From Ad Pro to Ad Prof -- One BICster's Journey

1/28/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

by Rebecca Rivera BIC '19

For thirty years I worked as a copywriter and Creative Director at agencies like rpa, ddb, Digitas, TBWA, Deutsch, AKQA, and more. I brought glory on my agencies and rang up sales for clients. I led by example – proving latina women can compete (and win) in the big leagues.

As the CCO of 3 Percent, I partnered with U.S. agencies big and small to brainstorm how to change the way they do business – starting with hiring diverse and inclusive talent that more fully represents the people being marketed to.

In the end, I decided the best way to change advertising wasn’t by working within the industry but by better preparing the young people entering it.

So I went back to school to get a master’s. Not just any master’s. A BIC master’s.

The Branding + Integrated Communications program was the only program I seriously considered – for three reasons: the faculty are all industry pros, the student body is among the most diverse in the nation, and BIC is the only integrated program that requires every student to learn all of the puzzle pieces and how they work together.

Where better to deconstruct the industry and how it’s taught? Thanks to BIC, I now have a deeper understanding of how research, strategy, management, technology, media, and creative all have a role to play in creating meaningful communication that adds value – for the brand, the consumer, and society.

These days I’m sharing all I learned with my students. I teach copywriting and media studies at City College as well as at City Tech (NYCCT). I also mentor my students to help them land internships and jobs and enter competitions like the One Club’s Young Ones.

If you’re a seasoned ad pro who’d like to teach one day, my advice is: get a BIC Master’s of Professional Studies. Then combine the knowledge you gain from BIC with what you learned in the trenches. Go from ad pro to ad prof. Do it for the good of the industry and for us all.

New decade. New BIC website -- with 2020 vision.

1/27/2020 Anonymous 0 Comments

It took nearly two years from concept to launch, but BIC now has a distinctive website that builds on the visual brand identity created by BIC Board member Gustavo Stecher and his design firm Menos es Mas. Flying up regularly from his home base in Buenos Aires, skyping monthly, and employing his amazing staff who did weekly check-ins, Gustavo was the engine that kept us all engaged and enthusiastic.

With a number of conceptual iterations and dozens of executional tweaks, the site is so original that it took significantly longer to code than anticipated. But in the end (which is just the beginning), BIC has an "ownable" site that is not just unique in its own right, but distinguishes itself among graduate programs. 

The site has a bold look with an engaging navigation: BIC basics are an up and down scroll anchored in our BIC logo. More details happen in a click. One area, "Portraits in Curiosity," features BIC alums. Another highlights iconic BIC projects. And for all the BIC bits, the menu to the left is broadly categorized into Program, People, Portfolio, and Professional, each with its own dropdown menu.

A BIG BIC Thanks to Gustavo and his team at Menos es Mas. They helped bring the BIC experience to the Internet and we are tremendously grateful. Check out the site here >>

BICsters on the Rise

1/24/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

Keep on rising BICsters! Letier, Ahmet, and Emily are starting the new year off the right way with new roles and promotions at companies that allow them to exercise their BIC knowledge.

Letier Santana BIC '19 scored a role as the Marketing & PR Manager at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel, the largest hotel in continental U.S. She will be overseeing all marketing and PR strategy, and social media as well as all art direction in creative projects. As someone with a passion for travel, Letier is bringing all her talents together in this amazing new job.

Ahmet Reisli BIC '16 has just been promoted to the newly created role of Director of Creative Services at RooneyPartners, where he started as a summer intern while studying at BIC. Ahmet will oversee creative services for RooneyPartners clients, including graphic design and branding, as well as web development, SEO strategy, and search marketing assignments in numerous industry verticals. Ahmet is Google Ads certified and plays a key role in the firm’s new business efforts.

Emelin Herrera BIC '19 is now a Production Artist Senior Associate at Harry’s and Flamingo, a men and women’s start-up shaving company turned personal care powerhouse. As part of the production+design team, her responsibility is to help elevate the physical expression of all Harry’s and Flamingo packaging and retail displays, while also improving workflow. More specifically, Emily will convert and refine artwork into press-ready mechanicals for suppliers and retail distribution, like Target and Walmart!

BIC Welcomes Bjorn Trowery As New Adjunct Professor

1/22/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

The B3022 PR Branding Campaigns course revolves around the value and essential deliverables of campaign development in the public relations realm within an integrated model. Students will gain the skills to operate at a high level in the industry. Throughout the semester they will learn to create insight-driven strategic messaging, utilize industry frameworks, and develop social listening skills online among other outcomes. This spring, BIC is delighted to welcome Bjorn Trowery as the latest professor to teach PR Branding Campaigns.      

Bjorn is an experienced communications professional and spokesperson. For more than 11 years, he has guided communications and storytelling for some of the most visible companies around the world. Recently, Trowery was Director of Communications and Creative Content at Heineken USA, where he drove PR, crisis communications, sports & executive communications for Heineken's full portfolio of 16 beers and ciders. Prior to Heineken, Bjorn served as a spokesperson at Toys“R”Us Inc., and as an Account Supervisor at Edelman, where he was entrusted to execute PR activities for a number of popular brands, including Dos Equis, Trojan Sexual Health, Warner Bros., and Starbucks.

Currently, Bjorn leads Communications & Public Relations at Human Rights Watch (HRW), an independent and international NGO who brings justice to victims by working toward investigating and reporting abuse around the world. HRW takes a special approach by advocating towards governments, and armed groups and businesses, targeting the individuals who have the power to influence and make change happen.

As director of Communications & Public Relations at HRW, Bjorn is responsible for managing both internal and external communications as well as overseeing the development and execution of strategies intended to create and uphold an accurate representation of the issues they take on. Bjorn holds a degree in public relations from Penn State University, and lives in New York City. 

Welcome, Bjorn Trowery, to the BIC faculty!

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

1/15/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

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

1/10/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

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.


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.


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

1/08/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

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

1/08/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

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

1/07/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

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.