As we celebrate the joys of the season and this past year, here’s a look back at the highlights from all of us at AFFIRM!

Danny

Personal highlight:

2019 has been an incredible year of great live music! My personal highlights include Neil Young solo at the Overture Center in Madison, John Fogerty rocking all his CCR hits at the Riverside, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. playing great interpretations of Grateful Dead songs, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets exploring pre-1973 Pink Floyd, attending the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with my wife Amy, riding our bikes to see Paul McCartney on a beautiful June day at Kohl Center in Madison, standing on the field at Wrigley Field to see Dead & Company, going to the first show of the The Rolling Stones tour on my birthday in Chicago, Willie Nelson still kicking ass at 87, The Who rocking Alpine Valley for the first time in 30 years (I was there back then, too), attending Farm Aid with a whole crew of friends, and experiencing an intimate show from country-legend Kris Kristofferson at the Barrymore Theatre.

Professional highlight:

It’s been an exciting year of personal and professional growth working with both brand new and long-term clients. From a new business perspective, it’s likely been the most active year ever. The tone for this was set back in January when I attended a 4-day new business conference presented by the Agency Management Institute at Disney World. Since then, we’ve added 15 new clients in a variety of different public and private sector business categories. In addition, we’re now handling digital marketing such as social media management, pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization for many of our long-time traditional advertising clients.

Michael

Personal highlight:

A personal highlight of mine was my family’s annual trip to Door County. We’ve been going since I was a kid and it’s always something I look forward to. I love to fish and be out in nature so it’s the perfect getaway. The trip allows me to put away my phone, laptop, or anything that needs a charger and just relax.

Professional highlight:

In 2019 we grew our digital business drastically. It was exciting to pitch for, and receive, digital work from new clients as well as existing clients. It’s satisfying to identify a need for a client and present a plan that they believe in. There’s something special about seeing the whole team work on so many different elements for a client and see their success over time as a result.

Paula

Personal highlight:

This past year, I was able to travel to Florida with my family over the Thanksgiving Holiday. We loved the leisurely atmosphere and the sandy beaches and sunsets in Sarasota county are the best!

Professional highlight:

This year, I was involved in helping AFFIRM convert to a new project workflow system called Workamajig. After a lot of long hours and challenges in going from one system to another, we now have a system that can accommodate all our needs from project estimating to invoicing.

Ryan

Personal highlight:

I became an uncle, got a clear bill of health from my cardiologist, caught enough fish to feed a family, harvested my first deer, and explored the far reaches of Wisconsin.

Professional highlight:

At AFFIRM we had a record number of rebranding projects this year. It feels great to be such an integral part of shaping the outlook and appearance of so many businesses for the years to come.

Laura

Personal highlight:

Big summer trip to New England, where my family ate, biked, hiked, swam, boogie-boarded, and Freedom-trailed our way through Boston, Ogunquit, Bar Harbor, Wayne, Acadia National Park. We also got to hang out with our East Coast family – they are salt of the earth and master storytellers. But what happens in New England stays in New England.

Professional highlight:

With the crisis of substance abuse, especially opioids and methamphetamine, I have been especially proud to help lead several prevention and education campaigns: Your Choice to Live’s Wake Up Call – parents can learn where kids hide their illegal substances; KNOW METH – preventing methamphetamine abuse in Wisconsin, and DOSE OF REALITY – opioid abuse prevention, which has now expanded beyond Wisconsin to seven other states.

Cathy

Personal highlight:

We had a wonderful time in New Orleans this spring. While we’ve been there often, we can always find something new to do – even if it’s more to my husband’s liking than mine! This year we visited the Antique Rose Garden in Louis Armstrong Park which is home to one of the largest collections of old roses in the South. They were getting ready for their annual show and the Master Gardner and Bill spent WAY too much time, in my opinion, talking about the different varieties on display and of shared acquaintances. I enjoyed the beauty and the fragrance…he enjoyed the networking.

Professional highlight:

We have the pleasure of working with many clients that provide us with the opportunity to hone our skills. Media is changing so rapidly that we are constantly learning new ways to reach the different audiences. One of this year’s challenges was to reach students on campus – thus we learned addressable targeting! The results were good, helping our client achieve their goal of speaking directly to those students.

Traci

Personal highlight:

This quote has truly hit home for me in 2019: “The days are long, but the years are short.” -Gretchen Rubin. It seems like yesterday we brought my son Aiden home from the hospital as a newborn. Lo and behold, this past September my little buddy started Kindergarten! He’s thriving at Rockfield Elementary and I can’t wait to see what he’ll accomplish next!

Professional highlight:

In November, Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) announced the largest single route expansion in airport history growing their non-stop destination to over 23! As Art Director, I’ve had a blast supporting MSN with graphics for print ads, social media, digital banner ads and outdoor billboards, to name a few. In June, MSN celebrated their 80th Anniversary with a wildly successful event called MSN80. I created everything from a giant historical flash wall to tiny Lego plane decals. I’m honored to play a part in their continued success!

Amy

Personal highlight:

My family went to my favorite US city over Thanksgiving, Nashville. Highlights of my trip included a wine tasting at Belle Meade Plantation and checking out a new hot area of the city called The Gulch. I also acquired a taste for beer – Guinness that is!

Professional highlight:

This year, I was involved in helping to generate new business with our public sector accounts including the Wisconsin Cancer Council and secure client contract renewals for AFFIRM such as SORTA-METRO in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also collaborated on the team that was tasked with finding a new project workflow system called Workamajig.

McKenzie

Personal highlight:

I got to travel outside the country for the first time this year. I was able to see London, Paris, and parts of Italy during my trip. I saw a lot of art that I have only seen in textbooks. Italy was by far my favorite place I saw while on my trip. The food was so good, and everyone was so friendly!

Professional highlight:

I have learned so much in the months of working at AFFIRM after graduating from college this year. Being able to deliver for a client and go above and beyond their expectations has been extremely rewarding. It’s especially exciting to see so much new business and strategizing ways we can help them grow their company!

Kelly

Personal highlight:

The highlight 2019 was when my boyfriend surprised me with a puppy. Her name is Emilia (after the wine region, Emilia-Romagna in Italy). She is a lab/terrier mix and is super naughty, but also incredibly cute and loveable.

Professional highlight:

Taking this job of course! I am very excited to be at AFFIRM. The team has been so welcoming and helpful in my first couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to really digging in as I become more familiar with our clients.

Mark

Personal highlight:

Our family took a road trip to New England this fall. We chose a great time of year to go, as the leaves were at peak color. Highlights included seeing Niagara Falls, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, sightseeing in Vermont and New Hampshire, relaxing in coastal Maine, and touring the many historical landmarks in Boston.

Professional highlight:

We designed and developed an interactive quiz for Your Choice to Live, in which parents and educators can identify items that are used by today’s youth to hide or cover up drugs or alcohol. The site wakeupcallroom.org walks the visitor through 4 common areas of a youth’s bedroom where they use everyday items to hide drugs and alcohol. Once the quiz is finished, there is an educational portion that explains each item in greater depth, suggested action items which parents and educators can use to prevent substance abuse, and additional valuable resources.

Kelly

Personal highlight:

In January, my family visited New York City to see my oldest daughter’s last marching band show with University of Wisconsin, Madison. It was fun to explore Times Square and spend time with my husband and children.

Professional highlight:

In September, I joined AFFIRM and became part of the Digital Team. I love the challenge of keeping up with the ever-changing social media trends. I am excited to participate in a content creation role with our clients and their businesses.

Roe

Personal highlight:

I scored discounted seats and got to see “Hamilton” in Milwaukee from the 3rd row, after seeing it 3 previous times (in Milwaukee & Chicago) from the balcony.

Professional highlight:

I placed TV ad buys throughout the state in May for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Click It Or Ticket campaign, knowing we were helping to save lives on Wisconsin roadways.

Steve

Personal highlight:

This was a very big year for me with new beginnings as I got engaged in February to my girlfriend, best friend, and my love – Celia who has made our good times even better and the tough times more manageable. Then in March, I renewed my faith and was baptized – full immersion style – at our church in Waukesha!

Professional highlight:

This past year included a ton of highlights. If I had to pick one, it was helping the Wisconsin Cancer Council in a rebranding effort—which has been very rewarding. WCC is a group of diverse organizations dedicated to a statewide comprehensive approach to cancer control. They’re making a real difference in reducing the burden of cancer in Wisconsin.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at AFFIRM!

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