We recently spoke with one of the architects of this organization, Ruth Winograd. She discusses her life, the changes in the industry, and what she does now to pass the time.
Ruth was a founding member of the Association of Marketing Professionals of Rhode Island, AMP-RI, in 2009. She was instrumental in gathering many of the WACRI, the Women’s Advertising Club of RI, and encouraging former members to start this new organization.
She is a member of the AMP-RI board of directors, and recently participated in its first Annual Marketing Conference, held last April. It was a resounding success that brought together marketing professionals, business owners, and students, to participate in panel discussions and individual presentations.
AMP-RI has a history of many types of presentations, from marketing trends to blogging, branding and social media, public speaking and podcasts, to organizing your workspace.
What was the first group of AMP-RI like? How many members are there, why did you form the group, and what were some of the programs and activities?
Ruth: I was one of the founding members, along with other women, all formerly members of WACRI. We contacted all those we could reach to tell them we were meeting because we thought it was time to form a new Ad Club. In the beginning, there were about 20 of us. We met at a physical therapy room at the Butler Hospital Complex.
(She spent many years as a member of WACRI, the Women’s Advertising Agency of Rhode Island. WACRI was the oldest advertising organization in the United States, founded in 1920. When asked what she did at WACRI, she replied, “everything.”)
Her main responsibility was making the House arrangements for the programs. The annual WACRI SuperShow event was a juried competition, with a call for entries for ad agencies, graphic designers, publishers, freelancers, etc.
There were also radio/television entries and campaigns, along with print entries, packaging, and mailing. Well-known professionals, with a reputation for outstanding creative work, did the pre-judging, and the winners were announced at the event which showcased their entries. It was quite an event attended by hundreds.
The meetings were fun and we had a contest to design the AMP logo, elected officers, and planned topics to discuss at the next meeting. They were like a board meeting, complete with appetizers and wine.
Eventually, we were able to hold actual program meetings, with Tom Monahan of Leonard, Monahan and Saaybe, John Palumbo, Editor of RI Monthly, Don Bosquet, cartoonist (he flew his remote-control airplane around inside the 1149 Restaurant venue during the presentation), and David Layman, TV personality, all of them successful businessmen in Rhode Island. Some of the events were just for fun, such as attending Pawtucket Red Sox games and visiting Roger Williams Zoo, among other places.
How has marketing changed since you began your career?
Ruth: When I worked at the Outlet, we would design and publish an 18-page sales advertisement to place in The Providence Journal (the outlying areas would get nine pages). The Journal was the main form of advertising; no computers, internet, websites, or anything. It is a whole new world now.
(Present digital technology did not exist back then, and an invitation to an advertising program event had to be printed, addressed, stamped, and mailed.)
What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?
Ruth: Getting a job in advertising and keeping it. I worked at the Outlet, Bob Golden Agency, Fitzgerald & Company, and New England Institute of Technology.
I was also a member of the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island for 30 years, and a Board member, from 1988 to 2020, until they gave me a Proclamation letter of appreciation and gratitude and loyalty. She jokingly adds, “It was the only way they could get rid of me!”
What would you like to do next?
Ruth: Retire and win a million dollars! I worked until I was 80; I will be 93 (years young) in November.
Ruth loves to play Mahjong and has been part of a group of ladies, playing for years. She has her own home and still drives. She is our “oldest” member and a treasure to us all.