University News

WIU NMGZ Members Attend the American Advertising Federation Event in NYC

May 15, 2024

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MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University National Millennial and Gen Z Community (NMGZ) members attend the American Advertising Federation (AAF) event in New York City.

Leonita and Blerta Bekteshi are pursuing their undergraduate degree in Economics with a minor in Marketing and are both members of Phi Theta Kappa, which recognizes students' academic success and provides them with opportunities to develop professional and leadership skills.

The AAF is among the advertising industry's biggest and most prestigious of the year, attended by nearly 1,000 c-suite and senior-level executives from the world's largest brands, advertising agencies, media and tech companies and is the largest fundraiser for the federation providing a vital source of funding necessary to continue the wide range of educational, diversity and advocacy initiatives that are critical to our industry.

NMGZ Founder, Bill Imada was elected into the Advertising Hall of Fame, which celebrates industry legends who have distinguished themselves with outstanding, globally recognized achievements; remarkable innovations and exceptional philanthropic work both within the advertising industry and in their communities.

WIU NMGZ members Leonita and Blerta Bekteshi attended the event to celebrate Bill Imada's induction into the Advertising Hall of Fame.

"Attending the 2024 AAF event in New York City was an incredible honor and opportunity," Blerta said. "The experience left me in awe. Listening to inspiring speakers share their stories was truly moving and to top it off, we had a special guest: the amazing Queen Latifah, who graced us with her presence. The food was exquisite, each bite a delightful explosion of flavor. Meeting so many talented individuals was a highlight and capturing memories with our table through countless photos was a joy. Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill, whose kindness touched my heart. The after-party, held in a spectacular venue, was the perfect way to end this unforgettable event. My sister and I will cherish these memories forever."

"Entering the AAF event, I was amazed by its beauty and the exciting offerings it had," Leonita said. "Bright displays showcased the newest ads and cutting-edge technology, creating a sense of wonder. Conversations with attendees were a highlight. I connected with many friendly faces who shared their work and stories, including the humble Bill Imada and members of NMGZ like Mildred Delgado, Andres Diaz, Molly Bell and Mia Martovich, who were incredibly kind. What struck me most was the warmth and inclusivity of everyone I met. As the event wrapped up, I left feeling inspired and encouraged. I had made new friends, gained fresh perspectives and reinforced my belief in advertising's potential to positively impact the world."

The NMGZ organization provides members opportunities to engage and network with each other and industry leaders from across the United States and around the world, attend conferences, as well as travel and tour various companies and meet with top executives from corporations, foundations, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. Members also work with employees on current product development and marketing initiatives, which allow them to showcase their knowledge and skills. Through client engagements, NMGZ opens doors to potential career opportunities. Membership is free and members can attend meetings online at their convenience.

If you want to make a difference in your life while impacting the lives of others throughout the world, apply today to NMGZ. For information on becoming an NMGZ member, send an email to Assistant Professor of Marketing and WIU Advisor for NMGZ Community Donna Wiencek at

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