celebrates 10th anniversary of AAF's Most Promising Program
The AAF's Most Promising program began in 1997 when its
corporate members said they needed to find qualified minority
candidates for advertising jobs. Since then, 14 University
of South Carolina students have been named a Most Promising
Minority Student and 17 students have been named
to the Honor Roll. (Four of the students received
"It’s fascinating to see the career paths of
our Most Promising alumni," Drewniany said. "They’re
working at advertising agencies, in the media, in education
and politics. It’s a wonderful testimonial about the
quality of our program."
Meet some past recipients
LaJeanna McKnight is a marketing consultant for the Alvin
Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballethnic Dance Company, Black
Women in Film Preservation Project, Atlanta Tribune,
as well as artists Julie Dexter and Yewande. Prior to starting
her consulting business, McKnight worked for Essence, Ebony,
and Advertising Age magazines and for Advertising
Women of New York.
McKnight has received numerous awards including Advertising
Age’s "Women to Watch" award, AAF’s
James S. Fish Aid to Advertising Education award, The
City of New York Proclamation, The Network Journal’s "40
Under Forty" achievement award and the USC School of
Journalism’s Outstanding Young Alumna award.
attributes much of her early success to the Most Promising
award. "Receiving the award opened so many doors
for me in the early stages of my career, I can't even begin
to describe the impact. It's been ten years since
the day that I walked across the stage and I still reflect
back in appreciation. I owe a lot of my success to
the Most Promising program. In addition,
one of the most wonderful things about being an alumna
is the continuous support that you still receive over the
years," she said.
Cohen, an advertising/graphics specialist at the South Carolina
Education Lottery, was offered positions with ABC in New York
and at ESPN's corporate headquarters in Connecticut, but chose
to stay in South Carolina.
Most recently, he was a part of team that created the most
recalled campaign for the lottery with "lizard man."
it or hated it, everyone who saw it remembered it. It was
a great awareness campaign that led us to develop an instant
ticket and arrange personal appearances of lizard man at
various events," said Cohen.
Cohen reflected on his experience as a Most Promising student: "Being
surrounded with people who have the same mindset as you,
who wish to excel, are trying new things, is a wonderful
Worthy, a second-year law student at New York University,
described the Most Promising award winners: "The
students symbolize brilliance, dedication, and impeccable
drive. They also serve as inspiration to future students
to strive for academic excellence."
Worthy said being honored as a Most Promising minority
student taught her the importance of diversity in academia
and the workplace. "The program also served as a catalyst
for me to gain knowledge about the various advertising communications
industries," she said.
Worthy is currently writing a paper
concerning employment discrimination and the representation
of African-Americans in the news industry.
Jenkins is director of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center at
Penn State. Before that, she was the assistant director of
the Nyumburu Cultural Center at the University of Maryland.
At Maryland, Jenkins created the Joint Service Project,
which brings together college students, faculty, and staff
in service efforts within the black community, and the Vision
Cultural Mentoring Initiative, which provides college mentors
to local high school students of the African Diaspora. Both
programs received honors from President George W. Bush and
the Governor of Maryland.
Additionally, Jenkins has worked with students from more
than 40 countries as the resident life director for the Johns
Hopkins University Office of Summer Programs. She also has
worked for the Coca Cola Company as an account executive,
Oscar Mayer as a media spokesperson and Bank of America as
a community relations representative.
Husser, executive director of the African American Leadership
Council of the Democratic National Committee, was the USC Student
Body President in 1999-2000.
notes that one of this year’s Most Promising recipients—Justin
Williams—is the current Student Body President.
and Justin have made an important difference
at USC. We plan to have them talk about leadership during
I-Comm Week in April," she said.
Cedric Scott is currently the #1
ranked afternoon on-air personality at WRCL-FM, a Top 40 radio
station in metro-Detroit. He is also the director of promotions & marketing
of the station, which just received a "Station of the
Year" award from Pepsi for their creative marketing campaigns.
Previously, Scott was the local host for the nationally
syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show.
He anticipates completing the requirements for an MBA
in Marketing from the University of Phoenix in Dec. 2006.
Advice to students
Cohen — "You
can never settle. If you aren't trying new things,
you are wasting your time. This profession is highly competitive,
and you have to have your resources available to you to help
you succeed. Networking and maintaining a rapport with
your contacts is so critical to your success. You never
know whom you will meet, and you never know when you will
cross paths again."
"Be inspired. Go have fun. Let the stress push
you to do better, not stop your innovation. When you get
to a place where you can help others ... do it."
McKnight — "Stay
on top of the trends, remain 'in the know,' and position
yourself as a valuable resource in your jobs. Don't
be afraid to let your light shine, talk about it, but still
be humble. You are and will be your best spokesperson. Press
through your challenges and stay focused on your dreams. You
are the captain of your ship; don't let someone else steer
Scott — "In
a world of cost-cutting and consolidation, it is important
to be multi-faceted. Know something about everything,
so you are never expendable. Be a jack-of-all-trades and
actually master many of them. Also, read everything.
It's important to know what's going on so you can understand
the types of marketing that will reach your target market.
Finally, don't be afraid of the unknown. Risk-taking is a
part of the job."
Most Promising Minority Student Award
|| Erin Loo
|| Tekedra Hankins
||LeRone "Ron" Cohen
|| Bianca Crawford
|| Rania Brown