About Us

AAF-KC Board of DirectorsOur Story

Since 1902, the American Advertising Federation of Kansas City has played an active role in the advertising, marketing and communications industry in the greater Kansas City area. As a 501(c) 6 trade and professional association, AAF-KC serves the advertising and marketing industry through educational programming, volunteer opportunities and networking.

We’re also a member of AAF District 9, which serves the advertising communities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, and AAF National. And we boast nearly 2,000 members throughout the greater metropolitan area.

We’re not the type to brag, but it’s safe to say we’re one of the largest and oldest AAF clubs in the country. So, we’re a pretty big deal.

Our mission is to foster a cohesive creative culture within the Kansas City advertising industry and promote it to the rest of the country.

We don’t do it alone. AAF-KC is one club that houses another organization, Ad 2 Kansas City, which is the local chapter of Ad 2 National serving advertising professionals age 32 and younger. Ad 2 focuses on welcoming fresh, young talent to Kansas City and providing opportunities to network and grow skillsets through volunteering with our Virtual Agency public service campaign every year.

Here’s to our fearless board members who make it all happen.

2019-2020 AAF-KC Board of Directors 

  • Sara Sullivan - President
  • Marianne Gjerstad - Vice President
  • Rebecca Schwartz - Immediate Past President
  • Sheree Johnson - Vice President of Finance
  • Jordan Warren - Finance Co-Chair
  • Katie Hilty - Communications Chair
  • Matthew Phillip - Communications Co-Chair
  • Julia Thompson - Website Chair
  • Hannah Bower - Event Lead + Journey Awards Chair
  • Bryan Herrman - Professional Education Chair, Speakers
  • Jordan Haiduk - Professional Education Chair, Diversity & Inclusion
  • David Sullivan - American Advertising Awards Chair
  • Katie Snyder - Student Education Chair
  • Megan McClure - Membership Development and Retention Chair
  • Tom Apple - Corporate Membership Chair
  • Andy Grollmes - Diversity & Inclusion Chair
  • Ashley Kieffer - Ad 2 President
  • Jen Guimaraes - Ad 2 Vice President


2020-2021 AAF-KC Board of Directors 

  • Jamie Beard // Communications Manager at VMLY&R
  • Josie Black // Associate Director, SEO at Intouch Solutions
  • Hannah Bower // Director, Client Strategy at GlynnDevins
  • Brian Brooker // VP MarCom at Garmin
  • Anne Fundakowski // Digital Marketing Director at Mediavo
  • Marianne Gjerstad // Fuel Team Lead/Producer at Barkley
  • Andy Grollmes // Project Management Lead at Woodruff
  • Seth Gunderson // Ventures Director at Signal Theory
  • Jordan Haiduk // Senior Producer at Signal Theory
  • Bryan Herrman // SVP, Insights & Strategy at GlynnDevins
  • Katie Hilty // Creative Manager at MMC Corp
  • Sheree Johnson // President/CEO at SJ Insights
  • Roy Milton // Associate Creative Director at VMLY&R
  • Katie Snyder // Project Manager at DMH
  • David Sullivan // Graphic Designer
  • Sara Sullivan // Principal, Relationship Director at Tasty Branding
  • Austin Walsh // Director / Photographer at Austin Walsh Studio 
  • Jordan Warren // Marketing Copywriter at DEG, an Isobar Company


AAF Programming

American Advertising Awards

As the largest and most representative advertising competition, the American Advertising Awards attracts more than 40,000 entries in local AAF competitions, including AAF-KC. Enter your best work and join us for an evening recognizing and rewarding creative excellence in the art of advertising

Journey Awards

While the American Advertising Awards celebrates amazing work, the Journey Awards honors the remarkable people behind it. Celebrate leading advertising professionals in Kansas City with us as we honor a young professional of the year, a creative professional of the year, an advertising professional of the year, a trailblazer and a Silver Medal Award winner.

Diversity & Inclusion Series

AAF-KC is dedicated to fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion within the Kansas City advertising community. Everyone is welcome at these events, where discussions are held, facilitations are conducted, all persons are treated with respect, and diverse thoughts and opinions are celebrated and encouraged.

Professional Speaker Series

Education is one of the leading pillars of AAF. To facilitate continued learning in your career, AAF-KC seeks out renowned speakers on topics like creative thinking, nonprofit fundraising, the power of data and the art of the pitch. Got an idea for a speaking event? Tell us and join our event committee to make it happen.

Our History

The Kansas City Advertising Club was organized in August of 1902 by Russell Whitman, advertising manager of The Kansas City Journal newspaper. The club’s early mission was to keep the local advertising community informed of developing business trends and ideas. The organization gained national notoriety when its leaders attracted the annual convention of the Associated Advertising Clubs of America to Kansas City in 1908. In addition to its regular activities, the group began to administer advertising classes in 1911 and formerly created the Kansas City Advertising School in 1920. The school was open to men and women who wished to study advertising and merchandising techniques. The group’s regular meetings and luncheons were held in downtown hotel rooms and banquet halls until 1944 when the organization took up residence within the Sedate Building, formerly occupied by the Kansas City School of Law, at 913 Baltimore Avenue. At that time the formal name of the club was changed to the Advertising and Sales Executives Club in order to attract new members to the organization. In 1976 the club became the Advertising and Marketing Club and during the mid-1980s it became known simply as the Advertising (Ad) Club. The club sold the Sedate Building in 1979 and relocated to a new headquarters at 92nd Street and Ward Parkway. The organization returned to downtown Kansas City in 2002, taking up residence at 1625 Oak Street. Learn more here.