University of Wisconsin – Whitewater AMA Regional Conference Recap By: Morgan van der Horst

Experiential Marketing

On October 13, myself and other AMA eboard member, Megan Yeaple, were able to attend the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater 10th Annual AMA Regional Conference (UWWRC) for the second year in a row.  


Our journey to Wisconsin started at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday October 12, as we made our way to Rochester airport. With a short layover in Minneapolis, we landed in Milwaukee around 11:30 (central time).  Once there, we meet up with Samantha (UWW AMA Eboard member), who picked us up from the airport and took us to a great lunch at a local taco joint (if you’re ever in Milwaukee I highly recommend BelAir Cantina – yum yum). After lunch we made our way to Whitewater, a small town with a big business school about an hour from Milwaukee. Once we got there we were able to check into our hotel and get started preparing for our competitions the next day before our night of events.


As president, I was invited to attend the President’s dinner Thursday night with AMA leaders from Utah Valley University, North Carolina State University, University of South Florida, Toledo University, and of course Whitewater. There were also ten students from the University of Giessen in Germany in attendance at the dinner and the conference. At this dinner, we heard from Dana Aschaker, former UWW AMA President and Account Executive at GMR. She talked about her time as AMA president, how she knew she wanted a job at GMR since sophomore year, and how even though she didn’t get a job after her first three interviews there she still persisted and eventually succeed.


After dinner, all conference attendees were invited to attend a social at the local bowling alley. There we enjoyed pizza, showed off our bowling skills, and met students from chapter all over.


Then came Friday, the main event, the conference. The day started off bright and early at 7:30 with breakfast, which was obviously necessary to prepare for a full day of speakers and competitions, followed by a career fair. The career fair featured local, regional, and national companies such as Aflac, ABC Supply Co. Inc., Kohl’s, Gartner, Cintas, Heartland, and more. Here, I was able to learn about companies I had never heard of and network with them all.


Following the career fair, came Kick Off and the first three keynote speakers. After being welcomed by the conference co-chairs and the UWW AMA advisor, the first speaker from GMR began. Krista Hanson, took us through her role in an experiential marketing agency and some case studies the MLB All Star Game, FX’s American Horror Story, the Super Bowl, and more. The second speakers from Summerfest, the largest music festival in the country located in Milwaukee, included Sarah Smith, Kellie McGinnis, and Ashley Dye. From them, we got to hear about how they make Summerfest a can’t miss event through experiential marketing and how they came up with a creative and new way to brand the festival for the 50th anniversary this past year. Our last morning keynote speaker was Matt Pazaras from the Milwaukee Bucks. From him we learned about how the Bucks rebranded and how they plan to make their games a total fan experience by expanding area around the stadium.


Following the morning keynote speakers and lunch, the competitions began. Megan and I both participated in the perfect pitch competition, where we were pitching ourselves for a job at Victor Envelope Company. Megan, did the sales role play competition for Federated Insurance, and I did the mock interview competition sponsored by Impact. With preparing ourselves to compete and actually competing, we were only able to catch the tail end of one of the afternoon sessions, which was Tito’s Vodka. After coming out that session, the finalists for the perfect pitch competition were announced, which included both Megan and I (yay)!


After knowing we made it to the second round, we hustled outside to take some pictures at our favorite spot on campus (see below). After the short photoshoot it was time to go inside and get ready for round two. Megan and I have very different strategies for preparing for competitions, she goes down the hall alone to recite her pitch to herself while I stay near the other competitors, talking to them and trying to knock them off their game. After we both had our turns, we took more photos this time with our friends from NC State and University of South Florida (other picture below).


Lastly, it was time for the award ceremony. The ceremony began with raffle prizes being drawn – we did not win anything but they were giving out really cool prizes like drones. Then they announced the winners of the Mock Interview competition, I was received Honorable Mention which was super exciting and was the first competition I’ve ever placed in! I barely had time to go back to my seat before they started announcing the Perfect Pitch winners. Neither Megan or I officially placed but we were both named finalists which was awesome (see the photo below). Overall, it was great conference and great experience and it’s always nice to come home as winners!

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