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We’re Back-to-Back Champs!

At the beginning of the 2019-2020 club year, we made it a Board goal to build off of last year’s momentum and bring home back-to-back Club of the Year awards.

Well, fellow advertising/marketing/communications friends, we did it! AAF Buffalo is officially the 2020 Division 2 AAF Club of the Year, and President Josh Gumulak is President of the Year. 💪

This year, AAF National restructured the Club Achievement Awards, condensing the total number of categories down from eight to five. In addition to Club of the Year, AAF Buffalo also won awards in all five categories

  • Club Operations (first place)
  • Cornerstone Initiatives and Events (first place)
  • Membership Development and Communications (first place)
  • Programs (second place)
  • Public Service (first place)

While the long-form award submissions are crafted by members of the AAF Buffalo Board, the content we write about wouldn’t exist without the dedication and participation of our members — aka you and the Western New York advertising community.


Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, attended events in the middle of snowstorms, and filled out a post-event survey to give us feedback on ways to enhance the member experience. You’re the reason our award submissions always max-out the page limit and include new, unique details year-over-year.

With that said, it’s time for us to go celebrate offline. Enjoy your summer and be sure to keep an eye out for announcements about membership renewal and next club year’s event plans!

Announcements Blog Events Latest News Speaker Series Students

A Message from the President on Covid-19

Hi Members, 

By now, it seems like you’ve received this email hundreds of times. From your favorite store. From your airline of choice. From that one startup you met at SXSW six years ago. 

While this one will detail much of the same — cancelations, diligence, and caution — my hope is it will also be a bit more personal, as our extremely close-knit community we know and love is being directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic here in Western New York. 

We’ve been monitoring the pandemic as it continues to unfold, and makes its way into our beloved community. In doing so, we made the decision to cancel all our events scheduled in April, both professional and student. 

For pros, this includes our third Spotlight Speaker of the year, Liz Jackson, who was scheduled to join us on April 2nd. It also includes a brand new event that we were ecstatic about, Laugh Ad Loud, which was planned for April 23rd. 

For students, Portfolio Review scheduled for April 18th is canceled. In brighter news, our Don Nichols scholarship competition remains as scheduled with entries due March 27th, however, all entries are to be submitted digitally only rather than dropped off at Crowley Webb. Students, if you have questions, we encourage you to reach out to your school’s ambassador or to us directly at

All those who purchased tickets for the events detailed here will be issued a full refund. For those with the Spotlight Speaker Series Pass, we hope to reschedule Liz’s talk, where we will honor your series pass. If that’s not possible, we will address more robust reimbursement options at that time. 

In the meantime, we are exploring creative ways to possibly bring one or more of these events to life digitally. More info will follow in the coming weeks. 

We’re continuing to closely monitor this global event as it directly impacts our community, as we expect each of you surely are as well. 

More updates will certainly follow. Until then, we urge all members of our community, in advertising and beyond, to work from home if at all possible, be diligent about social distancing, and responsibly support local businesses to the best of your ability.

On behalf of our entire advertising community, I want to thank you for your continued support of what we do. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this pandemic. We look forward to reconvening at a happy hour on the other side of this.

Josh Gumulak
President, AAF Buffalo

Blog Students

BrandHack 2020: Family Promise of Western New York

The fifth installment of our BrandHack event featured a local non-profit looking for a new postcard, brochure, and social media campaign to generate awareness for their organization. Family promise of Western New York is an emergency shelter for homeless families. They help families experiencing homeless stay together during tough times. This event was hosted at Daemen College in Amherst, New York.

Five teams of students from Daemen College, Buffalo State College, Villa Mariam and Hilbert College were tasked with creating these final deliverables. Leading the teams were seasoned professionals from the area – Samantha Lonczak from Fifteen, Caroline Jette from Delaware North, Andrea LoPiccolo from Fifteen, Holly Norris from White Bicycle, and Cody Andrees from the martin group. These designers and art directors provided guidance and advice for the teams from brainstorming and development through execution.

The format remained the same from 2019. Teams had five hours to organize and create their ideas before pitching them to our two judges, as well as the representatives from Family Promise of Western New York.

Our professional judge for this year’s event, President and CEO of Luminis Tim Bouchard,  offered his expertise throughout the event, and made sure the teams were on track and accomplishing what they had to on the tight deadline. While representing Family Promise of Western New York, Annalyse Paulsen provided the students with valuable information as to the various needs of FPWNY, as well as their process for working with various individuals.

Each team beat the clock and produced some well-executed, unique work along the way. Congrats to all the students and captains for producing another great event!

WINNER: Hilbert College captained by Holly Norris
Check out the work!


We’re Club of the Year!

After a year off the podium, we are back on top as the Division 2 AAF Club of the Year and former President Tim Bouchard is President of the Year.

Back in June, Tim, VP of Communications Ally Ruiz Balcerzak, and now-Treasurer Alex Keogan attended the AAF national conference, Admerica, to learn some stuff about club operations and accept the stack of awards we won during the 2018-19 club year. 

In addition to Club of the Year, AAF Buffalo won a Mosaic award for our commitment to diversity in the advertising community, and also brought home awards for:

  • Club Operations (first place)
  • Advertising Education (first place)
  • Diversity & Multicultural Initiatives (first place)
  • Programming (first place)
  • Public Service (first place)
  • Membership (first place)
  • Communications (second place)

When all was said and done, we added nine plaques to our imaginary award wall. Thank you to everyone who came out to events and supported us over the past year, and the years prior. Without you, we’d have nothing to write about when submitting our award packets. 

And now, sit back, get ready to renew your memberships, and start buying your event tickets so we can bring home back-to-back Club of the Year awards.