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What Are the Emerging Leader and Silver Medal Awards?

Central Minnesota is home to a cast of amazingly talented marketers. And you don’t just have to take our word for it. I’m sure you can think of those people in your professional life who radiate excellence in our industry. Submissions are due Friday, February 2nd, 2024.

Silver Medal Award

This is precisely why the American Advertising Federation presents the Silver Medal Award and Emerging Leader Award each year. Those who have gone above and beyond deserve to be recognized by their industry peers.

The AAF Silver Medal Award Program was established in 1959 to recognize men and women who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and who have been active in furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence, and responsibility in areas of social concern. Each year, AAFCM bestows this honor upon an outstanding central Minnesota advertising community member.

Our panel of judges comprises past club presidents and Silver Medal Award winners. The award recipient will be announced at the 2023 American Advertising Awards.

Emerging Leader Award

The AAFCM Emerging Leader Award was established in 2017. This award was created to recognize young professionals who are making outstanding contributions to marketing, advertising, design, and/or communications.

Emerging Leaders, while young in their careers, have already shown themselves to make an impact. They are individuals who have begun to further industry standards, creative excellence, and responsibility in areas of social concern.

Emerging Leader nominees must be under age 35 (as of the end of this year) and contribute to the industry in the Central MN community. Sound like someone you know? You can submit your Emerging Leader application here. One will be announced at the 2023 American Advertising Awards.

2024 American Advertising Awards FAQs

It’s that time of e of year again…AAA Season! The American Advertising Awards (AAA) is one of our staple events – a national competition available to all creatives locally.

A few steps are involved in submitting your work, and we’re here to help you navigate the process seamlessly. Whether you’re new to the AAA submission process or just need a refresher, we want to help answer any questions you might have.

If you have any additional questions that we don’t address below, please check our social channels for more information or reach out to us! We’re happy to help and want to make this a successful and fun event for everyone.

Q: How are virtual submissions different?

A: The submission process will be the same as previous years, with the only difference being that all of your work will be submitted digitally. There will be no physical files given to us. Details on submitting your work can be found at the 2024 American Advertising Awards website.

Q: Do I still need to print and mount my work?

A: Yes and no! Printing your work for judging is not needed as our judges will not be coming in-person. When you submit your work, you will have the opportunity to attach up to 5 files and an optional video upload.

Mounting for display at our in-person event in February is required. Please mount your work to a 16″ x 16″ black mounting board and glue/tape one of the manifest numbers to the back. If you don’t have your own boards they can be purchased for $5/piece and picked up at WhiteBox Marketing.

Q: Who can I reach out to if I need help with the submission process?

A: Please reach out to Amanda Hackett at for any questions. She will be happy to help!

Q: Do I have to be a marketing agency to submit?

A: Absolutely not! The American Advertising Awards highlights the work of all creatives, no matter how big or small. Whether you’re a student, freelancer, or work in-house or at an agency, your work is welcome! We are so lucky to live in a community with strong talent and we want to see it all.

Q: Where do I find a list of categories to submit?

A: You can find Professional categories here and Student categories here.

Q: What if I feel like my work is best seen tangibly/in-person?

A: We get it! Often, the best part of a project is seeing it all come together off-screen. Being able to touch it, feel it, and show it off to all your friends. Our recommendation is to take the time to get quality proofs of your work and present it as best you can on-screen. This might mean mocking up a scene in which your work might appear. Think about how you might present a concept to your clients/boss before it’s actually been created. Anything you can do to help someone visualize the work will help.

Q: How do I buy a ticket for the show?

A: You can buy tickets for The Show on our event page. Early bird tickets are available to purchase until January 26th, 2024.

Q: Are there any AAA entry/show ticket discounts?

A: Yes! If you are an AdFed member, either student or professional, you will receive a discount on your submissions and ticket prices for the show. Discounts are as follows:

Single Entry: Professionals $60 (Non-Member $100) – Students $40 (Non-Member $55)

Campaign Entry: Professionals $100 (Non-Member $160) – Students $50 (Non- Member $70)

Ticket Pricing: A Discount on your show ticket.

If these price breaks aren’t enough to convince you to become a member, check out all of our member benefits.

5 Reasons to Enter the American Advertising Awards

Now that you’ve heard about the American Advertising Awards, you might be wondering if it’s worth it to submit your project (spoiler alert, of course it is!) If you still need convincing, check out the top five reasons to enter below:

5. Business is all about relationships

We all know that when working with clients and customers, strong, trusting relationships are key to repeat business and referrals for new business. The American Advertising Awards is the perfect place to showcase your work on behalf of your customers. They say actions speak louder than words, and submitting the pieces you’ve done for clients screams, “HEY! Look who we get to work with, and would you look at what we get to do for them!?”

4. Because self-promotion isn’t selfish

Business is, well, business, and when we get down to it, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of promoting products and services, taking care of clients, and generally hustling that we forget to do all the same promotion and hustle for ourselves! The American Advertising Awards are the perfect place to remind your colleagues in the industry of who you are and what you do.

3. Your entry supports local students

Proceeds from our show are used to support all the feel-good things our club does for local students (i.e. the future of our industry), like our annual Student Design Competition.

2. Helping Us Helps You

Part of our mission as a club is to provide programming and workshops throughout the year that help you grow and flourish as a professional! Your entry helps us help you!

1. The work!

You #grind day in and day out; honestly, the work speaks for itself. You’ve put in the hustle and heart; now it’s time to step aside and make way for the work. It deserves to be recognized!

Submit your work to the 2024 AAAs today!

AAFCM Presents the 2024 American Advertising Awards

The time is near for our favorite event of the year – the American Advertising Awards! We are ecstatic for this year’s live show in February. 

The American Advertising Awards, or the AAAs, as we like to call them, are the pinnacle event of the year to celebrate creatives in every capacity on both a local and national level. We have so much amazing talent in our own community of Central Minnesota, and now is the time to show it off.

Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), our local competition is the first of a three-tier, national competition. Entering the competition supports our entire industry, because the AAF and its local and district affiliates use the proceeds to enhance advertising through programs such as public service, internships, advocacy groups, advertising education, and consumer awareness.

Whether you are a student, freelancer or a creative working in-house or in an agency, we want to see your work! Submissions can be entered into Student or Professional categories to be judged.

A few important dates to know:

  • Entries are due Tuesday, January 16, 2024.
  • Early bird tickets are available until January 26, 2024.
  • $25 Pro Member / $45 Pro / $16 Student Member / $30 Student (Parent/Sibling of Student)
  • Regular Ticket Price: (January 27, 2023 – Day of the Show):
  • $35 Pro Member / $55 Pro / $21 Student Member / $35 Student (Parent/Sibling of Student)
  • Join us for the show on February 24, 2023!

All of the details for submitting your work, FAQ’s and more can be found here.

CMYK Poster Show 2023 Recap

We’re still reeling from such a wonderful 2023 CMYK Poster Show! We want to give a huge thank you to everyone who made this a smashing event – all of our design professionals, students, and freelancers who submitted posters, the Iron Street Distillery staff, and those of you who came out to support the show. 

We hope this year’s theme of music inspired you. One of our favorite aspects of the show each year is to see how people interpret the theme and make it come to life in their own unique way. 

We had a total of 30 entries this year. A warm congratulations to Jeramee Hoberg for winning the Judge’s Choice Award and to Samantha Bragg for winning the People’s Choice Award. These two remarkable students from Alexandria Technical & Community College truly wowed us with their creative brilliance. Your dedication and hard work have paid off, and we couldn’t be prouder.

Want more information on cool events like this in Central Minnesota? Sign up for our eNewsletter to stay in the loop at

Meet the AAFCM Board of Directors

Amanda Hackett

Amanda Hackett

Role on Board: President

What do you do at your day job? I am the communications manager at Saint Benedict’s Monastery. I handle all the external communications for the monastery, including our website, social media, magazines, advertising, and graphic design. I’ve been here for more than six years and love it! 

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM? It’s fun to see all the amazing creativity in our community and connect with people with careers similar to mine.

What is your favorite AAFCM event? I joined post-COVID so have only experienced a couple events. Beauty + the Bias is fun and insightful, and of course the American Advertising Awards is an amazing event. I’m really excited to experience the CMYK Poster Show this year and see what it is all about!

What are some of your hobbies/interests? I love to travel, go on walks, listen to true crime podcasts, try out new restaurants and coffee shops, and spend time with my family: husband of four years, Austin; daughters Arianna (2) and Brynlee (1 month); and yellow lab, Nova (3).

What is one fun fact about you? I visited all 50 states before I turned 18!

Alison Fischer

Alison Fischer

Role on Board: Vice President & Graphic Designer

What do you do at your day job?
I am Lead Graphic Designer at WhiteBox Marketing. I work closely with our creative team to ensure that we’re delivering our very best work, including branding, websites, collateral, billboards, campaigns, you name it!

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM?
It’s the opportunity for professionals and students to meet and get involved in their community and celebrate fabulous advertising and creative work!

What is your favorite AAFCM event?
Out of the many AAFCM events I’ve attended first as a student and now as a professional, my favorite has to be the American Advertising Awards. In the busy advertising industry, we are quick to jump to the next project right after one is finished. The AAAs put a spotlight on all of the award-worthy projects and give them the recognition they deserve. It’s also a great opportunity for students to get their work in front of professionals for potential employment.

What are some of your hobbies/interests?

I like hands-on creative activities like linocut printmaking, drawing and writing.

What is one fun fact about you?

I won a total of 6 ADDY awards as a student: 3 Gold, 2 Judge’s Choice and 1 People’s Choice.

Burke Tagney

Burke Tagney

Role on Board: Treasurer

What do you do at your day job? IT Coordinator at Midwest Financial Partners

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM? Seeing all of the work from the students and professionals that submit for the AAA’s and events we host. Their creativity always inspires me to create something new myself!

What is your favorite AAFCM event? CMYK Poster Event is one of my favorites, though Beauty and the Bias is always a great experience.

What are some of your hobbies/interests? I love all things music, especially concerts and festivals, reading and writing, movies and tv shows and hanging out with friends and family.

What is one fun fact about you? I’ve written and performed in over 20 plays!

Bryce Jacobson

Bryce Jacobson

Role on Board: Website Manager / Marketing

What do you do at your day job? I am the Lead Developer at WhiteBox Marketing. I develop and maintain websites for our wide variety of clients.

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM? I love meeting and working with other like minded creatives in the area and seeing all of the great work that comes out of the area.

What is your favorite AAFCM event? The CMYK poster show has been a favorite of mine over the years. It’s fun seeing the theme of the year turned into art by all of the participants.

What are some of your hobbies/interests? I love Fishing, camping and the outdoors. If it’s not one of those things then it’s either watching or attending a Twins for Vikings game. 

What is one fun fact about you? I’ve been part of and on the Board of Directors for AAFCM for the past 13 years.


Camille Rosa

Role on Board: Content Curator

What do you do at your day job? I am the Marketing and Communications Manager for A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation, a non-profit cancer organization based out of Wayzata, MN.

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM? I enjoy being able to work with others who are creative and passionate about marketing. It’s cool to see all of the talent that is in central MN!

What is your favorite AAFCM event? My favorite event is the AAA event. There’s so much talent in our local community, and this event really makes it shine!

What are some of your hobbies/interests? I enjoy finding new coffee shops and restaurants throughout Minnesota with my husband or our friends. I also love going on walks with my miniature dachshund, Daisy. Currently, you can normally find me searching Pinterest for inspiration for our house renovations. 

What is one fun fact about you? While I’m a marketer now, I actually began my post-grad life as an elementary school teacher.

Rich Thul

Rich Thul

Role on Board: Social Media 

What do you do at your day job? I work for DeZURIK as their Visual Communications Specialist. I do most of our content creation for the marketing team. Some of the things that I do include graphic design, photography and videography. I also have a business where I do my own photo and video projects.

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM? I like to meeting other people in our community the do the same sort of work that I do.

What is your favorite AAFCM event? I like the CMYK Poster show/event. It is very cool to see how creative other people are and to meet other designers.

What are some of your hobbies/interests? I like sports and being in the outdoors. I do some wakeboarding, play disc golf and play volleyball

What is one fun fact about you? I have not been doing photography that long. I have always enjoyed photography but the first time that I had something besides a point and shoot to take pictures with was not until I proposed it to my boss about 10 years ago. 

Guytano Magno

Guy Magno

Role on Board: Campus Relations

What do you do at your day job? I am the Creative Director and lead photographer for Switchboard. 

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM? 

I love that AAFCM creates events and opportunities for college students that are interested in our industry to learn more about the businesses and professionals that make up our great creative community. 

What is your favorite AAFCM event? 

I love the AAA Event. It’s so fun to see all of the work made by students and professionals alike. 

What are some of your hobbies/interests? 

My favorite place in the whole world is my backyard patio. Having friends and family over for dinner on a beautiful summer evening is my favorite hobby.

What is one fun fact about you?

I love to travel!!…especially when it’s my camera that takes me there.

Bridget Deutz

Bridget Deutz

Role on Board: Advisor

What do you do at your day job? I’m the Founder & Chief Marketing Strategist at Greenline Marketing. I love doing a ‘little bit of everything’ when it comes to marketing + creative work, so my time is often spent researching, writing, putting together strategic plans, working in marketing automation software, and more. The variety fuels me!

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM? I am forever grateful for the (truly!) lifelong friendships that started in AAFCM – they’re absolutely priceless to me. I also love that this group is like-minded creatives who ‘get it’ when it comes to what others in our industry are looking to learn about, discuss, and how we can better ourselves. It removes competition within the industry and establishes camaraderie, which is so special.

What is your favorite AAFCM event? I don’t know if I can pick just one! I don’t think I’ve ever left an AAFCM event and not felt like it filled my cup – whether it’s the learning, the fun, or the connection with others. 

What are some of your hobbies/interests? When I’m not working, I love spending time with friends and family – and my dog, Dolly. Being on or near large bodies of water (lakes or oceans!) is preferable, but I also enjoy local coffee shops, antique + thrift stories, photography, hand lettering, and musicals.
What is one fun fact about you? It’s a toss-up between getting struck by lightning in college, or being bit by a baby Tasmanian devil while studying abroad in Australia …

Jeremy Fromm Ringsmuth

Jeremy Fromm-Ringsmuth

Role on Board: Community Connector

What do you do at your day job? I am a contractor before sunrise, a consultant in the daylight, a strategist in the evening, and a writer in the margins. Some say that what I do is design. Others call it strategy. I call it finding the levers. I research and practice design and marketing for small businesses to help my clients (and myself) achieve the kind of growth that matters—healthy growth in meaning and values—which is exactly what the market demands.

What is your favorite thing about AAFCM? AAFCM is the most important marketing and advertising association in the area, supporting the professional crafters of all marketplace-bound creativity and uniting these gifted creators with each other and with the students that are just stepping into this profession. Together we work to build the marketplace of the future, filled with better products and better offers to help make the world more valuable, one creation at a time.

What is your favorite AAFCM event? Coffee with Creatives is not only my favorite event, I am personally making certain that this event gets placed back on our radar, monthly. The only thing better than being a professional creator is a hot cup of delicious java. So, what could be better than bringing those two things together once a month?!

What are some of your hobbies/interests? I love to cook, sing, play guitar, listen to an endless list of non-fic books and watch movies with the most beautiful woman in the world, whoever that happens to be. And it just so happens, that woman is my wife—which is very convenient for my movie-watching preferences. With her three kids and my three kids I am always very busy but always very interested in everything this busy life brings my way.

What is one fun fact about you? I do FUN coaching for small businesses and entrepreneurs—no, not the BORING kind of coaching. My kind of coaching involves systems-thinking, literacy frameworks and writing curriculum for leadership seminars. See, maximum fun!!

Letter From the President

Hello Central Minnesota creatives and friends! 

As this year’s president of the American Advertising Federation of Central Minnesota (AAFCM), I’m excited to welcome you to the 2023–24 season! We have some great events in store and invite you to join in on the fun.

We’re kicking off the year by bringing back a fan favorite: the CMYK Poster Show! Save some space on your calendar for the end of October – we’ll share more details very soon as we get them lined up. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got! We’ve also got a couple of our other fan favorites on the programming lineup: The American Advertising Awards (AAAs) and Beauty + the Bias.

Our goals for this season include running some killer events (both old + new), encouraging more student engagement, and reviving local interest in this organization. Speaking of engagement – we always welcome interested creatives to serve on our board or committees. You don’t have to be an advertiser – you just need to love creativity and have a heart to serve! 

Currently, we are looking to fill a few vital positions on our board:

  • AAA Chair: If you’re interested in helping run the biggest advertising awards show in Central Minnesota and celebrating the INCREDIBLE work that happens in our own community, join our board as the AAA Chair.
  • Campus Relations Chair: Students are a vital part of our organization, and we want to provide events, resources, and opportunities for the next generation of advertisers, marketers, and creatives. Help us connect with local colleges and universities to provide these opportunities.

If neither of these roles speak to you, we also welcome your involvement in whatever way interests you. If you want to help map out a marketing plan, execute some amazing events, or connect our club with the greater community, we want you! If you have any questions about getting involved with AAFCM, reach out to me at or (651) 334-2279.

I’d like to finish out this letter by expressing my gratefulness to my fellow board members:

  • Alison Fischer, Whitebox Marketing
  • Bryce Jacobson, Whitebox Marketing
  • Burke Tagney, Midwest Financial Partners, Inc.
  • Camille Lehmann Rosa, A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation
  • Rich Thul, DeZurik

Another special thank you is due to Bridget Deutz, founder of Greenline Marketing, for serving our board in an advisory role. Her historical knowledge, years of involvement, and commitment to AAFCM are incredibly beneficial to our board.

We look forward to staying connected with you. Stay creative!

Amanda Hackett

AAFCM President

Vye Announces Promotion of Jennifer Lawrence as Chief Operating Officer

ST. CLOUD, MN — Vye is pleased to announce the promotion of Jennifer Lawrence to Chief Operating Officer. Lawrence has been with the agency since 2012, serving in various capacities including Account Manager, Director of Client Services, and most recently as Vice President.

“Jen has played a significant role in Vye’s recent growth, including a 90% increase in team members and 144% increase in revenue while serving as VP for the agency,” says Dan Soldner, President & CEO. “I recall when she joined our small, seven-person team back in 2012, we were still trying to figure out where we wanted the agency to go. It’s amazing to be here 10 years later to promote her into this new role.”

With more than 20 years of industry experience, Lawrence has learned
what creative professionals seek to thrive in their career, and what clients need to achieve their goals. Her leadership at Vye has been instrumental in creating a People First culture and uncommon results for clients. “I’m really looking forward to what the agency will accomplish over the next decade under Jen’s continued leadership,” says Soldner.

“When I joined Vye ten years ago, I was drawn toward the vision of redefining marketing as a measurable growth investment,” says Lawrence. “Now, partnering with clients across 18 states, it’s pretty amazing to see the impact we have made.”

Lawrence also serves on the United Way of Central Minnesota Board, volunteers her time periodically at St. Cloud Technical College, and has previously served in leadership roles with the American Advertising Awards (AAF) of Central Minnesota. She was also the recipient of a 2020 AAF Silver Medal Award, which is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and within their community.

About Vye

Vye is a full-service, digital marketing agency that drives growth through empathy-based marketing to help businesses crush their goals. Our team of 40+ creative professionals based throughout the U.S. tackle difficult problems — and partner with clients who have lofty ambitions. As a HubSpot Partner specializing in inbound marketing, we’re committed to our work, long-term client relationships, our talented team, and our creative process. We’ll never settle because we’re always vying for something more. Learn more at

Media Contact

Dan Soldner, Vye President & CEO

Meta 13 Joins Vye in Recent Acquisition

ST. CLOUD, MINN.Vye (formerly Leighton Interactive), an inbound marketing agency in St. Cloud, Minn. and Green Bay, Wis. announced its acquisition of Meta 13, a website design and development firm in St. Cloud. Effective immediately, the two companies will join their teams and operate under the Vye brand.

Meta 13 owners Justin and Josh Gauerke and Nathan Batdorf, along with their employees, will join the Vye team and combine their expertise in strategy, web and ecommerce development, graphic design, content, videography, and photography. With the acquisition of Meta 13, Vye has 30 employees.

“We’ve had a great run with Meta 13, and our business has grown beyond our imagination,” says Justin Gauerke, owner and founder of Meta 13, technology solutions director at Vye. “Vye was one of our agency partners, and the time was right for us to join forces and become stronger and better together.”

Marrying Vye’s inbound marketing strength and mission to redefine marketing as a measurable growth investment with Meta 13’s rich web design and development expertise, Vye will serve clients as a multi-disciplined agency.

“Our clients experience the greatest successes when we offer solutions that align data, technology, and creativity,” explains Dan Soldner, president of Vye.

Learn more about Vye and the recent acquisition at

Media Contact: Julia Brolin,