AdRespect Founder
AdRespect Founder

AdRespect founder Michael Wilke has charted the emergence of gay marketing and advertising as a business journalist and nonprofit leader since 1992. His work is widely cited by college textbooks and news agencies, and he is credited with coining the popular term "gay vague" by major newspapers.

Wilke is Founding Executive Director of Commercial Closet Association, launched in New York City in May 2001 and now renamed AdRespect. He travels regularly across the U.S. and overseas with a training for corporations that has appeared at numerous Fortune 500 companies and ad agencies, and he serves as Senior US Consultant for Out Now Consulting, based in The Netherlands.

Wilke studied journalism at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and earned a masters of marketing at Zicklin Business School of Baruch College-City University of New York.

He was a business reporter at Advertising Age for over four years and has written about gay advertising and media for The New York Times, Adweek, Brandweek, The Advocate, Haymarket's Revolution marketing magazine and Inside Media. Wilke has appeared frequently as a guest on national news networks, internationally on CNN and the BBC, and on "Entertainment Tonight," "Extra!" and VH1. Wilke also worked as a news producer for New York City's WNBC-TV web site, and helped launch CBSHealthwatch.com (later merged with WebMD) as a project director.

He won a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award and was one of OUT magazine's OUT 100 in 2001 for his extensive coverage of gay advertising issues. In 2004, Girlfriends magazine selected him for its "Men We Love" issue. Wilke has also served as an advertising judge for the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards, a Crain Lecturer at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and was a Hearst Professional in Residence fellowship at the University of Colorado at Boulder.