Student Brief: For Audrey Shaefer, Hard Work Truly Pays Off

By Brittany Braeutigan

As the judges finalize the scores for the 2018 competition, Michigan State University’s American Advertising Federation president Audrey Shaefer and her team huddle together, muttering their hopes into existence. As the fifth, fourth, and third place teams were called, Shaefer and her team start to worry internally, but knew they did their best. But when the judges announced the second place team from Michigan State University, Shaefer was ecstatic. After a full year of working toward the end product, Shaefer felt like the team had accomplished their goals.

Shaefer is a full-time advertising management, public relations and graphic design student, as well as president of AAF, and full-time employee at The State News. She joined the MSU chapter of the American Advertising Federation as a freshman in 2015 with no advertising experience, and now, she is the senior president leading her advertising club to creating award winning work.

Shaefer was one of two freshmen on the team. Being surrounded by upperclassmen as a freshman helped Shaefer build a network for her upcoming years. Of course she was nervous being the youngest of the group, but she said learning from the upperclassmen was the best part of that year. Later that year, Shaefer went on to be a part of the first place winning team.

“Being surrounded by upperclassmen added to the intimidation factor, but also gave me the motivation to work super hard and blend in with them,” Shaefer said. “I learned what it would be like to rely on others, and to be relied on.”

She then learned her place in the organization, as well as her studies. Shaefer learned that she was meant to be working with strategy and to be around creative energy. In fact, Shaefer says that AAF is what she dreams her future career would be like.

Fast forward to her sophomore year, when Shaefer was no longer a newbie. After proving her skills during her freshman year, she was promoted from a team member to the strategy director for the group. Fast forward even further in the semester, Shaefer was promoted to co-vice president. Shaefer was then able to devote herself to the organization even more.

“Some of the best memories are made in your clubs, and this one is no exception,” Shaefer says. “I’ve learned more from this club than in some of my classes, just because it is real work and it matters. The late nights were so worth it. It is definitely something I will miss when I graduate, and I hope to help out the future team when I can.”

After two years of experience and dedication, Shaefer was voted president her junior year with the hopes to lead her team to victory. The first place win from her freshman year has always been in the back of her mind, and she knew she could beat third place from her previous year. They had the skills and talent, and then they had total devotion and expertise from Shaefer.

“How much time do I spend each day? More like, how much time each day don’t I spend doing something for AAF,” Shaefer said. 

To her, AAF is not work. She is extremely passionate about the group and doesn’t mind the work one bit. From weekly E-board meetings, to organizing creative homework sheets for the week, Shaefer’s responsibilities are endless.

Shaefer was voted president once again her senior year due to her success last year. Shaefer said that this year’s team is the best team yet. It is filled with talented art directors and copywriters, as well as strategy and account planners.

“We have a variety of different majors, people who have expertise in different areas as well as freshmen who don’t know what they want to do yet,” Shaefer said. “That’s why I have so much excitement for this year, and I believe we can earn our spot at Nationals with all of our different, creative minds. We have so many great ideas!”

This year’s client is different, and is allowing the team total creative freedom. Shaefer says that the team has done outstanding work throughout the first semester, and can’t wait to see what they come up with in 2019 when they dive deeper into the campaign.

“This client is super exciting. We aren’t just working for the client – they want us to change perceptions for the brand’s category, and it is something we have never been asked to do before,” Shaefer told her class during the first meeting.

The team will compete against several talented teams in Southbend, Indiana in April 2019, and only one will make it to Nationals in Hollywood, Florida. Shaefer has high hopes this year. They are heading into 2019 strong, and working hard for the win, and having a lot of fun along the way.