AMA-UIC Connects Students with Top Executives at First Regional Conference

UIC’s award-winning American Marketing Association chapter held their first Regional Conference and have much to be proud of. The theme, “Driving your destiny,” created anticipation amongst students ready to network with a variety of companies such as: Sherwin-Williams, Gallagher, and many others. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers, attend a career fair, and participate in competitions to demonstrate their marketing skills. Anela Hanic, AMA-UIC president, explained what it took to turn the Regional Conference idea into a real-life success.

Congratulations on the American Marketing Association’s first-annual Regional Conference! What inspired AMA-UIC to host the conference?  

Every year, we strive not only to make our organization better, but to provide more exclusive experiences for AMA-UIC members. We wanted to open opportunities for members to hear from top executives, while also practicing their marketing skills by competing in the various competitions we had. We were also the top 25 chapters last year at our conference and we are aiming to do better this year. Our entire goal at AMA-UIC is to prepare our members for the corporate culture and utilize the skills they learned. 

Describe the special workshops, panels, and/or competitions held throughout the conference. 

AMA-UIC's First Regional Conference had four speakers that held a high role at their companies. Alumnus Matt Gorniak '02 (CEO of Threekit), Jeff Butler (Tedx Motivational Speaker), Samantha Harasim (CMO of The Creative Agency), and Josh Kumfer (District Manager for Sherwin Williams. Each speaker talked about different ways marketing is changing in 2021 and what can be done differently to achieve more goals.

We also had a career fair for our members and other students. Seven companies were featured: Sherwin-Williams, Creative Agency, Northwestern Mutual, RHM Staffing Solutions, Rise Interactive, TalentFoot and Gallagher. This was a great way for students to speak with recruiters and land an internship or job.

Lastly, we held four competitions exclusively for our AMA members and had members of other AMA chapters in the Midwest join us. The competitions were Perfect Pitch, Mock Interview, Market Design and Market Strategy. The companies that sponsored each competition and gave away cash prizes to the winners were Northwestern Mutual, Sherwin-Williams, RHM Staffing Solutions and Nelx Marketing Solutions.  

Which event had the greatest impact on participants? Why?  

We received great feedback from members, students, and faculty about one of our keynote speakers, Jeff Butler. I believe he had the greatest impact on our audience and connected well with students. Students said that he is very interesting to listen to.  

What obstacles did AMA overcome when planning and competing in the Regional Conference? 

Planning for our regional conference event was a very hectic but great experience to have. Our executive board started planning for this event back in November 2020. We had a bunch of meetings, pitched AMA-UIC to the speakers and the sponsors and made sure that we gave them all of the correct details, etc. It really felt like a corporate culture situation because while we were in school or had our jobs, we were also having meetings every week trying to make sure we had four amazing speakers and four companies to sponsor our competitions and have more than five companies come to our career fair.

My team and our faculty advisor, Ann Trampas, helped in any way we could to make sure that this event went smoothly and was advertised well. This event would not have happened without the contributions of everyone. We are extremely proud that for our first regional conference, it went super well and was held virtually. We can't wait to continue this experience next year. 

What did members learn from this experience? 

From the feedback we received from members and other students, they learned how to tackle 2021 and the new and developing technology that is advancing and how they can get involved as marketers or business students. They also learned about how they are going to market their way through 2021, whether they are a current student, an alum, or have their own business, they will go into 2021 confidently and achieve all their goals. 

What goals does AMA have for the next Regional Conference? 

Our hope is to have this regional conference held in person because we feel that it would be a better experience. We also plan on having more speakers and giveaways. Hopefully, we will bring in a larger number of participants then we had this year. 

If you would like to view the AMAzing speaker sessions, feel free to check them out here.