Author: Michael Cook

Webinar Review: Staying Secure in 2022 and Beyond

By Michael Cook Member Blog

In December 2021, AMA New Orleans hosted Staying Secure in a Remote World, which discussed how companies, employees, and freelancers could improve their online security habits. The webinar featured security experts Vince Gremillion of Restech and Jack Reiner of Elliptical Hosting.

As more and more marketers transition to permanent remote work environments, businesses will need to take extra precautions to ensure their data remains safe when accessed outside the safety and confines of company networks and firewalls. Our panel discussed how businesses and individuals can protect themselves against new and emerging threats.

What are the biggest cybersecurity risks to companies?

Personal devices and (unprotected) home networks are two of the biggest potential exploits for hackers. “Most home networks don’t have strong wifi keys, and possibly even use default passwords on their devices,” explained Vince Gremillion. He used a hypothetical example of a home security camera that required the user to open a port in their firewall in order to view the camera feed, which could lead to exploit.

Vince recommended the use of virtual desktops when asked about having employees use their work computers instead of personal devices. Jack Reiner agreed. He added, “I’ve used a virtual desktop for years now, and this way if anything ever happens to the laptop I use, it doesn’t matter. The purpose of the laptop is only to login to the virtual desktop. And that’s behind firewalls, it’s backed up and well-protected, and can be regenerated quickly if anything goes wrong.”

Both panelists discussed the increase of phishing attacks post-pandemic. Most people know not to click suspicious links or download executable files in emails, but when employees are isolated at home, these attacks are more likely since they can’t simply ask their coworker next to them if they meant to send a particular email.

Working from non-office environments

Both panelists warned against connecting to public wifi at cafes, coffee shops, etc. There’s no guaranteed security from public networks; they’re there for convenience. Vince recommended rolling your own VPN with Amazon or Azure rather than using commercial VPN services. “The problem with commercial options is you don’t know what their servers are doing or what kind of agreements they have with various governments,” said Vince.

Going beyond VPNs, Vince discussed the use of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) services and device-level authorization, which authorizes the devices allowed to connect to a network. These solutions are common at the enterprise level but will become more accessible for smaller businesses in the future.

Increased security controls and email deliverability

Jack Reiner discussed email deliverability issues when using third-party email marketing services like MailChimp or Constant Contact. There are specific DNS records that whitelist the servers that are allowed to send email from your domain. Failure to make the requisite DNS changes can result in bouncebacks and potential blacklisting because the email came from servers not authorized to send on behalf of that domain.

Why all websites are targets for hackers

It’s not unreasonable to think your small mom-and-pop website won’t be a target for hackers, but this is incorrect. Every web server can also function as an email server, and spammers are always looking for a clean IP to propagate spam. If they can hack your site, then they can send spam from your site. Hackers can also embed redirects into a webpage to take users offsite to malicious URLs.

Jack noted that most attacks are automated (bots), so hackers aren’t necessarily targeting specific websites.

To protect your website, Jack stressed the need for malware scanning at the server level. External malware monitoring can only scan the files it can see, whereas internal scans can scan all of the files on the server.

Cloud vs. Local Security

With more people working from home, cloud-based file sharing services like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc. have exploded in popularity. We asked our panelists if storing files in the cloud was more secure than storing offline.

Vince said the cloud was more secure IF … you protect it with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, it’s backed up, and it’s encrypted. Your laptop can be lost or stolen, and most likely you’re not encrypting your device or using multi-factor authentication to access it.

If you’re synchronizing files to your desktop from Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. then you still need to encrypt your computer. An issue with encryption is that encryption keys are stored in memory. If you just close your laptop and it goes into suspend mode, then the keys can be taken out of memory and your laptop can be decrypted. People need to make it a habit to turn off their devices to take full advantage of encryption security.

Staying safe going forward

Vince recommended using a password vault to store strong passwords. Do NOT save the passwords in your browser. Also use two-factor authentication whenever available.

Jack advised against sharing too much personal information on social media. Privacy laws do not protect you if you divulge personal information voluntarily. Many Facebook timelines are filled with (seemingly innocuous) games and trivia that can be used to harvest vast amounts of user data to be used for nefarious purposes.

Most importantly, you are ultimately responsible for your own security and your own data. If it’s going to hurt you to lose it, then you need to do everything you can to ensure you’re protected.

AMA NOLA Kicks-Off its First Event of the New Season

By Michael Cook Blog

Back from our summer hiatus, AMA New Orleans is excited to kick off a new season of online programming with Festivals Forever: How CMO’s are Navigating Change on Wednesday, August 25.

We know and love New Orleans for its richness in culture, music, food, people, and its iconic marriage of the above – festivals. As marketers we have to be nimble, no one knows this better than the marketing leaders of NOLA festivals.

Moderated by Mark Romig of New Orleans & Company, this impressive panel includes:

  • Matthew Goldman – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • Becker Hall – Hogs for the Cause
  • Amy Boyle Collins – Beignet Fest

Hear first-hand from our festival marketing leaders:

  • How do they manage their brand during the uncertainty of a pandemic?
  • Success strategies they employed to foster growth
  • What they envision for the near future of the industry

Don’t get FOMO—register today to learn from the champions of our fun!

Wednesday, August 25th – 12:00pm-1:00pm

FREE for AMA members! $10.00 for non-members.
Pre-registration is required.

AMA Spotlight: Argent Financial Group Marketing Chief Earns PCM Dual Certification

By Michael Cook News

Congratulations to Argent Financial Group Director of Marketing, Sarah Warren, PCM®, for earning dual certification of Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) – Digital Marketing Pro from the American Marketing Association (AMA) and Digital Marketing Institute (DMI).

The American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) partnered with the Digital Marketing Institute, a worldwide leader in professional certification, to provide the most up-to-date teaching and testing ever offered by the organization. The PCM® program offers members extensive training across a broad spectrum of marketing topics and has been a go-to resource for experienced marketing professionals for decades.

You’re in charge! Ask our board members anything!

By Michael Cook Blog

During the week of November 16th, our board members will be taking over Instagram to answer all of your questions.

Are you a small business trying to launch a product? Have you been wondering what an influencer is and why your plan should include one? Or maybe you’re just starting out and need help creating your brand? No worries, we’ve got you covered! 10 marketing experts in multiple disciplines from across New Orleans will be available for you all week long – so please feel free to Ask Us Anything!

To join in on the conversation and get your questions answered make sure you are following @amaneworleans on Instagram. Also turn on post / story notifications to never miss a thing!

Monday, November 16
Josh Owen, Comfystonefilms – 10am-2pm
Allison Herrera, Uptown Girl Media– 2pm-6pm

Tuesday, November 17
Leigh Landeche, Wink Media – 10am-2pm
Michael Cook, Salty Key Marketing – 2pm-6pm

Wednesday, November 18
Priscilla Medina, Taste Buds Management – 10am-2pm
Will Monson, Ochsner Health – 2pm-6pm

Thursday, November 19
Branda Johnson, Branda Communications– 10am-2pm
Anna LeDonne, Gambel Communications – 2pm-6pm

Friday, November 20
Haley Pegg, New Orleans Chamber, – 10am-2pm
Robert Baer, Fidelity – 2pm-6pm

Tom Martin, Author of The Invisible Sale, to Speak at Our October Event

By Michael Cook Blog

In 2013, Tom Martin published The Invisible Sale to teach readers how to build a robust, lead-generating digital sales system to free marketers of the dreaded cold call. Seven years later, his book is more important than ever as marketers and salesmen alike struggle to reach customers and build relationships during a nearly year-long pandemic.

AMA New Orleans is ecstatic to have Tom Martin discuss his methods for engaging with customers and creating meaningful interactions – digitally, sans any face-to-face networking. Tom has been successfully leveraging digital tools to build strong relationships with prospects, clients and partners all over the world – many he’s never met in person – for over a decade.

Join us for Let’s Get Real: Building Virtual Relationships So You Can Sell More! on October 28, 2020, where he’ll share his secrets for selling greatly through virtual and digital channels.

FREE for members. $10 for nonmembers.

All active AMA NOLA members will have access to a recording of the webinar after October 28.

Marketing Tourism in a COVID Economy

By Michael Cook Blog

What can marketers do to tip the scales in favor of local businesses? Panelists will discuss creative strategies to manage recovery.

AMA New Orleans is proud to announce our lineup of panelists for this FREE event discussing the impact of COVID on the New Orleans economy and how marketers can approach uncertainty in the coming year.

Our panel will include:

Mark Romig
Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of New Orleans & Co.

Alana Harris
Deputy of Arts and Culture with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy

Daniel Hammer
Executive Director at The Historic New Orleans Collection 

Brigette Folse
Director of Sales and Marketing for Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Event Recording Available to all AMA Members

All active members will have on-demand video access to the webinar recording after the event. Want access? Join now!

AMA New Orleans Announces New President, Board of Directors for 2020-2021

By Michael Cook Featured

September 10, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The New Orleans chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) has announced its new board of directors and president for the 2020-2021 board term. The new board features 10 first-time members as well as two returning members. Former board president Christine Briede will also rejoin the board of directors as VP of Membership.

Mariska Morse, the co-founder of Forté Foundation who brings decades of experience in nonprofit management, will take over the position of board president from immediate past president Tristan Babin.

“I’m excited to help AMA New Orleans grow its footprint in the greater New Orleans community,” said Morse. “The AMA has been a pillar of the marketing community for decades, and marketers are looking for guidance now more than ever.” 

The complete 2020-2021 board roster includes:

  • Mariska Morse, President
  • Michael Cook, Secretary
  • Robert Baer, Treasurer
  • Haley Pegg, Executive Director
  • Tristan Babin, Immediate Past President
  • Christine Briede, Membership Chair
  • Anna LeDonne, Programming Chair
  • Priscilla Medina, Communications Chair
  • Will Monson, Creative Chair
  • Josh Owen, Public Relations Chair
  • Liz Johnson, Data/Insights Chair
  • Allison Herrera, Social Media Chair
  • Leigh Landeche, Website/Technology Chair
  • Mike Crimmins

AMA New Orleans first started in 1956 and has long been a staple of the marketing community in the greater New Orleans area. The chapter looks forward to providing educational and networking opportunities to businesses and marketing professionals in the coming year.

AMA New Orleans will host virtual programming for the remainder of 2020 available to members and non-members. Check for a full event schedule soon.

About the American Marketing Association (AMA)

As the largest community-based marketing association in the world, the AMA is trusted by marketing and sales professionals to help them discover what’s coming next in the industry. Our community of local chapters span more than 70 cities and 320 college campuses throughout North America. We’re home to award-winning content, PCM® professional certification, four premiere academic journals, and industry-leading live and virtual training events. For more information about the AMA, visit

New Board of Directors Announced for 2019-2020

By Michael Cook Blog

Pictured from L-R: Renee Piper, Brett Napier, Matt Lundy, Tristan Babin, Michael Cook and Robert Baer (not pictured, Matt Preuett).

In a recent board meeting, the New Orleans chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) announced its newly installed 2019-20 board of directors. The board features both returning and fresh faces, including:

President – Tristan Babin, the public and government affairs representative for the Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery in Belle Chasse.

Immediate Past President and Vice President of Programming – Brett Napier, the business development manager for Jones Walker’s maritime and labor and employment practice groups.

Treasurer – Robert Baer, Fidelity Bank’s digital marketing and community outreach manager.

Vice President of Membership – Matt Lundy, owner of REI Promos, a promotions, printing, signage and apparel business, since 2002.

Vice President of Sponsorship – Matt Preuett, a marketing consultant under his company Converge Marketing and is acting chief marketing officer for AV Solutions, an enterprise conference room AV system company.

Vice President of Communication – Renee Piper, marketing and communications manager for Danos, an oilfield service provider.

Webmaster – Michael Cook, founder of Salty Key Marketing, a company that focuses exclusively on digital marketing and web development.

The selected members will serve on the AMA New Orleans board through June 2020. AMA New Orleans is known for the learning and networking opportunities it provides to business professionals in the New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Veteran board member, Tristen Babin, is bringing a wealth of experience to the table in his new position as incoming President after having served on the chapter’s board for the last three years.

“Through our luncheons and events, we seek to bring the benefits of an AMA membership to marketing professionals throughout the NOLA area. Connecting with other marketers, building your network and gaining leadership perspectives are just some of the benefits of membership with AMA New Orleans,” Babin said.

AMA New Orleans hosts educational luncheons and events where members and non-members can come together to learn and grow professionally.

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