Announcements Board Events Latest News

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.

Blog Board Events


After more than a year of meeting remotely, we were thrilled to kick off the 2021-2022 club year with a chance to share some exciting things we have in store for the coming year. The Annual Meeting took place on Tuesday, September 28 at Big Ditch Brewing Company. We had more than 40 returning and prospective members join us to hear from our committee heads about what to expect in the upcoming months from AAF Buffalo.

President Caroline Buchas kicked off the evening’s proceedings before passing to the head of each committee to give the audience a glimpse of what’s in store for the club this year.

Here are the board members we heard from:

  • McKenna Murray on how to become a member and reap the rewards of epic member benefits while supporting the community
  • Jeff Quinn on upcoming events and exciting new programs
  • Noah Herman on new educational programs just for our students
  • Maura Noonan on where you can get the latest communications from the club and engage with us
  • Chelsea Carney on the upcoming American Advertising Awards and how we will top last year (if that’s even possible!)


Be sure to mark your calendars for our AdWeek lineup that’s full of professional development and networking opportunities within the advertising and marketing community. You’ll see some repeat favorites like Speed Networking and a Skillshop, but you my be interested in a brand new type of event that gives you a chance to tour the Seneca One tower and learn more about 43 North. Of course, you can also look forward to the student Brand Hack, upcoming Skillshops and the Spotlight Speaker series, as well as the AAAs.


Access our member-exclusive events and discounts by renewing your membership or becoming a member today. We’re looking forward to another great year, see you all soon!

Blog Board Latest News

AAF Asks: Favorite 2021 Super Bowl Ad?

Well folks, 2020’s football season was one to remember for many reasons. The Buffalo Bills won their first playoff game in over twenty years, fans were largely not allowed in stadiums to cheer on their teams, and Tom Brady (finally) left New England for greener pastures. Although the Bills didn’t make it all the way, the board still tuned in to watch the big game this past Sunday. Check out their favorite ads from throughout the night.

As always, GO BILLS.

McKenna Murray – Alexa’s Body, Amazon

Maybe I’m a book nerd, or simply a romantic… but anything with Michael B. Jordan’s dulcet audiobook tones has my vote. As someone who has never been interested in owning an Alexa, I sure thought about it. 

Noteworthy mention of Come Together by M&M. They did a great job of incorporating relatable and timely pain points: Karens, gender reveal parties, even mansplaining “mansplaining” — and did so in a funny way. Throwing in Dan Levy was icing on the cake (or, peanut butter in the M&M?)

Jeff Quinn – Wayne’s World & Cardi B, UberEats

Playing off an old school bit from Wayne’s World was a great combo. There were more than enough great advertisements to choose from, but UberEats leads the charge. I was also fond of the Paramount+ commercials!

Adina Pera 5 to 9, SQUARESPACE

Over the last few months, I have discovered this newfound obsession with Dolly Parton, so when I saw this spot I immediately loved it. The message speaks to so many and provides the nudge to continue to pursue your dreams and embrace the side hustle. Also, let’s not forget about those great M&T Bank spots that Crowley Webb shot and produced!

Maura Noonan – Certain is Better, Rocket Mortgage

Normally I lean more towards the commercials that make me cry, but this Tracy Morgan spot had me actually laughing out loud. Morgan on his own is awesome, but I also loved the cameos from Dave Bautista and Liza Koshy. I think Rocket did a great job of balancing the humor, while ultimately still getting their point across and marketing their new app. When buying a home, certain really is better. Honorable mention would be the Paramount+ Sweet Victory commercial because I love a good Survivor torch moment with Jeff Probst.

Mary AmentaThe Neighborhood, DoorDash

Nothing like bringing back some childhood memories and the iconic characters from Sesame Street and mixing it with the modern days of delivery food services! Personally, I thought they did a great job in tying in “the neighborhood” theme highlighting the different things you can get delivered, which is pretty much anything at this point in time. Nice little mention at the end too that for every order, $1.00 would be donated to Sesame Workshop!

Katie Hazel Last Year’s Lemons, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade

I like the way that Bud Lite Seltzer Lemonade played off of the “When life gives you lemons” expression and showed people being bombarded with lemons raining down from the sky. It was funny and timely for how people feel about 2020. 

Second Favorite: Certain is Better, Rocket Mortgage

I also really liked the Tracy Morgan Rocket Mortgage spot. It was funny and really did a great job of being humorous while still selling the app the entire spot.

Third Favorite: Jessica Long’s Story, Toyota

The Toyota Team USA spot was captivating and gave me chills. You were engaged from the start and it kept your attention while bringing awareness to this special family and Olympian, Jessica Long. The art direction was beautiful as well.

Alex KeoganWill Ferrell, General Motors

Although it was a very close call, I have a soft spot for the comedic genius of Will Ferrell. The focus on sustainable energy, American made, and millennial comedy got me hard. There were some fantastic clap-back commercials from Norway, go watch!

Cody Andres- Wayne’s World & Cardi B.,UberEats

Playing off the vintage Saturday Night Live “Wayne’s World” skits, Uber Eats, “Eat Local” ad calls for communities to support their local restaurants during these challenging times. I felt like this ad really hits home with our strong food community here in Buffalo. I found the ad to be absolutely hilarious with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey re-take of a classic. Rapper Cardi B. was the perfect feature, as it really helped expand the audience age range in my opinion. I think they really hit the mark with this one. Excellent!

Samantha Lonczak – Certain is Better, Rocket Mortgage

Tracy Morgan Rocket Mortgage spot was one of the highlights of the game. Well first who doesn’t love Tracy Morgan? He planned to behave recklessly because he’s “pretty sure” everything will turn out okay, I think this was funny and a creative way to sell the app. The pandemic has brought new meaning and significance to the place where we live. Honorable mention goes to General Motors’ “No Way, Norway” spot where Will Ferrell hilariously sets out to give Norwegians a piece of his mind.

Caroline Jette – Let’s Grab a Beer, Anheuser-Busch

Although not a funny one, the Anheuser-Busch ‘Let’s Grab a Beer’ commercial really stuck out to me this year. It touched on a lot of low points of 2020, as well as highlighting what a lot of us still miss, something as simple as grabbing a beer with anyone. Anheuser-Busch found a creative way to subtly incorporate a multitude of their beer brands throughout the ad, keeping the focus on the experience more than the brand you choose. Overall, I found it relatable and welcomed the realistic approach to the ad during our socially distanced Super Bowl.

Josh GumulakLast Year’s Lemons, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade

Paying homage to all that was 2020, as well as an all-around great phrase, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade put together a great ad for the Big Game. Funny, candid and sarcastic – the ad was extremely on-brand for a beer that doesn’t take itself too serious, even when expanding into one of the most competitive categories there is in modern-day alcohol shenanigans. 

What made it even better was the paid placement coming back from commercial break when they commissioned @dudewithsign to be spotted in the stands, beverage in-hanCd, holding a homemade sign sporting the tagline. Great complimentary placements!

Shannon Polvino – Alexa’s Body. Amazon

I needed some serious humor after all that was 2020, and the commercial for Amazon’s Alexa accomplished just that. The spot was very well-produced and featured the incredibly attractive Michael B. Jordan portraying himself as Alexa. I was in stitches the whole time and am absolutely purchasing an Alexa. I also appreciated the Drake from State Farm commercial. State Farm commercials have been a staple this football season, so adding stars to the mix (Paul Rudd is my favorite human) added a freshness to the series.

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:


Board Spotlight: Casey Kelly

Casey KellyName: Casey Kelly

Occupation: Professor / Freelance Designer / Jewelry Maker

Instagram handle: @jortsforlife / @prettyandgrit

Let’s hear about your day job. 

Where do you work, and what does your role entail?

I work at Daemen College as a tenure track Design Professor. My goal is to make students aware to as many perspectives as possible — both through design and worldly experiences —  so that they can build a kick ass body of student work, learn to problem solve and communicate through design in various media, and begin to find their voice as a designer. I am also a Freelance Designer and Consultant as time permits.

What drove you to get into the advertising/marketing biz?

I can’t sit still, I like to meet new people, and I don’t like monotony.

What do you like best about what you do?

As a designer, we have the opportunity to dig into various problems, brands, experiences, and complex businesses. Then we get to work with clients to simplify and share messages in meaningful ways. It is always changing. There’s never a dull moment.

What advice do you have for emerging talent in your field?

Ask questions. Never stop being curious. Get out there. Meet people and do as much as you possibly can to develop a diverse well of inspiration and understanding of this world. It will help you with your ideas and professional relationships.

What was your first job?

First ‘job’ was babysitting at the age of twelve. I look at twelve year olds now and wonder how the hell someone made me responsible for their kids at that age. (!) First ‘design’ job was during undergrad at Tony Walker & Company, where I cut a ton of foamcore signs (and fingers) and installed a lot of window vinyl.

When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time (hobbies, side projects, etc.)?

Cyclocross racing (look it up, you won’t be disappointed). Running. Hiking. Mountain biking. Golfing. The Bills! I also taught myself to metalsmith and launched a jewelry company that keeps me busy — pretty and grit ( And my freelance design and consulting biz ( keeps me on my toes too.

What’s one thing not many people know about you?

I worked at Crowley Webb for a short bit, and White Bicycle for seven years before getting into teaching full time. I worked a ton and met lifelong friends and mentors at both places.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate covered almonds from Lexington CoOp. Mmhmm.

What’s your favorite app or social media outlet? Why?

Instagram, because I am a visual learner and sharer. There are tons of interesting images, designers, and stories. I’ve gained inspiration and insight from following many designers, leaders, and business owners that I look up to.

Describe yourself in one word.

Free spirit. (But that’s two words, sorry.)

What’s the last thing you read?

“The Book of Secrets” by
Deepak Chopra. Hands down, best book I’ve ever read.

What’s your favorite hidden gem in WNY?

Hunter’s Creek Park. Go there for a hike with your dog, then hit 42North or some place in East Aurora on your way home. You’re welcome.

Duff’s or Anchor Bar?

Neither. Mother’s and Barbill FTW.

Now, let’s talk a little about AAF Buffalo.

Why did you join AAF Buffalo?

I enjoy the events, find the speakers insightful, and believe that AAF greatly enriches student understanding of advertising, and provides many opportunities for getting their foot in the door for an interview, an internship, or even a job.

What role(s) do you play on the AAF Buffalo board?

I am the Education committee chair and help with some of the design needs.

What’s your favorite AAF Buffalo event?

Any of the speakers. I love learning about different perspectives.

What do you enjoy most about AAF Buffalo?
The people.

How has AAF Buffalo impacted you professionally?
I won the student portfolio review when I was a student ($500 to Hyatt’s back then, which was like at least a year’s budget of Raemen and food). I got my first internship through meeting people at AAF Buffalo and the student portfolio review (then Brainstorm).

Have you made any life-changing connections through AAF Buffalo?

Yes. A few mentors who I have stayed in touch with over the years I met at different events.

What’s one pro tip you can share with our membership that will make their lives better or easier?

Addys… get there early, because that happy hour goes fast, and so does the alcohol.

Why would you encourage others to join AAF Buffalo?

Connections, friends, learning, growth in our skillset and field.



Board Spotlight: Paige Lamparelli

Name: Paige Lamparelli

Role/years with AAF Buffalo: Vice President of Programming

Occupation: Social Media Manager @ Crowley Webb

Twitter handle: @paigesarah_PR

Instagram handle: paigeylamps

Let’s hear about your day job. 

Where do you work, and what does your role entail?

I work at Crowley Webb, a local advertising agency. 

What’s your advice for emerging talent?

Kill everyone with kindness! In PR especially, it’s essential not to burn bridges. We don’t always have the answers, but be patient, strategic and thoughtful.  

Tell us about organizations/charities you’re passionate about.

Buffalo Prep is an organization near and dear to my heart. I sit on the board for their Party for Prep event and consult their wonderful team on PR-related projects. Buffalo Prep is truly unique and continues to grow, prosper and make headways in Buffalo city education. 

What are three things you use at work every day?

Social media (my fav is Instagram!), Cision PR and Hootsuite

When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time (hobbies, side projects, etc.)?

Raising my dogs, Darla and Sosa 

If you could choose any song to represent you, what would it be?

When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio 

What’s one thing not many people know about you?

I was in a Madonna music video. Mic drop. 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Disney World 3x a year

Now, let’s talk a little about AAF Buffalo.

What role(s) do you play on the AAF Buffalo board?

I am the Vice President of Programming.

What’s your favorite AAF Buffalo event?

The ADDYs! Aka the Oscars of Buffalo

What do you enjoy most about AAF Buffalo?

The friends I’ve made 😊

Why would you encourage others to join AAF Buffalo?
If you want to get involved in the industry you work in, Ad Club is the way to go. You will make long-lasting connections that could lead to jobs, board positions, and hey, sometimes even marriage. Even if it’s going to an event here and there, having a presence with AAF Buffalo is essential if you’re in the ad world here in WNY.


Board Spotlight: Katie Hazel

Katie HazelName:  Katie Hazel     

Role/years with AAF Buffalo: First year

Occupation: Associate Creative Director         

Twitter handle:

Instagram handle: katiehazel

Let’s hear about your day job.

What drove you to get into the advertising/marketing biz? 

I love coming up with ad concepts and using design to bring ideas to life.

 What do you like best about what you do?

Concepting a multi-channel campaign

 What trends or insights are you finding in your field/market? 

Integrated campaigns are so important because audiences are accessing media from so many new places.

What do you find challenging in our industry? 

Making an impact in less time is increasingly more important. With the use of :06 and :15 online TV spots you really have to get to your point quickly.

 Tell us about organizations/charities you’re passionate about. 

Our family has supported Roswell Park and the Ride for Roswell for 13 years.

 What are three things you use at work every day? 

My brain, computer, pen and paper

 What was your first job? 

I worked in pre-press at a small printer

 When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time (hobbies, side projects, etc.)?

Hanging out with my husband and two daughters

What’s one thing not many people know about you? 

I love watching football

 What’s your guilty pleasure? 

The Howard Stern show

 What’s your favorite app or social media outlet? Why? 

Instagram. Love seeing what people are doing through photos.

 Describe yourself in one word. 


 What’s the last thing you read? 

Dr. Seuss to my daughter

 What’s your favorite restaurant? 

Saigon Bangkok

 What’s your favorite hidden gem in WNY? 

De-Dee’s Dairy

 Duff’s or Anchor Bar? 

Anchor Bar 

Now, let’s talk a little about AAF Buffalo.

Why did you join AAF Buffalo? 

To make an impact on local ad events

 What role(s) do you play on the AAF Buffalo board? 

I am on the communications, education and sponsorship committees

 What’s your favorite AAF Buffalo event? 

The Addys

 What do you enjoy most about AAF Buffalo? 

Helping shape events that people enjoy and gain from

 How has AAF Buffalo impacted you professionally? 

Meeting new people in the advertising and marketing community is great.

What differentiates AAF Buffalo from other groups? 

Everyone is trying to make our industry better and we work together to put on great events to help highlight work, successes and make everyone better.

 What’s one pro tip you can share with our membership that will make their lives better or easier? 

Soak up the advice, insights and experiences from others so you can benefit in your own career.

Why would you encourage others to join AAF Buffalo? 

There’s a lot of insights and experiences that can be gained from everyone you’re surrounded by and at the events that are held.

ADDYS Announcements Blog Board Industry Updates Latest News Stuff

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.

Advice Blog Board

AAF Asks: What’s your New Year’s resolution?

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

Tim Bouchard

I’m looking to try and spend more time with my niece and nephew in Syracuse this year.

Shannon Silva

My resolution for 2018 is to be as happy as I am in 2017.

Greg Pokriki

If I spent as much time reading books as I did reading my Twitter feed, I would have already finished every great, must-read novel. So my resolution is two-fold: spend less time on social media and use that new-found time reading books.

Ally Balcerzak

I’m sticking with two resolutions I made for 2017 but never actually accomplished: to read more books and re-learn Spanish.

Brittany Klotzbach

I would say my New Year’s resolution is to be more active and volunteer in my community, and enjoy time with my family as much as possible!

Paige Meckler

Be the person my dogs think I am.  

Erin Haskell

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. Waiting until the new year feels arbitrary to me. If I see something I want to improve I tackle it throughout the year.  No waiting!

Grace de Rosa

Eat more vegetables – I know, it’s ridiculous but meat>vegetables any day. My husband and I need to be a bit more healthier I guess…

April Brown

My resolution is based on one word this year: FOCUS. Being more focused will help me accomplish personal goals both short and long term. Being more mindful of how I spend my time everyday is how I plan on focusing on what’s important to me. I waste a lot of time scrolling through social media, so that’s the first thing I’m going to change. There are always a bunch of little things I “plan on doing” or “have been meaning to do” so I think “focus” will help me with that. Here’s to a mindful 2018!

Kyle Rogers

To buy a house and plan a wedding without any episodes of cardiac arrest.

Dan Nesselbush

Carve out time for personal projects and do a better job anticipating when I really, really need to do my Christmas shopping.

Josh Gumulak

Cut down on waste. Similarly to what April is saying, which is great, I tend to also spend a lot of time on social media, as well as keeping up on current events and pop culture in general. Not that I plan to cut down on it, but to go about it more efficiently and consume similar amounts but in shorter, better spent periods of time, is one of my resolutions.

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” -Rainer Maria Rilke


Board Spotlight: Erin Haskell

Board Member since 2016

Occupation: Marketing Manager, Great Lakes Orthodontics

Erin Haskell, Great Lakes Orthodontics

Where do you work, and what does your role entail?

I just joined Great Lakes Orthodontics as the marketing manager after having spent 10.5 years at Crowley Webb. My role at Great Lakes Orthodontics involves digging deep into understanding the clients we serve, orthodontists, dentists and dental labs, the products we sell (there are over 3,000 of them!) and the services we provide (we create custom orthodontic appliances, like retainers, but we also make specialty appliances things like sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing.) I’m in charge of taking leading a small team to strategically create and manage all marketing messaging and communication to these many customers. I also look at company data to find business insights we can turn into actionable marketing initiatives.

What drove you to get into the advertising/marketing biz?

Ever since I was little I was always fascinated with cool direct mail pieces. I remember vividly getting a direct mail from Zoo Books, a children’s magazine that was all about animals, zoos and safaris. The direct mail piece was a foldable, cardboard safari suitcase. I remember thinking “this is so neat”, and it inspired me to follow an advertising and marketing career path.

What do you find challenging in our industry?

I think one of the most challenging things facing our industry is the proliferation of new media options and fragmentation of audiences. I also think that consumer’s attention spans have shortened so significantly that we’re lucky when we truly gain their attention so we need to make those interactions meaningful.

Describe a recent success.

One of the first “wins” I’ve had at Great Lakes was the idea for integrating emoji “stickers” into our retainers. We’ve offered images in our retainers for years, but when I was training I noticed that these images (think a tiny dime-sized sticker embedded in the acrylic of the retainer) looked kind of dated. I also noticed that they were mostly circular in shape. Then it came to me: EMOJIS! From there we launched the line of emojis at the largest North American Orthodontics trade show, and we’ve implemented the internal elements to be able to manufacture these as part of our product line.

What advice do you have for emerging talent in your field?

Learn as much as you can at every job you have, even if it’s not your dream job.

What was your first job?

My first job out of college was a marketing assistant job at a b2b company that sold infection control supplies. Super “boring” products but I learned a ton about b2b marketing, manufacturing, ISO certification processes and customer service. It was a good learning opportunity. 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Cake. Wine. Lululemon.

What’s your favorite app or social media outlet?

I like instagram. So many dogs to follow. None of the political drama.

What’s the last thing you read?

1Q84 by Haruki Murakam.

What’s your favorite hidden gem in WNY?

I like Devil’s Hole in Niagara Falls. I need to go there more often.



Why did you join AAF Buffalo?

I was encouraged to by my bosses at Crowley Webb, and I was thrilled they suggested it.

What has been your proudest moment in your role on the board?

I was super proud that I managed to pull off a sports related event, Uberbowl, with no working knowledge of sports.

What’s your favorite AAF Buffalo event?


What do you enjoy most about AAF Buffalo?

I love the brilliant minds we have on the board. I love the connections to the ad community that I still have even after leaving the ad agency world.

How has AAF Buffalo impacted you professionally?

AAF has brought me closer to more professionals outside of Crowley Webb, and it’s allowed me to build strong connections across the industry. I love the spirit of the group, the fantastic execution of ideas, and that AAF Buffalo is a leader in educating our community through our skillshops and speakers series.

What’s one pro tip you can share with our membership that will make their lives better or easier?

Get involved. Come to events. Say hi. You never know when you’ll meet your next boss or coworker because this industry is always changing.

Why would you encourage others to join AAF Buffalo?

If you’re serious about staying on top of your game in this business it helps to network with the area’s brightest minds. And the events and people that AAF Buffalo bring together create opportunities to continue learning and growing.