Getting to Know AMA Volunteer Medha Ponnapalli

How long have you been a volunteer with AMA New Jersey?

Since September 2022

Why did you decide to join the AMA NJ Volunteer team?

I decided to join the AMA NJ Volunteer team because I was looking for volunteer opportunities that can also offer career-related networking opportunities. I joined AMA NJ the fall after I graduated from college at the University of Virginia, and moved back to New Jersey. Upon graduating, I also decided that I was interested in pivoting my career path from the clinical side of healthcare to the business side and I wanted to immerse myself in as many marketing/ business opportunities as possible to learn as much as I can. AMA NJ offered me a place where I can develop my interest in marketing, learn new skills, as well as connect with people in New Jersey.

What do you enjoy most about marketing or the industry you work in?

After graduating, I have worked as a business analyst/ project coordinator for a dermatology start-up company and in clinical trials. Due to the dynamic nature of a start-up, I also had responsibilities in the marketing and social media side as well. My favorite thing about the start-up space is that it is driven by true passion. The team is able to find a problem or flaw in the industry, and then have the reins to creatively implement a solution. Marketing within the start-up space is especially empowering when you truly believe in the product or service, because you are driven by authenticity to help your product/service reach others!

Which AMA event has been most memorable for you and why?

The most memorable AMA event is definitely the “That’s so Meta: Marketing and the Metaverse” event! The event starting off letting attendees explore the different exhibits, and concluded with a presentation. The beginning portion of the event was a great opportunity for me to meet other members of AMA NJ and network with others that came to the event. Towards the end, I had the opportunity to try out some virtual reality simulators, which was a very unique, interactive experience.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your professional life? Hobby? Interests?

In my free time, I volunteer as an EMT for my local rescue squad once a week. I absolutely love it. I find that the fundraising events and community service events, as well as the duty shifts themselves, give me a great opportunity to involve myself in my community. Also, it’s extremely fast-paced and I’m always seeing something new. For fun, I love fitness and staying active. Going to school in Virginia gave me the opportunity to explore the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. During my time in college, I spent many weekends going on hiking trips with my friends. This inspired me to seek out as many opportunities to hike and explore as much as I can. I’ve recently hiked in PA, upstate NY, and Washington state. The next trip on my list is definitely a road trip to see the national parks out west. I also grew up playing tennis, skiing, and I am looking into becoming a yoga instructor!

What is your goal as a board member this year?

By the end of this year, I am looking forward to becoming more involved with AMA NJ through leadership positions for the organization. More immediate goals include meeting the newer members of AMA NJ, and facilitating a way to connect with members of AMA NJ outside of the Events Team. Additionally, I’m looking forward to attending more in-person events!

How important is networking to you, and why?

As a recent college graduate, networking is extremely important to me. Being so early in my career and having so many possibilities in front of me, it’s extremely helpful to talk to people that work in different positions and industries. I have found great benefit in informational interviews with people I look up to- to see what it is they do everyday, and what they like and dislike about their job. I also love to ask for career advice based on their knowledge and experiences in the industry. As someone with plenty of interests and ideas, it is helpful to network to ground myself and merge my visions with actuality. Everyone comes with a different perspective, so I find myself gaining inspiration and clarity after every networking opportunity!

Do you have anything else you would like to share with prospective volunteers and members?

Volunteering for AMA NJ has been an incredible experience for me. The people I have worked with have been amazing, and I have had an opportunity to exercise my creative side through my work with the Events Team. I highly recommend joining AMA NJ if you have an interest in marketing.

Connect with me on LinkedIn!

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