Top photo: Advertising alumna Vanessa Ruiz (right) and senior advertising major Amari Edwards
"Achieves goals ... engaged in the classroom ... reliable leader and team member ... excellent student ... active participant in community service ... promotes diversity," are just some of the ways professor Linwan Wu described Amari Edwards in his nomination letter to the American Advertising Federation.
After reviewing Edwards'resume, application and portfolio, leading representatives of the industry agreed with Wu and named Edwards to the 2023 class of AAF's Most Promising Multicultural Students.
In its 26th year, the program connects the advertising industry with the nation’s top multicultural college seniors. Students from more than 140 college chapters applied to the program with only 50 students chosen for the honor. Those selected — with an average 3.7 GPA — represented 28 schools from 18 states.
With the honor, Edwards earned a mid-February four-day industry immersion trip to
New York where she participated in professional development and personal branding
workshops, a recruiter's expo and an awards ceremony and luncheon.
Edwards said she learned a lot from the entire experience, especially the importance of networking. "Many jobs in advertising come from just knowing the right people and keeping yourself in their minds."
In fact, Edwards said one of the best parts of the trip was meeting and networking with Vanessa Ruiz, who graduated with her advertising degree from the USC School of Journalism and was a member of the 2018 class of Most Promising Multicultural Students.
"I was super interested in everything she had to say, because I was completely caught off guard and happy that our school had multiple students be a part of such a successful organization like AAF."
The opportunities she participated in also helped her refine her career goals.
"I learned more about what I specifically wanted to do in advertising, which is less creative and more analytical. I realized my strengths were media planning and data analyzing when I previously thought that I was better at creative."
Leading agencies and companies, including 72andSunny, BBDO, Dentsu, Meta, FCB, IPG, McCann, Omnicom Group, UM Worldwide, The Trade Desk, Wieden+Kennedy and others, have been long-standing Most Promising supporters and consider the program a valuable resource in recruiting diverse, entry-level talent.
"This amazing group of students have met all criteria and vetting processes by an outstanding experienced and respected Council of Judges," said Steve Pacheco, CEO of the AAF. "Now, more than ever, the need to connect young talent to the advertising industry is a top priority for everyone. The fact that the AAF can develop such a diverse group representing the best from across North America is consistent with our mission to develop the next generation of advertising leaders."