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Message from the RAF President

February 8, 2021


Happy New Year, RAF Members!

A new year and a much welcomed fresh start. I know I speak for the entire board when I say we are kicking off this year with an exciting slate of programming over the course of the first quarter of 2021.

What may be a new calendar year for most has traditionally served as the kickoff to Awards Season for the RAF.

The RAF Board and this year’s creative partners at Truth Collective have been hard at work prepping what will be an unprecedented (I know we’re all sick of this word but it’s true)  all-virtual American Advertising Awards–virtual submissions, virtual judging and for the second year (and hopefully last), a virtual ceremony. While we are saddened once again that we cannot gather to celebrate our community’s creative work and each other, our health and safety must remain at the forefront of all our activities.

A reminder that tickets are on sale now and available at aafgreaterrochester.org.

In addition to our awards, we continue to push for more members to sign our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Pledge that was published in December 2020. If you have not signed the pledge yet, please consider doing so. The creative community here in Rochester, and across the country, has significant diversity, equity and inclusion issues that must be addressed. This pledge is our first step–acknowledging the problem and proposed solutions. Next comes action.

To all those who have signed the pledge, you received an invite to attend a virtual roundtable on Tuesday, February 23 that will be a discussion with local Black small business owners. We know small business owners wear numerous hats, and these businesses are looking for help and support when it comes to promoting their businesses that have been hit especially hard throughout this pandemic. Who better to connect them with than creative marketing professionals?

The goal of this roundtable is to listen and learn. Hear and understand the issues, and ask questions that can provide better insights into how they can best be helped and supported. The next step will be to ideally match these businesses with either mentors who can educate and guide the owners, or organizations/freelancers interested in providing pro-bono work. To those who signed the pledge, this roundtable and mentorship/pro-bono work directly correlates with the “Our Work” components of the DE&I Pledge.

On the Education front, we are looking for volunteers to serve as mentors for student teams in RIT’s Campaign Management and Planning class. These students will be working to develop campaigns for a client. As a mentor, you will be responsible to meet with a team of students, virtually, a minimum of three times throughout the semester as they prepare their campaigns. This will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have any questions about this opportunity or would like to volunteer, you can contact me at president@rafconnect.org and Gretchen Burruto, Education Co-Chair, at geboce@rit.edu.

Finally, I hope many of you were able to attend our January 20MAAB on Tuesday, January 19 with Quajay Donnell about the work he is doing to promote art here in Rochester. Our 20MAAB’s always seek to inspire and educate, and his presentation was an outstanding example of that.

Our February 20MAAB will be on Tuesday, February 16, with St. John Fisher Resident Scholar in Media Tom Proietti presenting about Media Literacy. You can add it to your calendar now via our Facebook page.

Thank you all for continued support of the RAF. Wishing you all a healthy and happy new year.

Rich Pulvino
President, RAF