Thursday marked the conference kick-off. There were activities galore, and it was important for the group of us to take in as much as we possibly could. At 5 o’clock, the six of us from The College of New Jersey participated in the annual Social Scramble. We got to meet other collegiate AMA members from all over! I even met a student studying abroad in Boston all the way from Italy! This was a fantastic way for members of all the chapters to introduce themselves to each other and get a little more comfortable. Definitely gets a thumbs up from me!

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Members from TCNJ’s AMA looking very official with our name tags!

After this fun social event, we filed into an auditorium for the official start of the festivities. The keynote speaker on Thursday was a man by the name of Jeffrey Hayzlett, former Chief Marketing Officer of Kodak. Not only is Mr. Hayzlett a very successful businessman, but he is also a self-proclaimed cowboy who will always be seen in his signature leather cowboy boots.

Mr. Hayzlett was the perfect guy to start the event. He worked the crowd and gave us wonderful advice for our future careers in marketing. My takeaway from his talk was to be a clock changer. Now as odd as this may sound, it is important to think about what I mean by this…so I’ll give you a little background on Mr. Hayzlett’s favorite kind of people: the clock changers.

When he was first offered the position as CMO at Kodak, the first thing he planned to do was hold a meeting for the people he would be working most closely with. From head designers to market researchers and everyone in between, Jeff wanted to get to know his colleagues. He arrived in the meeting room about 20 minutes early so he could personally greet everyone in attendance, but before it all began he had something else planned as well. You see, Mr. Hayzlett noticed a nice, big clock hanging on the wall above the meeting table. Before anyone arrived, he took the clock off the wall, set it 20 minutes fast, and then replaced it right back where it came from. As people started filtering in, he would watch them all look at the clock, look at their watches, and then look at the clock again. As more people arrived they would agree that the clock was 20 minutes fast and that “something must be done!!” (rather enthusiastically I imagine)…but no one ever did anything about it. In fact, this went on for 2 full months. Two. Months. Until finally a young woman pulled over a chair, climbed up to the clock, fixed the time, and replaced it on the wall. She was a clock changer, and the next day, Mr. Hayzlett gave her a promotion.

He wasn’t talking about literally changing clocks. What Jeff meant by all this was that we won’t get very far in business, or in life for that matter, if we don’t take initiative. It’s important for each and every one of us to get up and do something about things that need to be fixed. If something is wrong, speak up.

In the marketing industry, communication is crucial. Ideas for campaigns or new marketing strategies must be shared on multiple levels, with many different people, with various outlooks on the subject. By speaking up and voicing your outlook, it is very likely that others will take on a new perspective on the problem at hand.

So take initiative. Be a clock changer. Don’t worry about speaking up, worry about what may happen if you don’t.

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