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Volunteer of the Year: Rebecca Carlson

October 02, 2018 8:27AM

The 2018 AMA Minnesota Volunteer of the Year award goes to Rebecca Carlson! She has been a member for 23 years, and a volunteer since 1999. As a volunteer on the programming committee, Rebecca is instrumental in bringing together local marketing experts and businesses to plan numerous events for the AMA MN marketing community, including bringing the Burke Institute, the premier market research training company, to Minneapolis for numerous day-long conferences. Her network is wide and she is passionate about connecting marketers together through networking. Rebecca has also held positions on the Board of Directors, where she oversaw monthly programming and annual conference planning. Congratulations, Rebecca, and thank you for everything you do for AMA MN!

Do you have a favorite AMA MN experience that has stuck with you?
In 2005, always being very passionate about the customer experience, a colleague and I led the annual conference on the topic, a decade before “customer experience” became ubiquitous. We brought in 15 national and local speakers and authors on this cutting-edge topic that was attended by almost 300 people.

At AMA we sometimes reference the "ripple effect" - how learning and networking through AMA can lead to professional growth, education and connections, etc. How has AMA had a "ripple effect" for you?
Volunteering for the AMA affects all three of those areas, expanding the impact beyond just attending meetings. It’s a great way to stay on top of trends and changes in marketing. Volunteering helps develop relationships that you just don’t make by merely attending meetings. I’ve met new clients and developed partnerships that have been critical in my career.

Over the years, I’ve encouraged others to volunteer. Many of these have made connections that land their next job opportunity. One volunteer told me the AMA saved her from getting discouraged while she was looking for a job since she was able to keep her skills sharp, stay engaged and interact with potential employers. Others have used it to develop and prove their leadership skills to enable an upward career move in their current company. Self-employed volunteers have benefitted from the camaraderie of having a virtual network of marketers with whom to connect.

Do you have any advice for marketers who may be looking to join AMA MN, or to take that next step to volunteer?
Take advantage of all there is to offer from volunteering on a committee to being on the board. Volunteer as much or as little as you can, but get involved to make the most of your membership. The leadership experience, education, connections and life-long friends you gain are definitely worth it.

What do you do for your day job?
I started RHC Associates, LLC, a strategic insights and planning consultancy in 1995, focusing on customer experience, product/service innovation and branding. We specialize in uncovering insights and connecting the dots through a combination of market/competitive intelligence and voice-of-the-customer research. To ensure insights are used, we facilitate strategic action planning workshops that define strategies and accountability. Having a broad network, I enjoy partnering with others when appropriate, e.g. customer experience implementation experts, brand strategists, etc.