AAF Roanoke’s new series featuring area experts, industry leaders and all around interesting characters in the advertising field.

In this post, we’re highlighting Tom Field, who is the President, Creative Director and Publisher of Valley Business Journal and Berryfield, Inc., as well as AAF Roanoke’s current President.

tomWhat are you most excited about for AAF Roanoke in the coming year?

We’re putting our smarty pants on. I really do see our club evolving in the professional development arena. We’re not just the creative party types (though there’s nothing wrong with that and intend to carry on that tradition), but we’re digging into deeper matters that impact our industry. I think if you ask people who have been involved in the ad club over a number of years, they would say we are raising the bar. We’re gathering quite the little army of experts in all aspects of the business.

What made you join AAF in the first place?

I absolutely love advertising. I think it’s our greatest industry and equips our economy for optimum performance. I attended an ADDY awards banquet in 1978 and have been hooked ever since.

How did you get into the field of advertising?

My very first public job was in graphics and silk screen printing for commercial work. I was hired by one of our area’s worst mass murderers (true story) but I can’t talk about it here. That was in 1977; and I have been directly involved in the advertising business continuously since then (despite the sordid beginning). I went from production to design to copywriting to marketing management to creative directing and agency ownership.

Any advice for someone just starting out?


(Oh, you want me to share that now? …Okay)

If you don’t have experience, make it up. Fake it. Pretend. Create totally bogus materials or project examples as if they were the real deal. With all that in a book (from a brown paper shopping bag to a state-of-the-art digital portfolio) carry it to people who are doing what you want to do. Ask for advice and referrals. And for the love of mike, join AAF Roanoke.

What’s one talent that very few people know you have?

I know all the words to both The Beverly Hillbillies and Winnie-the-Pooh theme songs and can play them on any musical keyboard.