Jeff Wright Memorial Scholarship
The American Advertising Federation – Baton Rouge (AAF-BR) is honored to present the Jeff Wright Memorial Scholarship. Although the club has awarded various collegiate academic scholarships throughout the decades, this year it is the club’s decision to once again dedicate the scholarship to the memory of Jeff Wright, a loving husband and an accomplished Baton Rouge advertising professional who supported AAF-BR and mentored many of its members.
Jeff Wright (1959-2014) was perhaps the most well-rounded individual you would ever meet in our industry. He was an advertising professional with keen public relations sensibilities. He was a strategic thinker who was also very creative. He was a business associate who was also your dear friend.
Jeff entered the advertising world in the mid-1980s as an energetic sales rep for Louisiana Life magazine. The ad agency world soon came calling and he joined The Image Group and later Keith & Associates Advertising. The year 1989 was a pivotal in Jeff’s young advertising career. It was then that he landed a position at The Graham Group, a Lafayette-based firm, as the agency’s Baton Rouge account executive. Jeff would remain there for almost 20 years, becoming a partner with George Graham in the firm.
It was during his time there that Jeff honed his skills and became that “go to” guy who was so well respected in our community. Many of the people who were Jeff’s first clients ultimately became his good friends because of his willingness to help. “Jeff’s legacy was the impact he had on a more personal level with the people he spent his time with, including his clients and friends … and it didn’t take long to transition from client to friend,” said Curt Eysink of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “He was irreverent and a risk taker, but always professional and immensely caring, and he wanted to make a difference. I wish he could see today how much of a difference he made.”
In 2006, Jeff co-founded Wright Feigley Communications, which Jeff helped lead until his passing in 2014. With Jeff’s help Wright Feigley Communications became a well respected agency in Baton Rouge that excelled in its strategic thinking and ability to forge lasting relationships with their clients.
He often referred to what he and his team did as the “intellectual heavy-lifting· and always encouraged the people he worked alongside to be “chefs and not waiters.” He was also very giving of his time and knowledge to students and those new to the industry. He always had time to meet with young professionals to discuss their careers or give a lecture to students at LSU, his alma mater.
But Jeff was more than an “ad or PR guy.” He was a ·community guy.” Jeff realized long ago that his communication skills could be used for more than promoting a client’s products and services. He had special place in his heart for non-profits and served on many Boards and committees throughout the course of his career.
In 2015 Jeff was posthumously given AAF-BR’s most prestigious recognition, the E.A. “Pete” Goldsby Silver Medal Award, presented each year to a person who has made the greatest contribution to the advertising profession.
TESTIMONIALS FROM PREVIOUS WINNERS
Sophie Goodgion – Jeff Wright Memorial Scholarship 2015 Recipient
Receiving the Jeff Wright Memorial scholarship was a rewarding and influential landmark in my collegiate career. But as a soon-to-be graduate in advertising, it meant more to me than a financial boost or distinguished accolade. For me, it was a confirmation that I was on the right path, that my efforts could make an impact and that my future was something to be excited about. Having worked in the professional field of advertising for two years now, I can say my excitement and gratitude hasn’t faded one bit.
To the future recipients of this award I’d like to say congratulations, you deserve it, and I’ll see you in the real world—you’re going to crush it.
Hye Jung – Jeff Wright Memorial Scholarship 2016 Recipient
Receiving the Jeff Wright Memorial Scholarship has helped me in so many ways—one, it helped me financially as I was approaching the end of my college career, but more than that, it was a recognition of my achievements as an advertising student. I think as a college student on the verge of graduating, it is so common to doubt your potential and fear how you’re going to embrace the real world. I was no different, but when I was chosen as the recipient of this scholarship, I felt a sense of relief and renewed confidence in myself. In addition, finding out about the past recipients and how well they were doing instilled in me the motivation to keep working hard, even after graduating. It was such an honor to receive this scholarship and to this day, I appreciate each and every member of AAF-BR who recognized me and celebrated this award with me.
Kathleen “Katie” Smith – Jeff Wright Memorial Scholarship 2017 Recipient
It’s always been an easy thought to work hard and be more in all aspects of my life, especially when it came to my future career in advertising. Naturally, that’s why I applied for the Jeff Wright Memorial Scholarship. One of the most well-rounded local advertising professionals, Jeff Wright, fulfilled a lifetime of service not only to this industry, but he also inspired and treated others exactly how I aspire to live my life. After receiving this incredible honor last May, the monetary value helped me achieve my lifelong dream to study abroad as well as help instill confidence to land my first “big girl” job straight out of college. By studying abroad last summer, I was obligated to test new horizons, appreciate new ways of life as well as influenced to expand my personal bubble. Upon returning from this journey, I returned to my last semester at LSU plus my internship at Lamar with a new pair of lenses. I began to feel and be more present in conversations than before, I became more willing to say “Yes” to harder tasks, and I found peace in answering the question, “Is advertising the right profession for me?” By growing in these aspects of my life, I truly believe this is why I was able to acquire a phenomenal entry level position as a National Sales Campaign Coordinator at Lamar Advertising. The Jeff Wright Memorial Scholarship Award isn’t just a scholarship nomination. This is a type of honor that continuously encourages one to be “chefs and not waiters,” as Jeff used to say.