Audrey Gilbreath, president and CEO of Gilbreath Communications, Inc., has been selected as one of seven distinguished industry leaders named as the Southwest Advertising Hall of Fame’s 2010 class of inductees. She has the rare distinction of being both the first African-American and the first woman inducted for the honor. The induction ceremony and luncheon took place on October 12, 2010 in Dallas.
The Southwest Advertising Hall of Fame is a creation of the Tenth District of the American Advertising Federation and the purpose is to honor regional industry standouts who have distinguished themselves by contributing to the betterment of advertising and its reputation, while also making volunteer contributions beyond their profession.
Gilbreath runs the largest and oldest African-American-owned marketing agency in Houston. She founded Gilbreath Communications more than 20 years ago, and the company has steadily grown, earning recognition over the years as one of Houston’s fastest-growing small businesses.
Throughout her company’s expansion and rising success, Audrey remained active in her industry and community. Audrey started her advertising career with the J. Walter Thompson Company in Houston, and held several positions with JWT over 10 years before leaving to start her own agency.
Since launching Gilbreath Communications, Inc., Audrey has developed, implemented and managed diverse integrated marketing campaigns, and corporate communications programs for a number of public and private entities. Her portfolio of clients include Shell Oil, the Port of Houston Authority, Workforce Solutions, City of Houston Department of Homeland Security, CenterPoint Energy, JPMorgan Chase, the NFL, CART, ConAgra Foods, Waste Management,The Ensemble Theatre, the Houston-Galveston Area Council Clean Air Coalition and Commute Solutions programs. Gilbreath Communications has won numerous prestigious awards over the years for the agency’s work.
For her profession, Audrey served as a board member and president of the American Advertising Federation-Houston. She also successfully chaired Houston’s 34th ADDY Awards. Audrey then served on the national American Advertising Federation Board of Directors as chairperson for Division I, representing the 500-plus member clubs nationwide, as well as the AAF, and the Mosaic Council of Multiculturalism. During these years, Audrey also was instrumental in assisting Texas Southern University with the establishment of its first Ad Club.
Gilbreath has been featured in many publications locally and nationally, from the Houston Business Journal and Minority Business News to Entrepreneur, Black Enterprise and Independent Business Magazines. Her contributions and commitment to the business community have positioned her for many nominations and awards, including Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, Women on the Move by the Texas Executive Women, a Woman of Distinction, and Small Businessperson of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Houston Partnership and served on the Executive Committee. She chaired the Member Services Advisory Committee for two years at the Partnership.
Audrey currently serves on the South Central Affiliate Board of the American Heart Association, the AHA Houston Board, the board of The Ensemble Theatre and Missouri City Chapter of the Links.
Previously, she also served on the board of the Houston Image Group, the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Friends of Hermann Park Advisory Board, Ebony Opera Guild, the United Negro College Fund, and the Houston Region of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Audrey also was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve on the Texas Health Care System Integrity Partnership Board.
The other 2010 Hall of Fame inductees include Herbert D. Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines; Alex Lopez Negrete, president of Lopez Negrete Communications, the second-largest independently-owned Hispanic agency in the U.S.; George Arnold, retired CEO of Arnold/Harwell/ Sherrill/Carrithers (now Evans/AFSC); Warren K. “Doc” Johnson, late founder and former CEO of Jordan Associates; Tom Moroch, founder and chairman of Moroch Partners; and Willard Walbridge, the late first vice president and general manager of KTRK-TV in Houston.