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September 2009

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BMA Colorado: 60 Years Young and Still Going Strong

By Pam Giordano, CBC

What keeps BMA Colorado 60 years young? A thriving membership, a focus on practical marketing knowledge, and opportunities to make strong connections.

When a group of Colorado advertising professionals met to form a local chapter of the National Industrial Advertising Association in 1949, they never imagined their organization would become a powerhouse. Today, 60 years later, BMA Colorado continues to grow, serving the business-to-business marketing community with relevant programs, networking opportunities, and a practical approach to professional education.

Growing, Growing
BMA Colorado began with a handful of members. In the mid-1980s, typical meeting attendance was 50 people. Today BMA regularly attracts 100 or more to a monthly meeting; special events attract upwards of 250 attendees.

More importantly, BMA Colorado has grown even as the economy and the trend to association membership have declined. Today membership stands at 370. BMA members average 15 years of marketing expertise. They communicate regularly through the BMA Colorado website, RSS feeds, Facebook, Twitter, and a member-only group on LinkedIn.

Learn it Today, Do it Tomorrow
Many BMA members recall attending a program, learning something valuable, and using that knowledge in the workplace the next day. Members consistently cite practical marketing education as one of the greatest values they receive. They depend on BMA for information that makes a difference in their careers.

Professional Connections at All Levels
Making connections is especially important for professionals in the early stages of their careers. Why? Because they can meet leaders in the marketing community who may provide mentoring and open doors to career opportunities. Both young professionals and seasoned members can strengthen their networks by volunteering for committees and serving on the board.

BMA Achievements
Over the last 60 years, BMA Colorado and its members have been recognized for many honors as follows:
1. Received Chapter of the Year Awards 13 out of 15 years from the national BMA.
2. Delivered a consistently excellent roster of speakers from premier organizations such as Google, Starbucks, IBM, UPS, Northwestern University, Jay Conrad Levinson, Martha Rogers, and others.
3. Developed annual Gold Key competition to recognize the Colorado marketing community's best work. Since the Gold Key program began, more than 1,250 awards have been granted.
4. Created Communicator of the Year award, which, since 1985, has annually honored outstanding contributions to the marketing profession. Twenty-five members have received this honor.
5. Awarded $50,000 in scholarships to Colorado marketing students. Many have gone on to become BMA professional members.
One BMA achievement in particular stands out: professional management by executive director Marilee Yorchak, CAE. Members consistently mention her as a key reason for BMA's success. Since 1991, Marilee has been instrumental in adding and retaining members, finding sponsors, guiding the board, and making members understand that BMA is indeed the premier organization in Colorado.

Directions for Today and Tomorrow
Times and technology have come a long way since BMA's early days but one key principle - providing value to members - has endured. By providing networking, practical education members can use on the job today, resources, and recognition for volunteers, BMA remains well positioned for future growth. That's an achievement sure to stand the test of time.

BMA Colorado would like to thank all the members, board, and volunteers for their support over the years. (NOTE TO KEN- please set this apart some way)

Reflections from BMA Leaders

Rich Carvill, CBC True Vine Marketing Communications
“I joined BMA in 1985 primarily for the programs. I also was interested in networking and the chance to meet local business leaders. BMA Colorado has long been a premier chapter. We're consistently strong in many areas, thanks to a board that attracts passionate, talented people. While BMA has grown over the years, there's still a very personal touch.”

Pam Giordano, CBC Writer and Marketer
“BMA has been an excellent investment in my professional education. It has continued to provide the best speakers in the business, roundtables, and seminars in addition to regular monthly meetings. BMA truly is a place where I can learn it today and use it tomorrow.”

Karla Gravert Caberra Systems
“When I joined as a student, I knew BMA would keep me focused on what was going on in the Denver marketing community. I met professionals in the field and got my first job through BMA connections. BMA supports marketing students with the job shadowing program and scholarships.”

Rick Kean, CBC The Business Marketing Institute, LLC
NOTE: Rick is the former executive director of the Business Marketing Association
“BMA Colorado was the most innovative chapter within BMA. Many programs that started in Colorado were adopted successfully in other chapters. BMA Colorado is a shining light.”

Jay Marks, CBC The Marks Group
“When I first became a member, BMA was more of a business networking group. The shift in focus to marketing was a key success factor for BMA. Today we are a professional learning organization. That's a great value to members because it's a constant effort to keep up with changes in our field.”

Michael Menaker, CBC
“What makes BMA Colorado stand out are the people. BMA has always been at the forefront of our business. For example, we were the first organization to offer a program about the Internet. The training BMA provides is critically important because companies no longer offer it internally. If you're going to succeed in marketing, you need to belong to BMA.”

Lynn Owen National Dairy Association
“As a student, I gained experience by learning from members and serving on the board. As a professional, I find BMA valuable in gaining insights into the Denver market, continuing my marketing education and networking with my peers. The group's ability to survive for 60 years speaks highly of the business values and leadership BMA continually delivers.”

Bob Schaller, APR, CBC
“Education and certification were the key reasons I joined BMA. BMA's real strength has been the ability to re-invent itself and stay relevant. That's why we've survived and thrived during difficult economic times. In my own career, I moved from a large corporation to creating my own company. BMA became even more important as it provided a supportive group of peers and a good source of vendors and partners. Those relationships remain important to me today.“

Jean Wagner, CBC
“BMA's value lies in education and business referrals. It has been on the forefront of many business trends. BMA has been especially valuable for meeting qualified vendors and partners we were eager to work with.”

Marilee Yorchak, CAE BMA Colorado Executive Director
"BMA Colorado has always had a strong tradition in Colorado. Everywhere I go, people tell me they have heard of BMA and how we represent the very best in marketing in Colorado. It reminds me of something a former president used to say, "BMA Colorado is the 900 pound gorilla in the monkey market." It sounds funny - but it's true. BMA Colorado is a leader in our market - and I'm so very proud to be associated with our organization."

Pam Giordano, CBC is a versatile writer and marketer who knows that great content sells. She has written a wide spectrum of content including web sites, blogs, case studies, marketing communications, White Papers and feature stories for both online and hard copy publications. Pam specializes in business-to-business topics and turning technical and scientific input into readable, interesting content. She is a former BMA Communicator of the Year.
For more information, contact Pam Giordano, 303-782-6968, Website

1 “Acculturation and Beyond” Hispanic Segmentation Study, authored by David Morse, President and CEO of New American Dimensions, 2008.

Laura Sonderup is the Managing Director and Senior Strategist of Hispanidad, a division of Heinrich Marketing, Inc. She is a recognized ethnic marketing expert and is frequently featured as a speaker at national and international conferences. Her writings on the subject have been featured in USA Today, US Industry Today, IFA Franchising World, Advertising & Marketing Review, ColoradoBiz and DirectLine. In 2007, the American Bar Association published her white paper, “The Business of Immigrant Markets: Providing Access to Financial Services,” a guide to understanding the legal ramifications of serving undocumented individuals within the financial services industry.

Laura can be reached at (303) 239-5235 or

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