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August 2009

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It is with great excitement that I take up the baton as president of BMA/Chicago, the premier b-to-b professional organization in the country. I have been working with the board this summer planning what we believe will be a fantastic 2009-2010 program for our B2B community!

Before I tell you about the fabulous lineup of events we have planned, I want to thank my predecessor, Gary Slack of Slack Barshinger, for his tireless efforts as president during the 2008-2009 program year. Gary took our MarketingMasters Luncheon Seminars and Breakfast RoundTable sessions to a whole new level this past year, and he also orchestrated the phenomenal 2009 BMA National Convention at the Drake Hotel. Thank you, Gary, for all you do for BMA/Chicago, and I’m sure you’ll have similar success this year as BMA’s chairman.

The board has been meeting this summer to define our strategy and priorities.  We have decided to focus on these three areas:

  • Evolve BMA’s great membership network into a dynamic community
  • Engage the next generation of BMA’s members
  • Increase use of interactive and social media in our communication and programs

You will find out more as the year progresses how these priorities are integrated into our programs. It may even involve the creation of a new committee or two for those of you looking to become more involved, so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, check out our newsmaking events. The 2009-2010 program year gets off to a terrific start on Wednesday, Sept. 9, when Randall Rozin of Dow Corning keynotes our first MarketingMasters luncheon of the season.

Rozin, Dow Corning’s global director of brand and marketing communications, will give a behind-the-scenes look at an integrated marketing campaign the company launched to explain why Dow Corning gave its business strategy a total transformation this year, and what it means for its customers. It’s a fascinating story, and one you won’t want to miss.

With the exception of the September event, our luncheons will again be held on the first Thursday of each month through June 2010 at The Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Court. Keeping the luncheons at The Standard Club enables BMA to keep the luncheon fees at the 2008-2009 levels. And I strongly encourage you to take advantage of our Four-Star and Five-Star programs, which enable you to save money on the luncheons.

Besides Randall Rozin on Sept. 9, we once again have an outstanding lineup of other presenters for the luncheon series, including senior-level marketers from Accenture, GE, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Eastman Kodak, Motorola and more. I would also like to thank our luncheon sponsors—The Wall Street Journal, Paladin, Getty Images and Freeman—for their continued support.

To learn more about all of our 2009-2010 luncheon presenters, check out the BMA ad in Crain’s Chicago Business.

Our Breakfast Roundtables will continue to be held on the third Wednesday of each month at IIT’s Stuart School of Business at 565 W. Adams. The Roundtables begin with a networking session at 8 a.m., followed by the program from 8:30 to 9:30. Fees remain $25 for members and $35 for non-members. And a special thanks to BusinessWeek for sponsoring our Roundtable series this year.

Interested in some cross-town networking and fun? Our second annual Cross-Chapter Meeting with BMA Milwaukee will be held Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The first event, held at the Sheffield Baseball Club rooftop in Chicago last September, was a huge success, so we’ve decided to do it again, this time at their place. Networking begins at 5 p.m., followed by a lively presentation, dinner and drinks, and the final regular-season Chicago Cubs-Milwaukee Brewers game. Information about transportation options will be forthcoming.

If you haven’t been to our Web site lately (and by “lately” I mean in the last two weeks), check it out. With the help of Symmetri Marketing Group, we’ve completely revamped the site to make it easier to navigate and to find the information you need faster. (The site now even includes a streaming video version of the president’s message from yours truly!)

If you take a look at our 2009-2010 board of directors, you’ll see a few new names, including Don Scheibenreif of Grainger, BusinessWeek’s Courtney Tabellione and Brian Peters of GyroHSR. Welcome to all!

BMA/Chicago’s LinkedIn Group continues to grow each month (there are more than 1,400 of us now). All BMA members are pre-approved, so if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll join soon. Search “BMA” on LinkedIn Groups.

And just as a reminder, there are many sponsorship opportunities at BMA Chicago, including exclusive luncheon speaker dinners, the Tower Awards, our Breakfast Roundtables, the Windy City Biz Bash and more.

To register for BMA events or learn more about our activities, please go to the BMA Web site, email us or call Executive Director Marla Schrager at 312-943-8040. And be sure to watch our monthly BMAIL e-newsletter for updates, event reports, new members, etc.

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in BMA, and I look forward to seeing you all at many of our events!


Suzanne Martin