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Professional Development

From Doubt to Dream Job: Amy’s Inspiring Career Transformation with AMA Baltimore’s Mentor Connections Program

AMA Baltimore
December 14, 2023 |
4 minute read

“Change is scary but what’s even scarier is staying the same.” – Anonymous

When Amy Barley realized she was ready for a career change in 2021, she turned to her resources at AMA Baltimore. That’s when she found her mentor, Emma Wesolowski, VP of Marketing and Engagement Strategy at National Aquarium, through our Mentor Connections program – an industry-specific mentorship program that pairs established marketing experts (Mentors) with early-, mid-, or advanced-level marketing professionals (Protégés), who are looking to upskill, make job transitions, or grow an entrepreneurial venture for one-on-one mentoring.

Although Amy was initially just looking for someone to guide her with the next steps she needed to take in her career, Amy gained so much more from AMA Baltimore’s Mentor Connections program. With Emma’s help, she found her dream job, a company with an amazing marketing team that welcomes new ideas, encourages her professional goals in the workplace (and supports her passions outside of work), and perhaps most importantly, motivates her with the confidence that she needed to achieve everything she wanted to set out to accomplish. 

Keep reading to learn how the Mentor Connections program was the exact stepping stone Amy needed to get where she is today! 

On paper, Amy looked like she had the perfect career path. During the COVID-19 pandemic,  she had just earned her Master’s degree in marketing from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore and was managing the marketing efforts for one of the largest privately-owned community banks in Maryland. However, she could feel that it was time for a change – the only challenge was that she didn’t know how to make that happen. 

As a first-generation college graduate, Amy faced difficulties all throughout her educational and professional journey. Coming from an economically disadvantaged family led her to doubt her own abilities and strengths. On one hand, it fueled her fire to succeed and do well in all that she set out to do, but on the other hand, she didn’t know if she could go out there and find everything she wanted and more. Amy knew she needed some professional guidance, but even more, she needed someone to encourage her and help her learn how to move forward. 

Six months into her job search, Amy found AMA Baltimore’s Mentor Connections program and decided to apply as a Protégé. Through the signature program, she was paired with her mentor, Emma, who was a perfect match for her from the start! She immediately felt safe, supported, and like she had a true friend and confidant. Even though Emma had her own career, family, and life outside of AMA Baltimore, her schedule remained flexible for Amy and her goals.

Through her fruitful partnership with Emma, Amy gained more than she ever thought possible, both professionally and personally:

  • Overcoming struggles with imposter syndrome and the inner games of tennis she often encountered during the job search process 
  • Believing in herself again – something she hadn’t experienced in a long time
  • Finding her dream job as a Web Content Specialist for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange that would allow her to combine two of her biggest passions – affordable and accessible healthcare for all and digital marketing 
  • Working at a company that fully supported the improved work/life balance she had been craving 

Amy’s journey to where she is today is unique and inspiring, and we are honored to have been part of her story. Amy is just one of many AMAzing volunteers for our volunteer-run organization and was the Featured Volunteer for Spring 2021. Amy joined our Executive Board in July 2023 and currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Marketing + Communications at AMA Baltimore.

If you are looking to make a career change or just need some advice on what your next step should be, please consider applying to be a Protégé in our Mentor Connections 2024 program. Our early-bird pricing ($100 for AMA members / $200 for non-members) ends Monday, December 18, 2023. Standard pricing ($175 for AMA members / $275 for non-members) is from Tuesday, December 19, 2023 through Tuesday, January 2, 2024. Don’t miss your chance to build conversations, connections, and community today!

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AMA Baltimore

The American Marketing Association Baltimore Chapter (AMA Baltimore) is Maryland’s leading provider of networking, educational programming, and resources for marketing professionals. AMA Baltimore provides extensive opportunities for marketers to expand their networks, grow professionally and learn about current industry trends.
The American Marketing Association Baltimore Chapter (AMA Baltimore) is Maryland’s leading provider of networking, educational programming, and resources for marketing professionals. AMA Baltimore provides extensive opportunities for marketers to expand their networks, grow professionally and learn about current industry trends.

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