STAFF , JANUARY 22, 2015
By Valerie Graves, Creative Consultant and Author of an upcoming book, Pressure Makes Diamonds. Look for her on Meta and Linkedin.
Being part of ringing the bell to open today’s NASDAQ exchange is the latest in a string of good things that have come my way because of almost 20 years of service to The Advertising Club of New York. My first contact with the club wasn’t some high-minded attempt to do good or have impact on the advertising industry. My boss, Byron Lewis, former CEO of Uniworld, sent me as his representative to a committee because “Someone has to be there.” The more involved I got, the more I knew the truth of those words. I accepted a seat on the Board of Directors because someone had to sit there. Raised money and made a film to attract minorities to the industry because someone had to make it. Developed “Creatively Correct” for the AdClub of NY to showcase multicultural talent because someone had do it, and had uncomfortable conversations about race and the industry because someone had to have them. It never occurred to me that I would get anything for this stuff, though I really hoped YOU would.
Funny thing happened. As a judge of the Ad Club’s International ANDY Awards, I got free trips to Rome, South Beach, Cabo San Lucas and Maui. That little film I made got me invitations to speak at colleges and more free trips. “Creatively Correct” got the whole advertising column in The New York Times. I made good friends and had some very cool times that I didn’t go looking for and didn’t see coming. But hey, I was there.
Deepak Chopra calls all this “The Law of Service.” And the good thing about a law is that it applies the same way at AWNY, The One Club, The Advertising Council or an organization you start yourself. Just be there, do what you can and don’t worry about what you’ll get in return. I got a lot. Like that billboard in Times Square, for example. One more time: Somebody had to be there.
**This article originally appeared on Thrive.