The Board of Directors is comprised of a diverse group of advertising professionals dedicated to the advocacy and advancement of the industry. Elected by AAF-SWFL membership, the Board steers the organization toward a sustainable future through sound, ethical, legal governance and financial management, and by ensuring our nonprofit organization has adequate resources to advance our mission.
Jenny Boyd: Programs Chair
Teresa M. Araque: Programs Chair
Teresa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with specialties in sports and feature writing from Ball State University, Muncie, Ind. She worked as a local reporter and columnist for the Naples Daily News and Bonita Banner, and then as a public relations expert for a local advertising agency, and then a large real estate corporation. In 2000 she launched WordPlay, Inc., a full-service public relations and marketing company. Prior to joining Hodges University in August 2018, she was the Director of Communications and Public Information Officer for Florida SouthWestern State College.
Over the years, she has been involved with several non-profit and civic organizations, including as a founding member and past president of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)/Gulf Coast Chapter, and as the public relations director for the Taste of Collier for 10 years. Currently, she is a board member for Sports Club, an after-school program. She was selected by Gulfshore Business magazine as a Top 40 Under 40 business professional. She has won multiple Image Awards from the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) for excellence in public relations, in addition to seven Telly Awards for excellence in short videos and television commercials. She is a past Chair of the Association of Florida Colleges’ Communications and Marketing Commission. Since joining Hodges University, the marketing team has been recognized with multiple awards on the national level for excellence in higher education marketing, and three ADDY awards. She is a graduate of Leadership Collier in 2010, Leadership Lee in 2014 and Leadership SWFL in 2019. In 2014, she was named a finalist for the APEX Award by the Women in Business of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce.
Tim Hennessy: Past President
Tim Hennessy is Vice President of Growth and Innovation at Rivet Brands. A full-service branding and advertising agency based in Babcock Ranch, Florida. He also serves as Secretary for the AAF District 4.
Tim began his career in broadcast television news production and creative services before finding his way into advertising sales and sales management. Finally seeing the light, 25 years later, struck out for the ad agency side of the business.
Community-centric, Tim serves on multiple local government boards. He understands the struggles, triumphs, and obstacles that come with owning a small business because Tim and his wife Tricia own one too.
Wendy Payton: Immediate Past President / Treasurer
Wendy’s membership in AAF spans various senior leadership roles, including the AAF Council of Governors, National American Advertising Awards Committee, District 4 Governor and AAF-SWFL President. In 2020 Wendy was awarded the Silver Medal, AAF’s highest honor for a local club member.
With more than 25 years as an ad agency executive and owner, Wendy has worked with powerhouse brands across the country and many of Southwest Florida’s most recognizable names. As Principal at Payton Brands, she employs branding, marketing and engagement initiatives to help visionary entrepreneurs, groundbreaking companies and cause-oriented organizations enhance marketing effectiveness, elevate consumer value, and thrive in an ever-changing world. Wendy also serves as Executive Director of Bridge To A Cure Foundation, a national childhood cancer nonprofit.
Laurie Ragle: Secretary
Laurie started her advertising career in the Dallas market with GTE Directories. There she sold yellow page ads and ended her stint of 10 years as a national sales trainer. After that, she decided to move to Indiana and work at a local newspaper company. Laurie ended her 21-year career with Schurz Communications in Bloomington, Indiana as the Advertising Director.
Laurie’s next adventure took her to Fort Myers, Florida because she could not take one more winter shoveling now. She is now the Print and Digital Advertising Director for Ogden News, who owns 6 community newspapers (Cape Coral being one), 3 community yellow page directories, and a digital marketing department.
What drives Laurie is her passion is to help small and medium size businesses grow to reach their goals. Providing stellar customer service is just one part of what make her tick.
Prior to advertising sales and management, Laurie had a radio show while at Indiana University and spun albums…if anyone actually remembers those, as well as sold Oldsmobiles…again something people might not remember.
Don Gross: Membership Chair
Don has come full circle back into the media profession that he loves, which actually started out while in high school and followed up in Florida State University, where he graduated with a degree in mass media communications. He’s also a former commercial real estate professional, specializing in retail, negotiating large acquisitions for big investors, locating tenants for shopping centers and the like. And of that wasn’t enough, he also was a financial advisor for several years dealing with private wealth management.
Additionally, Don is one of the only guys we know who has worked radio, broadcast TV and cable TV in Southwest Florida in terms of media and sales. As a Media Director, he strives to look at advertising opportunities strategically as pieces of an overall plan.
Mike Haley: American Advertising Awards Chair
Hailing from the Midwest—Toledo, Ohio to be specific—it didn’t take Mike long to realize he wanted to settle in the Sunshine State. “I moved to Fort Myers, Florida with my family right after high school in 1993 and knew this is where I wanted to live.” With no plan or funds for college Mike made sure he was chosen as one of the inaugural members of Americorp where he dedicated a year to serving the local community in exchange for a stipend to be used for tuition. After a jaunt back to Ohio for college where he studied audio-video production, Mike settled in Florida once again in 1998— returning to help raise his oldest nephew. Eventually he went on to earn his MSCE and landed a job with Sony, followed by a successful career at Field Edge, a national software developer. In 2009, while finishing his degree at Florida State and advancing his career at Field Edge, Mike got bored again and formed his own business: M&M Multimedia. Originally founded as a video production company, M&M Multimedia has grown and evolved over the years into a fully integrated digital media production and marketing company. Although the Sony job didn’t last long it came full circle in 2012 when M&M Multimedia landed their first contract with Sony to produce content for the Sony Listens YouTube Channel. The rest is history….
Over the past decade, M&M Multimedia has helped businesses and agency partners in the region and around the globe build awareness, drive new initiatives, and achieve long-term growth. “Our strength is digital media production with a focus on video production and interactive media. We know this area and we know how to engage customers using video. We specialize in creating visually effective media with marketing and training in mind. It all starts with understanding each company’s objectives—and then producing the most effective visual media to engage and solve problems.
As we say, “We make media that makes you Learn, Laugh, Cry, and Buy!”
Gail Gubelman, aka GG, has been in the marketing & advertising design industry for the last 26 years. She graduated from the University of San Francisco and The Academy of Arts in California.
She has won numerous awards, including ADDYs (local, regional, and national), throughout the years with different agencies.
She started her own boutique design firm, Gohman Design, in 2012 and has clients in Florida, Tennessee, and Massachusetts.
Jesi Cason: Diversity & Inclusion Chair
Jesi is the most recognizable name in the branding photography niche of Southwest Florida, with a style that turns heads and breaks norms. With 5 years of professional photography experience, she’s had the honor of helping scores of small business owners, artists, performers, and leaders improve their digital presence and reputation by creating custom, eye-catching photographs for their marketing needs.
In addition to locally owned businesses, she’s made photos for major brands such as Sony Music and Skechers, further demonstrating her ability to craft on-brand images for both large and small companies.