AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement Goes Prime Time

AAF Special Event Set to Honor Top Marketers  from American Family Insurance, Blavity, Inc., Equity Quotient, Essence Ventures, Group Black, NBA and State Farm. NBA All-Star, Author, and Entrepreneur, Chris Paul, to Receive First Ever “Cultural Force” Award.


Washington, DC, August 10, 2023—The American Advertising Federation (AAF), the “unifying voice for advertising,” announced eight new inductees into its prestigious AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement (AHOA).  The AHOA celebrates those individuals aged 40 and younger who are helping to lead the industry forward. They were elected following a months-long process that included a rigorous review of the candidates by an  esteemed group of industry leaders including former inductees and top marketers representing media, agencies, consumer goods, and social platforms.  Induction ceremonies will take place on Thursday evening, November 16 at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City.  It will be the first time in the 30+ years of the AHOA that induction ceremonies take place in “prime time.”

“The AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement is a shining example of why our industry’s future looks so bright,” said Steve Pacheco, President & CEO, AAF.  “It is the gold standard in recognizing industry talent who are making a notable impact to the advertising community.”  He added, “It is only appropriate that we now honor these individuals under the spotlight of the evening lights.”

This year’s list of inductees, the 31st edition of the AHOA, is proudly inclusive, cutting across companies, ethnicities, social media and more. They join a distinguished list of past industry honorees  and include (in alphabetical order): 

Elicia Azali, Enterprise Chief Marketing Officer, American Family Insurance Group. Elicia is no stranger to blazing new trails, driving customer-driven growth, and lifting as she climbs. Through her leadership, the American Family Insurance and The General brands stand out in a cluttered industry by living out their purpose- to champion dreams and opportunities so everyone can rise. Elicia believes "to whom much is given much is required"—she uses her voice as force for good and is not afraid to advocate for bold change that creates space for others to win.

Baldwin Cunningham, Director, Media and Partnerships, State Farm Insurance. Baldwin sits at the intersection of culture, entertainment, and innovation. Throughout his career, he's become a respected thought leader, culture curator, and creative nomad. At State Farm, Baldwin is transforming the media and partnership portfolio with a new perspective and redefining the approach to market. He is passionate about breaking barriers and dedicating his time and resources to mentoring young professionals. Baldwin co-founded the digital network Partnered and continues crafting groundbreaking campaigns, keeping his focus firmly on the future.

Morgan DeBaun, Founder and CEO, Blavity Inc. Morgan is a trailblazing entrepreneur, investor, and advisor who has dedicated her career to empowering Black consumers and professionals.  Her company, Blavity Inc., builds solutions for Black and multicultural audiences and those enterprises who want to reach them through content that reaches more than 250 million monthly readers. Through it all, Morgan remains committed to empowering Black voices and positively impacting the world. “Our corporate mission is to build tools and platforms to advance Black happiness.”

Tammy Henault, Chief Marketing Officer, National Basketball Association (NBA). Currently leading marketing efforts at the NBA, Tammy’s mission is to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball. This includes driving the launch of the NBA’s Next Gen Platform, NBA App and NBA ID, the league’s new global membership program.  She built a best-in-class marketing group during her earlier tenure at Paramount+, efforts that have only been exceeded by her community activism in support of API representation.

Travis Montaque, Co-Founder & CEO, Group Black; Founder & CEO, Crater.  From a cashier at Chick-fil-A at the age of 15 to his current recognition as a next-generation entrepreneur, Travis is not only building businesses that tackle real problems head on but is also building them within the context of his values. Travis believes in the “Inclusion Age”—the more we share, the more we are able to progress together. Group Black does just that: it sets out to fuel a richer pipeline by dramatically changing the face of media ownership and investment.

God-is Rivera, Chief Content Officer, Essence Ventures.  As a proud Black American woman hailing from the Bronx, NY, God-is believes passionately in amplifying all communities, and that they deserve to be recognized, respected, and rewarded—not counted out.  And when God-is has something to say, the industry listens. This has been apparent in how God-is has created new paths and roles in which she has amplified and advocated for diverse voices.  God-is has had and continues to drive industry impact, lifting as she climbs. 

Perfecto Sanchez, Co-Founder and CRO, Equity Quotient. Perfecto is dedicated to building brand solutions that drive measurable impact.  An Iraq War Veteran turned entrepreneur, Perfecto believes in making “doing good” more accessible. As co-founder of Equity Quotient, an AI-powered stakeholder intelligence platform that aggregates socioeconomic data, he is enabling organizations to make smarter decisions to drive a more productive and inclusive economy. Perfecto is also co-founder of Keep The Change, a for-purpose agency focused on shaping a more sustainable and equitable society. 

In addition to being inducted into the 2023 AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement, Perfecto will also receive the  Jack Avrett Volunteer Spirit Award for industry service.

“The Council of Judges has selected in this year’s inductees a group of all-stars who aren’t just evolving how we do marketing, they’re changing culture itself,” said Ross Martin, co-chair of the Advertising Hall of Achievement and President of Known. “Each embodies the spirit of progress that gives us so much hope for our industry’s future:  they’re fierce entrepreneurs, brilliant innovators and marketers on a mission to use their superpowers for good.”

As part of this year’s ceremonies, the AAF will also present a new award: the Cultural Force Award. The award is a special designation given to an individual, also 40 years of age or under, but who is not directly involved in the advertising business.  Rather, they have proven to be a cultural force that has influenced the way we advertise, market, or reach new audiences.

The first recipient is NBA All-Star, author, and entrepreneur, Chris Paul.

“More and more, advertising has become inextricably linked to culture,” says AHOA co-chair Hayler Romer.“ AAF recognizes this overlap, which is why its membership crosses virtually every marketing discipline, albeit agencies, marketers, media companies, digital platforms, students, grass roots organizations and more.”  She adds, “Chris Paul personifies this multifaceted dimension. He’s been a pitchman, a video game collaborator, an outspoken advocate for racial equality—he’s even cloned himself.  Like AAF, Chris Paul is a ‘unifying voice for advertising.’”

For further details about the AHOA dinner and ceremonies in November including sponsorship opportunities, visit