Goodbye, and thanks for the memories

My days as chair of the DMA’s Email Experience Council Member Advisory Committee Executive Leadership Team are winding down, and it has put me in a reflective mood.

The last four years have been busy and educational, first as vice-chair serving under Anita Absey of Return Path, and then the last two years as chair.

I learned so much from Anita. She has an impressive resume, not just as an email veteran but also as an email pro. She taught me how to handle people and how to generate success. She also helped me develop a greater understanding of what the Email Experience Council (eec) means.

When I came in as chair, my goal was to give more value to our members and to understand what drives that value. I can remember my first call that outlined what the board wanted to do in the next term. We talked about how we needed to focus on achieving goals we could achieve – not overpromising but focusing on providing value to our member base.

Where we’ve been

What we have accomplished in the last couple of years has been nothing short of amazing:

1. The big show: I’m really proud of the eec’s annual Email Evolution show, which we’ve built up to become one of the leading events in the industry. It not only educates email marketers, but it also hooks into other important channels such social media, mobile and big data.

This year’s show in New Orleans had 500+ people attending. That was the highest show attendance in its history. This organization was built on helping email marketers come together to learn from each other, to understand what they need to know for their jobs, to learn about technology and strategies, and to provide a place to go to meet their peers, talk and have fun.

And we did just that. This year’s sessions were well thought out and well put together. They weren’t infomercials but learning opportunities that drove the industry forward.

2. The Global Email Marketing Compliance Guide: I’m also really proud of this guide. It was a monumental effort put forward by Nancy Harris, Matt Vernhout, Alex Krylov, James Koons and everyone else who gave massive amounts of time to drive this piece of content. If you haven’t checked out this incredible benefit – it’s free to eec members – I urge you to do so, quickly.

3. Our volunteers: I’m also incredibly proud of all of our volunteers, from everyone who worked on the show out in front or behind the scenes, to those who came to meet-ups, organized webinars, did speaking engagements, and served as program chairs and committee heads and members.

The eec is an all-volunteer group. Nobody gets paid, but we all give hours upon hours of time to focus on issues facing the industry and moving it forward. I’m blessed to be surrounded by people who are dedicated to driving the industry forward, not just selling something.

Where we’re going

As I hand the reins to Dennis Dayman & Len Shneyder (Vice-Chair), I know I’m leaving the eec in good hands. In the last two years, I have relied on Dennis for his counsel and assistance in navigating the space and am incredibly thankful for his partnership.  Len hit it out of the park by leading the programming of our Annual conference in New Orleans. With Dennis and Len along with the newly named Programming Chair for EEC17, Karen Talavera, I am more convinced than ever before that we are on the right track as these powerhouses lead this organization.

We are in a great place in our own evolution as an organization, and I am thrilled at how far we have come. I have learned a lot from great people, and I’m always wowed to see the volunteerism and service our members display.

Our great challenges today are not just learning what we need to learn but also learning what we don’t know we need to know, and participating in all of the conversations.

No matter what organization in the email universe I’m talking about – besides eec, there’s the ESPC (the Email Sender and Provider Coalition), M3AAWG (Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) and other messaging associations, we’re all looking for people to step-up and volunteer their time.

Maybe it will take an hour a month, or five hours a month, or more or less. Participating in these groups will give you many opportunities to speak and to grow your personal brand, to contribute to blogs and articles in trade publications – all opportunities you might not know about otherwise. We give people a voice in the industry.

Beware the zombies!

And now, as I ride off into the sunset, here’s my parting thought:

Don’t be a zombie. Don’t just sit there and soak things up. Take all the information you’ve absorbed here and pass it on, just as the eec has done for the eight years we’ve been around.

This organization, as do many others, gives everyone a voice and a platform in the industry. Take it with both hands. It’ll serve you well. You’ll find yourself surrounded by the best and the brightest. You can help shape the future of email, in the U.S. and beyond our seas. The world really is your oyster!

Adestra Portraits by John Cairns

Ryan Phelan, Outgoing Chair of eec Member Advisory Committee
Vice President, Marketing Insights
Adestra Inc.