FSU Ad Club members visit agencies in Chicago

The Advertising Club at Florida State University (FSU) jet-setted to Chicago, Illinois for a 5-day adventure from April 9-13, 2014.  The group of 23 students visited a combined total of seven ad agencies (these were: DDB, Leo Burnett, McgarryBowen, GSD&M, Grip, Starcom MediaVest, and Havas Worldwide).

The trip began for some of the students who arrived early on April 9 with a tour of the Chicago Portfolio School.  Ad Club attendees spent the next two days on April 10 and 11 visiting agencies in Chicago and exploring various office cultures.  Members were met by presentations from diverse departmental representatives, including creative and art directors, marketing strategists, and media planners.

During most of the visits, the students encountered numerous FSU alumni.  Many spoke about how their involvement as former Ad Club and/or Arrowhead Ad Team members was helpful for their careers and how their time spent learning at FSU was pivotal to their success in the industry.  Some of the Seminole alumni now working at Chicago agencies who students met include:

  • Lindsay Marano at DDB spoke about her current position as a Senior Account Executive and reminisced about her time on the FSU Arrowhead Ad Team.
  • Matt Capobianco at Leo Burnett shared his story about climbing up their company latter and how he was promoted to an Account Director on the Sprint account.
  • Derek Clark at McgarryBowen works as a Creative Director and gave members insight into the best ways an aspiring creative can get their foot in the door.
  • Natalie Greene at McgarryBowen reflected on her years at FSU and how she transitioned from college to becoming an Assistant Account Executive for Sears.
  • Jonathan Arcila at Lapiz is a Junior Art Director and he was also on the Arrowhead Ad Team.
  • Samantha Jahnke at Havas is a Vice President, Programmatic & Social Strategy Account Director.

Several alumni work at Starcom Mediavest, such as:

  • Brock Wright, Senior Research Analyst
  • Lauren Lombardo, Senior Analyst in Integrated Insights
  • Matthew Reder, Media Supervisor
  • Natalie Craig, Media Associate

Ad Clubbers spent Saturday, April 12, more at leisure checking out several city attractions.  Highlights include visiting The Bean, the Chicago Institute of Art and the Willis Tower (which houses the Sky Deck overlooking the city 103 floors up).

View an Ad Club Chicago trip memory photo montage on YouTube created by Jerrika Trammel. 

The students returned to Tallahassee on April 13, overflowing with business cards and having gained valuable knowledge that left them feeling empowered to successfully begin their careers.  They made contacts with agency employees, FSU alumni working in the industry, and were also able to connect with fellow students who share common interests.

Ad Club Vice President, Ashley van der Laan (Junior, Finance & Marketing major), shared that “This was the fourth Ad Club trip I’ve attended and each one has further solidified my passion to become a part of this industry.  Visiting some of the largest agencies in the world continues to show me what all my hard work is going towards and that my dreams are within reach!”

The Ad Club’s Executive Board dedicated a great deal of time beforehand making plans and contacting numerous agencies to set up these tours.  The hard-working board members to thank for making this trip a reality for the attendees to enjoy consists of:  Leah Jarem (President), Ashley Van Der Laan (Vice President), Breanne Kinney (Secretary), Jerrika Trammell (Digital Coordinator), Nerea Pennini (Events Coordinator), and Jackie Rafferty (Treasurer).

Ad Club member, Dylan Taylor, is thankful to the Exec Board for planning these trips every fall and spring semester.  He remarked, “This is the third trip I’ve been on with the FSU Ad Club.  I really enjoy them and appreciate how much work goes into coordinating these expeditions.  I’m very grateful for the Ad Club and its Exec Board for making these trips possible.  They provide many networking opportunities with new contacts.

The Exec Board members felt proud about the success of this spring semester’s trip and they look forward to the next one in fall 2014 where they will attend the Annual Advertising Women of New York (AWNY)’s Advertising Career Conference, in addition to touring several agencies.  The NYC trip, coordinated every fall semester, is usually even higher in attendance (for instance, in Nov. 2013 more than 90 Ad Clubbers went to NYC).  Every spring an expedition is planned to another large U.S. city, which is decided upon a yearly basis (last year in April of 2013 over 30 members visited Boston).

Unique opportunities, such as these bi-annual trips, helps separate the Ad Club from other FSU student organizations.  Members get an inside look at top agencies but most importantly, they gain great perspective, new contacts, and connect with fellow student members.  Professional development and industry insights are also available at their organizational bi-weekly meetings.

Although the Ad Club is a student organization within the FSU College of Communication & Information, it is open to all majors.  The Exec Board encourages anyone who is the least bit interested in advertising or communications in general to join as a member to attend these expeditions and truly get a feel for the field.

Senior Ad Club member, Marianne Pinheiro (Double Major in International Affairs and Marketing), described how important these trips are to her, “This was my second and last Ad Club trip before graduating!  I was extremely glad to have the opportunity to learn so much about the industry.  I’m not an Advertising major but the agency visits are what primarily interested me in entering the field and this organization helped me narrow down which area I’m passionate about.  As an international student, the chance to learn more firsthand about the ad industry in the U.S. is rare.  I feel fortunate about visiting some of the best agencies in the country which also enabled me to make contacts with working professionals.”

To learn more about this student organization, join their Facebook group called “FSU Ad Club.”, follow them on Twitter at @FSUAdClub and direct any questions to advclubfsu@gmail.com.


Read other past College news stories featuring the FSU Ad Club at:

Ad Club Executive Board on Chicago River Walk
Ad Club Executive Board on Chicago River Walk
Ad Club Members at The Bean
Ad Club Members at “The Bean”
Ad Club Members at Starcom Mediavest
Ad Club Members at Starcom Mediavest
Ad Club Members at Leo Burnett
Ad Club Members at Leo Burnett
Ad Club Members at GSD&M
Ad Club Members at GSD&M
Ad Club Member Dylan Taylor at the Chicago Sky Deck
Ad Club Member, Dylan Taylor, at the Chicago Sky Deck

Article Written by: Leah Jarem; Edited by: Natalie Kates