A Year of Growth – Ad 2 Dallas

Born from the conflicts and hardships 2020 has wrought upon people, communities, and brands alike, were opportunities to be open to growth and be vulnerable. We weren’t limited by our makeshift desks and laptop cameras that we previously covered to ensure Big Brother wasn’t spying on us. Rather, we leveraged the sociopolitical context to ask the tough questions, enrich ourselves, and inspire change. 

Ad 2 Dallas developed three (that’s right, three) unique, virtual spaces every other week. At each event, we invited industry professionals and academics to speak on behalf of their work and fields, respectively. Throughout this 6-week period, our Level Up events were based on: 

  • The tumultuous election cycle that burdened individuals to separate truth from fiction, forcing citizens to question one of their most basic American rights;  
  • The Black Lives Matter movement and civil unrest encouraging people and businesses alike to reflect on race, diversity, equity, and inclusion; and 
  • The rocky economy and shrunken job market. 


Level Up Your Vote 

Event Details: Voting advocates Cecilia Silva, North Texas Program Manager for ReflectUS, and Clark Rector, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs with the American Advertising Federation, spoke to the power of an individual’s vote and the relationship between politics, legislation, and the advertising/media industry. 

Takeaways: Cecilia shared a presentation and spoke to how ReflectUS is working around the country to educate, inspire, and empower women and minorities to exert their civic muscles. The steps to do that are much easier said than done: 

  • Get out there and vote
    • Understand the national, state, and local laws regarding your ability to vote, prerequisites, where/when to do it, and how to follow up if any concerns arise.
    •  It is imperative to understand the candidates and issues at hand to understand how your vote may impact one’s self, household, community, and beyond. 
  • Get involved and volunteer in your community 
    • Volunteering to join boards, nonprofits grassroots organization is an easy way to gain knowledge of the inner workings of governance 
    • Plus, over time, you may develop a name for yourself to better propel yourself for appointed or elected positions 
  • Get appointed or run for office  
    • There are a number of appointed leadership roles for any voting citizen to serve on. You can serve on city or state boards, helping to shape policy and advise. 
    • Run for office: There are many levels to running for office and the easiest way to start your career as a public servant include running for local roles. These aren’t very competitive and require minimal experience, just passion! 

Clark spoke to his working with lobbyists and legislators on Capitol Hill. He mentioned that advertising is a powerful engine that helps drive the economy. As professionals in advertising, it’s important for us to be informed on how our government is voting on advertising rights and how that affects our jobs, including current hot topics such as the FCC and Internet regulation. We can join boards and participate in events like Advertising Day on the Hill to make sure our voices are heard.


Level Up Your Workplace  

Event Details: Grounded in the events surrounding George Floyd’s death and calls for justice among civil rights activists in a politically charged and divisive year, Ad 2 Dallas sought to create a space for all persons from all backgrounds to sign off with insights and action items. Because there was so much talk across the nation, and even the globe, we wanted to understand how the conversation of race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and empowerment are spoken of and put into action across various industries. 

We spoke with three panelists, each serving as a representative of their industry or sector. The moderator was one of Ad 2 Dallas’ very own, Executive Advisor Rick Findlay, Senior Client Success Manager at ReachLocal. 

  • AgencyTina Tsang, Vice Chair of Ad 2 National
    Tina currently serves as Vice Chair of the Ad 2 National Executive Board, where she mentors Ad 2 clubs around the country while working with AAF National, especially on the DE&I front. She’s worked at notable agencies such as The Richards Group, TM Advertising, BBDO, and iProspect. Tina’s expertise ranges from media planning and strategy to branding as she explores starting her own consultancy business back in her hometown of Houston. 


  • Academia – Karen Lindsey, PhD, Visiting Lecturer in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication – Department of Strategic Communication at Texas Christian University
    Dr. Lindsey is a teacher, learner, leadership consultant, executive career coach, and keynote speaker. She is called “Dr. K” by many students and has 20 years of corporate communication, higher education, media relations, and business marketing experience.

    Using her doctoral research as a foundation, Dr. Lindsey is currently working on a book about identity, workplace politics and the experiences of Black women in higher education and corporate leadership.


  • NonprofitTres Brown, Senior Mpowerment Coordinator at DFW Fuse
    Tres works with three of Resource Center’s Mpowerment programs, focusing on young same gender loving men; young same gender loving black men; and persons of trans experience. Fuse is one of the top performing Mpowerment projects in the country creating a space for young gay/bi/pan guys ages 18-35 to learn about up-to-date prevention practices while allowing them to build a community for themselves. 


[(starting in upper left and moving clockwise) Rick Findlay, Moderator; Dr. Karen Lindsey; Tina Tsang; and Tres Brown] 


Takeaways: DE&I in the workplace is very personal, soul-binding work. It requires a lot of self-reflection. And that is truly hard work. As many professionals have shifted to working remotely due to the pandemic, quarantine has awarded many with that time to look inward and dig deep. Before any company, organization, or body of people can tackle its issues, the individual people, employees, volunteers, consumers, and stakeholders must also partake in this first step, which is far easier said than done. 

This is but the first of many steps. Tres beautifully summarized the overarching steps that people and organizations must take in order to truly change.

”You need to change the culture. We need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to take the time to learn and understand what it takes to implement what needs to be done.”

Among action steps to take for oneself and working to better one’s workplace, all the panelists recommended education and unlearning. Understanding the history of marginalized people altogether, to do one’s research, and figure it out. Be courageous to connect with and learn from others. 

For one’s organization – ask questions. Actively listen to your employees. Listen to the unheard. Give a voice to the voiceless.

Lastly, but certainly not least, be compassionate. Start from a place of kindness and understanding. 


Level Up Your Network  

Event Details: The final installment of our Level Up series culminated with a networking event geared toward college students and young professionals to help them navigate the job search and network with DFW industry professionals. Ad 2 Dallas’ Treasurer and Business Development Manager at Paladin, Shelby Smith, kicked off the event with industry tips to improve one’s resumes, portfolios, job application, and interview skills. Then, attendees broke off into small groups to connect and network with our selection of seven DFW marketing and advertising professionals. Finally, attendees were all invited for a free resume critique! 

  1. Stephanie Murdoch, Senior Producer at The Marketing Arm
    Expertise: Broadcast Production 
  2. Crystal Gonzalez, National Sales Representative at Pandora
    Expertise: Media 
  3. Rosie Rosales, Creative Director at LERMA
    Expertise: Creative
  4. Michelle McCain, Brand Manager at The Richards Group
    Expertise: Account Management and New Business 
  5. Raul Machuca, Director of Digital Media at Texas Can Academies
    Expertise: Nonprofit Branding and Digital Marketing 
  6. Brandon Baker, Creative Supervisor at SPM Communications
    Expertise: Influencer Marketing 
  7. Kira Stearns, Strategist at Moroch
    Expertise: Strategy 











Just as you keep up with your personal hygiene, you gotta also maintain your personal brand and network. This comes down to your resume, cover letter, portfolio (if applicable), and online materials (LinkedIn, website, social media, etc.). 

Keep resumes limited to one page and have at minimum, two versions. One version can be more creative and one version is more simpler and streamlined in a Word document to pass through AI application management softwares. As more companies use software to screen applicants, buzzwords come in handy. Edit your resume to include keywords from the job descriptions. 

In the age of virtual working, there are added tips for virtual interviews. Ensure that you have a good connection (and consider investing in an ethernet connection…we know…so old school). Try your best to eliminate any distractions and background. And, as always, have questions prepared from having done your research. Show that you are engaged and interested in the conversation and eager to learn more. 

And remember to send a thank you note. Infuse pieces of the conversations you shared with the person or use your note as an opportunity to continue part of your discussion. 

Following that advice, Ad 2 Dallas’ Education Committee would like to thank AAF Dallas, Ad 2 Dallas, and all of the professionals and students who attended our Level Up Series. Our teams have sincerely enjoyed learning and growing with you – to better understand the power of our vote and how to engage in government; the need to educate ourselves first to truly inflict change in our workplaces for DE&I; and expert networking and interviewing tips to land the next gig. 

Plus, we’ve particularly enjoyed making new connections and adding more members to our roster. 

If you’re interested in joining the Ad 2 Dallas family and getting in on the work, supporting us and our events, or simply want to keep up with what’s going on–follow us on Instagram at @ad2dallas so we keep you in the loop! 


Tell us about yourself.

I am a beauty/skincare addict and social media enthusiast. I’m passionate about cultivating spaces that uplift and connect people across different backgrounds. In my free time, I build social strategies for the Denton Black Film Festival and run their social media. When I’m not constructing marketing strategies, I enjoy writing about my favorite products on my blog, perfecting my skincare routine, and reading poetry, non-fiction or any article that will teach me something new.

Why did you join Ad 2 Dallas?

I joined Ad 2 Dallas to meet new people in advertising after moving back from college. It’s been perfect because you get a mix of professional growth as well as a network of people with varying expertises, levels of experience and cool ideas.

What has been your favorite project to work on? 

Co-hosting the No Filter: Unfolding Bias event was super exciting because I got to see an idea come to life over the course of several months. It was also nice seeing people come together to have real genuine conversations about topics we don’t often get to talk about in the regular workplace.

List three or more things you’ve learned as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair?   

I learned that adaptability is key and that teamwork really does make the dream work. I also grew confidence in my leadership abilities.

How would you like to see the advertising industry become more diverse? 

I would love to see a wider variety of demographics and perspectives represented in leadership positions as well as in the work done by brands. I’d also love to see advertising agencies focus more on diversifying their recruiting efforts by finding new ways to seek out candidates.

What does it mean for the advertising industry to be committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? What changes need to happen to get there?

Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion looks like REPRESENTATION! If your internal teams don’t mirror the market you’re serving, it becomes easier to lose a pulse on reality and you lose out on creating great and relevant work.


Tell us about yourself.

 I’m Cassandra Villarreal – a hardworking, passionate, goal-driven Latina who strives to influence the voices of minorities and those underrepresented. By the age of 23, I received my undergrad degree in Advertising and Public Relations, and recently obtained my Master of Arts degree in Communications. Getting to meet new people along with being outdoors are some of my favorite things to do!


Why did you join Ad 2 Dallas?

 Along with working in the advertising industry, I wanted to become a part of a local non-profit organization that would help me advance in my career and make new connections.


What has been your favorite project to work on? 

 Co-hosting the No Filter: Unfolding Workplace Bias event in January 2020 was one of my favorite projects to work on. It was great to see an event I worked hard on turn into a major success!

 List three or more things you’ve learned as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair?   

Three things I’ve learned about being a DE&I Co-Chair:

– How to help involve people who feel misrepresented

– How to make others feel comfortable regardless of who they are

– How to effectively contribute to a successful event to help increase diversity engagement within the community

 How would you like to see the advertising industry become more diverse? 

 I would like to see the advertising industry become more diverse by allowing minorities of all ages, races, and backgrounds to seek opportunities in the industry regardless of the amount of experience under their belt.


What does it mean for the advertising industry to be committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? What changes need to happen to get there?

 It means to accept the reality of the ongoing racism, prejudice, and discrimination in and outside of the industry, and configure ways to combat inequality. Necessary changes like including a higher representation of minorities in leadership positions, along with educating others over cultural differences can help us commit to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Let’s give a big round of applause to our newest Board Member of the Month, Kevin Cooper! In his second year on the board, Kevin’s enthusiasm and passion for the club has never wavered. He currently serves as a Marcomm Committee member, helping create great copy for social media. We are glad to have great members like him, thank you Kevin!

Learn more about Kevin Cooper………

Kevin Cooper is an Associate Media Planner for Mindstream Media Group working on clients such as Texas Health Resources, Bank of Oklahoma, and Pollo Loco. Kevin specializes in planning and paid social but prefers the planning aspects of advertising. Before his role at Mindstream, Kevin was an Assistant Paid Social Analyst at Resolution Media where he assisted in the development of paid social strategy and targeting for PNC Bank.

In his free time, Kevin is either swimming laps, gaming, experimenting with new recipes or trying various new hobbies.


Let’s give a standing ovation to our newest Board Member of the Month, Kira Stearns! She’s been involved with the Public Service team for two years and her enthusiasm for helping local non-profits has been admirable. Kira is a great team player, always willing to help in any way she can and looking for ways to elevate the campaign. We are glad to have great members like her, thank you Kira!

Learn more about Kira Stearns……

Kira Stearns is a Marketing Strategist at Moroch, where she helps clients such as Kia, Samsung, Six Flags, and Alamo DraftHouse with their cross-channel marketing strategy needs. She specializes in social media strategy and translates hard data to insights and recommendations for her clients, but she doesn’t have an Instagram account. Prior to her time at Moroch, Kira managed campaigns and strategy for Fortune 500 brands like Procter and Gamble, AT&T, and Nissan. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new countries, hiking, book club, and baking.