American Advertising Federation of Des Moines

Club Awards


Silver Medal Award

The Silver Medal Award is awarded to a current member based on the following criteria: 

  • Contribution to His/Her Company – The recipient must have achieved success in one of the following areas of work: advertising agency, advertiser, media or advertising service
  • Creative Ability – The recipient must have shown a consistent, high degree of original thinking in their field.
  • Contributions to the General Advancement of Advertising – The recipient must have worked to increase the stature and raise the standards of the advertising profession.
  • Contributions to the Community – The recipient should be someone who has been active in civic, religious, or other groups dedicated to human or social welfare.

Brian Jones, Two Rivers Marketing:

Brian Jones — an accountant by training and marketing agency president by choice — considers his ability to listen, find the best people, and help them do what they do well three major pillars of his success.

In 2000, Brian left his role with a Des Moines accounting firm to be one of three founders of Two Rivers Marketing. Under Brian’s leadership, the initial team of 17 has grown to more than 150 associates in 2019, making Two Rivers one of the largest marketing agencies in Iowa. Even with this impressive growth, Brian has never set the measure of success as being the biggest, but rather being the best agency we can be.

“If there’s any central reason for my success, it’s probably that I listen a lot,” Jones said. “I don’t have all the answers. I’m not that creative of a guy. I don’t have a marketing background. So I focus on working with great people and then helping them do what they are good at.”

What Brian is good at is using his management and financial skills to minimize the financial ups and downs associated with the marketing agency business. “The last thing I want is to have people come in and worry about having a job,” he said. “They have a lot on their shoulders already, so we do everything we can to staff appropriately and be efficient and smart to minimize financial swings on the agency and our associates.”

Brian’s approach has led the growth of a rare type of agency that inverts the notorious agency/client/money/associate priority list and elevates associates to the primary position. He’s fostered an approach that focuses on working hard, having fun, striving for work/life balance and caring for associates personally. When new associates join the agency, Brian meets with them and gives a personal first-hand account of the agency’s history. 

Brian has fostered a management style that he calls “participatory” where associates are empowered to offer ideas and input on most everything and to work with leadership to find the best solutions.

“We celebrate good tries, even when we fail, and put people in positions that allow them to grow and thrive. I hope that everyone who works here, even if they leave for whatever reason, will look back on Two Rivers as a great place to work where they learned and grew a lot.”

His associates-first, work/life balance approach has attracted the best and the brightest to Des Moines, which creates positive impacts on the overall culture and vibrancy of the metro.  

Brian brought more than 16 years of public accounting experience as a CPA to Two Rivers. Before starting the agency, he worked at RSM McGladrey, where he was the manager of the Small Business Group, specializing in accounting and tax consultation for small businesses.

A native of Des Moines, Brian is a proud Roosevelt Roughrider. He holds a B.S. degree in accounting from Drake University. He’s an active supporter of Make-A-Wish and Blank Children’s Hospital. He and his wife, Janine, have a son and a daughter. Brian enjoys travel with Janine, wine, bourbon, biking (both for real and stationary) and the excitement of the something-new-every-day aspect of marketing agency life. 


Emerging Advertising Leader of the Year Award

Emerging Advertising Leader of the Year award is presented to a young professional men and women who are making outstanding contributions to marketing, advertising, design, and/or communication.


Jess Kennedy, ZLRignition:

Senior Digital Media Strategist, office culture queen, crafter extraordinaire. One thing’s for sure – Jess Kennedy wears a lot of hats both professionally and personally. For eight and a half years, Jess has been in the advertising profession. She started her career at ZLR Ignition, worked at Two Rivers Marketing, and then returned to ZLR in 2016.

In her current role at ZLR, she plans, buys and reports on both digital and traditional media for clients like Iowa State University, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Iowa Department of Public Health and more. When she’s not managing media, you can find her putting her party planning skills to work coordinating ZLR events like tailgating parties and office cleanup days. Yes, somehow she can even make cleaning fun.

For the past seven years, Jess has been an AAF member and currently serves as an AAF ambassador and helps with the American Advertising Awards. She’s also been AAF Vice President, Programs Director and American Advertising Awards Director. Talk about countless hours spent volunteering in the name of advertising.

In her (limited) spare time, you can find Jess either hanging out with her boyfriend, cat and three dogs in their Clive home or putting her Cricut to work making Pinterest-worthy décor.


Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year is presented to an outstanding volunteer who has made significant contributions in further the growth and mission of the club.


Kelsey Feller, Strategic America:

Kelsey Feller has been involved with AAF of Des Moines since 2012. Kelsey began her board involvement as Public Service Director for two years, followed by President for an additional two years and most recently the American Advertising Awards Director. Kelsey was one of the original founders of Des Moines Ad Day and has led planning efforts for the last two years in addition to her AAA Director duties this year. Kelsey also assisted in Programs efforts as the board transitioned to the new year.

Kelsey is a Business Systems Analyst at Strategic America by day and Mama + Wife to her adorable mini-human Riley and husband Adam by night.





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