Kansas City: Creativity lives here.

58802_10151317036548348_1060056682_n-550x550It was a thrill and honor to address my fellow advertising professionals last night at the 2013 AAF-KC ADDY Awards. I’m proud of our Kansas City community and its accomplishments as well as the role AAF-KC plays in supporting and promoting it. I’m also honored to serve as the president of what I believe is an incredible organization. Here’s a copy of my remarks.

Please excuse me, but I’m going to do something that’s a little out of character for us Midwesterners: I have some bragging to do. Certainly not bragging about myself or even AAF-KC. I want to do a little bragging about all of you.

What we’re celebrating tonight is the culmination of the past year’s worth of creativity coming from Kansas City’s advertising and marketing community. We sweat the strategy. We plot our plans. We make our marks. We miraculously manage not to strangle each other or our clients or anyone else that crosses our path. And like some strange variation on the eternal hope of spring, February finds us seeking to elevate our work from its functional purpose to its inspirational potential.

Which brings us to tonight, our annual Kansas City ADDY awards.

While we believe our work is a labor of love and the undeniable force of creative compulsion, we also know it to be a series of sacrifices. Not in vision, or quality, or scale. Rather, the sacrifices I’m talking about come in the form of time. Moments, really. An evening with friends missed because of a looming deadline. A quiet dinner with a loved one cancelled because of last minute revisions. A bedtime kiss that won’t be delivered due to a late night edit session. These are the sacrifices we make – we all make – to bring the work that we’re celebrating tonight to life.

And I’ll say this: it simply astounds me when I hear someone imply that the work we create in Kansas City can’t be as good as what comes out of New York or Chicago or Los Angeles or Miami or Boulder or wherever the hell else someone wants to compare us to.

How can we not be good enough when the shops we have here are just as hungry? Creativity paces the halls of places like VML, Barkley, Bernstein-Rein, Muller Bressler Brown, SHS, Callahan Creek, DEG and others, relentlessly searching for its next assignment.

How can we not be good enough when the talent we have here is just as strong? Creativity lives not just within our agency community, but also within the walls of Garmin, Hallmark, T2, Propaganda3, Deparment Zero, BicMedia, Wheeler Audio and hundreds of other companies that dot our city’s map.

How can we not be good enough when the sacrifices we make and the blood and the sweat and the tears we give are just as real and just potent as those given in any other city? Creativity lives in the heart and mind and actions of every single person in this room tonight.

Creativity lives in Kansas City. It’s in the entrepreneurial spirit of every dreamer that dares to fail in order to succeed.

Creativity lives in Kansas City. It’s in the innovative mind of every artist, inventor, chef or musician that audaciously imagines that the mark they can make on the world can start right here.

Creativity lives in Kansas City. Because we live in Kansas City. This is our home. Our refuge. Our inspiration.

Discard the notion of modesty as a requirement of the Midwestern work ethic, friends. Be proud of what you do. Be proud of your work. Be proud of your community. Be proud of Kansas City.

Why?

Because Creativity. Lives. Here.

Thank you.