On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Quinlan invited me to go to the American Advertising Federation (AAF) of Buffalo’s Speaker Spotlight Series, which featured digital marketing strategist, Zontee Hou at the Big Ditch Brewing Co. I originally didn’t even think that the event was a networking event; I was under the impression that we would just go in and listen to the speaker present and go home. However, once we arrived at Big Ditch Brewing Co., I noticed that everyone in the room was wearing name tags and talking among themselves. Different advertising agencies were there, along with some of the general members from AAF Buffalo. From those I talked to and what I noticed, I was the only student in the room, but I was around people who were only a few years older than me.

Everyone there drank seasonal beers and “networked” for about 45 minutes before the speaker started. I clung closely to my internship supervisors, who seemed just as uncomfortable with the idea of networking as I did, which was comforting for me. The other professionals in the room mostly talked about other AAF events, bowling tournaments and other speakers. There were less than 50 people total in attendance. I thought it was interesting that there was a wide variety of people from each team there, not just the content marketers, but lots of creatives who wanted to learn and network with one another.

The actual speaker was wonderful and incredibly knowledgeable. While I personally did not feel I gained a ton from the networking portion, the question and answer period after the speaker was very helpful. Having different agencies explain their client needs and specific questions they had pertaining to specific accounts gave me a lot of insight on industry concerns, not just the problems I face in the clients we have at Quinlan. Hearing everyone bounce questions off of one another and talk briefly afterwards to gain more information was the most beneficial to me since I found myself learning so much in a very quick period of time.