The Unifying Voice

The American Advertising Federation (AAF), the nation’s oldest national advertising trade association, and the only association representing all facets of the advertising industry, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and acts as the “Unifying Voice for Advertising.” The AAF also has 15 district operations, each located in and representing a different region of the nation. The AAF’s membership is comprised of nearly 100 blue chip corporate members comprising the nation’s leading advertisers, advertising agencies, and media companies; a national network of nearly 200 local federations, representing 40,000 advertising professionals, located in ad communities across the country; and more than 200 AAF college chapters, with over 6,500 student members. The AAF operates a host of programs and initiatives including the Advertising Hall of Fame, the American Advertising Awards, the National Student Advertising Competition, the Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism, and summer Ad Camps for high school students in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Our Mission

The American Advertising Federation protects and promotes the well-being of advertising. We accomplish this through a unique, nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs and college chapters.

AAF Heartland’s mission is to elevate the business of creativity, support marketing agencies, creators, students and cultural influencers with broad professional perspectives, and ensure diverse voices and culture are reflected into the work our membership fosters. We celebrate the talent of individuals, teams and the work of our broader collective.

Our goal is to enhance the professional development of our membership, recognize and reward advertising excellence

Here’s What We Do

• Brings members together to yield creative business solutions.
• Protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities.
• Educates members on the latest trends in technology, creativity and marketing.
• Provides programs to assist local association volunteer leadership.
• Presents the industry with its future leaders.
• Honors advertising excellence.
• Promotes diversity in advertising by encouraging the recruitment of people of diverse cultures.
• Applies the communication skills of its members to help solve community concerns.

Our Board Members

Amy Hietter
Business Name

Amy is Director of Client Strategy at ADsmith Marketing and Advertising. She has 16 years of marketing experience working with a wide range of clientele from local and regional businesses to national brands. Amy has a strong foundation in marketing strategy and client service with 8 years of agency experience. She spent the early part of her career working in-house as a marketing director, graphic designer, and copywriter. Amy is a huge fan of brainstorming, her infectious energy inspires open communication, creative thinking, and innovation. Amy earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication from Missouri State University with a minor in Psychology. She was born and raised in Springfield and is committed to giving back to our local community, serving multiple local nonprofits.

Justin Oden
Business Name

Justin Oden is currently a Multimedia Designer at Downstream Casino Resort. After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in the Graphic Arts from Missouri Southern State University, he started out his career at The Joplin Globe as a graphic designer where he won several Addy awards for his illustration work. He’s committed to staying current with design trends and constantly challenges himself to learn more while pushing his skills outside of his comfort level. When not in front of his computer, he can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee with his face buried in a sketchbook.

Ken Taylor
Business Name

Ken is a marketing industry veteran who came to ADsmith with more than twenty years of experience already under his belt. As President, Ken manages the ADsmith team and the company’s ongoing mission to offer the same level of strategic marketing leadership to both locally-based, regional, and national businesses. Ken cut his teeth in marketing at four advertising agencies before ADsmith. Much of his career was with Noble & Associates, a national agency catering to the food and home & building industries. When not thinking about marketing strategies, Ken enjoys life with his family. Ken is married to Kim Taylor; they have a family of 4 kids in middle school, high school, and college. Their home is very active, with two cats, chickens, and never-ending home remodeling projects. Outside of work and home, Ken is an active member of the Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks (DSGO) for many years and continues to support DSGO to help raise awareness and resources for families with members that have Down Syndrome. Through ADsmith’s drive to give back to the community, Ken has supported many additional non-profits over the years.

Kesha Alexander, Secretary

Kesha co-owns Supper Co., a marketing agency in Springfield, Missouri. At Supper, they specialize in alcohol, cannabis, food and hospitality doing everything from brand strategy and identity to marketing communication planning to website design and development. She specializes in marketing strategy, communication planning, and brand strategy. Kesha spent 16 years in marketing and advertising working on national brands like Unilever Food Solutions, McCain Foods, International Delight, and Procter & Gamble Professional as well as boutique brands like Askinosie Chocolate. Her career has been focused on account service and strategic planning. She was fortunate to build and lead the strategic planning practice at the Marlin Network, introducing a new discipline to the agency. She loves uncovering opportunities and building plans to activate them. She thrives in collaborative environments and believes that diversity in thinking gets us further, faster.

Lori Fritz, Vice President

Over my tenure of a nearly 25 year career in production and operations, I have worked with every cross-functional team imaginable on projects big and small. I keep my sights on the big picture, yet somehow uncover the tiny details that make the cogs turn smoother. No problem or project is too tough for me to solve because of my earnest belief that there’s always a way.

Tim Bade
Business Name

As Marlin Connections' creative lead, Tim fosters an open environment with a cross-functional creative team made up of storytellers, technologists and motion media experts. Tim believes in the blending of technology and creative applied to simple ideas that break through the clutter and create real impact for brands. His years in food and beverage branding have earned him plenty of awards, but Tim is most proud of work that works.

Prior to Tim’s current role within Marlin Connections, he co-founded The Alchemedia Project, a digital branding agency in 2009. Tim has also held posts at Pyramid Foods as Marketing Director and at Noble Communications as Executive Creative Director. He holds a Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from Missouri State.

Traci Hughes, President

Traci Hughes is a Associate Instructional Professor at Pittsburg State University in the Graphic Communications department. She came to PSU after working in the printing and flexible packaging industry for 18 years. She is excited to have the opportunity to be in the classroom and share her experiences with the students. Traci has served on the board for AAF Heartland since 2017 assisting with the American Advertising Awards each year. Before becoming President, she served as club treasurer.