HOUSTON — Building a career legacy of persistence and achievement over more than 30 years certainly earns respect from your peers. One major example is Audrey J. Gilbreath, the recent 2022 winner of the American Advertising Federation-Houston’s Living Legend Award. Ms. Gilbreath is the 25th recipient of the Living Legend and the first African-American professional to win the honor from the 111-year-old AAF-H.
The Living Legend Award recognizes the accomplishments of AAF-H members who have built a consistent record of success over the course of their careers. The award is conferred after nomination by the Presidents Council and approval of the Board of Directors.
Ray Schilens, chair of the AAF-Houston Board of Directors, says Ms. Gilbreath epitomizes the most admirable qualities of the advertising industry. “Audrey represents an incredible commitment to not only her industry, but to her community,” Schilens says. “Gilbreath Communications exists as an integral part of Houston, what the city is made of, and the incredible diversity we have here. Audrey represents the most beautiful things about our industry, well above and beyond, while crafting great work with great dedication.”
Ms. Gilbreath vividly recalls what first led her to pursue a career in advertising and eventually, to start her own company. “My first passion for advertising goes back to working for PACE Concerts, now called PACE Entertainment. That’s where I had my very first experiences with media and advertising, and the crazy world of entertainment,” she says. “I then went on to the agency side at J. Walter Thompson where I learned about the many avenues and niches of agency business as well as the ins and outs of running a business. But I was looking for more. I found what I needed by starting Gilbreath Communications!”
She adds that the most rewarding work involves campaigns with the potential to change people’s lives. “From the years of work we’ve done with diversity and inclusion commitments, to the health care work we have done involving diabetes awareness, heart disease and HIV Awareness, to even the City of Houston’s recent COVID-19 vaccination campaign and others,” Ms. Gilbreath adds. “This passionate work, along with our community service work and our commitment to education through scholarships and mentoring is what keeps us going!
“The Living Legend is a lasting tribute to all the work we have done over the past 32 years and the dedication we have for giving back.”
Ms. Gilbreath previously served as AAF-H president and later became the first African American and the first woman inducted into the Southwest Advertising Hall of Fame in 2010. She also won the 2016 AAF-H Silver Medal, presented to men and women who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and who have been active in furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence, and responsibility in areas of social concern. And in 2022, Gilbreath Communications won the AAF-District 10 Regional Mosaic Champion Award recognizing the company’s decades of work as a successful advocate for diversity in the advertising community while also producing diversity-based campaigns for hundreds of clients.