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RECAP: 2023 Annual Meeting

The 2023-2024 club year is in full force and this year’s Annual Meeting was held at one of our favorite locations, Big Ditch Brewing.

Returning and prospective members had the opportunity to mingle before president Mary Pace kicked off the evening’s proceedings. After the introduction of new executive board members, and chairs the head of each committee gave the audience a taste of what to expect this club year.

We heard from:

  • Lindsay Neilson, VP of Programming on upcoming events and exciting new programs
  • Chelsey Carney, VP of Communications on where you can go to get the latest communications from the club
  • Joe Ray, Membership and Sponsorship Chair on how to become a sponsor and which membership is right for you
  • Noah Herman, Education Chair on how educational programs are back in session for students

In case you missed it, get ready for more professional development and networking opportunities with returning favorites like AdWeek, the student Portfolio Series, and the American Advertising Awards (AAA’s).

To get access to member-exclusive events and special discounts, become a member today.

Announcements Board


We’re excited to officially kick off the 2020-2021 club year, announcing the newest additions to our board of directors, including two new executive board members!

As a non-profit organization, the American Advertising Federation of Buffalo (AAF Buffalo) is managed entirely by a board of volunteers. We are so thankful for the time and dedication every board member devotes to the club each year. Check out our new roster below!

First, we’d like to announce changes to our executive board. McKenna Murray, going on her second year, has been named Vice President of Communications and Jeff Quinn, also going on his second year, has been named Vice President of Programming. Joining these two are returning e-board members President Josh Gumulak and Treasurer Alex Keogan.

New board members elected to serve a three-year term are:

  • Kaitlyn Affuso, Marketing Coordinator, Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP
  • Mary Amenta, Senior Account Executive, Mower Agency
  • Cody Andres, Graphic Designer, The Martin Group
  • Adina Pera, Senior Project Manager, Crowley Webb
  • Shannon Polvino, PR and Account Manager, Insight Strategies
  • Sky Stage, Director of Marketing, Sinatra and Company/Villa Maria College
  • Sarah Warner, Founder, Set Strategies LLC

Returning board members include:

  • Colleen Colkitt, Account Executive, Quinlan
  • Josh Gumulak, Senior Account Executive, FARM
  • Katie Hazel, Associate Creative Director, Crowley Webb
  • Caroline Jette, Graphic Designer, Delaware North
  • Alex Keogan, Account Executive, Hadley Exhibits
  • Jordan Lema, President/CEO, Lemur Studios
  • Sam Lonczak, Graphic Designer, FIFTEEN
  • McKenna Murray, Project Manager, Barclay Damon LLP
  • Maura Noonan, Digital Media and Content Manager, FARM
  • Jeff Quinn, Account Executive, Luminus

Laurie McMurray from SUNY Buffalo State will also serve as our student liaison. For additional information about AAF Buffalo, upcoming programming, thought leadership, networking opportunities, and more please visit:

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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!

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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

Announcements Industry Updates

Tim Bouchard named Buffalo 40 under 40

Former AAF Buffalo President Tim Bouchard was named a Buffalo 40 under 40 winner today!

Along with Tim’s awesome work with our organization, he is also CEO/Partner of Luminus. Tim co-founded his agency Luminus in 2010. 

We’re so proud of Tim’s accomplishment. It is thanks to his leadership as our president that the Club is in such great shape. Our organization, our industry, and our city is truly lucky to have him.

Congratulations, Tim! This isn’t a good enough excuse to miss our next event.

(speaking of…next week is Ad Week, so join us for all our great events)

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Awarded at ADMERICA

By Dan Nesselbush

The annual gathering of the American Advertising Federation brought club and industry leadership together in Chicago for four days of education, networking, and awards at ADMERICA 2018. We bring you these updates from The Windy City:

Accolades for AAF Buffalo

While we came up a little short on our goal of a repeat as Club of the Year, we were still happy to exit Chi-Town with a stack of awards deeper than a pizza pie at Lou Malnati’s. AAF Buffalo received eight awards in the AAF’s Club Achievement Competition! For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 19 awards over the last three years.

2018 Club Achievement Awards 1st Place:
• Communications
• Programs
• Membership

2018 Club Achievement Awards 2nd Place:
• Advertising Education
• Public Service
• Government Relations
• Club Operations
• Diversity and Multicultural Initiatives

A huge thank you goes out to each and every member of our board of directors who contributed to another successful year: Tim Bouchard (Luminus), Kyle Rogers (BlueCross BlueShield of WNY), Josh Gumulak (Gelia), Andrew Bevevino (Martin Davison Public Relations), April Brown (Delaware North), Shannon Silva (dPost), Ally Balcerzak (Lloyd), Erin Haskell (Great Lakes Orthodontics), Brittany Klotzbach (Gelia), Jillian Minderler (Quinlan), Jaime Applegate (NOCO), Grace de Rosa (Telesco Creative Group), Teresa Carosa (Independent Health), Paige Meckler (Crowley Webb), Lauren Carmer (FARM), Greg Pokriki (Invest Buffalo Niagara) club admin Tina Pastwik, and our student liaison Noah Herman. They balance their work and family, yet still find a way to volunteer their time and energy throughout the year to make club initiatives happen.

It would be remiss of us not to thank our members, corporate members, sponsors, and the employers of our board members for their tremendous support throughout the year. Your participation allows our organization to thrive and create opportunities for all involved in the marketing communications field in Western New York, and that backing is greatly appreciated.


Shout-Out to SU

The student team from Syracuse University, members of AAF District 2, earned first place in the 2018 National Student Advertising Competition for their Ocean Spray campaign.

The NSAC is the premier college advertising competition that provides more than 2,000 college students the real-world experience of creating a strategic advertising/marketing/media campaign for a corporate client. Students develop a marketing plan and then pitch their work to advertising professionals at the district, semifinal, and national levels.


Celebrating Diversity

The AAF’s Mosaic Awards recognize companies, agencies, and individuals whose commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident through their creative work and organization-wide initiatives. Our attendance at last year’s awards ceremony inspired the board to promote these practices at the local level with the creation of the CommUNITY Award for Inclusive Advertising. The local award in the American Advertising Awards competition recognizes content that extends beyond stereotypical portrayals and depicts multicultural communities and individuals as the complex, multifaceted, and dynamic groups they are. While you’re working on your 2019 submissions, check out a couple of winners from this year’s Mosaic Awards.

FCB Health | Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC): Blood Equality: Blood Dumpster, Mosaic Awards 2018 from American Advertising Federation on Vimeo.

FCB West | Levi Strauss & Co: Circles, Mosaic Awards 2018 from American Advertising Federation on Vimeo.


THE American Advertising Awards

The larva that is an 11th hour scramble to stuff envelopes and fill out online entry forms each January turns into the beautiful butterfly known as the American Advertising Awards each June. The national show honors the best of the best in advertising. While our Spotlight Speaker Series pals from Brunner brought home a few gold awards for their work on The Journey, it was also great to see a lot of creative work that wasn’t necessarily on our radar before. You can see all the winners at the 2018 American Advertising Awards website. Here is a personal favorite from the night.

Lonely Whale Foundation “Sucker Punch” Directors Cut from CURIOSITY SHOPPE on Vimeo.

Come on. Who doesn’t like watching people being slapped by a tentacle in slow motion?

Once again, ADMERICA provided great opportunities for our executive board to hear from industry leaders and champions of diversity initiatives, meet with our fellow AAF chapters, attend a slew of workshops, and draw inspiration from the best of the best at the American Advertising Awards.

ADDYS Announcements Blog

American Advertising Awards updates for 2018

By Dan Nesselbush

Each year, amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we like to throw a few extra things on your to-do list with the American Advertising Awards. Here is a quick recap of some new highlights for the 2018 WNY American Advertising Awards (or ADDYs if you resist change).

The David I. Levy Communicator of the Year and Osborn Award for Creativity have been combined

AAF Buffalo’s roots trace back to a pair of organizations – the Professional Communicators of Western New York and Art Directors/Communicators of Buffalo – each with their own special awards to acknowledge individuals who helped shape our region’s creative scene.

The Professional Communicators of Western New York presented the David I. Levy Communicator of the Year annually while the Art Director/Communicators of Buffalo awarded the Alex Osborn Award for Creativity. Now united as one group of marketing communications professionals, AAF Buffalo’s board decided that the time is right to combine the awards due to parallel criteria for the honors.

In an effort to preserve the legacy of David Levy, one of the top ad agency executives in Buffalo from the 1950s through the 1980s, and Alex Osborn, the inventor of brainstorming and manager of the Buffalo office of Barton, Durstine & Osborn (precursor to the global agency BBDO), we’ve merged and reintroduced the awards into one honor each year which will now be known as the Levy-Osborn Award for Excellence in Communications.

The Levy-Osborn recognizes outstanding achievement and service in the communications industry. Recipients of this award are individuals who, through a consistent, high degree of original thinking in their field, have left an indelible mark on the Western New York creative community. Winners have a distinguished record of achievement over an extended period of time, which includes contributions to their company, the industry and the community. Nominations for this award, as well as the Joe Crowley Award for Service and Future Star, are being accepted until January 8, 2018.

CommUNITY: a commitment to a more diverse ad industry

Our board was honored to win first place in the AAF Club Achievement Awards Competition for Diversity & Multicultural Initiatives in 2016-17. We had the privilege of attending the Mosaic Awards gala during ADMERICA 2017 and drew inspiration from those who are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry, which was evident through their creative work and organization-wide initiatives. Following that event, one goal of our executive board was to take action locally to increase awareness of those inclusive advertising practices and encourage the development of a more diverse community of marketing professionals in Western New York.

While we’re in our second year of working with high school students at Buffalo Prep, we decided the next step we’d take at the professional level would be through the creation of a local category in the American Advertising Awards competition. New for 2018, the CommUNITY Award for Inclusive Advertising is designed to mirror some of the principles of the aforementioned Mosaic Awards program.

The award recognizes content that extends beyond stereotypical portrayals and depicts multicultural communities and individuals as the complex, multifaceted and dynamic groups they are. This award recognizes advertising that addresses issues experienced by underrepresented communities and gives voice to groups that have been stereotyped or ignored in media and by society, increasing viewer’s perceptions and understanding of multicultural communities.

Changes with national American Advertising Awards categories

The public service print ad category will now accept campaigns.

Public service print ad campaigns of 2-4 pieces can be entered under category 22B. Work that qualifies as public service is advertising that has its goal being the improvement of the public’s health, education and/or welfare. Advertising work done for non-profit social organizations or causes, charities or NGOs should be entered in a Public Service category. Other Public Service submissions include work done for local, state and national governmental bodies, public safety, environmental, diversity, religious and education.

The Apps category has expanded this year to Apps, Games and Virtual Reality to accommodate virtual reality entries.

39E Virtual Reality: The computer-generated simulation of a three-dimension image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment.

The Elements of Advertising division now has a CGI category.

86B Computer Generated Imagery (CGI): Computer graphics to create or contribute to images in art, printed media, video games, films, television programs, shorts, commercials, videos and simulators.

Complete details about entering the 2018 WNY American Advertising Awards, along with exclusive behind-the-scenes videos following the production of the show, can be found at

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Club. Of. The. Year.

By Dan Nesselbush
Board members Tim Bouchard, Jaime Applegate, Dan Nesselbush, and Scott Bartels show off AAF Buffalo’s eight AAF Club Achievement Awards.

Yes, you read that right. Of the 200 American Advertising Federation chapters across the United States, your friendly neighborhood ad club known as AAF Buffalo left New Orleans with the title of 2016-17 Club of the Year! The honor also earned recognition for Scott Bartels as 2016-17 President of the Year during ADMERICA, the AAF’s annual national conference.

The accolades, earned through AAF’s Club Achievement Competition, resulted in an extra checked bag fee thanks to a stack of awards presented during the four day conference. We collected eight plaques in the competition which recognizes local advertising clubs for their initiatives in a variety of categories established to honor the significant contributions of the AAF network of professional advertising clubs and to encourage excellence in areas of club operations that contribute to the strength of the AAF’s member clubs.

AAF Buffalo is part of Division II (250-499 members) for the club achievement awards competition and became club of the year based on points earned for first and second place finishes in the following categories:

1st Place AAF Club Achievement Awards

  • Club Operations
  • Membership Development
  • Diversity & Multicultural Initiatives
  • Government Relations

2nd Place AAF Club Achievement Awards

  • Advertising Education
  • Communications
  • Programs
  • Public Service

Being honored as AAF Club of the Year was sweeter than a Sunday morning beignet at Café Du Monde, but the NOLA edition of ADMERICA offered so much more for our organization. It provided great opportunities for our executive board to hear from industry leaders and champions of diversity initiatives, meet with our fellow AAF chapters, attend a slew of workshops, and draw inspiration from the best of the best at the American Advertising Awards.

A huge thank you goes out to each and every member of our board of directors: Scott Bartels (HSBC Bank USA), Tim Bouchard (LUMINUS), Kyle Rogers (BlueCross BlueShield of WNY), Jaime Applegate (NOCO), Andrew Bevevino (Martin Davison Public Relations), April Brown (FARM), Teresa Carosa (Independent Health), Erin Collins (BlueCross BlueShield of WNY), Brita D’Agostino (Daemen College), Erin Haskell (Great Lakes Orthodontics), Brittany Klotzbach (Gelia), Jillian Minderler (Quinlan), Marcia Rich (Crowley Webb), Shannon Silva (dPost), Grace Gruarin (Telesco Creative Group), Alexa Godwin (Crowley Webb), club admin Tina Pastwik, and our student liaison Angela Marini. They balance their work and family obligations, yet still find a way to volunteer their time and energy throughout the year to make club initiatives happen.

It would be very remiss of us to not thank our members, corporate members, sponsors, and the employers of our board members for tremendous support throughout the year. Your participation allows our organization to thrive and create opportunities for all involved in the marketing communications field in Western New York and that backing is greatly appreciated.

All of those awards are the result of a very busy year, so we’re going to give everyone (except our board members) the month of July off. We’ll see you back at The Big Tip-Off on August 24 at Soho Burger Bar as we raise funds for our academic scholarship programs.

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2017 AAF Buffalo Future Marketer Scholarship


Buffalo Prep Gala 2017 Photos by Dawn M Gibson Photography

AAF Buffalo is proud to award the first Future Marketer Scholarship to Anthony Liriano. A senior at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Liriano was recently recognized for this achievement at the annual Buffalo Prep Celebration event.

The Future Marketer Scholarship is awarded to a Buffalo Prep student planning to study marketing and advertising in college. Liriano will receive $500 per year for the next four years for a total scholarship of $2,000.

Buffalo Prep was founded in 1989 by education and community leaders to help promising, economically disadvantaged, underrepresented students prepare for, obtain entrance into, and excel at demanding college preparatory high schools.

AAF Buffalo President Scott Bartels with Future Marketer Scholarship Recipient Anthony Liriano

During last October’s annual Advertising Week, AAF Buffalo hosted a career day for Buffalo Prep students, including Liriano. Participants visited Crowley Webb, Luminus and dPost to learn about the careers and services each company offers relative to the advertising and marketing industry. The week also included Mayor Brown’s Ad Week proclamation ceremony at City Hall, where AAF Buffalo announced the new Future Marketer Scholarship program. Liriano spoke at the event about his experience with the career day and what Buffalo Prep means to him.

In the fall, Liriano will attend the University at Buffalo and major in marketing and advertising. He one day hopes to start his own advertising agency.



Take a look at how the Future Marketer Scholarship came to be.

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Welcome to AAF Buffalo

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 3.19.53 PMThanks for stopping by. If you weren’t at our Big Tip-Off event, you might be thinking, “Where the heck did the Ad Club go?”

Well, we’re still here and we’re better than ever. Today, we announced that our name is changing from the Advertising Club of Buffalo to AAF Buffalo (the Buffalo chapter of the American Advertising Federation).

Why the change?

In short, we wanted to better align ourselves with the American Advertising Federation at the national level, which we’ve been a chapter of for many years.

After a trip to ADMERICA, the American Advertising Federation’s national conference in California this past spring, we came away with a few things: a realization that we’re a strong chapter in the national advertising community, an appreciation for the national connections accessible to us through AAF, and new ideas on how to provide our members with the most value.

Most of our members haven’t realized that they’re also a member of AAF’s national network of organizations, which includes a host of resources, connections, and discounts. In fact, nearly 20% of our annual membership fee pays for access to AAF.

With input from our members over the last several months and unanimous approval from our board, we believe this is a natural and positive progression for our organization.

What to expect:

With our new brand, our logo isn’t the only thing that’s changing.

This move will help us transition our organization from a “social club” to a professional resource for members to gain greater exposure to the industry while staying current with the latest trends. This includes our first ever Spotlight Speaker Series, member-only Skillshops and more.

We’re evolving – and we hope you’re ready to do the same. To become a member or renew your current membership, please visit
If you have any questions or comments about this exciting change, please don’t hesitate to contact us at