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‘I Hope I Don’t See You Next Month’

'I Hope I Don't See You Next Month'

Howard Lippin

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Why AMA Triangle’s Transitions Mastermind group’s success is measured by the number of non-returning members

The AMA Triangle’s Employment Services Group is a conduit between companies looking for marketing talent and candidates seeking a career move. The group’s efforts include an annual job fair, the AMA Triangle job board and the Transitions Mastermind network. 

The Transitions Mastermind networking group was started in 2015 by chapter members Stan Phelps and Tricia Lucas as a way to give back to the community. The group is open to those searching for a job, companies seeking talent or brand awareness and employment agencies looking to network with standout marketing talent in the Triangle. 

“We started Transitions back in 2015 based on a simple question: ‘When is the chapter most helpful to current or prospective members?’” says Phelps, past president of AMA Triangle. “It’s when someone is in between roles or thinking about their next move. It was inspired by what former AMA Triangle President Karen Albritton initiated back in 2009 during the financial crisis. Starting the Transitions group in 2015 and holding the inaugural job fair in 2016 were steps toward adding value for our members.” 

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Transitions Mastermind meetings are held monthly, are free to attend and feature a guest speaker who shares their knowledge on interviewing, résumé-building, using online resources effectively and more. Meetings were held in person prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, but Transitions Mastermind has successfully moved online via Zoom, reaching an average of 25 registered attendees each month. 

Lucas handed over operations of the Transitions Mastermind group to Hank Hoffmeier, vice president of employment services, in 2017. “The key for Transitions Mastermind is to find the most relevant and most useful content, delivered by an engaging, authoritative speaker,” Hoffmeier says. “We have a very talented group of marketing professionals who are very committed to their job search, and they come to Transitions looking for content they can use immediately.” 

Past Transitions Mastermind events have covered topics such as using LinkedIn effectively, building strong networks, how to connect and convert, and personal branding while transitioning roles. 

AMA Triangle also leverages its partnerships with area recruiting firms to provide valuable professional insight into the recruiting and hiring processes. Recruiter-partners have led Transitions sessions on how to best work with recruiters, partner with agencies, optimize personal LinkedIn profiles and work effectively with applicant tracking systems. In addition, Transitions Mastermind offers a well-attended annual résumé review board, led by its recruiter-partners and other HR professionals. 

Triangle’s Employment Services Group also hosts an annual job fair, where employers and job seekers connect and network over breakfast. At last year’s fair, the chapter hosted 12 top-tier Triangle employers and more than 90 professional marketing candidates. The job fair allows participating companies to be easily accessible to candidates, and each company can engage with attendees to showcase their organization and available positions.

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Future Plans

The Employment Services Group is planning the next job fair, slated for later in the year. As a result of the COVID-19 shutdown, Transitions Mastermind had to move its regular monthly meeting online. “We have not seen a decrease in participation in Transitions due to COVID,” says Hoffmeier. “We’ve actually seen an increase in attendance. That may be because of more people working from home or, unfortunately, because of layoffs and closings. … Through COVID and beyond, Transitions will continue to support our members in transition, helping them to strengthen and improve the skills they’ll need to find their next job and for when they go back to work.”

Tips for Other Chapters

It’s vital to have chapter buy-in and support. That means getting a sense of what’s right for your chapter directly from the members you serve, then seeking buy-in from your board. Ensure everyone has a chance to be heard, because a program must have support to be successful. “Transitions was created as a way to give back to the community, assist our members in transition and help our employers find great talent—it’s a perfect match,” says AMA Triangle President-Elect Misty Wilson. “AMA Triangle has the best marketing candidates in the Triangle and some of the best employers in the world.” 

Here are some simple tips to make a similar initiative a success in any chapter: 

  1. Develop a strong volunteer team to help you develop and facilitate programming. 
  2. Find relevant content presented by engaging, authoritative speakers and invite them to speak. 
  3. Schedule an appropriate place, arrange seating and audiovisual needs (when in-person events are safe again), or set up an online conference. 
  4. Communicate to the members and community, promote via email, website and social media. 
  5. Follow up with thank-you notes to your speaker and attendees and provide written or video content and resources, if available. 
  6. Wash, rinse, repeat every month. 

Hoffmeier says Transitions is one of the few programs where success is measured by the number of people who don’t come back. “We encourage members to keep in touch, especially when they get a job, to provide a success story or maybe a video testimonial, and to pay it forward to other members in transition,” he says. 

Hoffmeier ends every Transitions Mastermind with the same closing statement: “I hope I don’t see you next month.”

Howard Lippin is director of transitions at the AMA Triangle chapter.