It's Time To Pass It On

Friday August 24, 2018

written by Laura Gainor

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Four years. Not sure how I start a note of passing on something that has meant so much to me over the last 4 years. Something I have been so proud of being a part of and have been since starting off as a United Adworkers intern in 2005. There is no other club like United Adworkers. National guest speaker events, bowling league, the golf outing, softball games, networking events, trivia, the Milwaukee 99 Awards Show, and just walking down the street and running into someone you saw at an Adworkers event the week before. There’s nothing better than being a part of our community. 

Many of you played a big part in starting this organization 17 years ago and still play a role in keeping it strong and alive today. It says a lot for our club that there are many generations of advertising lovers that make up this club. Thank you for passing it on to us. 

When Heidi Clifton passed on the opportunity to be the Executive Director of United Adworkers in 2014, it came with incredible connections, the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the industry, welcoming judges from across the United States to see the award-winning work our community creates, and most importantly seeing valuable opportunities happen for many of our members. 

When looking back at all of the events we’ve hosted and thinking about what I have enjoyed most in my role as Executive Director, it is hands down seeing the success of those that dedicated their time to not just our organization, but the Milwaukee ad community. Seeing the numerous volunteer interns that worked tirelessly setting up speaker events, selling raffle tickets at the golf outing, organizing entries for Milwaukee 99 judging day, and other duties as assigned that usually involved making me laugh in a stressful situation, earning themselves full-time jobs at ad agencies that make up our club. As I brought on new volunteer interns for both United Adworkers and Serve Marketing, it was always my goal to get them a paid job, and because of the opportunity to connect within our club, that happened. 

In addition to our interns, our Board of Directors have helped us double our club membership, from 300 to more than 600 professional and student members. This is the highest number of members our club has ever seen in its 17 years. It has been an honor to see memberships and participation from new agencies, freelancers, non-local companies and people that simply heard about our club and wanted to be a part of it in some way (we even got one of our past Milwaukee 99 judges to want to buy a house here!), and local schools asking how they can get their students involved. All of this is thanks to our large group of Board of Directors, past and present. Thank you for all of your volunteered time and hard work. 

With that being said, we have an unbelievable opportunity to continue this growth and bring more opportunities for our local advertising community. We are currently looking to hire a new Executive Director for United Adworkers that has visions for the future of the organization and is willing to take on one of the best jobs in the country! 

I want to personally thank Lauren Sutter for her volunteer work over the last two years to make sure events ran seamlessly. There isn’t enough room in this letter to thank her for all the work she did for our club. So much of the behind the scenes work was done by her and the intern team. They all deserve a lot of credit. So many interns to thank! 

Gary Mueller, for having your passion for the club as one of its founders and being there to celebrate the wins and navigate the struggles. Taking the time out of your personal life, and numerous other projects you sign yourself up for, to be there for the club and myself. It has meant a lot to me. 

Ryan Day for taking on the sports leagues and making it your own. Rallying so many people from our community to get them excited about each season. Then to move into a Board of Directors role and be there when help was needed to keep things running strong. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have painters, dancers and gorillas at Miller Park’s Helfaer Field each All-Star softball game. 

Jeff Ericksen, Korynne Ericksen and Andy Parmann for keeping alive the most sought-after league in the city, the bowling league. There continues to be a long line of people that want their chance at the worst bowler of the year trophy. Thank you for your devotion each Thursday night at Landmark Lanes.

To my first President, Lucian McAfee. Welcoming me in as Executive Director and witnessing the stresses that come with setting up judging day for the first time for the Milwaukee 99. Wow, is that a beast. Your unbelievable photography talents and laughter at each event made for a fun year! Our community is fortunate to have you in it. 

To my second President, Joe Sutter. Having the opportunity to work with you again outside of GMR meant a lot to me. Your professionalism, strategic thinking, devotion to the growth of the club and overall love for fun, made your two years of presidency a lot of fun for me. And once again, I learned a lot from working with you. Thank you for loving the club just as much as I do. 

To the third President. For igniting a year of professional growth – unlike anything I have experienced in my 14-year career. It made my passion for the club grow even stronger. We’re a group of people united by a love of creativity. This year made it possible for us to start a conversation that needed to be had to ignite change that needs to come. Many didn’t see what went on behind the scenes this year, but it’s something that has touched my heart like nothing has before. 

This has been a pivotal year. It surely will take time for change to come about, but I whole-heartedly believe United Adworkers can make it happen, together. 

To our future President, Executive Director and Board of Directors – this is an unbelievable club. We now have the chance to grow it even bigger than what it is now. Continue providing some of the best educational events in the country, chances for students to make a name for themselves, and celebrate some of the best advertising work created in our country. Then watch more valuable connections and opportunities happen as a new generation of United Adworkers’ members join us. 

For me, I am excited to be able to devote more of my time and passion into my role as Executive Director of Serve Marketing, having the privilege to work with our talented volunteers on impactful work and help in the smallest way to see positive change happen in Milwaukee. 

And most important — to be able to dedicate new found time to my family – my husband Brian and kids, Clara and Garrett. It’s an honor to have an official new title of PTA Board member for Clara and Garrett’s elementary school. Nothing makes me happier than having the capabilities to be a part of my kids’ school activities, teaching them how to give back every chance they can, and how to continue to grow their friend circle. 

A community of people brings each person such gratitude for life and United Adworkers has done just that. So, I want to thank the entire United Adworkers community for allowing me to be in this role. I look forward to continuing as a member in 2019. Thank you for the fun times.  

See you at the Milwaukee 99 Awards Show on October 11th. 

Laura Gainor 

If you’re interested in more details about the Executive Director position, please click HERE. Our website includes the position description, qualifications required for the position and how to apply. 

We will be announcing the new Executive Director and President at the Milwaukee 99 Awards Show on October 11th. The position will start on January 1, 2019. 

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