10.14 Leadership Corner

AAM Leadership Corner: Michael A. Bowlan

Michael A. Bowlan
Principal, Director of Marketing
Brown Smith Wallace
St. Louis, MO

AAM committee / volunteer involvement: Board, Innovation Lead; former member of Growth Strategies Committee

Twitter Handle / LinkedIn Profile : @mikebowlan, www.linkedin.com/in/mikebowlan/

What are your thoughts on Business development for your firm?

I hope we continue to see more! Seriously, this year, we’ve finally broken through some barriers. We are creating BD small peer groups and will actually be monitoring and helping keep them accountable. What will we think of next! I’m excited about the direct impact this initiative can have on our continued growth and I expect this initiative will help foster further integration of marketing and BD, a goal always close to my heart.

What’s going on with the association?

Lots. Specifically, related to BD, we recently formed a BD Community Taskforce with the goal of creating such a community within AAM in keeping with one of AAM’s overall objectives of developing communities that members could join around common interests, experience levels, etc. To fulfill a short-term objective, for the AAM Conference in Orland next summer, we have put together a number of sessions, including a pre-conference event that will focus on information of value to business developers. With our partnership with the AICPA and AAA this year, we have a rare opportunity to capture crossover traffic to AAM sessions – and BD is an attractive topic to these groups.

Business developers have been underrepresented in AAM for some time. And they are an essential part of integrated marketing at accounting firms. So, longer term, it seemed like a reality that AAM didn’t reflect. Recruiting more BDs into AAM can only benefit the association’s growth and revenues, as well as provide more robust content and interaction.

How can you help? Recruit BDs to AAM. They can certainly join our emerging BD community at any point and we expect to have relevant content at the Orlando conference where they will get to rub elbows with partners and practitioners as well as us wonderful marketing people. If you know BDs who are passionate about their roles in the profession, please feel free to contact me or one of the other members of the BD Community Taskforce or have them contact one of us. Our current members are: Wade Clark, New Vision Advisors, Jason Delles, Moss Adams, Scott Jensen, Deloitte, Jason Jobgen, BKD, Russ Mollinar, EY, Chris Perrino, Barnes Dennig, and Mitch Reno, Rehmann. From the AAM Board and staff, Brenda Sleeper, Jayla Boire, Kerry Sullivan-Lechner, Kristen Lewis, and Kristin Bailey have been providing us with enthusiastic support. We welcome yours!

Otherwise, as Innovation Lead for the Board, working with the Environmental Scanning Council and the Association Growth Committee to enhance the value to members, promote our brand and grow AAM. We’re really progressing with integrating all of our efforts and focus.

What projects are you currently involved with?

At AAM, the BD community is taking up most of my time. At Brown Smith Wallace, in addition to executing our BD peer groups, we have a number of new event series rolling out, including The Bridge, focused on connecting women leaders of today and tomorrow, and the C-Suite Educational Series, involving three other professional services firms; the launch of our latest Brown Board videos -- one on cybersecurity from the integrated focus of risk prevention and insurance and one on IC-DISCs for exporters; completing the first six months of our weekly sponsored content series in the local Business Journal; planning our second ezine with video links integrated; and producing this year’s edition of our annual report.

What advice can you give people to get more involved with AAM?

It’s a great way to meet and work with fun and talented people and to broaden your perspectives. I’m a little biased but I believe growing a BD community could have a significant impact on AAM so if you’re at all inclined hop on the BD line. We’re not the BT Express yet, but.…

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

It’s a close call between the variety of what I get to do every day and the fabulous team I work with. Since they’ll probably read this, I’ll vote for them! We’re really rocking the work – and having a blast doing it.

What have you learned the hard way?

Hah, you definitely don’t have enough space to cover that one. Let’s just say 40 years of professional services marketing! Yeah, Bruce Marcus is about the only person I know who can tell me he was there at the beginning. Whether you know it or not, Brrruuuuuuccce and hundreds of others ran the gauntlet or were sacrificed at the altar for the benefit of all of us.

Most dangerous thing you’ve ever done

That would have to be when I was dancing with Laura Snyder at AAM in Vegas a couple of years ago. We were dancing so close to the ground I thought the Limbo was back. I might’ve left a few disks there – I’m pretty sure Laura did – and I almost lost my AARP card!