NJ Ad Club Selects Two from Kean as ‘Best Under 40’
A Kean University senior and a Kean graduate were each named by the NJ Ad Club as Best Under 40 Marketing/Communications Professionals in New Jersey.
Senior Adrian Peralta, a marketing major and student researcher who aspires to work in digital marketing and brand strategy, was the only student winner among the 22 young professionals honored on Wednesday, November 10.
Kean alumna Dorian-Lee Velastegui ’18, who majored in public relations and now is the sales and marketing manager for the Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization, was also selected for the award.
“These two young marketing and communications professionals have bright futures ahead of them because of the world-class education and real-world experience that Kean provides,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “We are proud of their success and the accomplishments of all of our Kean students and graduates.”
The NJ Ad Club, founded in 1958, is the oldest and largest trade organization representing advertising and marketing firms in New Jersey. The Best Under 40 awards recognize individuals who are succeeding and showing promise in those fields.
Peralta, of Elizabeth, has worked on six marketing research projects and presented at four conferences during his time at Kean. He is currently working on a study of minority-owned businesses under the guidance of Kean Assistant Professor Min Chung Han, Ph.D., and is a social media organizer for a nonprofit, 1 Million Cups, which works to support local entrepreneurs.
“Winning this award from the NJ Ad Club is a surreal experience,” Peralta said. “I am humbled and honored by the support from Kean University.”
Following graduation, he plans to work as a marketing coordinator in the sports or music industries or in the nonprofit sector. He also plans to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in marketing.
"Adrian is a marketing communication superstar," said Sandy Ghezzi, chair of the College of Business and Public Management’s Board of Advisors and chief executive officer of Luminozity, LLC. "He is fearless in taking on leadership roles and serves as an example to others that great success is always possible by evolving to stay relevant in this rapidly changing world."
Ghezzi nominated Peralta, saying he “earned his reputation as an effective leader” by directing teams, collaborating on market insight studies and presenting benefits to customer prospects.
Velastegui called receiving the award “truly an honor.” At the nonprofit Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization, she oversees social media, email marketing campaigns, the website platform and mobile app, and more. The organization works to increase tourism, trade shows and events in Elizabeth.
“I am extremely grateful to be presented with this award,” she said. “My education at Kean has prepared me to push myself and continue to grow in my field of communications, to continuously elevate myself and those around me who are willing to learn and grow. For that, I am also grateful.”
Jeremiah Sullivan, executive director of the School of Communication, Media and Journalism (CMJ) at Kean, said it is “no surprise” that Velastegui won the award, adding that she “brought an eagerness and sense of excitement to any task” as a student.
"Since leaving Kean, Dorian-Lee has gone on to do great work for the Elizabeth Destination Marketing Organization – a place where she first interned – while also launching a freelance PR business of her own,” Sullivan said.
“At CMJ, we’ve benefited from her continued commitment to the professional development of our students,” Sullivan said. “She often serves as an alumni mentor, speaks on career panels and supports internship opportunities for our students.”