Living in DC can make you cynical. It’s easy to question anything labeled “networking.” Yet there’s an organization that transcends networking: Ad 2 DC, the young professionals division of the American Advertising Federation’s DC chapter (AAF DC), creates real community along with rewarding leadership opportunities for its members.
Jacqui Balogh, a long-contributing member and last year’s Ad 2 DC President, is a prime example: She grew into her career within a group of young, motivated advertising and marketing professionals.
In honor of her achievements and contributions to Ad 2 DC, our members chose Jacqui as the 2018 winner of the Kate Lysaught Award. Named after an Ad 2 DC co-founder, the award is given by Ad 2 DC members to a fellow member who embodies Kate’s exemplary leadership and outstanding commitment.
We asked Jacqui to reflect on some of her most rewarding memories.
Q: Congratulations on winning the Kate Lysaught Award, Jacqui! Looking back on your past year as Ad 2 DC President, what do you feel was your greatest success?
A: We had a super successful event in September 2017—our annual Meet & Greet—which helps us kick off the new Ad 2 DC year. This event is for all members to learn about the organization, how to get involved, and meet the new Steering Committee. At the event, each Committee Chair gave a short talk about their team, and I was so proud to hear everyone speak so passionately about their work and the things they’ve personally gained from their experience. We had record turnout for the event and everyone had a great time.
I was excited and impressed by the close collaboration of our Committees this year—we had custom-designed graphics from our Creative Committee, we tested out one of our first paid digital strategies with great success from our Communications Committee, and we had a great icebreaker game organized by our Programs Committee. At ADMERICA, AAF’s annual national conference, Ad 2 DC met the standards for a Club of Excellence, was designated Most Excellent Club, and earned second place for its Public Service campaign.
Q: How long have you been involved in Ad 2 DC?
A: Four years, going on five! When I moved to the DC area, I Googled local advertising clubs and came across AAF DC and Ad 2 DC. I first got involved on the Ad 2 DC Public Service Committee, helping with brainstorming pro bono campaign concepts and writing copy. It was exhilarating to be contributing to an ad campaign, because I wasn’t working in the industry at that time.
The following year I took on the Public Service Committee Co-Chair role, learning valuable leadership and project management skills. I presented our campaign at ADMERICA and we earned first place. The next year I served as Communications Committee Chair, leading the team’s social media and marketing communications strategy and copywriting.
I just wrapped up my year as Ad 2 DC President, which has been such a proud time in my career. My experience and network has expanded because of my involvement, and I definitely plan to continue to stay involved.
Q: The award recognizes commitment. What factor or factors have driven your commitment to Ad 2 DC throughout the years?
A: From the beginning, I’ve realized how vital this organization is to young professionals. I joined Ad 2 DC when I was not yet working in the field, but my involvement gave me the skills, confidence, and network I needed to work toward my goals. I love contributing to the club knowing that others can take advantage of this value and propel their own careers forward.
Q: The award recognizes leadership. Can you tell us about a moment when you were most proud of your leadership abilities?
A: I’m so proud of the amazing team members I had the pleasure of leading this past year. We’ve spent countless hours together. My teammates are not only colleagues that I enjoy working with, but also friends. My goals this year were to make sure each Chair benefitted professionally from their experience on the board and truly had a fun time. I organized silly games with prizes, recognized team successes like new jobs or promotions, gave teammates shout-outs, and celebrated birthdays.
Q: What do you feel you have gained from your leadership in Ad 2 DC and close work with AAF DC?
A: Having the close connection to our counterparts in AAF DC is an incredible benefit. I’ve reached out to AAF DC numerous times to bounce ideas around, request resume feedback when job searching, and for guidance handling tricky career situations. I also love offering Ad 2 DC’s help to AAF DC when we can.
Q: In what direction do you hope to see Ad 2 DC move in the future?
A: Ad 2 DC has been around for nine years and I’ve seen it continue to amp up each new year with fresh ideas and powerful teams and strategies. I know this year’s new team has some big ideas in store, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish!
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I will be supporting Ad 2 DC as a mentor this next year, as well as serving on the AAF DC Communications Committee, continuing a close partnership with Ad 2 DC.
We had a truly amazing team this year. I’d really like to thank each and every person on the Steering Committee for helping us achieve amazing things: Karmen Fox (Vice President); Larissa Kunes Martin and Lisette Ortiz (Communicatons); Brigitta Blair (Creative); Raven Faux, Kevin Jenkins and Lisa Rajaram (Diversity & Inclusion); Nathan Forman (Government Relations); Sean Carnell (Membership); Sarah Ninivaggi and Christine Flannery (Programs), Corey Lipsey and Jesselle Macatiag (Public Service), and Katie Dirks (Immediate Past Chair).
Just a few years ago, Meghan Sauer came out of Buffalo by way of Montreal, Canada, armed only with an English Lit degree and a dream. She now helps create websites, ad campaigns, and many, many marketing emails for online degree programs as a copywriter at 2U, and is serving as Ad 2 DC’s Public Service Co-Chair this year. In her free time, she’s that brooding individual scribbling in a notebook on the Metro.