Marcus Graham Project Picks Kelvin Morales for iCR8 Fellowship

The email said: "We want you to join us this summer and embark on a journey that is beyond your imagination. Your life is going to change in 11 short weeks. You will make friends, meet geniuses and spark your mind to fire off great ideas with great people."

That's how Kelvin Morales BIC '19 heard that he had been selected to be part of the Marcus Graham Project's iCR8™ program. He'll join fellow BICster Natalie Alcide this summer in Dallas, Texas. He'll be juggling his time between Dallas and San Francisco, where he'll be attending The LAGRANT Foundation conference in June.

The selected participants in iCR8™ programs form themselves into a pop-up agency that they will run as they manage the clients that they will partner with. Each year, the selected team typically provides consultancy for a select non-profit organization, as well as a large corporation and a start-up.

ABOUT Marcus Graham Project's iCR8™: it was inspired by a blog written by Tiffany R. Warren, Chief Diversity Officer of The Omnicom Group and Founder of the AdColor Industry Coalition:

“One idea proposed is the creation of an industry sponsored advertising “bootcamp.” Such a camp could assist those agencies who need to diversify, but are worried about lack of advertising experience in potential candidates. This would also help professionals yearning to be free from other sectors hit the ground running when they enter ours.” (“The Big Tent,” Ad Age Blog)

The goal of iCR8™ programs to do just as Ms. Warren suggested, identify opportunities in the industry and those interested in pursuing them. The curriculum design was inspired by the 1969 Agency Primer written by Bill Sharp entitled, “How to Be Black And Get a Job in The Advertising Business Anyway.”

Approaching its 9th year, the Marcus Graham Project’s experiential learning methodology is specifically designed to provide diverse aspirants in the field of marketing and media, including advertising, PR & social media with the exposure and experience necessary to solidify careers within the industry.

5th BIC Cohort Snags FIVE TLF Scholarships

L to R: LaToya Heron, Amera Lulu, Kelvin Morales, Rebecca Rivera, Jen Cuffari

FIVE BICsters have won prestigious The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) Scholarships: Jennifer Cuffari, LaToya Heron, Amera Lulu, Kelvin Morales, and Rebecca Rivera. In a powerhouse showing, they are among just 40 graduate students nationwide to receive a TLF scholarship whose winners share the foundation's mission of increasing ethnic diversity in the advertising, marketing and public relations industries.

This is the fifth year in a row -- in BIC's fifth year of existence -- that BIC students have been selected to win a highly selective The LAGRANT Foundation Scholarship. Fred Garcia and Amber Jackson, BIC '15, Donna Dei-Baning, BIC '16, Dalisbeth GalvezMelissa JulienPriscilla Parra BIC '17, Charisse Holder, Erica Lopez, and Sean Feol-Baugh, BIC '18  received the $5,000 scholarship in 2014, 2015, 2016 and $3,250 in 2017 (respectively). With 14 recipients in just five years, BIC has now received the most scholarships given to a school/program in the Northeast during The LAGRANT Foundation's 20 year history. 

Jen, LaToya, Amera, Kelvin, and Rebecca will each receive $3,250 and join students from such prestigious institutions as Harvard, Duke, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse, Georgetown and Emory. They will all receive travel and lodging to May events either in San Francisco or New York City. Explaining BIC's strong showing, Kim L. Hunter, Founder and Chairman of TLF, said that "CCNY students are thoughtful, creative, and imaginative." 

This year's multi-track selection included two students from the BIC Creative track, two from PR and one from Management. Jennifer Cuffari received a BBA from CUNY's Baruch College and has worked as a Teaching Art Assistant at Doing Art Together. LaToya Heron graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in African-American Studies. She is currently a Junior Analyst at Omnicom Media Group. Prior to enrolling in BIC, Amera Lulu received a Bachelor's in Communication Design from CUNY City Tech. She has worked for The ONE Club for Creative Excellence, is a MAIP fellow as well as Campus Ambassador, and is currently interning at Ogilvy. Kelvin Morales received his BA in Communication Arts at Florida International University. He's currently the Brand Manager for Ralph Lauren at Macy's. Rebecca Rivera earned her BA in Comparative Literature from Occidental College. She has worked as a copywriter and Creative Director at various heavy-hitting agencies throughout New York City, including DDB, Digitas, TBWA, and Deutsch. Rebecca also helped establish the 3% Conference which champions diversity and inclusion. 

The LAGRANT Foundation’s 2018 scholarship recipients will be recognized during the 20th Anniversary Scholarship and Donor Recognition Reception in May at either the New York City of San Francisco location. Scholarship events will kick off with a welcome dinner followed by two days of career development workshops as well as a scholarship & donor recognition reception. During these activities, students will have the opportunity to meet industry professionals, network, and gain exposure to the advertising, marketing, and public relations world.

The event in New York City is sponsored by Omnicom Public Relations Group and Ketchum, with Karen van Bergen, CEO, Omnicom Public Relations Group, serving as the New York City host committee chair and Rob Flaherty, chairman at Ketchum and TLF board member serving as New York City host committee co-chair. Gail Heimann, president of Weber Shandwick will be this year’s keynote speaker.

Since its inception in 1998, The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) has provided 372 scholarships and $1.98 million to continue its mission to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations. With the generous support of its major donors and supporters, TLF provides students with career & professional development workshops, scholarships, internships, entry-level positions and mentors to African American/Black, Alaska Native/Native American, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino undergraduate and graduate students.

DECODED Teaches BICsters and Innovators Code-in-a-Day

In a Saturday session that included highly motivated BICsters, Education Innovators, and Industry Pros, DECODED demystified technology by providing lively and fruitful instruction on HTML and Javascript. All participants were tasked with answering a brief that required them to produce a lifestyle app using basic coding language. With the glow of laptops lighting their faces, over 30 tech "newbies" made the decision to forgo the best weather of the season in order to sit together for this intensive workshop that is part of a larger one-credit BIC course "Tech for Non-Techies" which has a mission to teach students basic concepts, terminology, and broad applications of technology and design necessary in the communications industry so that they are not intimidated and more likely to be productive in cross-disciplinary, tech-fueled projects.

This immersive 4-hour, on-campus experience was created as a partnership between DECODED and CCNY's BIC Program. Spearheaded by Jeffrey French as part of DECODED's Social Impact pilot project to expand its mission beyond the corporate world into the broader educational space, the BIC session included more than 15 BIC students, educators from CUNY and Parsons The New School for Design, as well as industry professionals from Y&R, TBWA/Chiat/DayNY, Diageo, and 360i.

ABOUT DECODED: Founded in 2011, DECODED has quietly built a formidable stable of tech education and learning services, coupled with a world-class roster of instructors. Along the way, DECODED has transitioned into offering custom programs, working with companies such as Mastercard, Unilever, NBCUniversal, IBM, and General Electric to help align their digital visions with workforce behavioral changes. DECODED has conducted its custom, immersive, in-person learning program with more than 200,000 enterprise learners and 600 companies across 85 cities globally.

BIC Professor Michael Farmer on WPP's Future Minus Martin Sorrell

In his April 15th Ad Age opinion piece, BIC Professor Michael Farmer writes that while Sir Martin Sorrell was an amazing visionary, his departure is a real opportunity for WPP to make major changes. As Farmer writes, Sorrell was not really interested in being in the agency business; under his leadership, "WPP became expert in buying companies and squeezing better performance out of them through annual budget negotiations...Sorrell's energy and focus on acquisitions, cost reductions, 'horizontality' and industry conferences was legendary." The ultimate downside is that WPP's over-reliance on agency costs reductions undermined clients' confidence in the agencies themselves.

Is Sorrell's departure an opportunity to turn this around? Farmer thinks so. One suggestion is that WPP follow Publicis' example by transforming the holding company into a single global agency. Another option would be to focus on "strengthening the individual agencies, so that they can become more capable and useful for clients.

Whatever the solutions, the industry will need to require new skills and disciplines and a reversal of declining fees in order to thrive.

Read the full article here.

Harvard Business Review Publishes BIC Professor Angela Chitkara's Article on Diversity

In a newly published article in the Harvard Business Review, BIC Professor Angela Chitkara summarized her yearlong study that included interviews with 18 industry CEOs. Her article offers five actionable suggestions on what PR agencies can do to become more diverse and inclusive and to better serve their clients: 

(1) Open up recruitment by broadening access to employment and by fostering relationships with colleges to build a pipeline of talent; (2) strengthen internal culture by conducting bias training throughout the organization and investing resources in formal on-boarding, training, and mentoring, with an emphasis on sponsorship of diverse employees; (3) enlist the support of middle management to communicate how team diversity boosts organizational performance; (4) monitor the turnover of diverse staff to make sure they are not leaving at disproportionately high rates; and (5) set inclusion goals and track progress toward them.

A CUNY Mellon Fellow and Assistant Professor at CCNY, Angela oversees the Public Relations track in the BIC Program. She recently won a SABRE Award for Innovation Excellence on the D&I research that was the basis of the HBR article.

Read the full article here.

2018 BIC Portfolio Boot Camp is UNSTOPPABLE!!

Neither rain, nor hail, nor gloom of night (okay, we DID get out of the way of a Spring Nor'easter) could stop the BIC PORTFOLIO BOOTCAMP from kicking butt from March 19th - 22nd. Taking advantage of a week off from the usual slate of classes, our graduating students got the chance to work intensely on their portfolios with the help of visiting professionals who provided design, content, and storytelling expertise.

Each night was themed around a topic such as User Experience, Craft, Dynamic Content, and Troubleshooting -- as well as dinner: Italian, Indian, BBQ, and Breakfast.

Our professional mentors offered invaluable expertise and next-level feedback giving BIC students all the insider tips, trick, and tools they'll need to perfect their portfolios for what we expect will be standout presentations on Portfolio Thesis Defense day May 29th. We were especially excited to welcome back some BIC alums who are now successful pros -- and truly know how to bring a BIC portfolios to life.

A BIG BIC THANKS to our amazing experts: Behance and 99U's Mark Brooks, Vistar Media's Monique Noum, Capital One's Bill Townsley, Google's Mateo Zlatar, DDB's Cassondra Bazelow BIC ’16, Chelsea Campbell, Carrot's Denise Bryd, Associate, Digital Strategy and Design at RooneyPartners Ahmet Reisli BIC ’16, Account Supervisor at mcgarrybowen Rolando Leal BIC ’16, Brand Analyst at FutureBrand Andy Kwan BIC ’16, Senior Video Editor at Publicis Vanessa Aoki, Senior UX Designer AT&T Kim Kappmeyer, and Motion Graphics Editor Keith Olwell.

Innovation in Action

On March 26th, Steven White, founder of Seven Studio, flew in from Chicago to take BICsters in Professor Brian Crook’s Brand Experience class through the FourSight four-step process. FourSight uses the framework — clarify, ideate, develop and implement — as both a universal and instinctive process. Intuitive language makes it “sticky” for groups and organizations that want to transform the way people work together to solve problems. The simplicity and flexibility of the FourSight framework allows it to play well with other models—design thinking and other innovation and creative thinking approaches—so FourSight can function as a catalyst to existing approaches.

FourSight is used extensively in Fortune 500 and small innovative companies to enhance team effectiveness and help leaders build self awareness and confidence throughout the innovation process.

Currently the Lead Strategist, Partner and Founder of Seven, Steven White recently took Siegel + Gale through a similar exercise (which included Brian Crooks). For over 15 years, Steven has been developing successful brand and innovation strategies for big brands such as Allstate, Siemens and LexisNexis — as well as a few scrappy tech startups. Steven White has a Masters in Design and Innovation Methods from IIT Institute of Design.