EMPOWERing Takeaways from the 2024 AMA Leadership Summit

The theme for the 2024 American Marketing Association Leadership Summit in Chicago was EMPOWER, and every second of the conference lived up to it. Here are my three EMPOWERing takeaways.

  1. Network Authentically. The secret sauce to successful partnerships is authenticity in shared values, whether establishing a new connection or maintaining one with a customer, sponsor, peer, colleague, etc. As we continue to overcome the pandemic’s impact on our social lives, I am thrilled to connect in real life, and that special connectivity was prevalent at the Leadership Summit. It is refreshing, in this post-pandemic era, to experience spontaneous hallway conversations about professional and personal matters. I genuinely believe in the value of remote and virtual spaces for ease of accessibility, flexibility, and many other gains. Still, getting to know someone isn’t the same from behind a screen. That in-real-life magic is different!
  2. Presenting is an art and a science. We empower others when we share knowledge and dare to get on stage to express opinions, facts, vulnerabilities, and our real lived experiences. Humbled by the opportunity to be a presenting speaker at the Leadership Summit, it was important for me to remember that the audience was sharing their time, which is priceless. A presenter wields a lot of power in the room and should strive to manage it responsibly. The audience’s response could change your script; I suggest leaning into that. I would caution against being too prescriptive with your talking points. Depending on the situation, improvising and going off-script can deliver a more engaging presentation. Reflecting on my session, I noticed the energetic applause that I received mostly occurred when I spoke my personal truth and went off-script. Reading the room helps with tweaking talking points accordingly. During my interactive session on Responsible AI, DEIA, and business strategies, it was exciting to have enlightening conversations with my peers. Additionally, please do not forget to give the people behind the scenes their flowers! The staff on call for tech support and any presentation coordination deserve to be appreciated loudly.
  3. Have fun! I enjoyed moving and grooving to 90s Hip-Hop, as instructed by our keynote speaker, ahead of an engaging Fireside Chat. We understood the assignment. After waving our hands, bopping to the beats, and rhyming along to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, my fellow leaders and I experienced a thought-provoking session about social-first and innovative marketing strategies to empower brands. A key reminder: Dance with creativity, fun, and data insights to achieve standout results. You may not start your next strategic planning meeting dancing to throwback jams by legends such as LL Cool J or TLC. You also may not ask your team to attend a gala dressed in formal attire paired with sneakers. (Although, we did both at Leadership Summit and had a BLAST.) The main point here is to do what you need to do to make it fun! We all need a little break from overly-structured schedules and our busy lives.

If you want to learn more about Leadership Summit or AMA, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

Destinie Tucker

President-Elect & VP, DEI | AMA Puget Sound

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