Kim Pentheros (Secretary) and Charlie Fashana (President) are moving on after their four and three years serving on the board.
I had the opportunity to sit down with them and discuss their time on the board, along with what goes into being an effective board member. Both agreed that transitioning away from their board positions will be bittersweet, even a bit surreal, after being part of a close group that oversaw the Advertising Club of Buffalo flourish for the past few years.
How did you first become a part of Ad Club? Where did you hear about it?
Kim: I heard about the Ad Club as a student at Daemen College, and decided to nominate myself for board membership as a way to give back to the organization that I attribute helping me get a start in my career.
Charlie: As with everything, I was introduced to the Ad Club through my wife Karen, while working in HSBC’s marketing department. While out of my comfort zone, I felt that a corporate perspective could take the club in a new direction.
What is your fondest memory or favorite Ad Club event as of today?
Kim: Oh, that would definitely be our first Big Tip-off event. Everyone was really excited because it was a brand new event, and there were so many different agencies and companies involved in it for friendly competition. Generally speaking, seeing new faces at club events reminds us that we’re doing something right. Whether it’s through word of mouth or social media, it’s awesome to see new people coming out to improve what they do, network, or learn new things. Or with the Big Tip-Off, just to have fun with friends and colleagues while raising money for our scholarship fun, and meeting new people along the way.
Charlie: On an internal level it’s the meetings and feeling like we’re making shit happen. It’s exciting knowing that you’re a part of something. And events like the Big Tip-Off are very social. It’s a different type of competition than the ADDYs – there’s no judging – it’s people being enthusiastic about what they do. And it’s a great fundraiser. It’s a good example of what the marketing community is: tight-knit, close, everyone knows each other for the most part. And we take pride in what we do. But hands down, my two best event memories would be Seth Godin, and hosting the District 2 Leadership Conference in Buffalo.
Do you have any fun stories, maybe of discussions that went from regular conversation into a potential event for the club?
Kim: Well, that’s exactly how our AdLab series started. A few other board members and I were having an informal brainstorming session on creating educational programming outside of what we currently did. That thought turned into what’s now our most regular and successful program.
Charlie: In meetings, we always try to focus on specific things and problem solve to make them even better. We take a pragmatic approach, analyzing what works and what doesn’t to enhance programs like Überbowl, the Big Tip-Off, and AdLabs. A lot of times we modified these programs while we were still there and the details were fresh.
What kinds of qualities are expected in board members?
Kim: Enthusiasm to work with people you normally wouldn’t, like students, professors, and people from different businesses. Communication is important too. A board member should recognize (and not be afraid of) what it takes to meet a goal and plan for it, while also contributing creative ideas and opinions.
Charlie: You need to manage your own time, multi-task, be confident; don’t be afraid of coming forward with ideas. We don’t want “yes people,” we want people that give creative opinions and effectively communicate to spark new ideas. You’ll never know if you don’t speak up.
What advice would you give to those thinking of stepping up into a board position role?
Kim: My advice would be to speak up as much as possible and not be afraid to collaborate with new people. Never regret a voiced idea. One-off ideas may spark creativity in others, turning into something more. An idea might be too expensive or there might not be enough time that year, but the idea might be doable further down the road.
Charlie: Be ready to work! It’s not an advisory board, and we are responsible for a lot of high profile events. Everyone’s committed to that level of work. And on top of that, board members are responsible for creating events to enrich the community. It’s all about living up to that responsibility.
If I’ve learned anything from talking with Kim and Charlie, it’s that the Advertising Club of Buffalo, especially for board members, provides the perfect opportunity to build lasting relationships outside of the office. Obviously, volunteering time to be a part of the WNY advertising and marketing community is what you sign up for, but at the same time it’s also about the people you meet along the way. New faces (and ideas) get people talking, listening, and collaborating more often, and at a broader range.
With that in mind, there’s no question it’s an interesting time for those involved with the Advertising Club of Buffalo. Even though it’s sad to see Kim and Charlie go, it also leaves us excited to see how new changes will help the Club evolve and grow from here.
Amy Robb is a recent graduate from Buffalo State College, as a part of the Writing Program. She is currently interning at Gelia Advertising for copywriting.