AAF Most Promising Multicultural Student Program 2016

By: Taylor Moore, UCF Ad Club & AAF MPMS class of 2016


“I could just run away,” I thought as I sat in a plush armchair at the Roosevelt Hotel lobby. It was an hour into the career fair, and I had left the ballroom in a flurry of anxiety and panic.

This wasn’t working. These recruiters don’t like me, I thought. I was being too awkward, too passive. Ogilvy, Publicis, Omnicom, BBDO, DDB, TBWA—what does it all mean?

I’m not prepared enough. I’m not qualified enough. I’m not confident enough. Should I have made a portfolio? Why was I pursuing a discipline with few entry-level jobs? What was I even doing there? To calm myself, I checked my phone—Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, as if it all mattered. I tried to look busy to any casual onlookers. I contemplated staying in my hotel room until the next event. I contemplated jobs, prestige, the necessity of chairs with comfortable arms, and oblivion.

25164973931_f6cc651249_kA couple weeks ago, I was honored to be a part of the American Advertising Federation’s 2016 Most Promising Multicultural Students program in New York.

MPMS is an industry immersion and recruiting program for the nation’s top 50 minority college seniors. With the goal of promoting diversity within the field, we embarked on four packed days of agency visits, speaker panels, and workshops, which ultimately led up to a career fair and an awards luncheon. AAF selected me for their class of 2016 after a rigorous application that involved several essays and a nomination that I had received because of my involvement in Ad Club UCF.

On February 15, with high expectations, I flew to the Big Apple. Graduating this spring, I want to pursue a career in digital media and strategy, and New York is the place to be. This was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I didn’t want to waste it.

I sat in that comically ornate, godforsaken chair for 45 minutes. Staring at my notes but not reading. Sketching out detailed escape plans in my mind as if I were a prisoner and not the recipient of an astounding opportunity. Overanalyzing but—maybe—not analyzing enough.

In that moment in time, I was faced with myself, in this echo chamber of paralyzing self-doubt and than shame at that self-doubt. 24962411150_44584ea067_k

Then I did something I had never done before—I gave myself permission to fail miserably. I told myself to screw it and do the best that I could with all that I had. If New York chewed me up and spit me out, it was only one week in my life anyway.

And for that remaining hour of the fair, I killed it. I had a lot of valuable conversations with recruiters, and I learned so much more than if I had skipped town, as I had hilariously considered just 30 minutes earlier.

And from there, I had an incredible week. Our group visited General Mills, where we were met with a cereal bar and given boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios with our names on them. I got to sit at the news desk at CNN during our tour of Turner Broadcasting’s headquarters, where unfortunately I didn’t get my start as their newest anchor, but I had a fun time anyway. And at the awards luncheon, I got up on stage in front of hundreds of people and didn’t trip—not even once.

In those four days, I learned so much about the industry and my place in it, and I’m eternally grateful to the American Advertising Federation for bringing me that much closer to my dreams. I’ve also gained 49 brilliant, talented friends who are just as excited about the industry as I am, and the value of that is immeasurable.

And, perhaps most importantly, I discovered that you can’t run away from yourself. Your insecurities will follow wherever you ago, keeping you from doing what you want to do and what you need to do. They don’t scurry off when you board the plane.

So the next time you find yourself with a seemingly insurmountable challenge and voices in the back of your mind saying that you’re not good enough, tell them to shove it. You’re too busy for that crap. You’ve got somewhere to be. 25231816486_12b22e16a1_k

Find Your Creative Muse

So you’re thinking about attending some of the events at the AAF National Conference this week? I can tell you its a great idea because I had my first AAF/Ad 2 conference experience in April and it was awesome.

Jennifer Gammichia, Susan Watts, Lindsey Levy, and myself all made the not-so-far journey over to Tampa for the 4th District AAF Conference: Find Your Creative Muse. I was a bit nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect, what to wear, what to bring and all the other things girls worry about before an event. I was pleasantly surprised by the fun, casual nature of the conference. Everyone was so friendly and willing to exchange ideas. The speakers were excellent as well.

To kick off the conference, Friday’s luncheon speaker was Sally Hogshead and many of us had already taken her personality assessment online to find out our Fascination Score. Currently, I am reading her book and would recommend to anyone looking to make themselves more fascinating.

Now to the stuff you really want to know… what happened Friday night when all of the crazy ad geeks took over Ybor City in Tampa…

Too much booze plus bad singing equals an awesome night of kareoke….

Even our new friends from the US Virgin Islands got in on the act…

Of course, Tiffany couldn’t be out sung and had to represent for her old stomping grounds with some “Chinese Chicken” style kareoke!

Saturday morning was a bit rough, but all of the excellent workshops and speakers made it completely worth getting up for. Murray Izzenwaser from Bitztegra did an eye-opening workshop on social media as a tactic to drive revenue for your client’s business. Our lunch speaker was full of comic relief and insightful ways to reach consumers through non-traditional means. Cal McAllister, from Wexley School for Girls kept the whole room laughing throughout the meal.

Finally, it was time for the district ADDY Awards and we had to clean ourselves up. As you can see we clean up pretty nice.

However, our behavior through dinner wasn’t so nice as we began to find our creative muse through some creative boozing…

And our dinner table decor only improved throughout the evening…

All in all, it was a great experience. I cannot wait for the AAF National Conference this week where I am sure there will be much to learn and much to drink…

If this sounds like its up your alley than please come out with us and the other conference attendees this Friday for A Starry Night Out !

-Amy Mierzwinski

Rally in Tally – Government Relations Represents

Rally in Tally is the most important Government Relations event each year, attended by the 4th District’s AAF and Ad 2 board members. On behalf of Ad 2 Orlando, Jeni Gammichia, Nichole Griffin and Heather Keroes attended as delegates. Over a period of two days, April 6-7, 2010, our team met with a total of 11 Florida House and Senate representatives from the Central Florida area.

Nichole loves to drive. Especially for four hours at a time.

During our meetings with the Senators and Representatives, we were able to thank them for recognizing the valuable role of advertising in stimulating our economy, and for not burdening our industry with new taxes or excessive regulations.

Happy to be at the Rally in Tally reception. And happy to be first in line at the buffet.

Other important topics we covered included two new bills that would further benefit our industry. This included the Film & Entertainment Industry Tax Incentives Bill (Senate Bill 1430 and House Bill 697) and the New Laws for New Media Bill (Senate Bill 1672 and House Bill 867). As the name implies, the Film & Entertainment Industry Tax Incentives Bill is designed to encourage film, video and entertainment production within our state. The New Laws for New Media Bill helps bring political campaign advertising into the 21st century by introducing social media regulations.

Overall, each Senator and House Representative we met were very supportive of advertising and understanding of its role in our economy. They were also pleased to learn of our involvement in the community through our Public Service endeavors—this year with the Center for Great Apes campaign. We invited them to attend the gala, which is being held April 24.

The AAF and Ad 2 Orlando delegates, getting chummy with House Representative Mike Horner.

Jack Herbert, our 4th District lobbyist, was also in attendance, and we had the opportunity to invite him to address our members at a future program—an invitation he accepted.

We are proud to say that this was a highly successful Rally in Tally and we look forward to further strengthening our relationships with our local legislators.


Since my last Ad 2 event, I’ve given up caffeine and carbs. No more coffee and bagels for me for the time being. However, what I have not given up is kicking serious advertising ass and working hard at ECHO Interaction Group. We’re a youngish, newish digital agency right in the heart of Downtown Orlando at the Plaza. We specialize in digital, interactive, social media and multicultural marketing. The company was born at a trade show exactly one year ago. Last weekend, a few of us returned to the advertising motherland, New York City, to attend the Ad:Tech conference as a fully operational entity. Two of the ECHO partners, Carlos Carbonell, Mat Gaver and myself left Orlando on Tuesday afternoon and before I knew it, it was Friday afternoon and were touching back down at MCO.

The Ad:Tech conference was a natural disaster of information, networking and exposure to what the rest of the industry is up to. Walking the show floor was a bit of sensory overload. Exhibitors of all types were showing off their products, services and trade show gimmicks. I wasn’t even sure if some of them knew they were at an advertising conference, but they went all out anyway. Booth Babes? Free Beer? Don’t mind if I do.

The meat and potatoes of the show were the focus sessions and roundtables. We split up and attended as many as we could, presenters included executives from Facebook, CNN, Mazda, Pepsi, Nielsen and some of the biggest and brightest agencies in the land. It was highly educational and interesting to see some of the case studies and projects that have been successfully executed (or not so successfully) on national and international scales. I worked in NYC during the summer before coming back to Orlando to work for ECHO so when the show was over for the day, there were friends to catch up with outside of the Ad:tech sponsored parties (although somehow we made it to those too).

All said, it was an extremely successful and enjoyable trip. We didn’t sleep much, but in New York City, who needs it? I returned with some leads, plenty of industry perspective and a massive appreciation for a quite night sleeping in my own bed.

Jon Miller | Associate Marketing Director
ECHO Interaction Group
jon@beginanecho.com | http://www.beginanecho.com
facebook.com/echointeraction | twitter.com/echointeraction

District 7 & 4 Conference in Destin, FL

Our trip started at 5 a.m. early Friday morning, the sun hadn’t even peaked out before we were on our way to Florida’s panhandle. We were heading to the 4th and 7th District Leadership Conference, the kick off weekend for all of the southeastern chapters of the American Advertising Federation. The 7-hour drive served as a great bonding experience for 4 of us Ad 2 Orlando Board Members as we brainstormed ideas and events for the upcoming year while simultaneously listened to some of Miley Sirus’ greatest hits.

Our Saturday started bright and early with coffee and breakfast, stress the coffee (we’re in the creative industry…always stress the coffee.) Scott Ginsberg—aka The Nametag Guy—spoke about making yourself an unforgettable brand. He has been wearing a nametag every day of his life, holding a Guinness World Record and becoming the most approachable guy in the world (He dares us to dispute this by googling “approachability”. You will find his name dominating the entire first pages).

For the rest of the day, our 9 Ad 2 Orlando Board Members split up, each attending the workshops that would best suit our committees.  I went to the following workshops, learning one key point from each:

Programs—Use the AAF as a resource for topic ideas and speakers, and advice. They are here to help.

Diversity—This is not a one-event initiative, it is YEAR-LONG.

Membership—Keeping member retention is difficult economy,  Personally know your members and make sure they are aware of every member benefit.

Club Achievement—Start now! It requires more work and organizing than you think.

Sunday morning, we began our day with breakfast during Dr. Culture’s “How Good Messaging Can Go Bad Across Cultures,” discussing the nuances of marketing across different cultures and giving examples of how campaigns can go very wrong if proper research is not executed. Dr. Culture gave many examples of how campaigns have been misinterpreted; although they were very funny, it was apparent how they have been found so offensive to other cultures.

The ride back was a little exhausting, but we had fun reminiscing on the preceding weekend. I came home with new friends, new ideas, and a new appreciation for the AAF and the benefits of being so involved. I couldn’t wait to come back to share everything I learned at the conference with all of you and the rest of our Board.

-Jen Gammichia (Ad 2 Orlando Diversity Chair)

Dinner with Destin's Sunset