At a recent American Advertising Federation – Houston chapter luncheon, two Savages were honored. Ashley Rundall, Art Director, was named to the AAF-Houston board. Jackie Dryden, Purpose Architect, was presented the Living Legend award for her lifetime contributions to the organization.
I sat down with these amazing ladies to talk about what these honors mean to them.
Ashley: Jackie actually asked me to work on a panel for the AAF-Houston Student Conference a couple of years ago. The next year, I led the professional panel – where three members and a mediator give students advice for breaking into the industry and then answer their questions. I also went to some lunch events that really intrigued me.
Jackie: The students loved her. She had so many students coming up afterward to talk to her. She was actually nominated to the board by people who worked at the student conference and saw what an impact she made.
Ashley: This year, I’ll be responsible for the art auction for the annual Trailblazer Gala, and as I get more familiar with the organization, I’ll help with as many events as I can. I know I want to stay involved with the students. That’s where I feel I connect most. I’m kind of fresh but tenured, so I have something relatable to give back.
Jackie: It’s about nurturing the next generation.
Ashley: Exactly. Plus, I’ve never been a big fan of networking events – this way, I can be involved without any awkward, forced small talk because I’m working alongside people to put something amazing together.
Jackie: AAF-Houston has always made me feel valued and appreciated. They have awarded me the Spirit of AAF-Houston Award, the Silver Medal, honorary life membership. I am a past-president, and I’ve always loved being a part of the organization.
I knew that I was nominated for the Living Legend Award, but it was a surprise when they presented it at the luncheon. The current president started describing this woman’s legacy, and I thought, wait, is he talking about me?
Ashley: Basically explaining that she’s superwoman!
Jackie: A lot of the time, when these kinds of awards are presented, the organizations like to talk about how hard the honoree has worked. But I’ve always felt that what you care about is not a chore or drudgery. It’s certainly not something to brag about. I love this industry, I love the people – it’s not about money or recognition. It’s about passion and responsibility for the way you impact lives.
Jackie: In my early twenties, a friend invited me to an AAF-H luncheon, and I wasn’t sure if it was the place for me. But the second time I came back, I was asked to be on a committee. Someone said to me, ‘What you give will be small compared to what you get.’ And they were right. I realized that these people are my people. I have made lifelong friends, I have worked on projects I was passionate about, and I have had an outlet for sharing with others.
It has always been important to me to give back. Just like Ashley talked about, connecting with people early in their careers is so rewarding. My mantra has always been that I will never forget the opportunities I received because someone was willing to give me a hand up when I was starting out. And I want to do the same for others.