I’ve known Ben Greenzweig, Co-CEO, Momentum, for several years. We met through the Legal Marketing Association (LMA). Like many of my LMA friends, we started out working on an LMA project — the annual conference — moved that relationship forward, and are now personal friends.
Ben and I were recently talking about LMA and how this association, and the legal marketing profession, is different than any other. I asked Ben to write about his experience with LMA, and why, when launching his own company, he chose to remain connected to legal, legal marketing, and LMA.
When I walked into the offices of Loeb & Loeb in 2005 little did I know how much of a life changing event that moment would be.
The meeting had no unusual purpose, as I was keen to meet with the brand new Chief Marketing Officer of a firm that I hoped to do more business with. After an intellectually intoxicating 90 minutes, I left that meeting with not only a new client, but a friend and an introduction to a network that would – in many ways – define my professional career going forward.
For those of you that ever met Jennifer Manton, you can understand when I tell you that she can be quite persuasive; a skill built on intellect and passion and honed with experience. So it should come as no shock that she successfully convinced me to join the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) and volunteer for a leadership position with the New York chapter during that very first meeting.
Over the next few years I was an active committee co-chair and then an elected board member at large. I’ll never forget my first Annual Conference in Atlanta when I was enveloped by an overwhelming sense of community, togetherness and, perhaps most importantly, a collective spirit of support that rivaled no other industry or profession that I have ever been exposed to.
As a speaker at the Annual Conference I was unsure of what reception I would receive given my relative “newbie” status, but those fears were quickly dispelled when Jennifer, my co-presenter Michelle Chaffin, and dozens of New York chapter friends made me feel as warm and welcome as can be. (Having Maya Angelou deliver one of the most inspirational keynote addresses I’ve ever heard didn’t hurt either.)
My personal “aha” moment came in the afternoon of day one when I took a moment to view the event through a conference professional’s eyes and realized that despite significant pockets of success, there was a major opportunity to enhance the value and experience for attendees at the Annual Conference. From that moment I was determined to create a better event for LMA, an event that I couldn’t wait to attend. I was a kid wanting to create a better candy store for me and my friends.
I spent the next few years sharing my vision of a more valuable Annual Conference experience with LMA leadership and during that process became introduced to an entirely new crop of former, current and future activists and leaders that provided me with limitless time, support and guidance. People like Betsi Roach, Jeanne Hammerstrom, Jim Durham, Andrea Crews, Alycia Sutor, Aleisha Gravit, Tim Corcoran, Lisa Simon, Heather Morse-Gellar, Eva Wisnik, Dawn Gertz and so many more that I would run out of space listing here.
Fast forward to 2012, after many successful years of working with LMA and driving my previous organization to record setting growth, I decided it was time to move on and forge my own path with a new endeavor, Momentum Events and Consulting, that I co-founded with my good friend and colleague, Matt Godson.
The support, encouragement and friendly advice I received from so many of my association brothers and sisters was beyond overwhelming. Good, bad or ugly, all the advice I received was genuine and fair, compassionate and educated. The one thing that remained constant throughout this journey was the feeling that the community I had become so intertwined with over 6 years was as much a part of me as I was a part of it.
I can never repay the debt I incurred from all the support I was – and continue to be – given, but I guess I’m not supposed to because LMA is not about repayment; it’s about paying it forward. LMA is a breeding ground for success, risk-taking and advancement. It is the trapeze artist’s net, the chemist’s Bunsen burner, the automobile’s air bags. LMA will not guarantee you success or failure, but it will provide enough support, encouragement and guidance to help you make the best decision possible.
So how can I pay it forward? I can start by saying that no other professional association I have ever been exposed to has ever been as collectively focused on an individual’s personal and professional success than LMA. Many of us work for companies that compete vigorously, ruthlessly, but what remains when the clouds of the free market lift is a network of people that truly believes that a rising tide lifts all boats. To say this collaborative spirit is uncommon outside our industry would be an understatement.
Like you, I do not know what my future holds; none of us do, but I do know that no matter which path I take, I will continue to be guided by the relationships forged within LMA and for that I will remain forever grateful.
Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.