From the Helm, The Voice Newsletter
WANDA KENTON SMITH The Voice, Spring Issue | March 2019
I just wanted to personally take a moment to thank some folks for their contributions to this year’s highly successful Neptune Awards, which is covered in this issue pretty extensively. A dozen years ago, a group of hard-working marine marketing folks envisioned an association that would focus on the marine marketing community. No such organization existed and our collective voice and work was never collectively recognized. A meeting was held at the Miami Boat Show and 90 people jammed the room as a few of us shared an initial vision.
From this original concept, Marine Marketers of America was born. Today, our association is healthy and growing. Thanks to the original vision of strong leaders and industry marketers who have contributed much time and effort, YOUR association continues to make strides and achieve the goals from which is was established.One of our major visions was to create higher visibility and recognition for the outstanding professional work and contributions of marine marketers. The Neptune Awards has become THE platform to showcase the best marine marketing in North America. This year, our field of entry broke all previous records. The work was outstanding! But this program wouldn’t be possible without the leadership of a handful of folks who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen. I want to personally thank and recognize these individuals for their selfless effort that benefits not only our members and our organization, but the industry at large.
From Day One, our MMA Vice President Sally Helme of Bonnier Corporation has been the primary force behind the development, launch and ongoing success of the Neptune Awards. Sally is a rock star and has contributed countless hours since the very first awards program into making this the best awards program of its kind in North America. She was our original chief judge and now our event co-chair. Thank you, Sally, for your simply outstanding leadership. I don’t have the words to express my bone-deep gratitude for Sally’s important contributions over many years.
In addition, our MMA Board Member Kristen Frohnhoefer of Sea Tow accepted the role of co-chair for the Neptunes several years ago. She oversees the comprehensive judging process involving the development and coordination of 50 judges from throughout the industry. It’s a massive undertaking, but Kristen manages it and makes it happen like magic.
Many of you don’t know our MMA Administrator Matt Kuka, but suffice it to say he is the go-to guy on the back end who makes it all happen. Matt organizes all the entries so that Kristen and Sally can do their jobs, then he manages the MMA website and email campaign and communications so everyone is kept in the loop. I had the opportunity to work directly with Matt for many years and appreciate his fast work and responsiveness in all areas of association management.
Jim Rhodes of Rhodes Communications has been an integral part of our success since Day One. Jim and his team handle our association PR so we can announce the program and our winners. He and his team are also super heroes!
And then there all of you who enter your best work … and those of you who volunteer to judge, including the members of our board of directors who are actively engaged in this initiative and many others throughout the year.
To those I’ve called out and to all of our members, I give my heartfelt thanks and grateful appreciation. I feel so truly blessed and fortunate to work in an industry I love and to have the pleasure and privilege to associate with fellow marketers who share my passion for the boating business and lifestyle.
Cheers to our Neptune organizers, our winners and our judges!