Carla Davis Named 2023 Silver Medal Recipient

September 18, 2023

Honored for her outstanding lifetime contribution to the advertising field

AAF-Akron is pleased to announce that Carla Davis, Marketing Communications Director at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, is the 2023 recipient of its distinguished Silver Medal award.

She has been a trailblazer during her 23 years of leadership at the 150-year-old institution. She is constantly thinking of new ways to keep the Library relevant in today’s world. As the first person of color to serve in her position at the Library, Davis has made significant and innovative changes, including transitioning the formerly paper and binder creative department into a fully automated project management workflow system. 

She has implemented numerous advertising and promotional campaigns to market the Library’s 19 locations. Under her leadership, the Library has gone from only using printed flyers for advertising its products and services to launching multi-media campaigns on radio, digital and standard billboards, Metro RTA transit vehicles, segmented automated emails, mobile ads, and digital marketing.

One of the most meaningful marketing and advertising campaigns that Davis oversaw was the “Staying Safe” campaign, launched during the Covid 19 pandemic. After briefly closing in March 2020, the Akron-Summit County Public Library was one of the first library systems to reopen in July 2020 to provide critical service to the Akron and Summit County communities.

In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, Davis developed the Library’s marketing strategies during its five operating levy campaigns. She launched the Library’s first-ever Strategic Marketing Plan, which included the Library’s first system-wide rebranding campaign. She led the marketing strategic planning for two Library strategic plans.

Davis led the advertising campaigns when the Library reopened the new branch libraries and Main Library in downtown Akron. The invitation for the Reopening Gala won a Silver ADDY award in 2004.

Through her leadership, she has positioned Summit County’s largest library system to move forward into the next century.

In addition to the previously mentioned contributions at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, as the Promotion Coordinator at the Akron Beacon Journal, Carla developed promotional advertising for the year-long series “A Question of Color,”– which received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1994.

Her many contributions to the community include:
• Project Grad Akron – Marketing Committee
• Greater Akron Musical Association (Akron Symphony Orchestra and Akron Symphony Chorus) Marketing Committee
• The City of Akron  racial equity and social justice, task force – Chair, Communications Subcommittee
• Akron Press Club – President, 2020-2022 (three years); Currently Immediate Past President

The AAF-Akron special selection committee chose Davis during a closed session vote in early Sept. Davis will be presented the Silver Medal at the AAF-Akron Annual Meeting on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Akron Civic Theatre Knight Stage.

Davis joins a distinguished list of recently awarded AAF-Akron Silver Medal winners including, Janice Troutman, Director of the Myers School of Art at The University of Akron, Dennis Kleidon, retired founder and CEO of Akron-based Kleidon & Associates; Janet VonGunten, retired business development representative at Veritiv Corp.; Doug Smiley, founding partner of former Smiley/Hanchulak Marketing Communications; and Jack DeLeo, retired president/CEO of Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc. (hfa).

For a list of past recipients, visit aafakron.com/silvermedal.

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