Hailie Rivera, Sonic Foundry, Ace Hilliard, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Alyssa Spiel, SC Johnson, will be presenting at AMA Madison’s Craft Marketing event at Garth’s Brew Bar on March 27th. This month, we’ll be exploring the world of continuing education and professional development, helping you answer the question, “Is the time, effort, and money really worth it?” Spoiler alert: It is. 

In their presentation, Hailie, Ace, and Alyssa will reveal how to select the right continuing education option for your goals, the benefits it can bring you, what recruiters really want, and how to successfully pivot your career.

The session begins at 5:30 p.m. with networking. Register now.

Thank you to our sponsors!

AMA: Tell us a little about yourselves and what your organizations do.

Hailie: My name is Hailie Rivera, and I am an HR Generalist at Sonic Foundry, a local company transforming how the world works and learns through innovative and scalable technology solutions.  We are largely in the video technology space, and we currently have 4 product offerings, which include Mediasite, Video Solutions, Vidable, and Global Learning Exchange. My primary focus is talent acquisition although I also have my hand in onboarding, engagement, recognition, performance, development, and DEI.

Ace: My name is Ace Hilliard and I am an Advisor in Adult Career and Special Student Services within the Division of Continuing Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison. This is the same university I received my Bachelor degree of Science in Community and Non Profit Leadership with a certificate in Gender and Women Studies from, as well as my Masters degree in Science in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. I have lived in Madison for the last 14 years and am continually falling more in love with the city as time goes on. In my downtime I love finding new restaurants and trying craft cocktails, traveling, and going to concerts. Even though I consider myself an extrovert, I still value time to myself and the little family unit I have lovingly waiting for me at home, my wife, two wonderful dogs, and a cat that can sometimes be on the naughty side.

The Division of Continuing Studies at UW-Madison is the perfect place for lifelong learners. “We’re here to connect you with the skills, knowledge and people who can help you grow in your profession and in your life. Whether you’re obtaining a professional certificate or taking a language class, you are on a worthy mission. We’re here for wherever you are in your journey. Because learning never ends!”

Alyssa: I recently completed my MBA at UW-Madison after spending about 10 years in services marketing. I went back to school with the goal of making the switch to marketing/branding physical products, and working at a large CPG company—so I am thrilled to have recently started working at SC Johnson. SCJ is a family-owned manufacturer of cleaning and household products based in Racine. It is one of the largest global CPG companies with well-known brands such as Glade, Ziploc, Windex, Pledge, Scrubbing Bubbles, Raid, OFF!, and more. I am on the Brand & Product Expression team in Home Cleaning, working on product claims and brand stories for Pledge (global) and Mr. Muscle (China region). I love my new role so far because I get to learn a LOT about our products and identify which stories will mean the most to consumers—and how those stories can result in impactful product claims and marketing communications.

AMA: Why is it more important now than ever for marketers to pursue continuing education and professional development opportunities?

Hailie: Looking at this from a recruiting perspective, skills-based hiring is on the rise and the ways in which we source candidates has drastically changed.  Continuing education and professional development sets one apart from other candidates, demonstrates a willingness to learn new skills, and can advance your career by attaining the most desirable skills in the industry.

Ace: Making the decision to go back to school is never easy, but it can be worth it in the long run. Here are several industry specific reasons why going back to school may be a great choice for you:

  • Rapidly changing marketing landscape: The marketing landscape is constantly evolving with new technologies, tools, and platforms emerging simultaneously. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques is essential to remain competitive and relevant in the field.
  • Increased competition: With the rise of digital marketing and the increasing number of businesses moving online, the competition in the marketing industry has drastically increased. With many companies going through layoffs, there are a lot of talent looking for their next job. Continuing education and professional development can help marketers stand out from the crowd and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
  • Customer expectations: Consumers are becoming more discerning and sophisticated in their purchasing decisions. They expect personalized experiences, relevant content, and seamless interactions across multiple channels. Marketers who are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge can deliver on these expectations and meet customer needs effectively.
  • Data-driven decision making: Data analytics and insights are becoming increasingly important in marketing. Marketers who have the skills to analyze and interpret data can make informed decisions and optimize their campaigns for better results.
  • Remote work and digital collaboration: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards remote work and digital collaboration. Marketers who are adept at working remotely and collaborating virtually are better equipped to succeed in this new environment.

Alyssa: I’ve always been a proponent of continuing education, whether formally or informally—but with the current economic landscape, it is more important than ever. I think companies are looking for people that proactively keep up on the latest trends in marketing, and have something to show for it (such as a certification). As we all know, the marketing landscape is constantly evolving, and it’s up to us to be experts in the latest trends and technology. Anything you can do to demonstrate any specialized knowledge you have will definitely help you stand out in the recruitment process.

 AMA: What are some benefits marketers can get from continuing education and professional development?

Hailie: Beyond the more obvious benefits of continuing education, I think networking is often overlooked but a massively valuable benefit.  Continuing education and professional development provides a natural avenue to connect and build relationships, and those connections lead to new ideas, information sharing, mentorships and other career support opportunities, and job referrals.

Ace: Here are 5 reasons I believe that it is important to pursue continuing education, no matter what industry you find yourself in or wanting to be in.

  • Staying up-to-date with the latest trends: Marketing is a constantly evolving field, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies can help marketers remain competitive.
  • Developing new skills: Continuing education and professional development can help marketers develop new skills, such as data analysis, content marketing, or social media marketing, which can make them more valuable to employers.
  • Expand professional network: By attending conferences, workshops, or networking events, marketers can meet other professionals in their field, exchange ideas, and expand their professional network.
  • Enhancing creativity: Learning new marketing techniques or strategies can help marketers enhance their creativity and come up with innovative solutions to marketing challenges.
  • Increasing job opportunities and earning potential: Continuous learning can make marketers more marketable to potential employers and increase their earning potential.

Alyssa: I think there are a lot of direct and indirect benefits. You will obviously learn something new that you can take back to your current role or use as an example in an interview, but there are also the networking benefits and getting to know new people that could become mentors or help you out in the future. Your personal network will definitely prove valuable when looking for your next opportunity! Additionally, professional development can be an opportunity to grow your leadership and presentation skills (if you get involved in an organization like AMA)—which I have found to be a priceless advantage.

 AMA: What is the big takeaway people can expect if they attend the event?

Hailie: People will leave this event with multiple perspectives on how to advance their careers in an uncertain and competitive job market.

Ace: I am hoping participants will walk away with knowledge of 

  • What continuing education is and how to narrow down best options according to your career path 
  • What continuing education options exist 
  • How continuing education can be useful, regardless of where you are in your career

Alyssa: I think people will discover a new way to think about professional development and realize the many indirect benefits it can provide. I also think attendees will be able to see some real examples of how continuing education can open the door to the next chapter of a marketing career.

Venue: Garth Brew Bar, 1726 MONROE ST.

Cozy atmosphere. Educated staff. Remarkable beer. Garth’s Brew Bar opened in 2019 on Monroe St. The bar started from a passion to do good for the people and right by the beer. Learn more at https://www.garthsbrewbar.com/

AMA Madison’s ‘Craft Marketing‘ Series

Craft Marketing features a local presenter each month. You’ll have the chance to learn about a wide range of marketing topics while networking with other industry professionals and enjoying the drink of your choice.

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