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Member Spotlight: Karen Kozak

December 15, 2019 9:00AM

Meet Karen Kozak!

 Vice President, Global Brand @ Cargill. Member since 2014.

Why did you decide to join AMA MN? I was new to Minneapolis and had belonged to AMA chapters in Atlanta and other cities where I lived before. I’ve always found AMA to be a great way to connect with marketers, meet great people with similar interests, and continually learn about new trends and best practices.

What’s one of your favorite AMA MN events and why? Events that are hosted by companies at their offices have been a fantastic way to really dig deep into that company’s culture, priorities and expertise because you get to meet so many people from that organization. While it’s great to meet people who may be doing the same type of work as you, it’s even better to meet people from other parts of the host organization who often provide a completely different perspective or open up new ideas and takeaways. It’s also an added bonus and fun to get a peek at different and unique ways of working by experiencing everything from office set up, meeting rooms and breakout rooms, collaboration spaces and even in-office breakrooms and kitchens from different types of companies, agencies or other organizations that have hosted AMA events.

Why is being a member of AMA MN important to youFor me, it’s all about the power of connecting – both the opportunity to connect with new people as well as facilitating connections amongst others. Participating in AMA live events and even online forums provides a great opportunity to connect the dots and help people who have a specific question, need, or opportunity.

What’s the one thing you wish others knew about AMA MN? What makes it unique? The subject matter experts AMA MN brings to the table are what make it unique and also very relevant. I particularly like the mix of members – while we all are marketers and have that in common, there is so much diversity in AMA MN members in terms of career stage, area of expertise, organization/agency experience and background. I always learn something and I usually have the most salient takeaway from someone who has vastly different experience from mine.

What is some of the best advice you’ve received in your career? A lot of people like the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” but the best advice I received was to follow instead the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would want done to them”. It’s all about really understanding what is important to someone and what their need is – not what you think it is. It seems like a no-brainer but it’s really important to remember so you’re not basing your decisions or actions solely on what you think or what you like. This applies both to personal life but also from a career standpoint – how you treat your colleagues, your customers, suppliers, associates, etc. Understand them deeply to know what motivates them and what they want and need from you.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I love to travel and have been to dozens of countries on 6 continents (don’t think I’m going to make Antarctica but you never know!). I try to really immerse myself in the culture of the place I’m visiting and I think one of the best ways to do that is through food. It truly does unite us – there is nothing like sharing a meal – whether that’s in a sunny vineyard in a remote Tuscan village, crouched over a street food booth in Shanghai, having “breakfast” after sundown at a street party in Cairo during Ramadan, or enjoying a crawfish boil in South Carolina low country. I feel fortunate to have had these and so many more experiences and the thing I remember the most is not so much the food but the people I shared that experience with – whether old friends or welcoming locals who become new friends.

Connect with Karen on LinkedIn!