This is definitely not what I expected of my two-year term as President of the NJ Ad Club.
I thought there would be the usual major events each year: The State-of-the-Advertising Industry Panel Discussion, The Innovation Summit at Bell Works in Holmdel, Jersey’s Best, The Jersey Awards, and the Advertising Hall of Fame; not to mention the smaller events: the summer and holiday networking parties, the new and prospective member breakfasts, and the educational seminars, SmarTalks, and so on. Well, I was in for a surprise!
Not long after we had received all the entry submissions for the Jersey Awards in March of 2020, everything started to shut down, change, morph, get postponed or cancelled.
Jersey Award judging, normally in person, had to be photographed and judged in the months after the event would’ve usually taken place. That event became a virtually produced event, with a recent-award-winning introductory video and online presentations, with every winner announced and shown online only. Thank you to the visionary Gary Denburg and his committee for creating last year’s momentous event and working to get this year’s event up and running again for us, coming in the fall.
Jersey’s Best also changed. That became a winners-only Zoom event last year, and we will be handing out their actual trophies during this year’s in-person event along with this year’s winners’ trophies. Thank you Chairs Christian Estrellado and Gillian Deak Bijak for making both years work!
The State-of-the-Advertising Industry Panel Discussion changed and became an online event. That actually worked out well (thank you, Rob Schnapp). Since they didn’t have to “commute” to Livingston as in previous years we were able to include panelists from around the world.
The in-person networking events and seminars became webinars, and thank yous to our speakers: TV Anchor/Branding Consultant Kerry Barrett, SEO Expert Pam Ann Aungst, LinkedIn Guru Joe Apfelbaum, SKC’s Andrea Diaz and Karen Donaway, Copyright Attorney Marc Misthal, and Connecticut Ad Club President and Marketing Pro Nicole Enslein.
Networking events morphed into Online Happy Hours, and a big Thank You to Chris Vaglio for figuring out how, and then actually pulling them off, for fun times and no buzzed driving home afterwards.
What was postponed:
The Innovation Summit and the Hall of Fame. Some things are better left to being in-person, and we are looking forward to getting them back into our schedule soon.
Jersey’s Best, in a great new venue for us, this year honoring the new winners as well as the locked-down winners from last year. Nominations can be submitted through August; stay tuned for details to be announced soon!
Jersey Awards will be back! Not in the Spring but this Fall! The entries are in and currently being judged. We can happily look forward to seeing each other and all the great New Jersey talent that will be showcased in person, coming in September.
And on other fronts:
I must thank my wonderful, hard-working Board Members who stuck with the Ad Club to keep it running smoothly. The Executive Board of VP/Treasurer Christian Estrellado, Membership/Secretary Shanti Gold, Past President Rob Schnapp, and Executive Vice President Chris Vaglio. Event Chairs: Christian Estrellado and Gillian Deak Bijak, my special Presidential Advisor Gary Denburg, Grace DePaola, and Sandra Schler. Committee Chairs and Board Members Ed Efchak, Clayton Pollard, Beverly Barnes, along with Anthony Oade, Allegra Sandelli, Eric Ortiz, Adam Schnitzler (go NJSmall!), Herb Barry, Cathy Beck, Stu Bodow, Rick Bonelli, Laura Buonacuore, Meredith Hopken, Daryl Rand, and Larry Weiner.
Thank you all for showing up at the monthly Board Meetings and doing so much hard work on your own time. We couldn’t have gotten so much done without you.
To the special ladies in the office, especially Pat Hanley and Caroline Conklin: I don’t know how I could’ve done it without your help! And also Thanks to my boss, Bob Wislocky, President and Owner of Newark Trade, for putting up with all my meetings and time spent.
I am so glad that even though we missed so many in-person events, we did our best to keep you informed, and helped the budget get back in line with where we like it to be.
Lastly, a big shout-out to our incoming President, Chris Vaglio. So competent, talented, creative and warm… I know he will do a great job!
It has been a challenging two years, but we did it, and came out the other side relatively unscathed!! ONWARD!
Outgoing President, NJ Ad Club