Good afternoon to everyone follow #MNMOtv! Today’s @MNMOmag Twitterview is with Ellen Walthour & Eric Erickson of @TheBrandLab.
To start off with, Ellen & Eric, can you let people know what your roles are?
Ellen/Eric: Well, Ellen is the Executive Director and Eric is a board member.
Please explain the way the lab works, what its overall goal is.
Ellen/Eric: We introduce h.s. students to careers in marketing in the classroom, through internships, scholarships and networking
Our overall goal is to diversify the industry.
What kind of response did you get from students at first when you launched?
Ellen/Eric: It started modestly in one h.s. with one teacher and grew from there.
When I (Ellen) started in 2009 I saw kids eyes really light up when they were given the challenge to create a campaign.
Kids are amazed at how many people it takes to, say, make an ad. They had no idea of all the talents needed.
How many high schools are currently involved with the program? Is it easy for schools to join?
Ellen/Eric: There are 400 students in the program. 10% of the classroom students receive an internship
In order to join our program a school needs to meet our criteria of at least 50% free and reduced lunch
We also look for strong teachers who are comfortable with lots of collaboration.
What kind of exposure and education are students provided to help them see the scope of their opportunity?
Ellen/Eric: Through indepth curriculum, Agency and corp field trips, bring volunteers into the classroom
Then for the students who receive an internship the program really expands
Interns are given a week long training at MCAD with industry volunteers and this year folks from Google are coming to lead a day long workshop on apps and analytics.
Barry Wolfish CMO of Land o’ Lakes will kick off week with Q&A
It is really a great week with tons of learning
What an awesome program! Can you share some stories of those who’ve benefited from the program?
Ellen/Eric: That question can keep me talking for hours.
As a classroom volunteer (Eric) I’ve been impressed by the presentation skills of students.
Many great stories of kids whose interest in school is increased because they see creativity as a career option.
Students have to stand up in front of industry professionals and defend their campaign work.
One young girl from Washburn H.S. interned last year @ColleMcvoy and now she is going to be working there this summer.
The young girl secured the internship through the contact she made through TBL program. She is a star!!
In what ways are creativity and development nurtured in the program?
Ellen/Eric: On creativity, students are encouraged to think of their audience.
They have to think of what’s important to them and how they like to be communicated to.
They have to engage both visual and verbal skills.
On development, we introduce kids to careers, help them network and help them follow a path toward employment.
To close, what’s the biggest takeaway that you hope students leave the program with?
Ellen/Eric: That creativity can lead to a viable career
That there are career options available to them that they may have never known about or considered
Thank you so much for all the work that you do. Helping students and businesses be open to diversity.
Ellen/Eric: Thank you for hosting this today.