As marketers, we’ve all had our fair share of large projects. The AMA Support Center (that’s what we call the national AMA organization) is about to reveal one really big project: A simplified membership structure to coincide with the release of new technology platforms (CRM, CMS) and a redesigned

This is one high-stakes project, and requires all of our participation and understanding. Below is what we at AMA Richmond know. We will update this blog post if any new information becomes available, so stay tuned!

What’s Happening will have a new, redesigned website. Blog posts, member resources, and chapter resources will all be refreshed and updated. Managing your membership will also be simpler. Here’s how:

Only Two Options

Remember when you had to select Professional, Academic, Doctoral, or Young Professional when you became a member? People won’t have to deal with that anymore. There will only be two options: Members and Student Members.

Flat Fee

Whether becoming a new member or renewing membership, Members will only have to pay one flat rate per year that also includes dues to the home chapter: $300. The AMA Support Center is also eliminating application and rejoining fees.

Expiration Dates

Additionally, new membership expiration dates will be based on joining date. For example, someone who becomes a member on April 6, 2019, will have an expiration date of April 5, 2020. As a current member, your expiration day will not change and remains the last day of the month. If you are enrolled in auto-renew, that will process on the day of your membership expiration.

Student Membership

For now, Student Member dues will remain unchanged. The typical one-year Student Member rate will be a one-time charge of $50 + chapter dues. Student Members will continue to receive a discount code upon graduation that gives them one free year as a Member.

Group Memberships

Upon implementation, Group Memberships (sometimes referred to as Corporate/Team Memberships) will be replaced by a new Group Discount program that new members can participate in (minimum of three people). We will share pricing, information, and processes for this program after February 11.

So What Now?

The AMA Support Center plans to launch everything (website, database, membership structure) simultaneously on Monday, February 11. To allow for proper transition between the AMA’s old and new platforms, there will be a multi-day blackout period on Blackout Period: February 1-11

The blackout means that no one can become a member, renew their membership, make purchases like conference registrations, or update their customer/member profile or contact information.

Related pages on will display a message informing visitors about the blackout and providing them with an option to receive a special follow-up email once the functionality becomes available.

Important: These activities do not affect AMA Richmond’s website ( We will be functioning as usual!

  • If you need to renew your membership in January or February… Renew by January 30 or wait until after February 11.
  • If you are supposed to renew your membership at a different time of year… Sit this one out. You don’t have to do anything!
  • If you have not been an AMA member before and want to become one … We encourage you to do so in the new system once everything is live after February 11.

By the way …

I’ll admit it, we really don’t talk about it enough, but that $300 membership not only gets you great perks here at the local level in Richmond (amazing network, free or discounted access to events, opportunity to volunteer, etc.) but you receive the following from the AMA:

  • Discounts on becoming a Professional Certified Marketer – Think the equivalent of “APR” in PR, but for marketing.
  • 100+ ready-to-use, downloadable tools and templates – Anyone I’ve talked to who has used these found them LIFE CHANGING, myself included.
  • Access to exclusive content and a subscription to award-winning Marketing News magazine – Really good content that members used to have to pay extra for. Where do you think we get our ideas for speakers and topics, anyway?
  • Best pricing for national AMA conferences and events – Stay in top (marketing) shape with anything from national conferences to boot camps and training series.
  • Digital access to all AMA Academic Journals — Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of International Marketing, and Journal of Public Policy & Marketing – More good content members used to have to pay $125 extra for. Impress your boss with these.
  • Free shipping, great pricing and design help on promotional products purchased through The AMA Shop powered by Consolidus – You know you want a pair of AMA socks.

If you have any questions or issues at all, please reach out to any of us on the board. This is new territory for us, too, and we are doing our best to stay on top of it.

Thank you for your membership, and thank you for being on this ride with us.

Samantha Platania of the AMA Richmond chapter talks about the events and programs offered by the chapter and her role as the Director of Collegiate Relations on the AMA Richmond Board.  In her role, Samantha focuses on student membership in the AMA and how an affiliation with an AMA collegiate chapter offers many benefits to students including career resources, platforms for professional development and experiential learning, participation in chapter events, leadership development, and participation in AMA competitions.

Check out the podcast here!

Congratulations to Heidi Williams on being named the AMA Richmond November “Comcast Spotlight” Volunteer of the Month!

In her day job, Heidi is the Marketing Communications Manager at Dietitians On Demand, the nationwide leader in nutrition staffing! Most of my time is spent on content marketing – we love developing tools and resources for not only our dietitians in the field, but for all registered dietitians! We offer blogs, newsletters, webinars, flexible job opportunities and much more, all with the goal of supporting a dietitian’s career. Our staff are passionate advocates of health and wellness who understand nutrition is key to recovery, reduced length of stay, and overall quality of life.


What She Does for AMA Richmond and Why We Nominated Her:

“After one NEXT Hour, Heidi threw herself into AMA Richmond and we’re all lucky to have her has a member and volunteer. She brings creativity to AMA Richmond’s social platforms and has been a huge support in AMA Richmond’s success.” – Amanda Colocho

Comcast Spotlight combines the power of traditional television and premium digital video advertising to reach audiences through high-quality content at any time, on any device, and we’re ready to prove our impact on your business.


The AMA Richmond chapter has been recognized for “Programming Excellence” and “Membership Special Merit” for the 2017—18 year by AMA international headquarters. The AMA’s annual Chapter Excellence Awards (CEAs) program highlights exceptional performance among the organization’s 70+ professional chapters across the U.S. and Canada.

The CEAs were established in 1974 to recognize local AMA chapters for outstanding achievements in leadership, membership and programming. Entries are judged over a three-day period by a panel of past-presidents of award-winning chapters and members of the AMA Professional Chapters Council.

The AMA Richmond Board is proud to have our chapter recognized on a national level for the hard work and dedication of our board members to make the chapter great for our membership!


Congratulations to Steven Yavorsky on being named the AMA Richmond October “Comcast Spotlight” Volunteer of the Month!

What He Does for AMA Richmond and Why We Nominated Him:

“Steven has been a great addition to the communications team. He is always eager to help and jumps in wherever needed.” – Laura Elizabeth Saunders

Comcast Spotlight combines the power of traditional television and premium digital video advertising to reach audiences through high-quality content at any time, on any device, and we’re ready to prove our impact on your business.


Visit the AMA Richmond Facebook page to see pictures from the September Signature Speaker Series – Noah Scalin: The Art of Innovation.

Photography by Kim Brundage Photography

Congratulations to Tori Stowers on being named the AMA Richmond September “Comcast Spotlight” Volunteer of the Month!

Tori Stowers

Tori is the senior channel specialist at Lewis Media Partners and she has extensive experience in direct display and political media planning and buying.

What She Does for AMA Richmond and Why We Nominated Her:

“Tori has been fundamental in helping get the mentorship program up and running. She has been an absolute joy to work with and I am grateful to have her on my team.” Sheila Villalobos

Comcast Spotlight combines the power of traditional television and premium digital video advertising to reach audiences through high-quality content at any time, on any device, and we’re ready to prove our impact on your business.

AMA Richmond is proud to announce our Volunteer of the Year. The 2018 Candlestick Award Winner goes to Aylin Berkowitz, Marketing Strategist with Allianz Worldwide Partners, and our Director of Membership – Volunteers.

“During the past year, Aylin made sure that everyone who wanted to volunteer with the chapter felt welcome and appreciated,” said 2017-2018 AMA Richmond President, Charleen McManus.

“She created job descriptions and match volunteers with open positions. Because of her efforts, the chapter is able to do more for you with more hands on deck. Coordinating, creating, and managing these processes and keeping everyone connected has been a heroic task, and we are so grateful to you Aylin. Thank you for your service to the chapter and may your example light the way for us all.”

The award was presented to Berkowitz during the AMA’s recent June Signature Speaker Series luncheon, featuring Samantha Stone, author of Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook that Drives Sales, who spoke on authenticity in Artificial Intelligence.

The Volunteer of the Month and Volunteer of the Year Awards are sponsored by Comcast Spotlight.

You may have heard that AMA-Richmond’s vision is to be the vital community for all marketers in Richmond to learn, connect, serve, and grow. Through the years the chapter has grown each year thanks to the local marketers that have found value in our monthly local and national speakers, networking events, and breadth of resources. We’ve put so much effort into making sure that our members learn, connect, and grow, that we put “serve” on the backburner—until now.

Sportable logo
This year we launched our first community service project with the amazing folks at Sportable. Sportable is a local non-profit that helps transform the lives of people with physical and visual disabilities through sport. Members participate in sports like archery, basketball, rock climbing, and swimming. They also have the opportunity to join teams and compete at the regional level.

Even if this is your first time hearing about Sportable, it probably isn’t your first time hearing about their Executive Director and Style Weekly’s 2017 Top 40 Under 40 recipient, Hunter Leemon. Sheila Villalobos, AMA-Richmond’s first VP of Community Relations and Service Projects, worked with Hunter to launch a pilot project that allowed interested professional and collegiate AMA-Richmond members to flex their marketing muscles for a good cause: grow Sportable’s awareness on social media to encourage donations by featuring the great work Sportable and its recipients have accomplished.

AMA-Richmond volunteers Sierra Staffords, Trakaya Ransom, Emily Murphy, and Sheila worked to build a project plan around Sportable’s goal that encouraged best practices in the use of video, images, copy, and the use of paid ads.

Project overview screenshot
The volunteers went out into the field to collect videos and images of the stars of the show: Sportable athletes in action. With AMA-RVA volunteer guidance, the Sportable marketing team then converted these into bite-sized social posts that encouraged engagement and a direct call-to-action to donate.

Facebook video sample with Michael Villafane         Facebook image sample with veteran        Facebook image sample with Crystal Jordan

The Sportable marketing team was also trained to effectively use paid ads to encourage social reach and leverage free tools (like Canva!) to create content, manage social calendars, and interpret analytics.

The Results?

Sportable is killing it on their most used platform—Facebook!

Total page followers increase trendTotal page likes increase trends
Most importantly, their marketing team is equipped with the best practices they need to continue growing their reach so that their ultimate goal of increased fundraising is reached.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Stay tuned for our next community project this fall. Coming up next: mentorship opportunities!


Visit the AMA Richmond Facebook page to see pictures from the May Signature Speaker Series – Stefan Mumaw: Using Story to Connect Brands to Humans.

Photography by Kim Brundage Photography