In anticipation to MIMA’s 20th anniversary, we reached out to one of the founders, Tom Borgerding, to gather his thoughts about his vision, what he intended-and did not intend- to do, as well as his thoughts on the future of digital and MIMA.
MIMA It has been twenty years since you set out to build a community of like-minded professionals. What prompted you to do that?
Tom- Back in ’97, I was traveling out-of-state a lot and was having a hard time connecting with people locally. I was convinced our community had as much to offer as those where business was taking me
I started by creating a list of people I wanted to connect with, fostering first email conversations. We later decided to meet for the first time, at the Perkins on Highway 100, above all places.
The individuals that attended had expressed interest in sharing best practices and that help to build an environment where people focused on collaborating and learning from each other. That helped us overcome the innate perception of “competition” that could have derailed our efforts, given we all worked in marketing.
We started having morning meetings not long after.
Beth Temple- MIMA’s second president- set out to gather all the founding legal documents needed.
MIMA- So you set out to unite the marketing community in Minnesota. What is the other accomplishment MIMA represents, whether you intentionally aspired to it or not?
I believe we unintentionally found a niche- it surprises me to see how many associations sprung out. But, at the time, we were the only ones who focused on interactive- it’s funny to even say that word because everything is digital now. However, our intention was to stay at the front of the interactive space, and I am proud to say MIMA is still there.
MIMA So shifting into the next twenty years for MIMA. What are the priorities we should be focusing on?
I am certain we should be focusing more on pushing learnings into colleges, grooming the next generation of digital leaders.
Obviously, we should create more inroads when it comes to equality and the #MeToo movement. Actively working to remove the barriers minorities and women encounter as they walk up the ladder, that is where I get really passionate about the work MIMA can do.
MIMA- Some people think the community in Minnesota is hard to break in, especially as an outsider. Did you encounter this as a challenge when founding MIMA?
Tom- We did encounter some challenges, but most of them around making sure what we were building encouraged others to connect and collaborate. I don’t recall ever experiencing a situation where egos would get in the way of the greater good.
MIMA- Okay, so twenty years have gone by. How can MIMA remain relevant in the years to come?
Tom- Well, it is easy to just count the years, and twenty do not seem as imposing as they once did. I am humbled to reckon what MIMA has become, seeing 200 people gather for a monthly event at the University of St. Thomas (our January 2019 event, presented by Jim Cuene). Although my idea was to create connections, I am marveled by the commitment our volunteers and board members have shown in keeping the fire burning.
Looking into the future, perhaps challenging the digital marketing community in Minnesota to keep showcasing the talent that resides and emanates from here. And that includes connecting with other associations or groups that are not particularly focusing on digital but can be a “fresh” platform that our community could leverage. I was happy to learn that MIMA, Ad Fed and 4A’s co-hosted a Holiday Party. There is opportunity to do that more often.
MIMA- We will finish by asking you what you have been up to?
Tom- My business transformed into more of traditional marketing, so I have not been as involved in the digital space as I was in the beginning.
I sold my business, Campus Media Group, and my wife and I are identifying work opportunities that aligns with our passions, maybe something international.