Skip to content

Category: Blog

A Letter from the President: Come at Us, 2019

Loud, proud, bold, boisterous, spirited.

Those are just a few of the words I would use to describe the fervor and elation the American Advertising Federation of Central MN’s Board of Directors are marching into our 2019-20 season with. Grab your sunnies, because we’re bringing a bright future.

Welcome to 2019, Baby

You might be thinking, “Hey Bridget, you’re about 9 months late to the ‘yay, 2019!’ party.” But I’m not. I know we celebrated flipping our calendars to 2019 on a cold, dark December night – but as a Board of Directors, our chapter is celebrating the kickoff to another American Advertising Federation season.

I am a proud, proud President of a fiercely inspiring group of Central Minnesota Creatives. We come from all backgrounds, levels of experience, shapes, sizes, passions, and music preferences … but we all believe in our club and what it can mean to our community. To students, professionals, business owners, and everyone in between.

And that’s why – as we step into a gleaming new season of events, chock-full of enthusiasm and imagination – we’re bringing some updates along with us.


What’s New in the 2019-20 Season

1. Our Board of Directors (BOD)

Every spring we dust off our recruiting shoes and seek out new additions to our Board of Directors before our season draws to a close. This year, we have an impressive balance of individuals who are brand new to the board, are in their second term, and are 5+ year veterans. If you haven’t yet, check out our Meet the 2019-2020 AAFCM Board of Directors blog and learn a little about us. It never hurts to be able to put a face to a name, right?

2. Membership

This – in my opinion – is one of the highlights of this blog and our 2019-20 season. (If this was a drinking game and you took a shot every time I said “2019-20 season” we’d all be a little hazy right about now, but, ANYWAY.)

The people have spoken, and we have heard them. You told us our memberships were pricey. Some said complicated. Frustrating. Not worth it. And in a world of subscriptions, jam-packed calendars, and a desire for as-instant-as-possible gratification, we knew we needed to make our membership – and what it means – more accessible and appealing. So, we’ve changed it.

A week or so ago, I wrote a blog announcing the updates to our Membership, but I’ll summarize here, too. We have three levels of membership: Student, Freelance / First-Year College Grad, or Professional. Each of these membership tiers comes at a reasonable cost – but all have the same Membership Perks. There is also Corporate pricing if you and your department or group of colleagues want to join. We’re excited to roll out our updated membership and the INCREDIBLE benefits. Click here to learn more (and, you know, GET YOUR MEMBERSHIP!)

3. Coffee with Creatives

This little offshoot of our monthly events has been years in the making. With movers and shakers on our board (that I seriously cannot say enough great things about) we are making it happen. On the last Tuesday of every month, we’re hosting Coffee with Creatives: Where Connection, Conversation, Caffeine, and Creatives come together. This monthly meet-up is exclusive to Members. However, anyone can come for their first time as a guest! So, if you’d like to check it out and test the AAFCM waters before you jump in, this is a great place to do it.

Why are we championing Coffee with Creatives? Simple. We feel there aren’t enough professional networking events dedicated to the St. Cloud creative community, especially ones that deep dive into the trends and challenges of our industry. Accessible, insightful, caffeinated. Our own Taylor published a blog all about our morning meet-ups, check it out!

Oh… did we mention that coffee + food is provided? Yeah, pencil this in your calendar!

4. Event Surveys

In the past, we’ve had printed event surveys at events for you to fill out while it’s fresh in your minds. But, to be a little more digital and a little less wasteful, we’ll be sending all event surveys out via email. You’re probably used to this for … like, any event or purchase you make online.

This is where we have an ask for you… please, please, please, fill them out! Making updates to how we run our club and the events + opportunities we bring are simply not possible (or are guesses, at best) without your input. We want to know what you think of every detail of every event. So when you see that survey email come through, fill it out, please!

5. Sponsorship Opportunities

A big focus of our club is collaboration. It often happens in the form of partnered sponsorship and helping us cover the costs of speakers, presentations, refreshments, and venues… and damn, are we thankful for you all. This season, we’ve established “official” sponsorship tiers + benefits for those of you who continually partner with our club as well as those of you who would like to get in front of our group of marketers, advertisers, designers, writers, by joining forces. Have I piqued your interest? Let’s talk!

6. …and More

That’s not all. Some additional exciting updates and events are coming to the Central MN AAF group – but I didn’t want to overload your brains. And besides, we can’t give away all our news at the beginning. What fun would that be? Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for events + updates and sign up for our email list to get promo info, first chance at tickets, and news.

Onward & Upward

So, yes … while there are a lot of places to find doom and gloom in the world today, our club just isn’t one of them. Sorry, not sorry. We are here to learn, laugh, celebrate, and create. We are here to relentlessly grow and shape ourselves and our world. There are enough places to find competition, calamity, and crappy attitudes. We’re not saying we’re going to erase all that or fight all those fights, but we can promise we will rise above. We are here for our fellow creatives.

Come at us, 2019. You ain’t got nothin’ on this Board of Directors.
We are here. You’ll hear us.

Say Hello to our New Membership Model

In a world of Facebook groups, professional development podcasts, and virtual networking, it can be hard to stay relevant as a professional development group. Especially for non-profit organizations like ours. In fact, research showed that starting in 2017, an estimated 62 percent of associations in the United States are experiencing flat or declining membership. SIXTY TWO PERCENT!

And we felt it.
Enter, change.

The Back Story

It’s not easy or fun to share that over the past five years I’ve been a part of the American Advertising Federation of Central MN (AAFCM), we’ve seen our membership number slowly follow declining trends. Blegh. It was no one’s fault – but it was real, and it was happening.

At the beginning of our 2018-19 season our then-President, Sarah Forystek, started the conversation about our club’s Membership mode. We talked about what we’re going to do to stay relevant in the landscape of “my only memberships deliver a box of goodies and gifts to my door once a month” and “I’d rather do something free.” Not a simple task, my friends. 

We knew if we were going to make changes, we needed to take our time and do it right. We needed to survey, ask questions, dig deeper, pull numbers, and have long (sometimes exhausting, sometimes exhilarating) meetings as a group. We knew we needed to do our due diligence – not only to historical club models that have (and haven’t) worked but also to the community (aka YOU) we’re asking to participate in and engage with us.

So, that’s what we did. Drumroll, please.

Our New + Improved AAFCM Membership

Without further adieu … 


    • Student = $65/yr
    • Freelancers + First Year College Grads = $135/yr
    • Professionals = $185/yr
    • Corporate Memberships = $650/yr for 4 membership seats
      • Additional memberships for your company are $150 


  • Members – $10
  • Non-Members – $20

You’ll notice we created clear, singular membership tiers and greatly reduced the cost of membership.  Another aspect changed is that all of our events are now the same price; we have a set ticket cost for members and a set ticket cost for non-members. Some aspects stayed the same; for example, all our memberships are still rolling memberships – meaning that it’s good for 365 days from the time you purchase it. We also worked our butts off to expand + identify true values and benefits of an AAFCM membership.


  • 50% off all Events (They will only ever cost $10, even with provided meals… sweat deal, right?)
  • 50% off your ADDY Ticket (This is new!)
  • Exclusive access to our new monthly Coffee with Creatives morning networking group 
    • Please note, each AAFCM Member is allowed (encouraged!) to bring 1 guest per month
  • Newsletter + Social Media Features for you and/or your company
  • Access to Job Boards
    • Get your creative job openings in front of the people that matter. Considering the U.S. jobless rate is the lowest in history, we know this is important!
  • Official Member of the American Advertising Federation – which means you get all the perks that go along with a national membership
  • Eligibility to serve on our awesome Board of Directors

Sign Up for Membership

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there a Deadline to Sign Up for Membership?
    • Not at all! HOWEVER, we are offering a promotion right now. If you sign up for membership by October 10th, you’ll save $10. 10/10, $10. See what we did there?
  1. Are There Any Discounts?
    • Yes and no. As noted under our membership levels, we do offer a discount for companies purchasing 4+ memberships. Also, refer to question #1 (you can save $10 from now until 10/10!) So mostly yes, but “no” if you’re looking for a different kind of discount.
  1. How Long is my Membership Good For?
    • Our club offers a rolling membership. That means that from the day you sign up and (virtually) swipe your card, you are a Member for 365 days. And don’t worry, we’ll send you emails warning you when your membership is getting close to expiring.
  1. How do I know If I Should Become a Member?
    • Our organization is a group of people from all walks of life including age, industry, and experience, with one thing in common: creativity. Our mission is to educate, foster, and encourage learning + growth for all creatives. We are the hustlers, do-ers, movers, shakers, and dreamers.

If you consider yourself creative, love learning, are looking to network with other area creatives, and are seeking some kick-ass (we’re biased) personal growth, then we think our club is for you! The good news is, you can come to an event for just $20 (and food is usually included), or try our Coffee with Creatives networking group as a guest.

If you have questions about membership or want more information about who we are and if it’s a fit, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Or show up at an event, I’m betting you really won’t regret it.

A Marketer, Maker, & Picture Taker: Join us for the 2019 Hustle Hour

Hustle Hour 2019

Do you have a dream to start your own business? Do you have a million questions about where to begin? Are you obsessed with Guy Raz’s How I Built This podcast or other stories about building a business? Do you wish you had the opportunity to ask a successful entrepreneur what it takes, the lessons they have learned along the way, the ups, the downs, and everything else in between?

AFF Central Minnesota will be hosting our 2nd annual Hustle Hour Event on Monday, September 16th from 5 to 7 pm at Bad Habit Brewery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Join us to hear from an impressive panel of some of Central Minnesota’s finest entrepreneurs. They are the hustlers, the dreamers, the doers. The ones who weren’t afraid to follow their dreams and create their own legacy. You’ll learn all about their journey of starting a successful business from the ground up and hopefully walk away with fuel to add to your fire.

We are very excited about the panelists who agreed to join us this year. These three entrepreneurs cast away their doubts and worked hard to become experts in their own respective areas. We have a marketer, a maker, and a picture taker making this one of our most dynamic panels yet. Read more about Ashley, Luke, and Mariah and hear them tell their stories of triumph and failure on September, 16th.

Ashley Green:

Ashley Green of Green Thumb Etc. got her start as an artist from a very young age. She got her professional start in artistry as a floral designer in 2009, and as her passions evolved, so did her career. She fell in love with the puzzle of furniture, began her business with accent seating in 2013, and grew her product line in 2018 to include wedding and event floral. She now spends her days immersed in her craft of unique furniture reupholster, creating beautiful bridal arrangements, and living her best life. You can find her work at or on Instagram @greenthumbetc

Luke Riordan:

Luke Riordan is the CEO and Founder of DAYTA Marketing. DAYTA Marketing opened in 2012. Since then DAYTA has grown from a team of 2 to 32 and counting. With a large team of experienced marketing and digital recruitment professionals, DAYTA’s consultative approach has created over 150 subscription-clients who partner with DAYTA to help their organizations grow. Luke also serves as a Board Member of Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Minnesota and is chair of the Talent Committee at the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. Luke earned his degree from Saint John’s University in 2011 and lives with his wife, Karli, and his two sons in Sartell, Minnesota.

Mariah Elise:

Mariah Elise is a wedding and portrait photographer based in South Dakota. She travels regularly through the Midwest and beyond. Mariah is a tomboy at heart and used to love playing down by the swamp and most days would come home barefoot, covered head to toe in dirt. She picked up a camera long before she ever realized she would become a photographer. Some of her favorite moments were ones she captured as a child. When she realized she was documenting the in-between moments of her own life, she felt called to do the same for others.

Grab a friend, a fellow lover of business-owners and hustlers, and join us for an evening of learning, discovery, and fun!

Purchase Hustle Hour Tickets Here

Meet Your 2019-20 Board of Directors

We’re the names you read in your inbox and on the AAFCM social channels. We’re the voices you hear introducing speakers and moderating panels at our events. We’re the faces you see at the registration tables and mingling with attendees. We’re the passionate, dedicated individuals committed to bringing our community of creatives together to inspire one another and learn together. 

We are your 2019-20 Board of Directors and we’re so excited to meet you!



Amy Jo Paul, Campus Relations 

Amy Jo is a Talent Director for DAYTA Marketing. When she is not at the office she often spends her time with friends, family, her fiancé Chris, and son Owen. You can usually find them working on a GNTC theatre production, dreaming up their next DIY project, or traveling any chance they get.

Favorite AAFCM Event: I’m excited for Hustle Hour!


BridgetBridget Deutz, President 

Bridget owns a Digital Marketing company, Greenline Marketing. When she’s not working or having fun at AdFed events, she likes spending time with her family + friends, playing games, enjoying music, digging in antique stores, sipping iced coffee or red wine, and hanging out with her labradoodle, Dolly.

Favorite AAFCM Event: Do I have to pick? CMYK, ADDYs, Beauty & The Bias … I love them all.


BrittanyBrittany Kapsner, Graphic Design 

Brittany is the Graphic Designer & Prepress Specialist at Sunray Printing. She loves listening to music, watching movies, and a good mystery.

Favorite AAFCM Event: The American Advertising Awards (ADDYs)



Bryce Jacobson, Website Design & Development 

Bryce is a web designer and developer at Meta 13. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and three busy kids. If he gets the chance he also loves the outdoors, especially fishing.

Favorite AAFCM Event: CMYK and The American Advertising Awards (ADDYs)


Dan Maciej, TreasurerDan

Dan is a Marketing Specialist at Automotive Parts Headquarters, Inc. When he’s not at work, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and three kids, working on his hobby farm, or messing around in his shop with old cars and tractors.

Favorite AAFCM Event: I really enjoy the monthly luncheons!


HannahHannah Bous, Digital Marketing

Hannah is currently a Marketing and Design student at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. There she is a CEO of The Northway Group, an in-house ad agency at the college. She spends her free time oil painting or drawing people and plants.

Favorite AAFCM Event: I really love the CMYK Poster Show!


JaymeJayme Donovan, Content Creation

Jayme works at WhiteBox Marketing as a marketing coordinator and social media manager. Her creative passion is fueled by coffee and carbs. When she’s not working she’s looking for the best places to eat and explore or snuggling with her two dogs, Presley and Ripley.

Favorite AAFCM Event: ADDYs! Or the monthly speakers, they’re always so interesting and inspiring.


Leah RadoLeah Rado, Secretary

Leah translated her love of sports into a career and is in her sixth year as the Athletic Media Relations Director at the College of Saint Benedict. When she’s not courtside keeping stats, taking photos, or writing, she enjoys playing volleyball, running, spending time with friends and family, and hanging out with George and Rudy – her rescue wiener dogs.

Favorite AAFCM Event: I’m new to AdFed, but really looking forward to CMYK!


MylesMyles Bous, Marketing Management

Myles is a Digital Project Manager at DAYTA Marketing in St. Cloud. In his free time, Myles enjoys spending time with family, golfing, fantasy sports, and co-hosting a podcast with his cousin.

Favorite AAFCM Event: Love Hustle Hour!



SarahSarah Forystek, Immediate Past President

Sarah Forystek is an account manager at Meta 13 where she works with clients to achieve the vision for their website. She recently became a new mom and enjoys spending time with her baby girl Rhea, husband Brian, and spirited doggo Luna. On a Sunday afternoon, you can find the four of them out for a walk or at the dog park.

Favorite AAFCM Event: My favorite event is Beauty & The Bias, for its celebration of local, badass women.


TaylorTaylor Sellnow, Vice President

Taylor works at Horizon Roofing, Inc. as the Director of Experiences. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Tyler, and dalmatian, Floyd, long weekends at the lake with family and friends, checking out local breweries, going to concerts, and summer nights on the patio.

Favorite AAFCM Event: My favorite is the CMYK Poster Show. To me, there is nothing better than being able to witness first hand the wealth of creative ability we have in the Central Minnesota Community.


TiffanyTiffany Schultz, Community Connector

Tiffany is the Director of Content Strategy and Promotion at Lake One.  She also does freelance content creation and project management. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, consuming too much coffee, traveling, and reading.

Favorite AAFCM Event: Beauty & the Bias!

Red Carpet Fashions Abound: What to Wear to the 2019 American Advertising Awards

With just under two weeks until the 2019 American Advertising Awards, many of you are probably starting your fittings with Dior, Chanel, and McQueen. Or more realistically, you are planning to head to the mall soon to pick out your outfit for the big night. Either way, you may be wondering what one wears to the premiere award show of the year.

This year is all about glitz and glamour. As this is an awards show, we want to bring the Oscars, Grammy’s and Tony’s to Central Minnesota. For one night only, you can live out your red carpet fantasy and dress to impress. Think floor length gowns, nicely tailored suites, opera gloves, and and as much sparkle as you can bare to look at.

Ladies! If you are still searching for the perfect gown, Rent the Runway is a great resource! They have an array of designer gowns straight from the runway for you to rent at a very affordable fraction of the price. Imagine arriving in this Badgley Mischka gown, aptly named the “Award Winner Gown.”

Gentleman! Don’t think we forgot about you. If you are looking for a nice tux or suit, try The Black Tux. They have a wide variety of menswear for every style and body type. The best part? Your suit or tux will be delivered right to your door, ready to wear.

Men Runway

Red carpet entrances begin at 6:30 pm. Just remember, you never know when the paparazzi will snap your next photo!

A student’s perspective on entering the American Advertising Awards

I’m all too familiar with the whirlwind that is the American Advertising Awards. You know the process: choose your best work to submit, putting them in the proper categories, printing out your copies, then checking all your entries and information until you practically have it memorized before finally delivering your entries. Oh, and this all has to be done within a few days. But allow me to let you in on a little secret: it’s all worth it.

How did I hear about AAF Central Minnesota?

I was a student at Alexandria Technical and Community College when I was first introduced to AAF Central Minnesota. My instructors at the time, Paul Johnson and Craig Bjerke, told us all about what AAF stood for and the kinds of opportunities they offered to designers both amateur and professional.

How did my school participate in AAF?

At the end of each fall semester, we choose our best work (with no limit placed on the amount) and present them to our instructors to possibly be chosen for submission through the school. We were also encouraged to submit work on our own if we felt it was an example of some of our best work but hadn’t been chosen by our instructors. Once the American Advertising Awards Event rolled around, those who received awards for their work, our instructors, and any supporting friends or family were welcomed to the local region’s awards ceremony. If any of us were lucky to receive something at the district or national level, we would attend those ceremonies as well.

At other times of the year, our instructors also encouraged us to take part in various AAF events like speaker series, the CMYK Poster show, or 24-hour design challenges.

How did I personally decide what work I wanted to enter?

If I told you it was easy, I’d be lying. I treasure each piece I create, and I know I can’t submit every piece I want to. In the end, the pieces I choose are the ones that I find the most eye-catching or beautiful, the ones that most closely follow design principles, and/or the ones on which I used a unique design technique. What stands out from the rest?

I’ve included a few pieces of the work I’ve submitted in the past that took home awards.

Lancôme Magazine Scrap Illustration – Original and Magazine Ad
Gold Award and a Best of Show Award

Efik Girl with a Coral Earring Watercolor Illustration
Gold Award and Judge’s Choice Award

Avani Tea Package Design
Gold Award

Dominican Domestic
Gold Award
Silver Award at the District Level

What have I learned about the show and entering process?

First of all, don’t procrastinate or underestimate what submitting a piece entails. My first year, I thought it was going to be a breeze and quickly learned that each entry required a lot of time, patience, and attention to detail to make sure you’re not only making the piece look good but also that you have all your paperwork correct and in the correct places. I’ve always gotten all my entries done as soon as possible – in school, I had seen too many other students rushing to meet our school’s deadline to get them in on time, and I didn’t want to find myself in the same situation and risk messing up a small detail that could jeopardize my chances of being awarded an award.

Anything notable about the show itself?

It’s an excellent opportunity to see other people’s work, both professional and student, as well as to network with others in the local design community. I’ve met some extraordinary people just because I participated in AAF. Don’t pass up this kind of opportunity! Plus, the hors d’oeuvres are always amazing. #munch

Any final thoughts?

If you still aren’t sure if you want to take part, let me tell you how AAF has helped me along my career path. I’ve included the awards I’ve received on my résumé, and it’s helped me land interviews, portfolio reviews with experienced design professionals, and two internships with the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida (where I’m writing this today).

So is participating in AAF worth it, you ask? Yes. Without a doubt!

Haley Anderson

What are the American Advertising Awards?

Simply put, they are an opportunity to showcase your amazing work, celebrate the incredible advertising campaigns produced by the talented Central Minnesota community, and possibly win some nice hardware! The American Advertising Awards (formerly the ADDYs) represents the true spirit of creative excellence.  With over 50,000 entries nationally, they are the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition. And by advertising industry, we mean far more than just advertising agencies. Businesses and organizations across all sectors and industries partake in advertising and create some incredible work. This three-tier competition is open to agencies, in-house marketing teams, freelance designers, and college students.


Presented by the American Advertising Federation of Central Minnesota (AAFCM), our annual competition and event recognizes all forms of advertising from media of all types, creative of all sizes, and entrants of all levels from the entire Central Minnesota region. We spend our days coming up with effective creative solutions and strategies. This is the time to admire, reward, and high-five your team’s excellence. More than ever before, we are striving to have a wide variety of entries from an even wider variety of companies. Whether you have entered in the past, have never entered before, or are a seasoned pro, this is your year to shine.

This local competition phase is the first of a three-tier, national competition. Local entrants are judged by highly accredited industry professionals that fly in to review and score the work.  Gold and silver ADDY awards are given for those of the highest level of creative excellence.  At the second-tier, local winners compete against winners from other local clubs in one of 15 district competitions.  District winners are then forwarded to the third and final tier, the national stage of the American Advertising Awards.  Entering in our local competition is the first step to win nationally.

This year’s awards presentation is being held on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 at the Gorecki Center at the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph and we’ve just opened up the call for entries. The deadline to submit your entries for the AAF Central Minnesota American Advertising Awards is January 18th, 2019. But you can enter work at any time between now and the deadline. The entry software is insanely easy to use and we provide a step-by-step process. All entries must be entered through this new software before the physical work is submitted. The cost per entry is $35 – $155 depending on the type of entry and your AdFed member status. A complete list of detailed entry categories can be found on the 2019 AAFCM ADDY website.

Entries are due Friday, January 18th. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been creating this year.

2018 American Advertising Awards Recap + Thank you

Well Central Minnesota,

Now that we’ve taken (I’ve taken…) a couple weeks since the American Advertising Awards to get our final ducks in a row I wanted to write a special thank you, to YOU!

We did it! Another year of working hard. Another year of booked calendars and caffeine. Another year of “Make the logo bigger” and “Can you combine all three options.” What a spectacular evening celebrating the most important guest: the work.

We had over 250 entries. We awarded 38 Gold ADDY Awards and 62 Silver ADDY Awards between professionals and students.

All entries that won Gold have been forwarded to the District Level. Those of you that chose to forward your Silver entries have also been forwarded. Check and check!

Hopefully, you were able to watch the special Judge’s videos. If you haven’t, check those out on our Facebook Page, give us a like, invite your friends.

Finally, one last thank you to all of the people that made this show happen: Thank you to Adventure Creative, DMR, Guytano Magno, Meta13, Screen Time Indoor Billboards, FastSigns, Image Builders, Rengel Printing and Signmax.

Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got for next year’s show!

Now, enjoy some fun photos from one of our top 12 favorite people, Guytano Magno.

Andrea Engelmeyer
AAFCM President