Isiah Donaldson: The Leader Behind AMADC Events

Isiah Donaldson
Special Events & Exhibits Manager, ICF Next
VP Educational Programming, AMADC

Tell us about your role on the AMADC Board?

I am the Co-chair for the Programming and Education Committee. I also help with networking events and District Current. The programming and education committee creates events that help local marketers further their professional knowledge in the ever-changing world of marketing and introduces them to other local marketers so they can continue to build their networks.

What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing? 

I first learned about marketing in my  junior year of high school when we had our own student store run by the marketing class. Our school store  was not your typical school store that sold just snacks, branded clothing and school supplies. It was like Pier 1 in comparison, because we sold candles, frames, and furniture. Being a part of the marketing class, you were tasked with product selection, pricing, and promotion of the store.  It was my introduction into how marketing, sales and advertising function and I was just so mesmerized by it all. My love for that store and support of my teachers sparked my passion for marketing. 

How has being involved with AMADC impacted your career?

Being a part of AMADC has made me feel like I have a community that understands the challenges I may face during my career and they have my back. Everyone wants to see you succeed and will help you if they are able to. I love meeting marketers because the field spans so much that you can learn something from everyone and usually if they are a part of AMADC they have a passion for what they do.  

AMADC continues to push me to be more aware of the new trends happening in the field and it drives me to expand my scope of knowledge. It also assists in my professional role as well by generating new ideas to present to my clients. 

Can you share with us the role you have in District Current?

I am a supporting committee member. District Current is a part of AMADC, but it is open to members and non-members who are young professionals, defined as marketers with 10 years of experience or less. Before COVID-19, we would have quarterly events and workshops that catered to challenges that a young professionals may have in their careers. The events range from interactive workshops to networking happy hours at a trendy DC location. Once we had the director of marketing from a popular DC music venue discussing how she goes about booking bands and promoting the venue.  District Current provides a wonderful entryway into what you can expect to receive as a member of AMADC. 

What makes a good event?  

There are so many elements that go into making an event good. No matter what the event is.  To me, a great event has the attendee feeling excited that they actually came. Attendees like to be catered to especially if they are paying money and they want everything to be easy.  The flow of the event needs to be flawless and if there is a speaker or entertainment, they should be outgoing and able to keep the attendees’ attention. With every event being virtual for now, AMADC tries to have events that evoke energy, audience interaction and something unique. It is so easy to lose the attention of the audience when they are at home.

We recently had an event about how to present virtually. What differentiated it was that the speaker was consistently interacting with the audience through polls and live questions. He stood before the screen giving the presentation so you could see his hand gestures, which made the attendees feel as though they were in the room with him. Before the event was even over, the attendees were already commenting how great the event was in the chat box. 

What considerations come into play when mapping out events for AMADC?

At AMADC we look for programming content that leaves the marketers with some type of extra knowledge that can be applied to their professional careers.  Our committee asks these types of questions:

  • What is a skill or topic our members may be struggling with currently? 
  • Is there a new platform that may help marketers be more efficient?
  • If there is a speaker, will the speaker keep the attendees’ attention and is the information relevant to our members? 

When you first started your career, what are some things that you know now that you wish you would have known then?

Be patient and don’t rush success. I got out of college with a strict timeline for my life and my career. If I got to age 30 and didn’t achieve what was on that list, it would have meant I failed. Things happen when they are supposed to happen and you have to be patient. Also, I would not have put so much stress on myself to find a job right out of college. I was so determined not to move back home, that I didn’t explore all my options, such as moving out of the country.

By Jack Boardman

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