Navigate Extraordinary: 2019 AMA Leadership Summit in Chicago



This past May, as the incoming President-Elect of AMA-Toronto and along with incoming President Michelle Flynn, I attended the AMA Leadership Summit in Chicago - with leadership teams from chapters across the United States and Canada. Over three days, we had the opportunity to connect with like minded professionals from across the continent, share ideas, learn, get inspired, and have fun. It was also incredibly valuable to meet the AMA Support Centre staff in Chicago who we work with on a regular basis.



Attending this annual Summit for the first time was an amazing experience of energy, passion, creativity and shared vision coming together to create learning, growth and inspiration! It was also a powerful reminder and experience of all that AMA is – an internationally recognized marketing association with more than 20,000 members in 76 professional chapters and 250 collegiate chapters across the US, and 2 chapters in Canada (AMA-Toronto and AMA-BC). A modern professional marketing association founded in 1937, a thought leader publishing the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Journal of International Marketing, and Marketing News – in short, an association anticipating the future of marketing and leading the way.


Aside from the personal connections I made at the Summit, collaborating with our other Canadian Chapter and all the learnings and practical tips from other chapter leaders, there are a few highlights that I personally walked away with.


Leading the Creative Mind: this presentation on CREATIVITY by Mihali Stavlas, President-Elect of the AMA Professional Chapter Council, took a deep dive into the enduring tools of innovation. BEND, BREAK and BLEND – the three Bs – are a way of capturing the brain operations that underlie innovative thinking. We bend, break and blend everything we observe, and these tools allow us to extrapolate from the reality around us and create alternative, new worlds.


C’EST WHAT?, as “purveyors of mindfully crafted innovation futures”, told us that to innovate, we need to be guided by one simple principle: understanding what people CRAVE. Their definition of INNOVATION really resonates with me: it is “the ability to perceive alternative realities and the courage to move towards those visions”.


The innovation team of Michael Perman, Founder C’EST WHAT? and the Big Muse, with Grammy and Emmy nominated songwriter, author and visual artist Peter Himmelman, produced a highly engaging, music-driven experience that not only showcased the creative process but helped the audience experience it live! It inspired future-focused thinking and extraordinary action, placing everyone in the ideal frame of mind to create what’s coming next.


In her acceptance speech for the 2019 Ric Sweeney Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award, Winner Stacy Armijo spoke about what volunteering meant to her, and beautifully summed it up in the “three Gs”: GENEROSITY. GROWTH. GIVING.


For me, volunteering with AMA-Toronto has always been about CONNECTING, LEARNING, and GROWING. From the ‘Marketer on the Rise’ to the C-Suite executive, to the vibrant creative agencies and new creative class of business owners and sales pros who we serve, AMA is about peering into the future and bringing people and ideas together. It is about nurturing connections and engaging a rich, diverse and talented community of marketers. As part of AMA, I look forward to continuing to help create experiences for our members and stakeholders that make us the essential community of marketers in Toronto.


Written by Miglena Nikolova VP of Membership for AMA Toronto

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