New year. New decade. New jobs. BICsters RISE.

A big BIC bravo to these superstar BIC alums who've jumpstarted the new decade with new jobs.

LaToya Heron BIC '19 is a Marketing Specialist for Medtronic at its operational headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As brand gardener and SEED creator, LaToya will help develop content that tells the story of Medtronic and deploy an omni-channel marketing and communications strategy to drive brand preference and engagement. LaToya is also a 2018 recipient of The LAGRANT Foundation scholarship. Previously, she worked at Yoshida Consulting as a freelance digital marketing manager and project manager and at BAV Group as a strategic brand analyst.

Bong Arquiza BIC '19 begins the new year with his position as Media Specialist at Russo Partners LLC, a PR and Investor Relations firm that collaborates on integrated communications for digital technology, mobile communications, biopharma, medtech, digital health, diagnostics, healthcare IT and healthcare services companies worldwide.

Carol Burns BIC '15 has snagged a position at Salesforce as Event Supervisor. Her team manages one of Salesforce's global event/hospitality spaces where it executes high-touch meetings and events. As an Experience Curator, Visual Storyteller, Corporate Event Manager, this position gives Carol the opportunity to influence global event programming while also giving back to the community.

2020 DezMax Winners Tackle Racial Bias and Animal Adoption

Congratulations to Roxie Xie BIC '20 and Taylor Becker BIC '20 who share this year's DezMax Scholarship. Each submission fulfilled the award's criteria which asks BICsters to develop a project that champions a cause with persuasion, passion, and charisma.

Combating bias before it begins...

Roxie's proposal, "Bidding for the Hot Shot Teacher," was based on her native understanding of Chinese society where proficiency in English is highly valued, but only when that skill is taught by American and British speakers who are white. According to her research, this has resulted in an explosion of tutoring services in which 96% of ESL teachers are caucasian.

To Roxie, this spoke to a deeper issue: when young students are exposed to bias at such a young age, it spreads throughout the entire Chinese culture and impacts the future. To counteract this, Roxie wanted to elevate the stature of English tutors of color. But how? Her consumer research sought to uncover shared motivators between two disparate, but critical audiences: young students and their parents.

Her findings led Roxie to create "Bidding for the Hotshot Teacher," an initiative that would allow parents to blindly bid for highly qualified diverse ESL teachers so parents could appreciate a tutor's expertise in an unbiased way. The gamification of the hiring process also engaged and energized the children being tutored.

While the bidding is blind, the activation is not: Parents anonymously bid for teachers on WeChat, but real-time bidding that spotlights tutors of color is viewed publicly in OOH activations. Roxie further amplified the campaign by creating "The Hotshot Challenge" reality TV show which takes bidding to a whole other level where students get the opportunity to travel abroad. By making the process competitive, entertaining, and highly visible, the entire country gets "schooled" on how the value of English is not contingent on the color of the ESL teacher's skin.

Dog-walking away negative perceptions...

Taylor's proposal brings together two existing companies, Wag! and the Humane Society, to counteract the perception that shelter dogs are damaged goods and that shelters are sad places to visit. Her partnership and communications campaign encourages dog-owning tourists who are missing their pets back home to visit shelters while on vacation and take a dog for a walk. The app is made extra easy for tourists and allows Wag! users to check out a dog's profile, apply to be a vacation buddy, use a matching quiz to pair them with their companion for the day as well as review the experience for future potential dog parents. If tourists fall in love with their dog-buddy, the app even provides adoption tips for getting the dog home.

Both Roxie and Taylor will have their DezMax Scholarship applied toward Spring semester tuition. Past winners have further developed their submission as business proposals and as portfolio pieces.

ABOUT the Desmond Maxwell (DezMax) Cause + Charisma Scholarship. As a student in BIC's inaugural Class of 2015, Desmond Maxwell was a successful media consultant, boastful undergraduate of City College, and proud member of the US Marine Corps, having served with distinction. He often said with great pride that he was “born and buttered in Harlem.” Dez was not just a charismatic man, but a generously supportive and inspiring classmate who championed causes that were close to his heart. Sadly, Dez died a few months before graduation. However, through the generosity of classmates, BIC Board Members, and friends (with a special shout out to GroupM), BIC was able to set up the DezMax Scholarship in his honor. Each year, BIC students compete for $4,000 in scholarship money with proposals that best demonstrate a communications-based solution to a societal problem. 

Interested in donating to the DezMax Scholarship fund? Ask how...

Gustavo Stecher Brings Brandinghood to BIC Spring 2020

Founder of Menos es Más and BIC Board member Gustavo Stecher is adding a new role to his illustrious resume: BIC professor. In Spring 2020, Gustavo will be teaching B8513 Brandinghood, an intensive one-credit special topic course to be held on two consecutive weekends in March and April. 

This course was developed through a grant by CCNY's Campus Engagement Network (CEN). This initiative funded by the Moxie Foundation facilitates new approaches to teaching, research, and advocacy missions. With its launch, CEN provides support to create new courses, integrate change-making values into CCNY's interdisciplinary work, and embed these transformative principles into the fabric of CCNY education and culture. 

Menos es Más specializes in corporate and destination branding where Gustavo develops image strategies for a wide array of clients. His gift for turning imagery into symbolism through Visual Identity Systems is powered by his proprietary process that explores neighborhood identity through its own people. Gustavo will bring this process into the BIC classroom as well as rely on case study examples from his own successful branding efforts for cities such as Berlin and Buenos Aires as well as in Brooklyn.
As an intensive social and cultural branding class, BIC's Brandinghood course aims to help students develop professional consulting and design skills while outlining a successful methodology. Students will have the opportunity to unearth a neighborhood's real needs from its people and their feelings of identity in order to develop a full iconic branding action plan.

While students will familiarize themselves with social branding as a potential career path, identify the real problems a district may face and create an effective plan to solve it, they will also take away core skill sets from this course. Among presentation skills, collaboration, and providing critique, students will also detect, strategize, ideate, and solve real problems on a large scale identity project. 

Various jobs in the industry, including account managers, strategists, PR associates, creative directors, and ideators in general, all require these skills. Brandinghood is open to all BIC tracks: management / planning, public relations, and creative.

BIC Welcomes Scott Lachut As New Adjunct Professor

As the fourth course in BIC's foundation sequence, B2003 Brand Experience is all about exploring the moments that make a brand come to life and build brand value for consumers. All semester long, students examine the value of experiences from the tactile to the virtual, from traditional to "just on the horizon." That's why BIC is particularly excited to welcome Scott Lachut this Spring 2020 as BIC's latest professor to teach Brand Experience.

Scott is partner and president of Research & Strategy at PSFK, a business intelligence platform that helps creative professionals as they develop new products, services, and experiences. For over 12 years, he has helped build PSFK's trends and innovation consultancy to continually provide insights that help world-class brands like Apple, BMW, Samsung, Target, American Express, Intel, and NBC evolve their businesses. PSFK helps brands, retailers, and their partners identify and leverage innovation opportunities through a mix of trends reports, immersive events, insight-rich newsletters, custom services, and on-demand research.  

In his role at PSFK, Scott studies shifts in consumers, culture, technology and the marketplace to understand the current context, and potential impacts. This research allows him to paint a picture of the future, identify new opportunities, and develop strategies for how to take advantage of them. He works with a diverse range of companies here in the United States and abroad helping them to innovate their retail, marketing, product, and customer experience. He regularly shares his thought leadership with global audiences at events like SXSW, CES and NRF. With all that, he's actually happiest when contemplating the future of his next meal. Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, philosophy, and religious studies from Syracuse University.

Welcome, Scott Lachut, to the BIC faculty!

Zontee Hou Joins BIC Board

BIC is excited to announce that founding faculty member Zontee Hou will be joining the BIC Board. Zontee is currently the founder of Media Volery and director of strategy at Convince & Convert. She is also a contributor to Convince & Convert's blog which was ranked the #1 content marketing blog in the world by the Content Marketing Institute. With over a decade of experience, Zontee has consulted for major brands including Indiana University, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Oracle Marketing Cloud, Allstate Insurance, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Zontee also has brand-side experience, overseeing the day-to-day marketing activities of Lion Brand garnering PR News Platinum Awards and a Forrester Groundswell Award. She has been quoted by Social Media Examiner, Content Marketing Institute,, and, profiled by Direct Marketing News, and speaks at events and conferences around the U.S.

In 2014, Zontee helped establish B3002 Consumer Behavior & Persuasion, a required course in the Management/Planning track and BIC's most popular elective. Over the years, Zontee has provided insights on the BIC curriculum and provided conference and career opportunities for students. Zontee also teaches down the street at Columbia University, her alma mater, where she received her MS in Strategic Communications. Her BS in both Marketing and International Business is from NYU's Stern School of Business.

Fall Capstone Promotes CUNY Arts

After studying the impact of gun violence for last Fall's non-profit client Sandy Hook Promise, BICsters spent Fall 2019 exploring the art scene in New York City on behalf of this year's non-profit client CUNY Arts. With the guidance of Professor Katina Scott and Creative Director Brianna Bishop, BICsters in the Class of 2020 leveraged the abundant cultural offerings here in the arts capital of the world to elevate the low brand awareness of this CUNY initiative which offers student passes to places such as MoMA and the Whitney, internships at arts organizations, and curricular development to CUNY faculty to insure that arts education is woven into classroom programming.
Divided into four teams modeled after interdisciplinary agencies, BICsters from each track utilized a cross-disciplinary approach to create distinctive integrated marketing communications campaigns based on a client briefing delivered by Nyisha Howell, Hugo Fernandez, and Fatima Hernandez of CUNY Arts back on September 12th. They returned as judges three months later for the Client Pitch on Thursday, December 12th.

Team MUV kicked off the Client Pitch with its campaign, "Engage the Whole You." Based on original consumer research, MUV found that current CUNY students are the most anxiety-ridden generation. MUV's campaign demonstrated that engaging with the arts enhances your wellbeing and is why CUNY students should invest in self-caring through CUNY Arts.

Team Uno's campaign, "Future Within Reach," directly aligned with CUNY Arts' mission to promote its Cultural Corps which connects students with career opportunities in the arts. Uno's goal of altering student attitudes to make art more relatable derived from the team's insight-driven message: CUNY Arts opens doors for CUNY students.
Team Common Ground's research revealed that CUNY students go through years of school without taking advantage of CUNY Arts' offerings. In its integrated communications campaign, "Not All Perks are Created Equal," Common Ground reminded its audience why access to the New York art scene is a CUNY student's most valuable perk of all.

Team Thumbprint's campaign was driven by a galvanizing insight: New York City may be the cultural capital of the world attracting millions of global art lovers each year, but to a New Yorker, all the city's art offerings are local. So regardless of what borough you're from -- or even if you're not a born and bred New Yorker -- once you're a CUNY student, your relationship to the arts is more personal, more immediate, and a part of the local scene. This gives CUNY an authentic position of authority that Thumbprint leveraged in its campaign, "Our local is unlike any other." The team repositioned CUNY Arts from a provider of free access at museums to being curators of New York culture.

Each team pitched their unique approach in consecutive 30-minute presentations to the CUNY Arts client. After deliberating for nearly an hour, they declared Thumbprint the pitch winner with its "CUNY Arts Local" campaign which empowers CUNY Arts to transform the entire CUNY brand as deeply connected to arts here in the culture capital of the world in a uniquely authentic and authoritative way.

Past non-profit capstone clients have been Sandy Hook Promise, The Grove School of Engineering, Columbia Children’s Health, The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, and the UJA.

BICsters Dive Deep into Cross-Cultural Marketing

Once again, Professor Amy Gomez brought her vast experience helping Fortune 500 companies and non-profits effectively reach diverse consumers to BIC's Cross-Cultural Marketing one-credit intensive earlier this November. As Gomez explained, she first called this course Multi-Cultural Communications. But as Gomez proved throughout her lessons, Cross-Cultural Marketing became more fitting as BICsters from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 did deep dives into various markets exploring the cultures within them.

Establishing a clear framework that acknowledged the fallacy of a "one-size fits all" strategy, Gomez wowed her class with an impressive roster of speakers: Mariko Carpenter from Neilson covered Asian Deep Dive, Brendan Snyder from Google covered LGBTQ Deep Dive, Mafê Villas Boâs from Facebook covered Cross-Cultural Insight Mining, Oscar Allain from UM worldwide covered Cross-Cultural Connections Planning, Winter Mendelson from Posture Media covered Marketing to NonBinary Consumers, and Darren Wesley Martin Jr. covered Marketing, Diversity & Inclusion and Intersectionality.

To gain a better understanding of multicultural consumers and the key tenets of cross-cultural marketing, students not only wrote reaction papers to the topics covered in class, they worked in groups to present a client pitch that gave an overview of a multicultural segment, how to reach this audience based on its media consumption, and ways to design creative opportunities that don't just target audiences, but resonate with them.

For BIC Class of 2021, THEY'RE the brand

The famous BIC Identity Guidelines are back for Fall 2019.

This semester-long project in Professors Gerardo Blumenkrantz and Nancy Tag's Idea Development course not only allows for personal reflection and analysis, but forces students to develop some basic digital design skills, some for the first time. A requirement of the project is that all students use both Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. Mek Frinchaboy, an independent designer and illustrator, joined Laura Giraudo and Roberto Bernasconi, principals of Bardo Industries, in providing feedback to students after they presented.

After the final presentations on November 20th, Professor Tag asked the question: "Before this assignment, who had used Adobe's InDesign and Photoshop together?" More than half of the class raised their hands. And yet, the results were quite amazing. For a larger sample of student ID Guidelines, go to our Behance portfolio page: