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.



Mary Jo Meister:

MJ has been in the business of marketing since her first job after graduating from Iowa State University in Advertising Design. She began her career on the advertising agency side of the business in1981 at CMF&Z Advertising, Inc., Des Moines.

MJ began as a graphic designer, then moved to the account services side of the business where she developed expertise in project management and client service, supervising multiple client accounts with multi-million dollar budgets and managing teams of people. CMF&Z, Inc., was a company owned by Young & Rubicam Worldwide. Starting at entry level and eventually becoming Vice President/Account Group Director, MJ learned marketing disciplines and strategy from the very best, based right here in Iowa and reaching around the world.

In the 2000’s, MJ spent 10 years building and managing an internal agency-like group, serving business clients of Gannett’s U.S. Community Publishing Division. MJ and her team regularly delivered millions of dollars of services, creating brand campaigns, launching clients on social media, developing training programs, ad campaigns, custom publications and more for clients from the Midwest to the West Coast. In 2006, MJ was instrumental in leading the development of five similar teams across the country, patterned after the one built in Des Moines. As Regional Director of the Gannett Client Solutions Group, MJ gained valuable experience in digital marketing and a media perspective from the inside of one of the nation’s most respected publishing companies, including Iowa’s own The Des Moines Register. She was recognized in 2004 with Spotlight on Service Award and in 2006 as Employee of the Year.

Since leaving Gannett in 2013, MJ started MJ&Associates with two very important local clients: Toyota of Des Moines, owned by the Gabus Automotive Group and Prairie Trail, the state-of-the-art Ankeny community development owned by DRA Properties. Since then, MJ&Associates has employed a small full-time staff and countless collaborators around the metro and in key markets across the U.S. The company has earned opportunities to work with additional clients as well as opportunities to give back with non-profit clients such as Oakridge Neighborhood and SafeNetRx.

Throughout her career, MJ and her teams have been recognized for excellence with many awards, including PRSAs, ADDY’s, INA’s and most recently as #1 Toyota Digital Dealer program in the six-state region. However, the most valuable recognition comes from the results driven campaigns that make the clients’ business successful.

Recognizing success is about both the client-side and the agency-side of the business, MJ believes it’s critically important to support our local AAF organization. Members learn so much about what’s going on in our local advertising community and get an opportunity to engage with others in this business who we may never otherwise meet.

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.


Brooklyn Roberts, Strategic America:

In her first year on the AAF of Des Moines board, she accepted one of the most challenging roles as the American Advertising Awards Director. She was faced with planning the show in the middle of a global pandemic. Through her hard work and dedication, she was able to plan the first hybrid event in AAF of Des Moines history and focused our outreach efforts primarily on digital tactics. These changes to the show resulted in a 20% increase in entries year over year.

Brooklyn Roberts is a Client Manager at Strategic America, where she joined in July of 2019. Prior to working at Strategic America, she previously served as a Program Manager at ITA Group in West Des Moines, planning corporate meetings and events. She has over 5 years of experience in developing and maintaining client relationships, while working to bring creative ideas to light. Her current role requires collaboration, client management, attention to detail and effective communication. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her fiancé, Sam, finding the next best book to read and getting outside on the Des Moines running trails.





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