We could start and end this blog post with, simply because we are needed but then that would make us biased so, here we go!
Black Marketers Association of America, also referred to as BMAA, has been one of the best professional organizations I’ve become part of since beginning my pivot back to the marketing industry. I left the industry in 2015 when I was stuck in a hostile work environment and feeling alone as the only black employee on a small marketing team. Years later, I joined BMAA when it was just a group on GroupMe, long before it became the website and Slack channel and LinkedIn group it is today and every now and then I would scroll through and take gems here and there from conversations. It was from those conversations that I realized I wasn’t alone in my experience as a Black marketer and decided not to let that one company change the trajectory of my career. By this time I moved on to an administrative role and was feeling undervalued and even worse, underpaid for all the skills and knowledge I had. I knew my gifts were being wasted and I needed to make the switch. When the group expanded and became the organization it is now, like many, I debated whether or not it was worth it to upgrade from a free to paid membership but I knew I needed to invest something into myself to get more out of my career.
First and foremost, know that a BMAA membership is affordable. The biggest challenge for me when joining professional organizations is finding ones that are affordable and provide the resources I need. My membership with another organization was ten times the price of my current BMAA membership and I received little to no real benefit from it. Once I finally decided to join BMAA, I learned that the paid monthly memberships are less than the price of my weekly Starbucks budget and since signing up, I have received more from it than I have from other memberships in the past. With a BMAA membership I have:
- Obtained marketing certification scholarships. Thanks to BMMA, I received a Facebook Elevate scholarship and will be taking the Facebook Certified Digital Marketing Associate Certification soon. Without this scholarship offered exclusively to members, I would have to pay $99 and miss out on something being offered for free.
- Attended professional development and networking events. These events have helped me confidently learn how to revamp my resume and allow me to attend discounted networking events with recruiters from companies like The Home Depot and Zulily. These events let members speak with recruiters to learn about the companies and their open roles so that instead of submitting a resume online, you have the chance to speak face to face with someone about the specific role you’re interested in.
- Received exclusive access to the BMAA job board and submitted my resume to the BMAA Resume Book. The companies listed on this job board and with access to this resume book prioritize diversity and inclusion, which had been verified by BMAA leadership. The organization cares about the well being of its members as Black professionals and makes sure the companies doing business with them do too.
- Gotten BMAA merchandise. I have worn my BMAA face mask while running errands and have had people ask me about the organization and about my background. The merch alone sparks conversations and lets people know who I am as a professional.
As a member of BMAA, free and paid, I've been provided opportunities that my current company cannot offer me. Joining the PR and Communications Team has helped me serve in an organization that supports my community while learning the ins and outs of marketing and communications that keep my skills up to date as I transition careers. Black Marketers Association of America is more than a professional group. Members are given a support system, allowing them to meet others like themselves and gain insight from peers on how to navigate the industry and challenges they might face. This membership has been well worth it for me and I recommend it to every marketing professional, no matter your background or what stage of your career you are in.