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2019 Silver Medal Award - George Whitely

Congratulations to George Whitely, the 2019 Silver Medal Award Recipient. George is President & CEO of Stephan & Brady, Inc., one of Madison, Wisconsin’s largest marketing communications agencies. Check out his tribute video below courtesy of Backflip.


About The Award

The American Advertising Federation's Silver Medal Award was established in 1959 to recognize men and women who have made outstanding contributions to advertising. Annually, AAF member clubs bestow this honor upon outstanding members of the local advertising community. Silver Medal recipients are selected by a panel of judges from AAF Madison. Learn more.

More About George Whitely

Born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, Whitely attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin where he received his BA degree in Economics.  He received his MSJ degree in Advertising from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He started his career at Marsteller, Inc., in Chicago, a top 25 international advertising and PR agency at the time.  For five years he worked on a variety of national accounts in a copy contact/account service position, where he was involved in both creative concepting/copywriting as well as traditional account service duties.

Seeking the smaller market lifestyle that Madison offered, Whitely joined Stephan & Brady as an Account Supervisor in 1979.  A big believer in what Wisconsin had to offer, he was part of the team that developed the “Escape to Wisconsin” campaign for Wisconsin Tourism, arguably the most memorable Wisconsin Tourism advertising of all time.  Whitely has been involved in account management throughout his advertising career at Stephan & Brady. He’s worked on literally dozens of accounts including Oscar Mayer, Kraft, Miller Brewing, Rayovac, Sargento, Echo handheld power equipment, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (now Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin), and Church Mutual Insurance Company to name a few.  

Whitely was named Vice President in 1983 and became a partner in 1985.  In 1988, he led the formation of a foodservice division for Stephan & Brady, which generated significant growth for the company at the time and remains an area of strength 30 years later.  He was named Director of Client Services in 1995, and President in 1996, the fifth in the company’s history. He became President & CEO in 2006.

In addition to his responsibilities at Stephan & Brady, Whitely has served on the board of directors of Special Olympics Wisconsin for over 25 years, including terms as Chairman of the Board from 1999-2001, and 2009-2011.  He received the “Champion of Special Needs Students” award from Madison Civics Club in 2009 in recognition of his work with Special Olympics. He has also volunteered time and services to numerous other organizations over the years including Madison Ballet, Combat Blindness, and United Way of Dane County and is a frequent speaker on marketing/communications topics at UW-Milwaukee, UW Madison, Business Marketing Association, and Special Olympics International.

Whitely’s outside interests include sports, music and travel.  He and his wife Patricia reside in Middleton, Wisconsin. Their daughter Elizabeth Whitely-Scherer and her husband Adam live in Dobb’s Ferry, New York.  Their son Jonathan lives in Seattle, Washington.

We had the pleasure of honoring George at the 2019 Silver Medal Reception on February 16 prior to the American Advertising Awards. Congratulation, George!

George Whitely 2019 SMA Recipient

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