Having been on the Rochester Advertising Federation board for the better part of seven years, I guess you could say I’ve seen some change – in our club, in Butler/Till and our neighboring organizations, and within the larger community. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside so many ad professionals on this board and through various partnerships with the RAF. As we look at 2022 and the year that lays ahead of us, I’ve taken some time to reflect on what I’ve witnessed, been a part of, and learned in this time.
We’re all just trying to do our best work. Sometimes we succeed and take home gold. Sometimes gold comes in the form of pride, in the form of a genuine pat on the back from a trusted mentor. Sometimes it comes in the form of friendly competition with our local peers or organizations. No matter the form, it pushes us forward. And when one of us does our best work, it makes the entire community better – it raises the bar.
Over the years, we’ve heard that the American Advertising Awards tends to honor the same individuals and organizations. While we may see a lot of the same names year over year, the work is never the same – it’s always different and often better than what we’d seen even the year before. Because that’s what we do for one another.
And we love to celebrate greatness. It doesn’t matter if we’re the one being recognized or a friend that we started out in the business with is being recognized. We support one another and are never shy to offer a round of applause.
I’m particularly excited to celebrate the incredible work that our community has produced in the last year at this year’s American Advertising Awards on Thursday, February 24th. We’re excited to offer both in-person and virtual attendance options. Because… let’s face it: as much as we don’t want to be, we’re still in unprecedented times (there, I said it). We want our entire community to have the opportunity to celebrate one another in whatever environment they feel most comfortable. Don’t miss your chance to attend this year’s awards – tickets are on sale now! And a special shout out to our friends at Dixon Schwabl + Co who have been putting together an incredible show!
As much as we celebrate our wins, we’re not afraid to be critical of ourselves and hold ourselves accountable. I’m proud of those who signed up for our DEI Pledge at the end of 2020 and found ways to make our organizations better and more inclusive over the last year. Our industry is one that is notoriously homogenous. But that doesn’t mean it can stay that way. I look around and hear from our members about the new initiatives they’ve launched, the new roles they’ve added to their organizations, the titles joining their leadership to hold us all accountable.
Next month, I’m personally looking forward to PR In Color – a panel of black PR creatives forging their own lanes and sharing their experiences and their stories. And be on the lookout for more DEI-focused events throughout the year pushing us to diversify our thinking, our strategies, actions.
Finally, because we’re critical of ourselves, it also means that we’re not afraid of change. Early in my career, change felt like a big looming hurdle to overcome. Today, I recognize that change is the way we grow and become better versions of ourselves. And with that, I’ll share that the Rochester Advertising Federation has some big changes ahead of us this year. It’s a little too soon to spill the beans, but what I can say is to keep watching… because change is coming and it’s more exciting than ever!
So, let’s go out, take charge of the year ahead, hold each other accountable, and strive to learn and do better in order to achieve greatness.
Stay well Rochester!
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