Executive Board Spotlight - Gabe Gonzales
By Casey Van Duyne
After discovering AAF on UIUC’s annual Quad Day his freshman year, Gabe Gonzales hasn’t looked back since.
From the greater Chicago area, to the moment Gabe stepped foot onto Urbana-Champaign’s grounds, he wanted to get involved and become committed to the campus community as much as possible.
Now a senior who has been studying Advertising all four years, Gabe is currently serving the nation’s largest AAF chapter on their the executive board as Executive Vice President (EVP) of Operations. He and has narrowed his advertising focus to business leadership, account management, branding and marketing. Gabe also became a multicultural advocate for university housing, as well as a re-founder of his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon.
“Because of AAF, I’ve had many doors open for me. I had the great fortune of interning with Leo Burnett Chicago this past summer – thanks to AAF’s Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Award,” said Gabe, "and I have also gained invaluable leadership experiences – thanks to AAF and the countless opportunities it provides to its members.”
As EVP of Operations, Gabe is responsible for managing AAF’s finances, tracking committee statuses, overseeing fundraising initiatives and making sure AAF runs smoothly.
This isn’t Gabe’s first time being on the executive board. When Gabe was a just a freshman, a friend of his who was on the executive board encouraged him to apply.
As a result, Gabe was promoted as a New Business Development Coordinator during his freshman year. Throughout the rest of his college career, Gabe also fulfilled account director roles and eventually became Senior Vice President of Finance his junior year.
“I have adopted a mantra that dictates my approach to life. It is the belief that if others don’t think your plans, dreams, hopes, and aspirations are crazy, you’re simply thinking too small,” said Gabe.
With a great amount of experience and passion, came many memories –— including a time when Gabe and his friends went on an industry immersion trip which AAF plans every year known as, “Advasion,” where they visited numerous advertising agencies in Chicago.
“It was a blast exploring the city with all my friends and getting to visit agencies I have learned about in class,” Gabe mentioned.
Although his involvement in AAF and Greek life keeps Gabe busy, —during his free time, he enjoys llamas, designing custom apparel, Star Wars, website design, cheap bourbon and the Chicago Cubs and he takes all very seriously.
Following graduation, Gabe hopes to be doing client-side work or have a career at an agency.
Being Gabe’s last year in AAF, his final piece of advice is this:
“Get involved early on and get to know the members of the executive board. AAF is the most fun when you put yourself out there and get to meet people. Also, be fearless and apply for anything and everything. Worst case scenario, they say “no”; you have nothing to lose.”