A to Z. It’s really a lot of fun.”

Why or how did you choose your profession?

“Writing was always my favorite subject in school, and I’ve always been fascinated with the internet. Combine the two interests together, and you get an SEO content writer.

jacob smedley marketing AMA austin

Jacob giving a digital marketing presentation to mortgage loan officers in New Braunfels, Texas.

I saw a lot of value and demand for this line of work. As a business in our current day, it’s just vital to be seen (in the right way) on the internet – I might even go as far as to say that it’s required now. Crafting a website’s written content and seeing results come in for a client’s business is just so exciting.

Also, there isn’t a lot of overhead cost associated with my line of work, and it’s something you can do really well from home. I wouldn’t mind working in a corporate office full-time, but it’s nice to be able to work from any location.”

Why did you join Austin AMA?

“Honestly, I joined AMA while I was looking for full-time work. I wanted to connect with people who could help me find a couple of projects for my portfolio. But I’m still here because it’s just a nice way to network with others in the Austin area. I’ve been to a lot of Austin marketing meetups, and AMA has always been my favorite.”

What is one thing you’ve been inspired by lately?

“I’ve been studying the book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon. It’s really inspired me to ‘zoom out’ of my life, per se. Solomon has inspired me to make more time for what really matters – family, friends, and good times.”

Future goals for your volunteer role with AMA?

“I’d like to start a two-way conversation for our members online. So, I’d like to see members contacting me about recent accomplishments in their work as Austin marketers. Then, I’d like to brag on them on social media. They could share our featured posts from our AMA profiles with their personal networks. Just trying to provide even more value for their memberships.

We have a lot of smart people here at Austin AMA, and I’d love to show them off more often.”