Over the past three years, I've volunteered as the Chair of the Education Committee for AAF Buffalo. AAF Buffalo, or Buffalo's local chapter of the American Advertising Federation, is a part of a national network of 35,000 advertising professionals from all disciplines and career levels of the industry. The American Advertising Federation is made up of 150+ local chapters that are organized regionally under the national AAF umbrella. AAF Buffalo is part of AAF: District 2.
AAF Buffalo is the best way for someone to learn about the advertising industry in Buffalo, for students to connect with professionals, and for professionals to exchange ideas as an industry, not just an individual company. The organization has come to act as the unifying voice of the advertising industry in Buffalo. For example, during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEOs from all major Buffalo firms even came together regularly under AAF Buffalo to discuss the problems they were facing and share their tactics; that's the type of community the organization can foster.
AAF Buffalo builds community through events like the American Advertising Awards, the Spotlight Speaker Series, and several other networking events we run annually for professionals. As the chair of the Education Committee, I work with and manage a team of individuals from all across the Buffalo advertising scene to develop events for our students members. Annually, we host events like agency tours, portfolio workshops, portfolio reviews, and panel discussions with local professionals. We even have worked with local nonprofits to help rebrand their business at our Brand Hack event. Organizing these events that have meant so much to other advertising professionals when they were students and has been great fun. I should know because I'm also one of them, as a former Student Liaison for the club during my senior year of undergrad.
While it's hard for me to believe, my term as chair ends soon this Spring. During my time on the board, I've connected with dozens of the brightest advertising professionals in Buffalo, representing almost all the city's agencies. I've raised student membership to club highs, increased student participation in the American Advertising Federation, and increased event attendance. Regardless of stats, seeing dozens of students' eyes light up during panel discussions, breaking out of their shells, and networking for the first time in their professional lives to land internships that turn into jobs was my favorite accomplishment on the board. As someone who came to Buffalo without any connection to the city or the advertising industry, the club has helped me grow as a leader during my time on the board and allowed me to share my work with the community.