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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Michelle Truong
Greetings from Northern California! My name is Michelle Truong and I am a rising senior at Syracuse University majoring in Public Relations and Marketing Management, with a minor in Spanish. My passion for using communications to foster community has led me to be very involved on and off-campus. I am currently the Vice President of Business for WJPZ-FM Radio, a resident advisor, a member of the Forever Orange Student Alumni Council, and a brother of the professional business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi. Being abroad last semester in Madrid I was not only able to immerse in various cultures, but also develop my fluency in Spanish. 

I first heard about TLF through Newhouse’s career center my freshman year and knew I wanted to apply to the scholarship to further my knowledge and network in public relations. TLF’s mission to increase diversity in the communications and marketing fields is something very important to me. Growing up, I didn’t have anyone in my family working in these fields so I didn’t have a lot of guidance. I will continue to stay involved with TLF because I want to encourage the next generation of minorities to break barriers and work in communications fields. The only way we can diversify content in media and  is to be a part of the teams that come up with the ideas.  


My past experiences include interning with CPM Mass Public, a communications agency in Spain, Walt & Company, a tech PR agency in Silicon Valley, and I just completed an internship with SXSW as a Startup Research intern. Working in entertainment/media has always been a dream of mine. Compared to when I was younger, there is a huge increase in diverse content, but this is just the beginning. Media and entertainment should display the social makeup of the world we live in and this is why I am pursuing my dual degree. 


Thank you to my mom for always supporting my dreams and to TLF for giving me this opportunity.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Jahdiel Wingard
My name is Jahdiel Wingard and I am currently a first year student at Central Michigan University, where I am pursuing my degree in English and Public Relations. I wanted to get my degree in English and Public Relations because I have a very strong passion for writing and communication. 

I first heard about TLF through the scholarship search engine FastWeb. I wanted to apply to the scholarship firstly because it was directly tied into my intended career path, but also because of the attached networking and learning that came with the planned conference. I believe in TLF’s mission because I recognize the lack of diversity in the field of PR and hope to help change that. With this scholarship, I am now able to save money that would’ve otherwise been spent on tuition, to pay for dues to enter Sigma Tau Delta and PRSSA, which will help to build my skills and network.

Once I earn my degree, I hope to either pursue my own career as a creative writer, or to help others pursue their own creative goals as a PR agent. I want to pursue these goals because creativity and diversity have always been the foremost important aspects in my career path. I believe that it is necessary to have a diverse array of voices in fields specific to communication, because otherwise we risk our communications not being able to reach everyone.

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I strongly believe in the power of building a diverse network of people around me, especially in the field of PR. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it is necessary for us to be able to give a voice to minorities through minorities.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Mahita Tekumalla
Hi, My name is Mahita Tekumalla and I am currently a senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where I'm pursuing a degree in digital marketing. I chose this path because I am very interested in the utilization of marketing tactics through social media and learning about the analytics and effects on consumers.

I first heard about TLF through my friend, Hannah Bae, who was a 2019 TLF scholar. After learning more about TLF and its strive for diversity and inclusion, I knew I had to be part of this community. TLF’s mission is very important to me because it opens doors and grants opportunities for marginalized students in business. I believe because of TLF and its opportunities, we can create more inclusive and welcoming workplaces. As a TLF Scholar, I am now able to network and build strong connections with other inspirational people in this industry that have similar passions as me. 


After college, I hope to have a career in marketing analytics in the fashion industry, while I continue to advocate for diversity and inclusion. I want to pursue these goals because I believe there should be more WOC in these industries. I am very passionate about bringing diversity into marketing because I am an avid believer that if we all were to surround ourselves with people who think differently and came from different backgrounds then there will be a positive impact on ourselves and society.  


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to thank TLF and its staff for giving me a chance to be part of an amazing and inspiring network and continue to stay involved with this organization. I think what TLF is doing for students like me is amazing and I couldn't be more grateful. I can’t wait to see this community and network continue to grow.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Kofi Aidoo
My name is Kofi Aidoo and I am currently a Senior at Brigham University where I am pursuing my degree in Advertising Communications. I wanted to get my degree in Advertising because I am passionate about bringing untold stories to light and adding new perspectives to help brands connect with people on a deeper level. 

I first heard about TLF through another student at my university. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I was hoping to connect with more multicultural students in Advertising. I believe in TLF’s mission because minority students can add so much value to help businesses reflect the community they are advertising to. With this scholarship, I am now able to focus more on my studies and dedicate more time to building my portfolio as well as projects advocating for marginalized groups of people. 

After I graduate I hope to work at an advertising agency as a brand strategist. I am passionate about social justice and I have a goal to bring a diverse perspective into the advertising industry because the ads we are exposed to shape how we view the world and can ultimately help shape society. 

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I admire the brilliant and extremely creative minds and would love to collaborate on future projects. I think the work TLF is doing is important because they are providing resources and opportunities for those of us who do not usually have access to them. I hope that I can also give back to the future generations because of the support I am receiving today. 

I am grateful for my parents, mentors, and classmates who have guided me and helped inspire me to achieve my goals.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Sophia Peng
My name is Sophia Peng and I am currently a sophomore student at University of Washington, where I am pursuing my degree in Marketing and Information Systems at the Michael G. Foster School of Business. Business is a path where I feel like my ideas and knowledge can bring forth positive innovation to the world. 

I first heard about TLF through the Foster School of Business. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I felt so encouraged by an organization that dedicates itself to supporting underrepresented minorities in my passion for marketing. I believe in TLF’s mission because it aligns with mine: I will always have the goal of improving other people’s lives by connecting to the community. With this scholarship, I am now able to take charge of my own finances of adulthood and live out my parents’ American dream through my role as an aspiring successful first-generation business woman.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to be a marketing specialist for consumer brands. I would put forth positive messages through business. Marketing shapes the society we live in, whether it’s strategically providing an open story about a social/political movement or bringing attention to new technologies that assist everyday activities. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because I want to serve as a role model and mentor for other first generation students like me, who have faced obstacles in pursuing a degree.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because

they are an impactful organization that serves a greater purpose in business. 

Thank you to all my collegiate advisors for guiding me throughout the path to my marketing career, and to TLF for the scholarship and support that will help me achieve my goals in marketing.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient William Sullivan
My name is William Sullivan and I am currently a rising Junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where I am pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a Marketing emphasis. During high school, I took both a Marketing and Entrepreneurship course where I realized I could combine my creativity and business mindset, which led me to pursue a degree in Business Marketing.

I first heard about TLF through a former recipient sharing their experience on LinkedIn. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because TLF’s mission directly aligned with the kind of continued membership and network I have longed for. With this scholarship, I am now able to increase my knowledge of marketing fields, while increasing my skills through coursework, travel, and other related programs.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to have a career as an Account Executive at an advertising firm or have a marketing role at a mid-size company. Pursuing those goals are important to me because by being in those spaces, I will be able to help someone like me in the future. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because having people with different backgrounds and cultural heritage brings unique perspectives and ideas to the table. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to stay involved with TLF because it is extremely important to have a network of like-minded individuals that have shared experiences. The work TLF is doing is important because having that representation and support system will continue to inspire students to pursue careers in marketing, advertising, and public relations.


I would like to thank my family for pouring unconditional love, determination, and support into my life. My peers for constantly challenging me to become a better version of myself each day. As well as my mentors and professors for inspiring me to continue my work and attain my goals.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Nathan Peppers
My name is Nathan Peppers and I am currently a second year student at the University of Cincinnati, where I am pursuing a degree in Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and a certificate in Film and Media Studies. From a young age, I fell in love with the practice of content creation. I spend much of my time in photography and filmmaking. I hope my academic advancement in my respective majors will help me hone my skills at the highest level.

I first heard about TLF through a campus organization called Business Fellows. The coordinator found the application online and forwarded it to me. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because it sounded like a wonderful collective of world changers. TLF values development in areas that may not be comfortable. I love this mission because it forces me to become a better student and leader. With this scholarship, I am now able to offset the cost of my room and board on campus. This financial alleviation allows me to focus my spending on camera gear, which will ultimately lead me to development in my craft.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to feel confident in my abilities. Upon graduation, I want to have learned marketable skills that will propel me into my professional career. I believe that this sense of confidence will be a key factor in my future job search. Furthermore, promoting a diverse workplace can help lead to better ideas and tactics, and I want to be an example of that trend. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because you never know where personal connections will take you. I have already used TLF as a resource for my own personal internship search, and I believe it will go a long way. I think the work TLF is doing is important because our world is changing. Minority groups are growing and becoming a larger segment of the mass population. This means that it’s to stay up to date on trends so that we are effectively marketing to new clients.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Isabella Martinez
Hello! My name is Isabella Martinez, and I am a sophomore transfer student attending the University of California - Riverside. I will soon study Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Public Policy with a minor in Spanish. During my time in community college, I was President for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Club and a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. 

My interest in public relations is undeviatingly correlated with my internship experience through the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP). I had the ability to operate under the Program Manager, Board Members on distinct projects encompassing in website content, social media campaigns, press releases, and alumni spotlights. Furthermore, I've had the opportunity to serve as an AVID Tutor at San Jacinto High School and interned for Congressman Raul Ruiz. Through involving myself in CLYLP and as an AVID Tutor, I have been able to expose local high school students, community college students, and friends to pursue career paths in marketing/public relations. 

I discovered The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) through the Ultimate Scholarship Book 2020. When I observed TLF's mission to raise the number of ethnic minorities in advertising and marketing through mentorship, scholarships, and job openings, I knew I should apply. Since America is a changing marketplace, it's imperative that all individuals from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds must be able to represent themselves through different mediums. I am gratified that TLF is at the forefront of contributing to this endeavor. Fortunately, this scholarship will satisfy my tuition and books for my first quarter as a UCR student. Once obtaining my degree, I desire to stay engaged and advocate to promote TLF's resources to the LatinX community. 

I want to acknowledge The LAGRANT Foundation, CLYLP, and my family for encouraging my academic and career endeavors.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Diontay Santiago
My name is Diontay Santiago. I am currently a Senior student at Fordham University, where I am pursuing my degree in Marketing. I want to get a Marketing degree because I want to utilize my communication skills and tell the stories of different brands.

I first heard about TLF through an email from my university. I applied for the scholarship because I wanted to alleviate the financial burden put on my family. Additionally, I knew that TLF could provide me with professional networks. I believe in TLF’s mission because placing minorities in marketing firms and more will subsequently increase the amount of representation that people of color will get in the media. With this scholarship, I can focus more on my education as opposed to helping my family make ends meet. 


Once I earn my degree, I hope to work in the entertainment industry. I want to pursue these goals because I want to be able to bring diversity in terms of race and perspective to these kinds of companies. Bringing diversity into these kinds of industries is important because it shows that people with backgrounds similar to myself are capable of good work. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I believe in their mission. I think the work TLF is doing is important because I don’t know many other organizations working to increase diversity in advertising, marketing, and public relations. From my perspective, the work that TLF does is truly unique and necessary.


I want to say thank you to TLF for giving me the opportunity to explain the circumstances that led to my current GPA. I’m very grateful for not being judged solely by my GPA, but also by my character.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Nicholas Polk
My name is Nicholas Polk and I am currently a rising junior at Sam Houston State University. I am pursuing a degree in Mass Communications with minors in general business and political science. What motivated me to study these areas was my desire to immerse myself within the diverse fields of marketing and public relations.

While searching on LinkedIn for opportunities for ethnic minorities, I noticed a post regarding TLF scholarship.TLF sparked my interest because it wasn’t just a monetary reward. TLF also provides mentorship opportunities from a community of media professionals. I believe in TLF’s mission because historically minorities haven’t been represented in public relations, advertising, or marketing. By obtaining this scholarship it will assist me in relieving some of the financial burdens of school and it will open the door for me to expand my professional network. 


Once I obtain my degree, I aspire to start my career in a communications or digital marketing position within the entertainment industry. My desire to enter this select industry stems from my belief that I can make an impact within it by promoting diversity, representation, and inclusion. I believe diversity in advertising, marketing, and public relations is essential because the professionals in these fields control what society consumes regarding their content. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I will continue to have an active role with TLF due to their passion for increasing diversity in the area of communication is vital. By mentoring and supporting students like myself, TFL is assisting in changing the face of media.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Sally Nguyen
My name is Sally Nguyen and I am currently a second-year student at The University of Oregon majoring in Advertising and minoring in Business Administration. I was fueled by art as a young girl, and when I entered college, I knew I wanted to continue being a creative. 

I first heard about TLF in one of my advertising courses. Juan-Carlos Molleda came into my class to share his journey and career path. He talked about his involvement with TLF and the opportunities the foundation provided for students of color. I knew then that I wanted to be part of the TLF family. I wanted to join a community that will motivate me to create change. 


I believe in TLF’s mission because I want to see more representation of women and people of color in the media. We bring our stories and experiences to the field; only we know how to guide our story. 


After college, I hope to become a strategist or designer and merge my passion for art with my mission to change the narrative of women and POC in the media. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because the start of change begins with having more women and POC in the work-streams of advertising. 


With this scholarship, I am empowered to enter the world of advertising. I’m grateful for the career and professional development opportunities and mentorship that will help me grow in this constantly changing industry. 


I want to continue to stay involved because I believe in the values and work TLF is doing. It’s important to empower students of color and encourage them to pursue their passion and overcome imposter syndrome. 


Thank you to everyone at TLF for investing in my future and seeing the potential in me. It means everything to me.

 
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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Naiima Miller
My name is Naiima Miller and I am currently a sophomore at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where I am pursuing my degree in marketing. I chose to study marketing because I love analyzing how people think and how that leads them to consume. 

I first heard about the LAGRANT Foundation through one of the directors in the School of Business. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I saw that it wasn’t just a check, but it was a network dedicated to providing students with aide not only in school but in their careers. I saw a group of people that wanted to help diversify the marketing field, which is very important to me, and I realized that their mission was something I wanted to be a part of. As a result of earning this scholarship, I will be able to focus on my education more with less stress of financing it.  

Once I earn my degree, I hope to become the marketing director of a retail company where I can bridge my love of fashion and business. Bringing diversity into my future field of work is important because I believe that clothing brands need more representation on both the company side as well as their models and PR campaigns. Fashion has made huge strides in terms of diversity, but I feel like there is a lot more that needs to be done.  

 
Beyond receiving this scholarship, I want to stay involved with TLF because they are true to their mission and purpose. I believe that the work TLF does is promising and will lead to great achievements. 
 
I would like to thank the scholarship committee as well as the entire foundation for the work that they do and how they continue to create promising careers for students. 
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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Donnie Minor
My name is Donnie Minor Jr. and I am a Sophomore at Central Michigan University pursuing my degree in Communications receiving a minor in Advertising and Leadership.  I am pursuing these degrees because I enjoy creating a story line through digital media and images.  I ultimately am interested in working in the sports industry combining my love for sports with my communication/advertising degree. 

I first heard about TLF through a close friend that went to my high school. I wanted to apply for the scholarship so I could learn more about the industry and the many opportunities the LAGRANT foundation represents.  I believe in TLF’s mission because of how the organization gives minorities a chance to excel and assist with closing the “gap” pertaining to minorities in this field.   By receiving this scholarship,  it will assist me in paying for my college expenses  and potentially allow me to study abroad to obtain international experiences.  
 
Once I earn my degree, I plan to work in sports advertising that will eventually lead to an Advertising Technologist or Senior Advertising Director responsible for the promotion of sporting events and athletes.   Being able to combine advertising with my love for sports is something I have always wanted to pursue, and I really enjoy.  Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because it allows me to adequately represent the way minorities are seen in the media.
 
Beyond receiving this scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I would like to give back and help someone as I have been assisted.  I think the work TLF is doing is important because it is a unique foundation that assist with increasing the number of minorities in which we are underrepresented in the areas of marketing, public relations and advertising. 
 
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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Susan Guo
My name is Susan Guo and I am a rising junior at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business pursuing a degree in Global Business concentrating in Marketing and Consumer Insights as well as Digital Media and Technology. Creativity is a powerful tool we all have, pursuing this path allows for me to express my creativity to problem solve and communicate.  

I first heard about TLF through an email from my university’s career center. After looking into the scholarship more, I was interested in becoming part of the community of like-minded hardworking individuals who come from similar backgrounds, as well as the resources the Foundation generously invests in its members. With this scholarship, I am encouraged to remain passionate about marketing and optimistic about my future career path. Upon graduating, I hope to become part of a passion-driven corporate marketing team that also values everyone’s creativity. Diversity is especially important in my field of work because campaigns without diversity in thought and culture often overlook details that may boost a campaign’s success or determine a campaign’s failure. 


TLF builds a community that supports and provides resources for success to individuals of similar backgrounds and career pursuits. TLF’s mission is trusted and I believe being a part of this community will open many doors and my eyes to the world of marketing. 


I would like to thank Professor Jennifer O’Neil for writing my letter of recommendation and for walking me through and breaking down my many spontaneous thoughts into manageable steps.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Elijah Morris
My name is Elijah Morris and I am currently a 3rd year student at The University of Georgia where I am pursuing my degree in Business Marketing. I wanted to get my degree in Marketing because I’ve discovered that I want to be the person behind the perception of a company. Marketing and branding is the first contact that a company has with potential customers and I’ve always wanted to be a part of the process that creates that interaction. 

I first heard about TLF through my school’s career center and I saw applying as a great opportunity to not only as financial resource, but also as a way to become better connected in the business world. Especially the minority leaders in business. I believe in TLF’s mission because I have seen and experienced the plight that many minorities in America have to overcome to accomplish to arrive where there are in their careers and the Lagrant Foundation has been extending opportunity for minority students for years. With this scholarship, I am now able to pay for my fall semester of classes without taking out my first loan. I have paid for each of my semesters of college out of my own pocket to avoid debt by working several jobs as I attend school full time. As I am taking classes this summer, I wouldn’t have enough money to pay for my 2020 fall semester. The Lagrant scholarship has made this possible for me.  


Once I earn my degree, I hope to work as a branding director to develop my professional skills before I eventually start my own business. I want to pursue these goals because I have seen examples of entrepreneurs not only create successful careers for themselves, but also bringing diversity and opportunity by providing a supportive work place. This is important to me because I want to not only make it for myself, but facilitate a work space that provides equal opportunity. I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I want to perpetuate the work of diversity and opportunity there are helping to create. 


I would like to thank ALL of my past employers for investing in my future career by teaching and mentoring me. My church, Good Shepard PCA, has been a place of support and comfort for which I am very thankful.

 
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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Riley Moscicki
My name is Riley Moscicki and I am currently a junior at St. John Fisher  College, where I am pursuing a degree in media management. I wanted to pursue a degree in media management because I developed a passion for writing and research. 

My professor had heard about TLF at a public relations conference where the scholarship was being discussed. She recommended all of her students who qualified apply for it because of the great resources provided for recipients. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I knew receiving the scholarship would help me expand my network, build a successful communications career and open doors for me I would normally not get. This scholarship will not only help relieve the financial burden of school but help me develop my professional career with the valuable resources and tools offered by TLF. 


Once I earn my degree, I hope to pursue a career in the travel and tourism or the food and beverage industry but I am open to other ventures as well. I am interested in these industries because I have always enjoyed the joy of traveling, meeting new people, and connecting through food. Bringing diversity into my field of work is extremely important because it allows companies to better understand different markets and respect cultures better. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I want to continue their mission and help anyway I can. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it shows minorities that their opinion and knowledge is important and needed to better enhance the communications industry.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Jasmine Lubin
My name is Jasmine Lubin, and I am a rising senior at the University of Florida pursuing my degree in public relations with a minor in event management. 

I decided to get my degree in public relations because I wanted more opportunities in the communications field. Through classes and internships, I have realized the importance of public relations and communications which has led me to become passionate about my field and the change it can bring.


I don’t remember how I discovered The LAGRANT Foundation scholarship, but I’m grateful I did. When I learned about LAGRANT’s mission to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the public relations, advertising and marketing fields, I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization that sees our potential. I believe in TLF’s mission because I believe minorities can make a big difference in their communities and around the world and inspire others to do the same. I want to stay involved with TLF because of its passion to help minorities succeed. Bringing diversity into this field of work is important because we need to be inclusive in key messaging to internal and external audiences and use communication to uplift diverse voices and backgrounds.


With this scholarship, I am now able to put the amount towards my academic costs and have  active participation in promoting diversity and inclusion. After I graduate, I hope to work in corporate public relations in the hospitality, entertainment or fashion industry.


Thank you to everyone who has believed in me, given me opportunities in my field and mentored me. I would like to thank my parents and family who have always encouraged me and pushed me to be my best self. Lastly, I would like to thank TLF for choosing me as a recipient for this scholarship.

 
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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Xochitl Torres
My name is Xochitl Torres, I’m a fourth-year student at California State University, Long Beach. My passion for the entertainment industry, photography, and culture led me to pursue a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in American Studies. 

After obtaining my degree, I hope to work in the entertainment industry within digital marketing or creative advertising. Being a film enthusiast, I want to collaborate with other creatives on entertainment marketing campaigns to connect with audiences. I want to help in developing a brand’s voice on social media and promote compelling content that will encourage consumers to engage with it. Entertainment shapes our culture and the content we consume impacts our identities. By supporting diverse narratives that reflect our culture, and actively implementing business initiatives, the industry can continue to progress and be more inclusive.

As someone who is committed to having more authentic representation in media and increasing the amount of inclusive opportunities for ethnic minorities in marketing, I avidly support TLF’s mission and the resources they provide for students. I’m a TLF alum from last year and decided to reapply to the scholarship because of the professional development and relationships I’ve built with industry professionals and students.

I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because of the opportunities and professional development they offer. The foundation is dedicated to opening doors for minority students and genuinely want to help the recipients succeed in all their endeavors.  The work TLF delivers aims to diversify the fields of communication and marketing, a crucial approach to inclusive storytelling and opportunities for ethnic minorities.

Thank you to The LAGRANT Foundation for selecting me as a 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship recipient. Thank you to Kim Hunter, the TLF board members, Christopher Juarez, and Camille Frigillana for their efforts to increase the number of ethnic minorities in these industries and for their commitment to student’s professional growth.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Malik Larkin
My name is Malik Larkin, and I received The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) scholarship in 2019 and 2020. I received the award while pursuing my degree in Graphic Design at Maryland Institute College of Art. At Maryland Institute College of Art, I’m a campus leader, club president of MICA Start, and resident advisor. In my professional field, I do freelance as a graphic designer in the esports industry, as well as event photography and apparel design production. As I continue to pursue my creative aspirations, I’m on course to receive my degree in 2022, a feat that would not have been possible without the support of TLF.

I first heard about TLF after meeting the TLF Chairman & CEO Kim Hunter, right before I started my freshman year in college. Mr. Hunter shared this fantastic opportunity and message on increasing the number of diversity in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations. This scholarship had an impact on me while I was in school, but it has also affected my professional career. TLF gave me the motivation and encouragement needed to become a competitive commissioner and applicant in my internship job search. Most importantly, this scholarship has helped me grow as a person in many ways, such as last summer's workshop where I had the pleasure to network and learn from many leaders in the advertising industry from P&G, Citizen, and many more. Including networking with other recipients who were doing amazing things in their own space, from influencers, entrepreneurs, and other freelancers who looked like me.


As a proud alumnus, I hope to see TLF’s impact on future students for many more years to come. I am a strong proponent of its mission because diversity in the workforce is essential, and I continue to stay involved because of their passion and outreach to my fellow students. I believe it is vital to keep the work TLF is doing because of their rarity, and we will be able to do so with the support from you.


Please consider joining me in supporting The LAGRANT Foundation so that we can continue the great work of shaping the future of bright, diverse leaders!

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Madeline Song
My name is Madeline Song, and I am an incoming 3rd-year student at UCLA, where I am pursuing my degree in Communications. 

My goal is to become a leader in the advertising and marketing industry in an effort to progress diversity and help expand positive impact and representation. I have a particular interest in lifestyle brands and want to leverage the power of the media and social voice to elevate the concerns, beliefs, and cultures of underrepresented minorities in order to more accurately represent the world. I want to share stories and messages that resonate with diverse people in creative, inventive ways to increase inclusivity and help these brands generate greater success. 


The LAGRANT Foundation is an incredible resource that has helped me progress towards my goals. It is a unique program dedicated to increasing the success and visibility of minorities in the industry and creates an important pipeline for talent. I believe that if there are more people that look like me working in this industry, making decisions and serving as models for the rest of the multicultural world, then significant change will result. 

 

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF to give back to the community that has helped get me to where I am today. I hope to inspire others to show that we can break the status quo and become positive leaders in this industry. 

 

I would also like to thank my mother, a professional in multicultural marketing, who opened my eyes to the possibilities I can pursue. I also want to thank Kim Hunter for his commitment to students like me and for introducing me to positive mentors, such as Soon Mee Kim, Executive Vice President of Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Porter Novelli. Thanks to them, I am able to learn and grow personally and professionally every day.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Nia Larry
My name is Nia Larry and I am currently a senior Strategic, Legal and Management Communications student at Howard University, where I am pursuing my degree in Advertising and a minor in Graphic Design. I chose a degree in advertising because I am passionate about bringing people together through amplifying voices of communities and creating authentic connections that could change conversations.

I first heard about TLF through searching for scholarship opportunities supporting minority advancement in the advertising industry, so it was natural that I applied when I saw the positive things they were doing to create that space for opportunity.  Applying to this scholarship was important for me because it aligned with my vision of learning through networking and accessible resources. I believe in TLF’s mission because people of color have a significant impact on industries today and it is important to create leaders who can carry those innovations forward. With this scholarship, I am now able to supplement my education by paying for classes that will help expand my understanding of communications. 


Once I earn my degree, I hope to better my community with what I have learned and go on to find my place in a career that I love. It has always been a dream of mine to open my own agency, so it will take doing the groundwork to build that dream into a reality. Diversity and inclusion is important now more than ever because businesses often benefit from the culture and service of ethnic minorities without regard to respecting their experiences, and I want to help change that narrative. Our voices are valid and valuable.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because the network is inclusive and supportive. The work The LAGRANT Foundation is doing is important because it is invigorating the next generation of leaders. 


I thank TLF for helping me better myself and the communities around me.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Britney Huston
My name is Britney Huston, and I am a rising sophomore at Alfred State College, where I am pursuing a degree in Marketing. I chose this major because the marketing field is so versatile. The possibilities of who I can work with and for are endless!

I discovered TLF on scholarships.com. I wanted to apply to this scholarship because it catered to minority residents who are interested in pursuing a career that heavily involves communication skills in business. I believe in TLF's mission because it grants minorities a chance to gain experience and knowledge about the business world.


Beyond receiving this scholarship, I want to continue to build my relationship with TLF because the organization is key to opening many doors, and I want to give back to the foundation someday. I believe the work of TLF is essential for people like me because it reminds us there is a position of importance waiting for us in the world of business.


Once I obtain my degree, I want to pursue a career as a creative director and writer because I have a passion for creativity. Bringing diversity into my field of work is vital because ethnic groups already inspire and change marketing through their culture and entertainment; it's time we take on roles in the offices as well.


For starters, I would like to thank the universe for leading me to this opportunity. Secondly, I would like to thank TLF because I know the selection process can be complicated; I am thankful that I am a recipient. Thirdly, I would like to thank my family and friends for all of their love and support. Without them, I wouldn't be who I am today. Lastly, I would like to thank myself for being a go-getter and a strong, intelligent, black woman.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Darrell Kelly
My name is Darrell Kelly II and I have recently completed my Freshman year at Prairie View A&M University, where I am pursuing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Sports Administration. I have chosen to pursue these studies because I have held an interest in working within the professional basketball industry since I was 14. 

I first heard about The Lagrant Foundation through a mentor who previously won a TLF scholarship award while attending Howard University, prior to graduating in 2011. I decided to apply to the scholarship because the recent death of my father has put my family in a financial predicament, making paying for college more difficult. TFL’s mission aligns heavily with my own values of generosity and being of service to those in need. By creating more opportunities for minorities, TLF places more minority students in a position to inspire the following generation. With this scholarship, I am now able to transfer to my preferred institution, University of Houston in the Fall 2020 term. 


Once I earn my degree, I hope to begin my career in the NBA, possibly working for the Houston Rockets marketing department. In addition, I plan to develop a basketball program for young teenagers in Texas to further their basketball skills and successes. These ambitions that I have placed upon myself stem from childhood, as I have continuously held a passion for basketball, marketing, and serving my community. Encouraging diversity into my professional endeavors is critical because it eliminates stereotypes and ultimately provides options for everyone to climb the ladder to their own success, despite the boundaries that are imposed upon us as minorities. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I wish to continue to stay involved with TLF because their core values and mission will continue to improve the lives of future minority college students who need assistance throughout their collegiate career. It is vital to help those who struggle to help themselves achieve their own desires, specifically those in the business culture. I think the work TLF is doing is important because the majority of minorities, including myself, have not been taught nor assisted on how to reach professional endeavors in the business field.


 I want to genuinely thank TLF for awarding me with the scholarship that eases a financial burden on my mother and making my dream school into my new reality.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Calista Huynh
My name is Calista Huynh and I am currently a rising senior at Parsons: The New School for Design pursuing a degree in Strategic Design and Management with a minor in Alternative Fashion Strategies, also referred to as sustainable fashion. My major encompasses a unique curriculum with courses focused in design and business. 

I first heard about TLF through my university’s scholarship advisor. I applied because TLF’s values align with my own, and I was interested in the educational experiences focused in communications. I believe in TLF’s mission because I have a personal responsibility to create opportunities for young girls to see themselves as communicators, entrepreneurs, innovators, and creators. With this scholarship, I am now able to fund my tuition for my last year of school.


Upon graduation, my goal is to secure a job in a creative environment that holds the same values as I do, specifically within the field of fashion or retail tech. I aim to increase my experience in corporate social responsibility, communications, impact management, and innovation. I want to pursue these goals because I hope to build a career that focuses on issues important to me, including sustainability and innovative business strategies that value transparency and ethics. I value bringing diversity into my field of work because I hope to communicate to minority women aspiring in the fashion industry that their perspectives and voices matter despite the hardships.


I plan to stay involved with TLF because it has continued to support my career and students in need. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it is changing the norm for future generations in terms of how we define diversity and inclusion.


I would like to thank Amani Gheith for her guidance as well as Kim Hunter and TLF’s team.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Eduardo Olivares
My name is Eduardo Olivares and I am currently a second-year student at the University of Oregon where I am pursuing my degree in advertising and business administration. I wanted to get my degree in advertising and business because I want to work with a creative team and help inspire other people of color. 

I first heard about TLF through my academic advisor. I wanted to apply for the scholarship because I wanted to network with students all over the nation and build connections with the Lagrant foundation and all the companies they work with. I believe in TLF’s mission because they truly care about the success of all the recipients and are always there providing support and opportunities. 


With this scholarship, I am now able to pay for my college education and also continue to build my business. Once I earn my degree, I want to do something I love and give back to my community. I want to pursue these goals because my community has always been there for me and I want to inspire other young people that were in the same position I was in. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because we bring new perspectives and cultures that benefit everyone. 


I want to thank the TLF foundation for their efforts in diversifying the advertising and public relations workforce and continuing to fund the dreams of many young people of color.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Rene Horne
Greetings! My name is Rene Horne and I am a Junior at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. I recently transferred to Lamar in Fall 2019 after serving eight years in the United States Navy. Public Relations, my current major, was not my first major or even a choice. With the guidance of my department chair, Dr. Natalie Tindall, and supporting professors, the public relations profession was revealed to me and I was hooked instantly. 

TLF was introduced to me by way of school email and it caught my attention right away. After reading the testimonials from previous recipients and learning about the assortment of sponsors, I felt that TLF was unique compared to other scholarships and foundations. From its mission to its actions in communities, I believe in TLF’s approach to not just provide a platform for minorities but to also aid various communities nationally and globally through education and mentorship. 


Now that I am one of the great recipients of this scholarship, I plan to build interpersonal skills, widen my perspective on media involvement, and develop learning outcomes that produce positive results for my community and school. 


After completion of my degree, I hope to work alongside other communication professionals in the corporate and non-profit environments to create paths for all individuals to pursue their dreams regardless of race, gender orientation, and religious preference. Another privilege of being a recipient is having a wide arrangement of mentors along the way to assist with my growth especially during the current pandemic. 


I am incredibly grateful to my family and mentors in the Navy, Target and Lamar University for pushing me, even while I kicked and screamed along the way. 


Thank you TLF for this opportunity. I look forward to creating alongside this foundation.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Jennifer Gray
My name is Jennifer Gray and I am currently a student at the University of Houston, where I am pursuing my degree in Technology Leadership Innovation Management. I wanted to get my degree in Technology Leadership Innovation Management because I possess an eagerness and a growing knowledge and skillset for developing and managing organizations and teams to solve problems and achieve satisfying results. So far, pursuing this degree has enabled me to focus on building necessary foundational leadership skills in technology and marketing subject matter expertise, communication and branding.

I first heard about TLF through the MANDEF scholarship newsletter. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I felt that I could not only benefit from it financially, but also become a part of the TLF family and one day give back, in return. I believe in TLF’s mission because of the essential focus that the organization places on helping minority students enter undiversified professions through providing scholarships, career and professional development workshops, internships, and mentorship programs. With this scholarship, I am now able to cover a portion of tuition costs.  


Once I earn my degree, I hope to cultivate a successful career in both the fields of Marketing Branding and Technology and Public Relations within the tech space. I want to pursue these goals because I’d like to integrate skills of technology, creativity, project management, marketing, and writing into one to create valuable outcomes. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because it empowers the new generation of professionals to achieve greatness. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because of the mentorship, internship, and job placement programs that the organization offers. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it uplifts minority students to pursue their dreams.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Johnny Miao
Hi! I’m Johnny (Jiawei) Miao, currently a rising junior at Fordham University Lincoln Center, where I am pursuing my degree in Global Business with a concentration in Global Marketing and Consumer Insights. I chose to pursue this major because I wanted to develop both my analytical and creative skills in an environment that reflects the rapid globalization of the world.

I realized the purpose behind my drive to go into marketing and advertising at the 2019 New York Advertising Week. One of the presenters on stage showed a commercial from their marketing campaign entitled “Do What You Can’t.”  It inspired people to defy barriers and change the world for the better, starting from the individual and broadening to a global scale. That ad made me realize that I want to use my skills to create advertisements and marketing campaigns like that in the future—ones that can be motivating and impactful to the consumer while also building the brand.


So when I first heard about TLF through my academic advisor, I knew I wanted to apply for the scholarship to help me on my path in promoting progress and diversity through marketing and advertising campaigns. Now with the opportunity that this scholarship gives, I can achieve that purpose, while at the same time tying it to the similar goal of promoting diversity within those industries.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I know I’ll stay involved with TLF for its fantastic opportunities and progressive mission. The work TLF is doing is so important in bringing new perspectives and minority voices into the marketing, advertising, and public relations industries.


I want to thank TLF for this opportunity, Jennifer O’Neil for her reliable counseling, Father Vin for the constant introduction to new opportunities, and Dean Rapaccioli for her continuous encouragement.

 
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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Bianca Diaz
My name is Bianca Diaz and I am currently a sophomore at the University of Texas at San Antonio where I am pursuing a degree in Marketing. I have always been interested in the world of marketing and the psychology behind every decision. I hope to start an organization that grants marketing assets to rising small businesses and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. 

After viewing TLF’s mission, I knew instantly that I had to apply. Their mission emphasizes how much marketing affects society and, in a diverse country, it is important to have employees that reflect this same diverse demographic to ensure truthful, just practices. With this scholarship, I am now able to fund another semester of college on my road to graduating debt free. 


After earning my degree, I plan on obtaining my MBA and starting a career with a business (particularly in retail digital marketing) that values diversity and cultural awareness. An inclusive field is not only beneficial for the businesses and firms, but is beneficial for the communities directly affected by these firms. To gain consumer’s trust is only possible by addressing their needs and those who know these needs the greatest are the people who are just like them.


In addition to receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because their strive to create a more diverse work environment is crucial in maintaining marketing justice and reducing disenfranchisement. With their knowledge in which businesses are upholding these practices, I am able to reach out to companies I can trust will uphold their same values. 


I would like to thank my parents Maria and Delfino Diaz Jr. for their constant support and guidance as well as The LAGRANT Foundation for sharing a message that must continue to be shared in an ever-changing world.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Joshua Harris
My name is Joshua Harris and I am currently going into my sophomore year at Drake University, where I am pursuing my degree in digital media production and advertising. I wanted to pursue a degree in digital media production and advertising because I have a deep passion for visual storytelling. I want to express my creativity and spread diversity in a field that is lacking in black voices by developing and communicating stories that will resonate and impower diverse audiences.

I first heard about TLF through my school’s scholarship board. I wanted to apply for the scholarship because I thought The TLF Foundation was a great opportunity for me to get connected with people in my field of interest, while also learning ways I can start getting involved in my industry. I am eager to build relationships and meet with like-minded individuals that share similar career ambitions to my own. I believe in TLF’s mission because I understand the importance of providing minorities with a voice in media and allowing them to share their vison. With this scholarship, I am now more confidante in my ability to find internships and connect with organizations within my desired industry.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to work for an advertising agency or write and direct screenplays for major film studios by the likes of Disney. I want to pursue these goals because I want to utilize my talents of visual communication to be a voice for change within my community. Bringing diversity into my industry is important because minority voices are often neglected within media and I believe that this problem has been detrimental to upcoming minority youth. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I hope to stay involved with for TLF for many years to come.

 

 

 
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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Alexandra Bouras
Hello! I’m Alexandra Bouras, and I'm a senior at California State University, Fullerton. CSUF has been a fantastic place for me to learn and pursue my Communications degree with an emphasis in PR. I truly believe that words have incredible power, and I’m working to be able to change the world with mine.


I first found out about TLF through my university. I was impressed that there was a scholarship out there that was not only specific to my major, but also placed importance on uplifting my identity. Fast forward from my first application as a wide-eyed college freshman to now being a third-time scholarship recipient, I am incredibly grateful to have had TLF alongside me every step of the way. Mr. Hunter and the TLF team’s generosity has provided me with so many opportunities over the past three years which have allowed me to network and build lasting connections with mentors and peers who share the same vision as I do. I believe in TLF’s mission because this foundation creates a strong and caring community among those who may have otherwise struggled to get their foot in the door in this competitive industry.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to continue working in PR and journalism in the music scene. Art is a huge part of our culture, and it’s important to bring diversity into that field of work to make sure that we are being given more than just one voice and one vision.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I would like to thank and stay involved with TLF since they have helped me immensely along my college career. I think this foundation is doing incredible work, and I am so excited to see what amazing things this team and the alumni accomplish together in the future.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Kiara Davis
My name is Kiara Davis and I am currently a junior strategic communications major at Hampton University. I chose this major because I have a love for writing and a great interest in the advertising, marketing and public relations industry. I also love how it allows for free use of creativity as well as collaborate with other creative individuals.

I first heard about TLF through a friend of mine, Jordyn Edwards, who also attended Hampton University and was a 2018 scholarship recipient. I wanted to apply to the scholarship not only because of the money, but because of the resources and networking opportunities. In the future, I hope to be able to support minorities in this field as TLF has done for me. Thanks to this scholarship, I am now able to fund business ventures that I have planned for the near future.


Once I earn my degree, I plan to reside in my hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota and obtain a job at an agency in downtown Minneapolis. I want to pursue these goals because it is important to me that I be an example for my younger sister, future children and the younger generations of color to come. 


I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I believe in their mission and I always want to give back to those who have helped me. I think the work TLF is doing is important because diversity in the workplace is an ongoing issue that people still need to be aware of. In closing, I would like to thank my family for supporting me in everything I do, my friends for always standing by me, and the professors in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University for constantly pushing me to reach my fullest potential.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Gabrielle Alcala
My name is Gabrielle Alcala, and I am currently a rising senior student at Indiana University, where I am pursuing my degree in Marketing and Social/Digital Media with a minor in Advertising. I chose to study marketing because of its variety of touch points within a business including creating influential campaigns to drive awareness of a business. At IU, I am involved in the American Marketing Association, which has taught me about different industries and professional development. It’s fascinating to see great concepts form into effective campaigns. 

I first heard about TLF through LinkedIn and Hispanic scholar groups. I applied to the scholarship because of the foundation’s great representation in the marketing industry and dedication to supporting minority students. TLF’s mission is something I stand behind because of its responsibility of investing in diverse populations. With this scholarship, I will continue to pursue my business degree without additional financial hardships. 


After earning my degree, I hope to become a mentor for underclassmen minorities while continuing the discussion of a more diverse tomorrow. Now more than ever, Americans need unified guidance and support to lead them in a positive direction. In addition, I hope to work in a marketing associate related role and join a diverse company that values its employees and the community. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because of the mentorship opportunities, corporate relationships, and job shadowing/placement programs. TLF truly cares about providing minorities with meaningful opportunities to excel in their careers, which is something I love about the organization.  I would like to thank all the donors and company partners for their generosity and dedication to supporting TLF and its students. Their support has impacted generations of scholars before me and will continue to impact scholars in their future career paths.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Zachary Gradishar
My name is Zachary Gradishar and I am currently a third-year student at American University in Washington DC, where I am pursuing a degree in Public Relations & Strategic Communication (PRSC) as well as a minor in Marketing. I wanted to get my degree in PRSC because I have the ability to pursue careers in various fields.

I first heard about TLF through one of my PR professors at the end of the first semester of my sophomore year. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I liked TLF’s mission and thought it would be great to associate myself with such a wonderful organization. I believe in TLF’s mission because it grants students with opportunities and connections that serve as benefits in the long run. With this scholarship, I am now able to graduate college with a little less debt. 


Once I earn my degree, I hope to pursue a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations as well as a certificate in Media and Entertainment Management from the University of Southern California. I want to pursue these goals because I hope to one day work in the entertainment industry. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because being a minority has broadened my perspective on various issues and once I learned about the lack of diversity in the PR field, I thought I could help change that norm. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I can make connections while learning from those who are practicing in the field that I wish to pursue. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it enables minority students to get one step closer to achieving their dreams. I wanted to take a moment to thank both my professor and mentor Pallavi Kumar as well as TLF for giving me this opportunity as I value it dearly.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Sherry Chen
My name is Sherry Chen and I am currently a junior student at Baruch College, where I am pursuing my degree in marketing and a double minor in graphic design and interdisciplinary studies of New York City. I wanted to get my degree in marketing because it encompasses a combination of creativity-thinking, strategic analysis, and industrial research. It’s a challenging yet gratifying field because it pushes me to my highest potential from campaign proposals to content creation. 

I first heard about TLF through the Macaulay Honors career newsletter. I wanted to apply for the scholarship because it aligns perfectly with my career aspiration. I believe in TLF’s mission because I want to increase awareness about diversity and inclusion in my community and inspire other Asian Americans to pursue their careers in marketing. With this scholarship, I am now able to fund my academic expenses to study abroad in Singapore and attend various conferences. 


Once I earn my degree, I hope to continue to build my leadership and foster my commitment to marketing by telling compelling stories. I want to pursue these goals because I want to ensure that ethnic minorities have more opportunities to contribute to this field. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because it is essential to combat underrepresentation and have everyone’s voice be heard.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I want to give back to this community and provide resources to other students. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it changes the marketing landscape and inspires a new generation of marketers.


Once again, thank you so much for the organization's help and support. TLF has truly made an ever-lasting impact on my college journey and career path.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Mikayla Ford
My name is Mikayla Ford and I am a rising junior at Elon University. I am pursuing a degree in communication design because I have a passion for using creative thinking to solve problems. I love seeing ideas evolve from concepts and sketches to being placed in the real world. 

I first heard about TLF from a fellow Elon student. I decided to apply to the scholarship because I felt that the foundation’s mission aligned with my values regarding diversifying the advertising industry and supporting minorities in different industries. 


The LAGRANT Foundation is action-oriented and goal-focused that is why I strongly believe in its mission. The LAGRANT Foundation provides professional and financial support to students so that we can have the skills/tools we need to confidently enter the workforce. 


With this scholarship, I am now able to continue my pursuit of my bachelor’s degree while also having the opportunity to study abroad so that I may broaden my perspectives and become immersed in another culture.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to work as a creative strategist at an advertising agency and ultimately work as a design thinking consultant. I want to pursue these goals because I believe that human-centered approaches to strategizing and designing are essential for being innovative. Bringing diversity into advertising is important because advertising is worldwide and it needs to be sensitive to all races, ethnicities, and cultures.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because of the connections you make with the people who work with the foundation. There is not another foundation or organization like it. The LAGRANT Foundation really cares about the students and the people they work with.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Jordan Alarcon
My name is Jordan Alarcon and I am a senior at The University of Texas at Austin, currently pursuing a degree in Public Relations. I chose this degree because PR campaigns today are outlets to relate and speak to an audience, and now more than ever I want to be a part of that. 

I first heard about The LAGRANT Foundation through the Unigo website in 2018. At the time, I was looking to transfer to UT Austin. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I believe it is crucial to consciously represent the growing minority consumer. With this scholarship, I transferred to my dream school and am now closer to being a part of those spaces. 

Upon graduating, I aim to work in brand and corporate communications. I have always had a passion for community engagement and representation. I aspire to continue doing it. I want to work for a brand or company that takes chances and has conversations that some may avoid. By including people from all different backgrounds, you can execute these conversations in an efficient and effective manner. 

TLF taught me how to amplify my voice in this field. I want to stay involved with this organization because they gave me the tools that I didn’t have. The work TLF does is important because there is so much meaning to the work done within this field. Content can make people feel like they matter. I want to be a part of making every person seen and heard. 

I’d like to thank Kim Hunter and Christopher Juarez for continuing to stay in contact after receiving the 2019 scholarship, something I found very unique about this program and organization. I would truly like to thank you for all that you do for us.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Natu Abraham
My name is Natu Abraham, I believe that culture and experiences form the parameters of who we are. At seven years old, my family won a lottery-visa, presenting us with the opportunity to immigrate to America from Eritrea, and the media played a significant role in my adaptation to the American culture. Being a first-generation student, most of my life I was adjusting, adapting, and taking initiative in different environments, shaping my character in a way that is driven, resilient, and respectful.

I’m a rising senior studying marketing and information systems at the University of Washington. With this education, I am pursuing a career in technology and media/entertainment. Within these industries, media and tech will allow me to have an impact on audience targeting, brand, and people engagement, creating creative campaigns that align with my diversity initiatives.


I’m a leader on my campus as the president of the Association of Black Business Students as I’m developing and maintaining the Black community and diversity initiatives with the business school’s Dean, employers, and staff. 


Within my passion for diversity and inclusion in this industry, I believe there should be more effort and work to bring people from diverse communities that would be part of the workforce that takes place in the “behind the scenes” of the industry.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because of the established network and the funded opportunities it provides that I’m grateful for. I appreciate the impactful work TLF and Kim Hunter is doing for diverse leaders. TLF is my biggest tool laying the path towards these inspired career goals and leading diversity initiatives that change the media portrayal of minorities within those industries. 

I appreciate you, TLF.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Rhea Chawla
My name is Rhea Chawla and I am a junior at The Savannah College of Art & Design, where I am pursuing a degree in Fashion Marketing & Management.

As a two-time recipient of the TLF scholarship, I know firsthand how significant TLF’s contribution and networking opportunities are to students around the country. With this scholarship, I can utilize a significant portion of my time outside of school to focus on internships and volunteering in my community!


After graduation, I plan to work in Apparel Product Development and Marketing because taking something from concept to final product is what I enjoy. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because the industry strives to reach a global audience that consists of different cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles. Having a diverse group of employees means having multiple sets of ideas, solutions, and experiences. This will benefit not only employees but also the companies as they develop the understanding, vision, skills to adapt and emerge strong for the cultural transformations that we'll see in the coming years.


I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because it has been an invaluable steppingstone in preparing me for a career in my field and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be part of this wonderful organization. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it provides an exceptional foundation and thorough understanding of working hand in hand and leading a diverse team. 


I would like to say thank to Mr. Kim Hunter, and the rest of the TLF team! No matter where life’s journey takes me, I know the experiences and connections I make through TLF will help me succeed for whatever lies ahead!

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Dage Girault Albert
My name is Dage Girault Albert and I am currently a senior at Lycoming College. I am pursuing a degree in Corporate Communications. I wanted to get my degree in Corporate Communications because I wanted to help companies better communicate with the public, and with stakeholders and shareholders.

I first heard about TLF through my college advisor. I wanted to apply to this scholarship because I knew it would introduce to professionals in the field that would help me get the proper start in the industry. I believe in TLF’s mission because it is important to have people from all backgrounds in this field. Doing so creates a work environment where you get multiple perspectives. With this scholarship, I will be better equipped to help pay for my final year in college.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to be the person in charge of all communication efforts for the company I work for. I want to pursue these goals because a lot of times, companies are not clear with their consumers and customers, which often lead to putting out products or statements that may be offensive. I want to prevent that from happening. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because when you work with a diverse team, you are allowing for multiple ideas and solutions to be created.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue being involved with TLF because I want future applicants to see that you can be a minority and succeed in this industry. I think the work TLF is doing is important because they are giving underrepresented populations a chance to put themselves out there in the field of advertising, public relations, and marketing.

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TLF 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Payton Campbell
My name is Payton Campbell and I am from Houston, Texas. I am a graphic design major at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and an entrepreneurship minor at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. I became a graphic design major because I want to help produce a more powerful visual representation of people of color in America. 

I first heard about TLF through the career development center at my school. I applied to the scholarship because I was drawn to the foundation’s mission of assisting high achieving students and media professionals in the industry through scholarships, internship and job placement, and career development workshops, and more. 


After earning my degree, I plan to work in brand management and help start-up companies build brands that are more visually inclusive, diverse, and accessible.  

Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because design can be powerfully used to help change the perception of minorities in society. Oftentimes, people of color are rarely given the proper resources or platform to share their own narrative, so I want to help ensure that they are accurately represented in the design industry. 


I plan to stay involved with TLF because I appreciate the work they do to provide access and opportunities to people of color in the communications industry. The foundation’s programming, wide network, and resources will definitely help to further me in my career. This scholarship will help fund my educational expenses as I enter into my senior year of undergrad. 


I thank my family, friends, and mentors for their continuous support and prayers throughout my academic journey. Their motivation and belief in my talents always push me to go farther and achieve more than I ever thought possible.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Kweimeiley Nartey
My name is Kweimeiley Nartey and I am currently a graduate student at LIM College where I am pursuing my degree in Fashion Marketing. I wanted to pursue a degree in Fashion Marketing because I wanted to learn the business side of Fashion and educate myself on the history, theories, and marketing strategies. 

I first learned about TLF while searching for organizations that support the success of minorities. TLF helps minorities obtain resources and tools that are not commonly available by providing mentorship and professional development opportunities. I believe in the TLF mission because minorities don’t always have access to opportunities that others may have, and pipelines like this are game changers in changing the narrative of people feeling left out.  I am grateful for this scholarship, because I will have gained a network that will aid in helping me navigate my process.  

Once I earn my degree, I aspire to work as a marketer in the fashion or beauty space. I want to pursue these goals because I owe it to myself and I want to make my mother proud. I also want other young women to be inspired; I want to be a role model.  Bringing diversity into my field is important because in every workforce there should be respect, understanding, and appreciation for the differences in people. When different people are able to bring their ideas to the table, it makes the idea more inclusive and makes the idea stronger. 

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because it is important that all of our voices are represented. 

Thank you Mr. Kim Hunter for creating an exceptional organization, empowered to help students succeed, the board of directors, and everyone else who helps aid in making TLF’s mission a success.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Dimandja Utshudi
My name is Dimandja Utshudi and I am currently a Graduate student at The City College of New York, where I am pursuing my degree in Brand + Integrated Communication (BIC) of Professional Studies. A portfolio-driven master’s degree will provide a platform that will test my abilities and expertise to better understand the needs of marketing communication industries. 

I first heard about TLF through my Program Director, Nancy Tag. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because your organization has been advocating for the increase of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing, and public relations ethnic minorities in over a decade, and I share TLF’s vision of working towards eliminating this inequality. 

With this scholarship, I will be able to continue my professional pursuit to work in an industry that communicates with consumers of demographics. Increasing the number of ethnic minorities in these fields will give companies insight and skills to evolve alongside the massive culture shift we will see in the coming decades. 

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because we are stewards of this world, and we have a calling on our lives to leave it better than how we found it. There is power in unity which will create opportunities for those who come after us and I think the work TLF is doing is important because it is accomplishing two things; eliminating the inequality within the marketing industry, and creating opportunities for disadvantaged minorities. 

Once I earn my degree, I hope to engage underrepresented youth in pursuing higher education, and career pathways in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields as the Project Manager of The Harlem Gallery of Science working in collaboration with The City College of New York. 

Lastly, thank you to the entire LAGRANT Committee for granting me this amazing opportunity. Let’s get to work!

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Zoe Pulley
My name is Zoë Pulley and I am graduate student and a Presidential Fellow at Rhode Island School of Design, where I am pursuing my MFA degree in Graphic Design. I wanted to get my degree in Graphic Design to produce work that not only creates representation for black and POC identity in the design space, but to also take a departure from the derivative depiction of our experience by conveying our great stories inspired by the unique narratives of ancestry.
 
I first heard about TLF through their various industry talks and programming and knew I wanted to apply to the scholarship since their mission aligns with my future career goals — to increase the number of minorities in predominantly white creative industries. I believe in TLF’s mission because I believe it is crucial to not only have us at the table in the design, advertising & marketing space, but to advocate to other black people through outreach and programming that they too can achieve such goals. With this scholarship, I am now able to access the materials and supplies necessary in order to research and create the work I feel is imperative to not only tell our stories, but to hopefully also create opportunities for other young, talented black people to do the same.  
 
Once I earn my degree, I hope to continue creating programming that creates accessibility for young black and POC people within the design space — this could be through programming within the educational realm or commercial industries. I want to pursue these goals because I strongly believe that as a driven black woman who has experiences working in a creative industry, it is our responsibility as black people to create access for more than just individual selves in these spaces. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because otherwise we will continue to face set-backs, micro-agressions and our voices will continue to be the minority and generally left unheard.
 
Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I hope the work I will be doing will still align with TLF’s mission and can be a sub sect programming opportunity for students pursuing degrees in design. I think the work TLF is doing is important because as I mentioned previously — a whole lot more of us need a seat at the table.
 
I would like to thank my incredible parents, Brett & Stacey, for their continued guidance and always believing in whatever it was I wanted to achieve. My younger sister, Blake, for inspiring me with her drive and no-nonsense attitude. And my grandmother, Sandra aka ‘Gran San’, an artist and creative force who has been the ongoing inspiration for me as designer.
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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Taylor Guidry
My name is Taylor Guidry and I am currently a first-year Master’s student at The University of Denver, where I am pursuing my degree in communication management. I am pursuing my degree in communication management because I want to help shape the art of advertising to be more representative of under-represented groups, specifically minorities.

I first heard about TLF through buzz around my school. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I believe that my personal mission aligns with that of TLF. I believe in TLF’s mission because it is our duty as future advertisers or PR personnel to shape the way that advertising is being done. We have to take the bull by the horns and create the change that we want to see. With this scholarship, I am now able to pay for some of my Master’s degree.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to open a marketing and brand management consulting firm that specializes in educating brands on how to properly appeal to and be a voice for underrepresented groups. I want to pursue these goals because when I was younger I rarely saw people who looked like me and this caused an early identity crisis. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because daily consumption of one image further perpetuates the idea that there is only one reality of the “American family” and this simply is not the case.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I want to learn from those who came before me and help those who will follow me. I think the work TLF is doing is important because everyone needs a voice and who better to tell the story of minorities, than minorities? 


I want to thank my family and friends for being my support system and helping me get to where I am today.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Ayush Kumar
My name is Ayush Kumar, and I am entering the last year of my Master’s in Branding + Integrated Communications at  The City College of New York. After studying journalism during my undergraduate years at Boston University and working at a PR agency in New York City, I wanted to build on my foundational marketing skills, and BIC was the perfect program for that. 

I first heard about The LAGARANT Foundation through Nancy Tag, the BIC Program Director, who is also my advisor for the Management/Planning track. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because it seemed like a great network to become a part of and learn from. I believe in TLF’s mission because marketing reflects the society we live in, and I want to help shape what that looks like by bringing underrepresented black and brown faces to the table. I was born in India, and am proud of being an immigrant in this country. With this scholarship, I am now able to meet and get career advice from experienced industry professionals, many of whom have broken down barriers to get to the position they are in.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to work in branding strategy, as my passion is helping businesses grow, stand for something bigger than just sales, and ultimately find their place in the market. Bringing diversity into marketing is important because any effective campaign is a collaboration between a team, and having a diverse team brings about many perspectives to dealing with any business challenge. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF to help other students who are interested in a marketing career. I think the work TLF is doing is important because the industry as a whole has been dominated too long by homogeneous teams that fail to speak for the audience they want to reach. 


I want to thank the wonderful BIC faculty and my peers in the class of 2021, who continue to inspire me every day. It is a blessing to be surrounded by so many hard-working professionals from different parts of the world, all of whom bring a unique set of skills to any project.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Fredericka Davis
My name is Fredericka Davis and I am currently a graduate student at DePaul University where I am pursuing my degree in Public Relations and Advertising. I wanted to pursue this course of study to use my voice to promote and protect the image of people of color in all media formats. 

I first heard about TLF from the Graduate Program Advisors of DePaul University’s College of Communication. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because TLF provides an opportunity to connect with the next generation of decision makers and be mentored by industry professionals that are invested in securing and promoting positive imagery for people of color in advertising, marketing and public relations. I believe in TLF’s mission because it increases diversity and inclusion for people of color in these fields, which is critical in the world today. With this scholarship, I am now able to reduce expenses related to my coursework going into my final year of study. 

Once I earn my degree, I hope to partner what I’ve learned with my skillset to increase understanding across cultural lines. I want to pursue these goals because there’s a dire need for proper representation. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because it will help me create the world in which I want to live.

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF as a mentor to pay this honor forward and nurture the advertising, marketing and public relations fields for colleagues and future game changers. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it is building a community with common goals for a greater representation for all. 

I would like to thank the following advisors and program directors from DePaul University: Ron Culp, Maria DeMoya and Karin Winters.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Anthony Sanchez
My name is Anthony Marco Sanchez and I am currently a second-year graduate student at the University of Florida, where I am pursuing my degree in Digital Marketing Strategies.

 

I first heard about TLF through my friend, and fellow TLF alumni, Shiselle while at the University of Florida. I applied to TLF because I believe in TLF’s mission and the commitment of their Board of Directors to empowering, uplifting, and mentoring rising communication professionals of color. With this scholarship, I am now able to build a network of professionals who are invested in my personal and professional growth.

 

Once I earn my degree, I hope to use it to empower clients to own their digital experiences from start to finish to help improve lives. I intend to invest time in paying it forward to others like me by staying involved with TLF because I believe being the only is lonely; bringing diversity into my field of work is essential to building empathetic, consumer-centric experiences that authentically represent and empower communities of color.

 

Thank you to everyone on the TLF Board of Directors and to all donors to the foundation for your continuous commitment to increasing the number of ethnic minorities in the field of communications and for making this opportunity possible for me.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Brionna Hunter
My name is Brionna Hunter and I am currently a rising second year student at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where I am pursuing my Master of Business Administration Degree. I wanted to get my MBA because I knew it would allow me to further my career by gaining access to new skills, networks, and opportunities.

I first heard about TLF through an advisor while I was in undergrad at Howard University. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because the I thought that my goals and experience aligned well with the organization’s mission. I believe in TLF’s mission because diverse representation throughout the marketing, advertising, and public relations spaces is lacking and much needed. With this scholarship, I am now able to cover some of the out of pocket expenses that come with being a full-time student again.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to pursue a marketing career in the technology or consulting industry. I want to pursue these goals because I hope to continue to learn and grow as a marketer in a challenging environment. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because companies and brands need to understand and value all perspectives when making business decisions.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because it provides a great network that I hope to add value to as I develop in my professional career. I think the work TLF is doing is important because they are helping to solve a piece of the complex problem of inequality that unfortunately continues to permeate in almost every aspect of our society. 


I would like to thank The LAGRANT Foundation and all of its supporters for making this opportunity possible!

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Daniel Brown
My name is Daniel Brown, and I am currently a first-year graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I am pursuing my masters’ degree in graphic design. I decided to pursue my degree in graphic design because I am passionate about using my creativity to create compelling visual narratives that resonate with people. 

I first heard about TLF after researching scholarships that support minorities pursuing a career in advertising. I decided to apply to the scholarship program because I felt TLF would help me grow and develop as a creative professional. As a minority, I support TLF’s mission of empowering marginalized voices in the advertising industry. With this scholarship, I can make progress towards my degree while learning how I can use my voice to influence positive change in the industry.


Once I earn my degree, I have plans to work at a creative advertising agency. I am interested in working in digital media and entertainment. With career aspirations to become a Creative Director, I am determined to use my creative talents and abilities to bring stories to life through new forms of media and digital communications.


We need more diverse voices and talent working at advertising agencies who influence how we tell stories to reach people. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because it allows designers, creators, and other communicators to engage with various perspectives. When we have different people in the room who come from diverse life experiences, I believe we can come up with novel solutions and start conversations. 


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF to help support the next generation of creators of color. Thank you to everyone who has poured into my education and helped me continue striving towards my goals. 

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Natalie Torres
My name is Natalie Torres and I am a first-generation college graduate from Denver, Colorado. I have a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in Ethnic Studies from CU Boulder. Currently, I am the Social Media and Communications Coordinator of a web-based registry. This role led me to recognize I am passionate about communicating and learning about consumers. Therefore, I want to study a discipline that allows me to create positive messages that appeal to marginalized groups. 

I made the decision to pursue a master’s degree in marketing as I believe this will help me further refine my skills and open the doors to new professional endeavors. While I am excited about pursuing a graduate degree, I’m nervous about how I will pay for my education. My search for scholarship opportunities led me to find The LAGRANT Foundation scholarship. I feel fortunate that I found TLF as they not only provide financial assistance for graduate students, but they grant exceptional mentoring, internship, and professional development opportunities. As the first in my family to graduate from college and pursue a master’s degree, navigating this new chapter can feel challenging and overwhelming. Underrepresented, minority college graduates like myself greatly need the professional, emotional support and guidance that is offered by TLF

I feel blessed to be a recipient of this scholarship and beyond receiving the award, I look forward to staying involved with TLF as I want to mentor other minority college students. I am fortunate to have a solid support system; therefore, I will always try to give back and help other underrepresented students.

The journey of pursuing my graduate degree has not been the easiest, but none of this would be possible without the support of my family, friends and TLF who believe in me and my dreams. 

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Krystal Robinson
27 years ago, on June 6, Krystal Robinson was born. Fast forward to 2020, Krystal is now an MBA student at Wayne State University (WSU) where she is pursuing a graduate degree in International Business and Entrepreneurship. Krystal also attended WSU for her undergrad, majoring in Business Marketing. Krystal desired to purse marketing in part of her passion for creativity and felt this desire could be fulfilled in advertising. Krystal decided to return to higher education to pursue an MBA in entrepreneurship because she wishes to create an organization that will serve her community.

 

Krystal first heard about TLF through a Fastweb Scholarship email. Krystal was inspired by TLF and appreciated the work that the Foundation was doing for students of minorities. Krystal believes in TLF’s mission because since she has been in the advertising industry, she feels there are not enough people who look like herself who work in her field. With this scholarship, Krystal will be able to finish her final year of graduate school strong and continue to grow in her career.


After Krystal earns her MBA, she expects to continue working in advertising and start working on her own organization that will strive to support students’ understanding of different career options. Krystal wants to pursue these goals because she too lacked career support and wants other students in her community to have the support and resources they need. Bringing diversity into advertising is important because every voice should be heard and properly displayed.


Beyond receiving this scholarship, Krystal wants to continue to stay involved with TLF to support other students. Krystal believes the work TLF does is important because diversity is important in any work environment, especially in our field.

 

Krystal would like to thank her mother and fiancé who both have always been big supporters in her educational and career journey.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient MIcaiala Hamner
My name is Micaiala Hamner and I am currently a second-year graduate student at the University of West Florida, where I am pursuing my degree in Strategic Communication and Leadership. I wanted to pursue a master’s degree in the field of communication because of the versatility within the field, alongside my passion for making a difference. I am interested in the field of international public relations with an emphasis on scientific communication. 
 
I first heard about TLF from my former classmate. I applied for the scholarship because the mission and vision of the organization aligns with my own. Finding scholarships at the graduate level is rare and even more infrequent for minorities solely in the fields of marketing, communication, advertising, and PR.  I strive to be a change-agent in society and this scholarship provides me with the opportunity to do so, all while being surrounded by likeminded individuals. With this scholarship, I am now able to complete my final semesters at UWF without facing any financial hardship. My focus can now exclusively be on preparing for my pursuit of a doctoral degree. 
 
Once I earn my degree, a long-term goal is to work as a director for an international public relations government agency. My short-term goal would be to work in academia, teaching students about scientific communication.  I aspire to be an advocate for women of color by making a unique contribution to the field of communication.
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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Austin Smith
My name is Austin Smith and I am currently a graduate student at San Diego State University where I am pursuing my Masters degree in mass media and journalism. I wanted to get my degree in the journalism field because I believe our ability to share ideas, information, and experiences is how we evolve. I want my education and experience to be proof that people of color need and deserve to be involved in conversations that shape our country. 

I first heard about TLF from one of my very supportive professors. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I recognized how much the foundation cares for members and communities it serves. I believe in TLF’s mission because our society will only improve when we take responsibility for that growth. That is especially important in communities of color. I want to be a part of that movement. With this scholarship, I am now able to support myself through this current national health crisis and focus on the last year of my Masters program.  


Once I earn my degree, I’d eventually like to create a business that provides the local community with the education and space for minorities to thrive in creative, informative, and business writing. I want to pursue these goals because minorities are sometimes left out of policy discussions and deprived of creative writing platforms. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because the inclusion of divergent thinking is vitally important to journalism and greatly needed.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because every professional needs the support and networking provided by foundations like TLF. I think the work TLF is doing is important because minority students and professionals need to know they have a places to go and organizations to rely upon as they navigate in a world that sometimes feels like it wasn’t built for them. 


I would like to thank my mom, Cathy Smith, for being my confidant and biggest cheerleader as I took the most unconventional of routes to get here.

 
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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Socheat Tauch
My name is Socheat Tauch and I am currently a graduate student at the University of Oregon, where I am studying Sports Product Management. I wanted to explore this degree program because I want to use my creativity and enter the sports industry and be surrounded by technical products.

I first heard about TLF through my initial scholarship research specifically for minorities and underrepresented student populations. I applied to the scholarship because I wanted to join a coalition of like-minded students-of-color who are interested in joining the creative marketing and advertising field. I believe in TLF’s mission because, when given the platform, students-of-color bring immense value to the workforce through their rich, cultural experiences. With this scholarship, I am now able to better prepare and educate myself as I enter the sports product industry


Once I earn my degree, I hope to work as a product line manager or a product developer for a top sportswear company like Nike, Columbia Sportswear, or Adidas in the United States and/or overseas in Asia. I want to pursue these goals because I want to make all athletes and consumers perform at their best through market and trend research, data analysis, and design and development processes. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because I believe more people-of-color need to be represented in the sports product industry. Diverse teams are able to possess crucial critical thinking skills and alternative ways of reasoning due to their individual and unique lived experiences.

 

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because giving back to this foundation as they continue their work will only encourage the next round of students-of-color to obtain and utilize these same resources as I did. I think the work TLF is doing is important because it gives students-of-color an opportunity, not only to be heard, but also gives them the foundation to succeed in their career journey.


Thank you for getting this far and reading my blog. I want to give a big thank you to the TLF for selecting me as a 2020 graduate award recipient; Shelly G. for writing an awesome letter of reference; my partner Coua X. for helping me proofread my application submission and supporting me in chasing my dreams; and of course to my greatest of friends, Vickie G. and Brian S. for being an awesome sound board and source of inspiration as I go through my highs and lows of my graduate program, online zoom classes, and phases of uncertainty during the COVID pandemic.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Jessica Gresham
My name is Jessica Gresham and I am currently a first year graduate student at the University of Southern California (USC), where I am pursuing my master’s degree in strategic public relations. I decided to pursue a career in communications because I fell in love with storytelling. I aspire to combine my passion for communications with my commitment to social impact and my interest in entertainment. I imagine myself leading brand communications and corporate social responsibility for a major entertainment company like Netflix or WarnerMedia, with the goal to tell stories and create moments that inspire, connect, and improve the lives of others. 

I first became familiar with The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) when I worked as an intern on the communications team after graduating from college. Years later, I applied to the scholarship program because I needed financial assistance with my tuition and I believe in TLF’s mission. Increasing diversity in my field of work is important because now, more than ever, it has become imperative that brands have marketing, advertising and PR teams that reflect not only their consumers, but the world around them. By increasing diversity, brands can tap into new perspectives and make more creative and better informed decisions. I believe that the more diverse a team is, the more equipped it is to ask the important questions, create meaningful dialogue and challenge comfort zones. 


This scholarship helps reduce some of the financial burden that comes with pursuing a master’s degree and I’m very grateful to TLF and its board members for selecting me as a scholarship recipient two years in a row. Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I truly believe in its mission.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Tiffany Martinez
My name is Tiffany Martinez and I am a first-year graduate student at the University of North Texas, where I am pursuing my degree in Journalism and a Public Relations certificate. I began to pursue this degree through a fast-track program as relationships are important to me, it is versatile, and I love writing.

 

As a first-generation student and Latina, it is an invaluable experience and blessing to be a TLF scholarship recipient. This allows me to focus on my studies and other opportunities, such as conducting research in the public relations industry. I first heard about TLF as an undergraduate, and I was encouraged by a friend to apply for a scholarship for graduate school. Moreover, I wanted to apply as it aligned with my values and desire of diversifying the field. Considering my experiences and others, I believe in TLF’s mission because representation matters and voices need to be heard, especially now.

 

Upon earning my degree, I would like to work at an agency to tell various stories in different industries and work on intercultural communication projects. Diversity in the public relations industry is important to create understanding, internally and externally, and authenticity is invaluable. Eventually, I would like to go into corporate relations and even teaching. I want to pursue these goals because there needs to be active change in implementing different perspectives through ethical and diverse practices.

 

The work that TLF is doing is important, as not everyone has the same access to resources and guidance to grow professionally and personally. Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because of its dedication and work to help students like me and make changes in our fields. To have an amazing support system is meaningful in more ways than one.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Taylor Garner
My name is Taylor Garner and I am currently entering my second year of graduate school at The University of Alabama, where I am pursuing my master’s degree in advertising and public relations. I wanted to get my degree in advertising and public relations because I wanted a deeper understanding of the industry in order to become a skilled practitioner. 

I first heard about TLF through The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations’ Student Mentoring Session in Fall 2019. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because I believe that I can achieve my goals through the opportunities provided. I believe in TLF’s mission because I have seen firsthand how this opportunity has helped other recipients achieve their goals. With this scholarship, I am now able to continue pursuing my dream of becoming a top professional in the industry. 

Once I earn my degree, I hope to work in sports communications for a team, foundation or major company like ESPN because I have a passion for sports and storytelling. Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because as a woman and an ethnic minority, we are underrepresented in the sports world. I want to prove that minority women can, too, succeed in this industry.

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I have a passion for helping others achieve their goals. I hope that through my involvement in TLF, I not only can gain the necessary tools needed for me to succeed, but I also can pass along my knowledge to those in the future. 

I would like to thank my family for always supporting me, my friends for always pushing me to be the best I can be and Dr. Kenon Brown for being an amazing mentor.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Kaelan Hicks
My name is Kaelan Hicks, and I am currently a graduate student at the University of Southern California, where I am pursuing my degree in Communication Management, with a concentration on Marketing. I wanted to get my degree in marketing communication because I am fascinated by how marketers use their creativity to attract consumers to products. 

I first heard about TLF through USC’s website portal. I wanted to apply to the scholarship because of the opportunity to participate in career-building activities and to be able to meet industry professionals in the advertising and marketing industry.


I believe in TLF’s mission because I think that increasing ethnic diversity in corporations creates better approaches for deduction and learning and causes us to comprehend other perspectives. With this scholarship, I am now able to advance my professional development and certification goals that I have set for myself, which, in effect, will allow me to further my career in marketing.


Once I earn my degree, I hope to pursue a career in marketing and become a digital marketing specialist at an innovative, exciting company. I want to pursue these goals my dream goal is to become a Chief Marketing Officer.


Bringing diversity into my field of work is important because, given that advertising and marketing are primarily concerned with the dissemination of messages to the public, having a culturally diverse work environment in these fields will help to improve how these messages are communicated to the public.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I hope that one day I can also help a student reach their goals. I think the work TLF is doing is vital because it allows students like me to pursue and further their careers in advertising, marketing, and public relations.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Saba Haroon
My name is Saba Haroon and I am a second year graduate student at University of Houston-Clear Lake, pursuing a degree in Digital Media Studies. As a female with a minority background, I sought this degree to give myself opportunities to visually create and tell stories using my outlook and creative direction. 

I heard about TLF through my sister Nimra, who is also a previous recipient of the scholarship. I applied to the scholarship for financial assistance and more importantly, to become an ambassador of the Pakistani-American community studying and striving to enter the communication and media industries. I believe in TLF’s mission because minority and multicultural representation is imperative in communications to accurately reflect the ever-growing range of diversity existing in the U.S. This scholarship allows me to pursue a graduate internship of my choice in the upcoming semester and even better, graduate debt free. YAY! 

After graduation, I intend to combine my foreign language (I’m trilingual!) and digital media backgrounds to become a graphic designer and visual storyteller. Through visual mediums, my goals are to inspire, help our society learn about the world and achieve collective paths towards greatness. Adding diversity into my field of work is critical with the rapid increase of globalization and ever-evolving social, cultural and technological trends overlapping between societies, cultures and nations alike. More stories need to be told from the perspectives of minorities and diverse individuals who represent the broadening consumer database. 

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to stay involved with TLF because as trailblazers for our communities, it is our responsibility to pay it forward. The work TLF is doing is tremendous because it is acknowledging representation and encouraging stories from all walks of life to be told. 

A big THANK YOU to my family for their endless support and TLF for selecting me as a 2020 scholarship recipient! This award gives me all the more confidence to chase my dreams, inspire others and make change happen.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Christopher Porras
I am Christopher Porras, and I recently completed my first year at NYU Steinhardt where I am pursuing my MA in Media, Culture, and Communication. I study Media, Culture, and Communication because I believe the most powerful thing we can share as humans are our stories, and I want to work in Public Relations, Marketing, or Advertising, where I can cultivate the truest version of those stories about my communities. 

I first learned about TLF through an online search for professional development opportunities. I applied to the scholarship because I knew the mentorship and networking experiences would prove invaluable as I move into the next stage of my career. I believe in TLF’s mission because the value of representation is inherently based on its authenticity and honesty. When people of color are a company’s intended audience, our communities should be approached and our stories presented with all the respect and nuance they deserve. 


After I graduate, I hope to move into a marketing role where I can develop campaigns that engage the LGBTQ and Latinx communities in a positive manner. I want to pursue these goals because in 2020, we’re still seeing out of touch marketing campaigns that incense rather than inspire our communities, and bringing diversity into my field of work is important because our rich cultures are incredible resources for storytelling, and not just the untapped revenue potential some companies see us as. 


I think the work TLF is doing is important because I believe in “lifting as you climb,” and I hope that as I achieve success, I can (with TLF’s help) provide mentorship to other young people hoping to do this work. 


A huge thank you to TLF for selecting me as a scholarship recipient, which has made it possible for me to take an additional course at NYU, and equip me with additional skills that will prime me for success.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Mitchella Gilbert
My name is Mitchella Gilbert and I am a rising 2nd year MBA student at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where I am pursuing specializations in entrepreneurship and leadership. I enrolled in an MBA program because I want to cultivate my leadership, product development, and marketing skills.

I first heard about TLF through Anderson’s Career Center. I applied to the scholarship because I love developing and marketing products that help individuals become better people. Also, TLF’s mission—to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising and marketing—aligns with my career goals. With this scholarship, I will have more resources to focus on product development and marketing for my startup.


Once I earn my MBA, I aspire to become a business leader who develops and promotes diverse talent in the CPG product space. I believe in fair treatment and the demand for it from all minorities who are given less opportunity in the business world.


Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because of the community and the opportunities they provide scholars and alums. I would like to thank Francis Quimby (UCLA Anderson Career Services), Sharon Uche (TLF 2017), and Cortlan White (TLF 2017) for supporting me throughout the TLF selection process. I would also like to thank the TLF selection committee for this opportunity. I will not let you down!

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Michaela Alexander
My name is Michaela Alexander. I am entering my last year at the University of Alabama where I am pursuing a MA in Advertising and Public Relations. After earning my degree, I want to work in corporate communication. One of my main influences for pursuing a career in public relations stimulated from my internship experiences. I am intrigued by space, the military, science, and the automotive industry. I embrace the challenges of gaining more knowledge in technology and science-based industries. I enjoy learning about those industries and finding ways to relay the information for everyone to understand. 

One day I would love to contribute to the diversity and inclusion aspect of the industry. Many positions are opening involving diversity and inclusion. I am passionate about inclusivity and I want to help companies become more inclusive and accepting of minorities. A part of the drive behind me wanting to work in corporate communication is the fact that I feel that minorities need a voice in companies, especially those that are aspiring to or currently working globally. For a company to be successful, there is a need to be culturally aware and have a diversity of thought when it comes to creating content and connecting with the public. With the United States being as diverse as it is, the lack of equal representation drives me to work harder to ensure that there is. 

I am extremely grateful that The LAGRANT Foundation has awarded me this scholarship and mentorship opportunity. I first learned about the scholarship at The Plank Center’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit in Chicago last year. Receiving the scholarship from The LAGRANT Foundation showed me that they are supportive of my dreams, and also that they are dedicated to uplifting other minorities in the industry.
 
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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Emmanuela Ebunilo
My name is Emmanuela Ebunilo. I am a 2nd-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Science in Marketing Analytics from California State University, Long Beach. I chose to pursue this degree to hone my qualitative marketing skills and develop analytics skills needed to advance my career. 

I discovered TLF through a career center job posting when I was an undergraduate in 2012, and I applied for the scholarship because The LAGRANT Foundation’s mission resonated with me. TLF goes above and beyond to offer opportunities to underrepresented BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) beyond scholarships. As an undergraduate, I received two TLF scholarships and participated in many career-focused events. These opportunities opened many doors for me and my gratitude to TLF continues as a 2020 graduate scholarship recipient. With this scholarship, I can worry less about how to fund my post-graduate education and focus on learning. Given all the challenges of 2020, this scholarship, and the TLF network, are a blessing. 


Once I earn my degree, I hope to work as a marketing or brand analyst and then leverage this experience into a product marketing manager role. Ultimately, I want my career to culminate in a CMO role - leading an influential brand and creating impactful and paradigm-shifting work. I see a CMO role as the marriage of two core passions (social justice and brand development), so reaching this goal is extremely important to me. Bringing diversity into the marketing field is not only important from a business perspective but a human perspective. The world would be a better place if there were more mutual understanding between disparate groups. Increasing diversity in fields that currently lack diversity facilitates more mutual understanding which leads to better business outputs. 


I continue to stay involved with TLF because this organization has supported me beyond the scholarship and continues to do so. Because of organizations like this, future generations of BIPOC might live in a world where diversity organizations don’t have to exist. That is a world I would love to be part of. 


Thank you to Kim Hunter, Camille Frigillana, and Christopher Juarez, and everyone at The LAGRANT Foundation for your support over the years and for this most recent scholarship award. 

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Marleny DeLeon
My name is Marleny De León and I am currently a first-year graduate student at Vanderbilt University, where I am pursuing my MBA with a concentration in marketing and strategy. An MBA offers me the means to effectively engage innovative strategies in envisioning, creating, and sustaining new enterprises to help the historically underserved and disenfranchised.  

As an acculturated Guatemalan Maya, whose mother was forced to drop out of first grade to help raise her seventeen siblings, the LAGRANT Foundation’s mission speaks dearly to my heart. The invaluable resources I will gain through the TLF Scholarship, such as professional development and vital alliances, will ultimately help ease my financial peace of mind, knowing that I can fully concentrate on my studies. 


After earning my MBA, I hope to be uniquely-focused on educational consulting in the U.S. and possibly expand into Latin America. I want to pursue these goals because I have seen first-hand how not enough minorities have the privilege of accessing a graduate education. Through my uniquely Indigenous Latina perspective that has always worked for citizenship, educational opportunity, and enriching communities, my aim is to increase diversity and inclusion throughout business and to give back synergistically to others following in my footsteps. 


Potential leaders within marginalized communities need to be empowered so that they may engage globalization on their own terms. This is how I intend to maintain my alliance with LAGRANT. The TLF Scholarship represents an illustrious honor and I will ensure to live up to the preeminent standards of the distinguished LAGRANT Foundation, while also sharing the promise of its legacy. Growing up with many responsibilities in an immigrant community, I was not allowed even the means to dream of an MBA education; with allies such as LAGRANT, I am learning to thrive in what once seemed an impossibility.


Thank you, LAGRANT Foundation, for helping me turn my aspirations into reality!

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TLF 2020 Scholarship Recipient Rafiat Animashaun
As a second time recipient, I am truly thankful for The LAGRANT Foundation scholarship for helping my personal and career pursuits. As a Black woman, I understand how much an education and degree can strongly impact the trajectory of my career, but also the financial burden it can be striving to attain it. Receiving this scholarship will allow me to focus on my studies and pursue challenging yet rewarding professional opportunities.

I was raised in a household where my Nigerian parents spoke Yoruba and immersed me in our culture, as well as surrounded by and interacted with people of different backgrounds. I grew an insatiable appetite to learn from, understand and appreciate all cultures and languages. Unfortunately, as a child, this desire was not met through entertainment. Popular TV shows and movies rarely had people who reflected the diversity I saw. 

But the culture is changing, and the industry needs to too. Shows with minority representation, such as FX’s Atlanta, Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and Master of None and ABC’S Black-ish, Fresh of the Boat and Speechless, show a movement towards diverse casts and storylines, and audiences are receiving them with passion and hunger for more.

In response to this clear demand for better and accurate minority representation in the media, I launched my agency IRE PR + PRODUCTION in early 2020. I aspire to grow this agency into an entertainment PR firm that focuses on creating a space for minority-focused stories, content and people.

I have been fortunate to have the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation as my first client and my show, Ameri-Kinda, be greenlighted for production by the University of Southern California’s Artemis. I hope to use these first wins as a foundation for an agency that seeks to help marginalized communities gain the voice and means to advocate for themselves.

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TLF 2020 Graduate Scholarship Recipient Paul Bernabe
My name is Paul Bernabe and I am entering my second year at The City College of New York where I am pursuing my MPS in Branding + Integrated Communications (BIC). I wanted to get my Masters degree to grow my skills and follow through on a career switch years in the making. 

I first heard about The LAGRANT Foundation through BIC’s program director, Nancy Tag. When I looked into TLF, I immediately felt a strong connection to its mission. Increasing the representation of ethnic minorities not only helps open doors for us but it helps show those coming after us that they are just as capable and deserving of going through those doors. 

After earning my Masters degree, I hope to work as a copywriter at a creative agency here in New York. I’m pursuing these goals not just for myself but so that people on the same journey can have someone to point their compass towards. Bringing diversity into our field is imperative — diversity not only helps give a voice to others, but it in turn makes the collective work we do stronger! 

Beyond receiving the scholarship, I want to continue to stay involved with TLF because I want to be a mentor for others. It would be my honor to help guide others and give them the tools to bridge any gaps they may face. 

I’d like to thank my program director Nancy Tag and my track director Gerardo Blumenkrantz for being such strong mentors and guides on this journey. Last but not least, I’d especially like to thank my wife Kristine for her unrelenting support through all the long days and nights.

 
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A Message from FleishmanHillard Account Supervisor and TLF Alum Joseph Apodaca
Hello,
 
My name is Joseph Apodaca and I received The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) scholarship in 2012. I received the scholarship while I was pursuing my degree in Journalism and Mass Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations at California State University, Long Beach. I successfully received my degree in 2013, a feat that would not have been possible without the support of TLF.
 
Thanks to TLF, I had the pleasure of being able to intern for the Foundation and gain a greater knowledge of the non-profit sector, while also learning more about the agency side of the public relations world. Because of TLF, I was able to parlay the degree I earned at Cal State Long Beach to my career at FleishmanHillard – a global public relations agency I have been fortunate to call my home for the past 5+ years. Most importantly, this scholarship has helped me feel empowered to make diversity a priority in all facets of my job – whether it comes to prospective team members or campaigns for clients.
 
I am a strong proponent of TLF’s mission because I am living proof that their support has impacted me in an extremely positive way. I continue to stay involved because I want fellow diverse individuals to not feel limited by circumstance and to go after their dreams without hesitation. I believe it is important to continue the great work TLF is doing, and we will be able to do so with the support from you. 
 
Please consider joining me in supporting The LAGRANT Foundation so that we can continue the great work of shaping the future of bright, diverse leaders!
 
Best,
 
Joseph Apodaca
Account Supervisor, FleishmanHillard
2012 TLF Scholarship Recipient
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A Message from Weber Shandwick VP and TLF Alumna Danielle Calhoun
Hello!
 
My name is Danielle Calhoun and I received The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) scholarship in 2008 and 2009, while pursuing my Master of Science in Strategic Communication. I received my M.S. in 2010 and have had a successful career in the PR/marketing world, in huge part due to the support – both financial and otherwise – of TLF. 
 
I’m currently a Vice President at Weber Shandwick, a dream I only knew to have because of TLF. 
 
Let me take a step back.
 
After getting the call in 2008 (that I would be a recipient!), I was thrilled to learn the support was far more than financial. The awards ceremony was to be held in Los Angeles, where we met with industry leaders, visited agencies, and learned about career opportunities. When I won again the following year, they flew us to New York for even more meetings and workshops. It was during these trips that I discovered Weber Shandwick. And also discovered that – through TLF – I “knew someone in the industry.” 
 
Fast forward, and I’m now more than a decade into my career, and in my 7th year at Weber Shandwick – rising from Senior Associate to Vice President. I’ve stayed highly involved with TLF to host Career Development Workshops, interviewed and hired TLF alumni for intern positions, graded new scholarship applicants, and shared new job openings with the TLF network. I’m in my dream job, and have made it my mission to be that “someone you know” for rising students and TLF alumni.
 
Please consider joining me in supporting The LAGRANT Foundation to continue the great work of shaping the future of bright, diverse leaders!
 
Sincerely,
 
Danielle Calhoun
Vice President, Weber Shandwick
2008 & 2009 TLF Scholarship Recipient
 
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A Message from TLF Alumni Leo and Lesly Rodriguez
Hello everyone, 
 
Our names are Leo and Lesly Rodriguez, the Rodriguez siblings. Leo received The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) scholarship in 2016 and 2017 and Lesly received the scholarship in 2018, making us one of the first sibling duos to be awarded the prestigious scholarship.
 
Leo pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Lesly pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, both from Georgia State University. We successfully received our degrees in 2018 and 2019, an achievement that would not have been possible without the unconditional support and guidance of TLF.
 
Since then, our lives and careers have had a strong focus on advancing TLF’s mission. From the moment we met the recipients, partners and TLF staff, we knew this organization and experience was full of boundless opportunity.
 
After graduation, Leo began his career at Target's in-house agency. His involvement in the Hispanic Business Council has allowed for the growth of D&I efforts across Target. Lesly began her career at Weber Shandwick, where she leads DEI efforts for the Atlanta office.
 
We are proud alumni and look forward to seeing TLF’s impact on future students for a plethora of years to come. We continue to stay in contact with a handful of TLF Alumni, and volunteer as much as we can by reviewing applications, hosting workshops and attending TLF events. It is crucial to continue the work TLF is doing because we understand the importance of mentorship, challenges minorities face every day and opportunities to uplift our community. 
 
Please consider supporting the incredible mission of The LAGRANT Foundation to continue shaping the future of bright, diverse leaders for generations to come!
 
Best,
 
Leo Rodriguez
Creative Project Manager, Target
2016 & 2017 TLF Scholarship Recipient
 
Lesly Rodriguez
Junior Associate, Weber Shandwick
2018 TLF Scholarship Recipient
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A Message from TLF Board Member Frank X. Shaw
I ran past a friend’s house this week, someone I used to have dinner with / go on walks with regularly, and whom I’ve not seen in a while. I ended my run and called him on my cool down. I love his perspective, which is so different than mine. His parents were not born in the United States, he is in a different industry than mine, he has a wicked sense of humor that surprises me and makes me laugh, but which I would never come up with on my own. And yet we are friends.
 
I asked him how he was doing, and he wondered if there was a single word that captured the emotions of anger, frustration, helplessness and despair, which I think is a good question, and should have an answer, because currently it is how I feel much of the time (someone will now tell me there is a German word for just this thing, because there is ALWAYS a German word). We commiserated. And when we were done, I thought about the absolute need to influence change, now more than ever.
 
Like all of you, I see what is going on in the United States and around the world. Videos fill my social media feed; murder of an innocent man by police, and “I can’t breathe” (again) and tear gas and batons and fences. Down in Portland where I lived for 18 years, the Burnside Bridge filled with protestors laying quietly on their backs as the police approached. In the news media, talk of “dominating the battlespace” by the military, where the battlespace is HERE, and tanks and armored vehicles in small towns, for some reason I don’t understand. Over and over, senseless violence against Black and African American people. Over. And Over. Not seen, but equally present is their everyday experience, at work, in stores, on the street, when they are forced to worry about what could happen to them, simply for being in that space. 
 
Years ago, I participated in a grueling team multi-sport event that had me running the last three miles up a very steep hill. I said after that our team should have been named “Some, but not enough” as in, I had done some hill work, but not enough, some speed work, but not enough, some distance, but not enough for what I aspired to do. At the time, I said I had learned from this experience, but now, I wonder.
 
Because when it comes to systemic racism I have worked to understand, but not enough. I have donated time and money, but not enough. I have advocated for internal and external change, but not enough. Yes, this is a hard challenge. But I am seeing the challenge, not living it. This is privilege. There is no room for “some” in this equation. Each of us, wherever we are, have the capability of doing more.
 
Years ago, aghast at what I saw in Ferguson, Missouri, I reached out to a friend and asked what I could do. He pointed me to some resources, but closed with “Look within.” It was the best, and hardest advice I’ve ever gotten. I looked, and didn’t like what I saw. Today, I look again and know…still not enough.
 
I accept it is okay to feel whatever that German word is that describes the present, but not to the extent it stops me from new action. More of my time and money to the orgs that are making a difference locally and nationally, more agitation internally for more change, more work to broaden my perspective and understanding. “More, but still not enough.” That’s better. 
 
Frank X. Shaw
Corporate Vice President, Communications | Microsoft
The LAGRANT Foundation Board Member
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A Message from TLF Board Member Kass Sells
I am deeply saddened and angered by recent events in our country. And like many of us I’ve been searching for the right words to say, the right things to do and the right way to make a positive impact with my family, with our WE agency and our people, and in the communities WE Communications serves both here in the U.S. and around the world.
 
As I watch these events unfold each day I continue to be struck with the question, what can I do to help? 
 
First and most important, my heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and all the victims whose lives have been taken or damaged by acts of racism and injustice.
 
Let’s be clear — Black Lives Matter, and we cannot accept unjust killing. The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others reflect deeply ingrained racial prejudice and injustice that still exists in our country today, but we owe it to each other and to our communities to be very clear in condemning these acts of violence.
 
Over the past several months, throughout this coronavirus pandemic, we’ve often heard and said, “we’re all in this together.” Ironically, that’s never been more true than it is right now. If we are going to fight racism it’s something we all have to do, as individuals and together as communities and as a nation. We must acknowledge our country’s racist past, and understand that together we can build a better future — a future where everyone contributes and feels valued.
 
As marketing and communications professionals we are wired to create and to act, to build plans, tell stories, and to make a difference through our words and actions. And as LAGRANT Foundation Board members we have an opportunity to take action and make a difference. 
 
I’ve spent the past few days thinking about what I can do to help. To my fellow communications professionals, I humbly offer the following actionable ideas:
  • Check in with your Black colleagues and employees. Ask what you can do to help and support your co-workers. Prepare yourself to listen a lot more than you speak.
  • Get involved with your organization’s employee resource group (ERG) for people of color. At WE, ours is WE PRISM. If you don’t have one, start one!
  • Connect with your clients. Proactively reach out and counsel your clients to put their money where their mouth is, and to back up statements about D&I with investments in D&I. I’m seeing great examples from brands like MicrosoftLululemon and Netflix. The outstanding responses from IntelGlossier and others should be a model for all of us.
  • Pledge your support and financial commitment to organizations that create opportunities for communicators and marketers of color. I sit on the board of The LAGRANT Foundation, a great organization whose mission is to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations by providing scholarships, career & professional development workshops, mentors and internships. Please give to TLF so that they continue doing the important work that needs to be done.
  • Act. Your actions speak louder than your words. The biggest thing your organization can do is to employ more people of color that represent the communities where we live and work. It’s pretty simple: Recruit, Interview and Hire more qualified Black people and people of color. Support more Black-owned businesses. Work with more Black and minority-owned vendors. Make people of color a part of your daily business operations.
  • Work together. The best work and the best relationships have come when people of different backgrounds, races, religions, genders and nationalities come together around a common goal. It’s more than just a seat at the table — it’s a voice at the table.
 
Personally, I know I need to do more. I need to give more people of color opportunities. I need to do more to celebrate our differences. I need to reach out more, educate myself, ask questions that make me uncomfortable and really listen to the hard answers. Right now I’m doing a lot of listening and learning. We’re having hard conversations, but ones that need to take place. I’m committed to trying, to getting started and to doing whatever I can do, and then more.
 
We can all learn, and we can all do better. Let’s get there and #standtogether.
 
Kass Sells
Global COO, President International | WE Communications
The LAGRANT Foundation Board Member
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A Message From TLF Board Member Jim Weiss
Recent events show us that racial divisions in this country are as deep and troubling as ever in history. Last week, I shared my solidarity with W2O employees, standing with all our staff to say that racism and violence cannot be tolerated in any form.
 
Over the past few days, I have reflected more deeply on what more we can do, as it is clear to me that our industry has not done enough. Our businesses rely on creative and innovative people. We need inclusion and diversity if we are to change, grow and transform. We are not yet inclusive enough to spur the kind of diversity needed to thrive like we could. 
 
We cannot sit idly and complacently by in this situation. I call on all of us, my firm included, to immediately take action and sustain a commitment to:
 
  • Inspire the next generation of people of color to work in our business. Standard recruiting from communications and journalism schools is not enough. We will cast a wider net and build more bridges with historically black universities, among others. W2O has a unique partnership with Syracuse University, and we are committed to replicating this work with other universities. This includes creating and implementing the right curriculum that will prepare our future workforce to hit the ground running the day we hire them.
 
  • Retain and advance diverse talent for the long term. We will take concrete actions to set diversity targets and share diversity metrics. We will hold leaders accountable and reward them when they make progress. We will make sure all employees feel respected and valued, and that they have an equal opportunity to grow and advance. We will make our allyship real, immediately increasing our commitment to mentorship and sponsorship to ensure people of color have a sustainable career trajectory.
 
  • Listen to Employee Resource Groups and employees of color. ERGs are a powerful community for companies to drive collaboration and co-creation in critical areas of growth and accountability. At W2O, our Diversity and Inclusion ERG, W2O Fusion, has never been more important than right now. This group of committed, passionate professionals has done as much, or more, than I and other leaders to ensure we’re making a positive impact during these challenging times. 
 
We will reinforce the importance of partnerships with groups such as The LAGRANT Foundation to champion these efforts. We will continue to work together to improve our profession across agencies and companies, with the broader goal of addressing systemic racism. That is one way we can change ourselves to change society.
 
Those in our profession know how to listen, learn and engage. We will rededicate ourselves to the important mission of this Foundation, which has done so much good for so many years. 
 
In Solidarity and Action,
 
Jim Weiss
Founder & CEO, W2O
The LAGRANT Foundation Board Member
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A Message From TLF Board Member Juan Carlos Molleda

The events of the last week have reminded me about the reasons I came to this country and became a U.S. citizen. Throughout history, people here have united to denounce injustice and show solidarity with those who suffer. It is why I chose to make the United States my home.
 
I feel the need to say his name. Although we do not all face the same obstacles as George Floyd and other victims of police brutality have, an oppressive system serves none of us. This is a crucial time in our society’s evolution, and despite all the stress and anxiety we are already facing, now is the time to stand up and be part of the change. To show that we stand together.
 
Despite the tragic and extreme events we have been witnessing and experiencing, as a professional community we must reaffirm our commitment to social justice and reject racism and violence. At the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, for instance, we have a responsibility to make a difference in the lives of our undergraduate and graduate students, who will go on to improve this imperfect society as journalists and communicators. When it comes to The LAGRANT Foundation, TLF continues its mission of supporting and fostering the next generation of diverse talent in advertising, marketing, and public relations, who may one day become the leaders of these industries.
 
All of us must work harder — and with renewed sense of urgency — to educate ourselves and engage one another on the historic context of last week’s and similar events, and the role of news and other media and communication organizations in sustaining or challenging entrenched racism.
 
On top of the social unrest, we are sharing the distress of an ongoing pandemic. But as we have seen it can also bring out the best in us and crystalize our sense of purpose.
 
Yes, we are hurting from the disturbing events of the last week, yet we need to find purpose and hope. We all must continue to read and study, listen better, and stand up against racism and violence.
 
We are a professional community built on values. This is what keeps us together. We may be physically distant, but we remain socially cohesive. In the case of my academic institution, our mission is to educate the next generation of professionals and scholars who will change our increasingly uncertain, fragile, and polarized world. We need that next generation — and your support — more than ever before.
 
Onward together,
 
Juan-Carlos Molleda, Ph.D.
Edwin L. Artzt Dean and Professor, School of Journalism and Communication
University of Oregon
The LAGRANT Foundation Board Member
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5 Things I Learned at Waste Management as the Intern

By Abigail Mendoza

This article was originally featured on 
Waste Management:

I spent the spring semester of 2017 applying left and right to internships, trying to build my portfolio and get my name out. I would apply to 1-3 internships a week every week, desperate to leave my subpar hostessing job at your local Houston sushi restaurant. Hostessing paid the bills, but honestly, I dreaded going to work. I always dreamed of what else I could be doing and I knew I was capable of more than food service like I’ve been doing since I was 16. I’m currently a 21-year-old senior at the University of Houston, studying Integrated Communications and minoring in Psychology. I aspire to be a creative director at an advertising agency one day, as my passion lies in being a leader and being the eye for art and aesthetics. After receiving news of acceptance into Waste Management, I was ecstatic because I could finally start a real desk job! It was a weird thing to get excited about, according to my friends. Was I really getting excited about a temporary 9 to 5 desk job? Indeed, I was. I was just supposed to stay for the summer, alongside my co-intern, Evan Neuhoff, but we were extended the opportunity to stay until December. So, what are the dirty details I uncovered while working at Waste Management?

1. We Aren’t Just a Trash Company

Since working here, I realized that there were so many creative opportunities here for me and creative projects that I could work on. It wasn’t just centered on waste, but also on recycling and sustainability. These topics really appealed to me because I consider myself a rather “green” person, trying to live as green and healthy a life to the best of my ability. It’s also been an interesting experience, especially since I’m currently in a corporate environment which people would assume isn’t really on the creative side. I’ve worked on numerous projects such as Facebook Live, weekly articles, and creative projects.



2. Corporate Is Full of Opportunity

Just like any other job, if you don’t make the most out of it, you’ll probably hate it. I’ve had friends ask me if I’m bored, and I tell them that I always have something to do, and am always busy. The corporate environment is something I don’t mind, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to explore what I like and what I don’t like for my future career. I can also safely say that a lot of surprises have hit me while working here. Some memorable moments of my time here would include the Facebook Live projects, visiting a landfill and Material Recycling Facility (MRF), delivering a diversity presentation in front of all the human resources vice presidents, and being able to go to New York with our President and CEO, Jim Fish for his Squawk Box appearance.



3. It’s a LOT of Work

“Intern” seems like a word associated with getting all the dirty work that your boss just doesn’t want to do and images of a student in a loosely-fitted suit struggling to carry coffee for the staff also comes to mind. But in reality, the work that I do here plays a big part in main operations and projects that my department works on for the company. I like feeling like a part of the team, and not just “the intern”. I’ve learned a lot about time management and handling stress. I’m currently taking 5 classes, take part in campus organizations, and balance the work and social requirements in my sorority along with working this job 2 to 3 times a week. I’ve learned to say “no” when I know my workload is overflowing and knowing it’s okay. I used to have a huge problem taking on so much and constantly being overwhelmed. It’s better to create good content than create a lot of subpar content that I know can be better.



4. Technology of the Future

One of the things that shocked me during my time here is the unique use of technology. I didn’t know that a company like Waste Management could utilize society’s food waste and turn it into energy. Other examples are how many of our trucks are powered by compressed natural gas, and all the technology in our neat trucks. It got me thinking that a lot goes into the waste industry and people tend to overlook that. It’s interesting once you know more about all that goes into the industry.

5. Recycling is Important!

If it’s one really big thing I learned working here at Waste Management, it’s that recycling is extremely important. I was never huge on recycling, but now I try to recycle as much as I can. I created a recycling quiz, and learned more about recycling than in all my 21 years of living. I didn’t know you couldn’t recycle plastic bags via curbside recycling programs—take them back to the grocery store instead! And when I tell my friends, they didn’t know either.

I’ve learned a lot my past few months here at Waste Management. I’ve made some friends, made connections, and learned a side of communications I never knew would provide me so many opportunities. The work environment is relaxed and not completely hectic, the people are all-around very kind, and there’s always something to do. I’m glad I was given this experience because it gave me that first push of confidence into the adult life which I’ve been scared and anxious to approach since starting college.


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Coming Together When It Matters the Most
 

(L-R) TLF Alumna 
Kendra Croft, Diana Pinedo and Saata Bangura

 
In a year full of socio-political divisiveness and trauma, the theme of this year’s ADCOLOR event, “Come Together,” could not have been more necessary or palpable. 

From September 18-19, more than 700 professionals in the advertising, communications, ad tech and entertainment industries rallied together to champion over diversity and inclusion at the 11th annual ADCOLOR Conference. Tiffany Warren, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer at Omnicom Group and Founder & President at ADCOLOR, has been a change agent her entire career. What started off as a small idea over a decade ago has exponentially grown into a massive movement and platform that has helped to form the next generation of diverse creators and content generators of color. This movement celebrates those who have paved the way beforehand, and awards the incredible ways that professionals of color are helping the needle to continue moving forward. 

ADCOLOR is unique in the sense that when one attends, there is a built-in sense of community from day one – almost like a family reunion. Throughout the conference, there was a wide gamut of voices that covered topics and content that attendees could engage with and share through social media channels using the #ComeTogether hashtag. Speakers, panelists and honorees ranging from Snoop Dogg, Don Lemon and Bozoma Saint John to DeRay Mckesson, Elaine Welteroth, Morgan DeBaun and Jesse Williams, dove into a variety of topics. These topics included cultural and personal branding, the emotional power of virtual reality, the interconnectivity of social media and what being “woke” really means.

Here are my top six takeaways from ADCOLOR 2017:

1. Build your tribe. It is important to not only build your community, but also engage with it. Mentors, advisors, friends, colleagues, etc. are the ones who will help you guide and navigate the peaks and valleys of your career. Consider this combination of folks your own personal Board of Directors. Find the people who you can trust to give you honest and constructive feedback, be a good soundboard, hold you accountable and inspire you along your journey. Ultimately, the goal is to build a mutually beneficial relationship over the course of time.
 
2. We are all more connected than you think. In the digital world we live in, we are now more connected than ever. During the ADCOLOR screening of Viacom’s Culture of Proximity documentary, this was made very clear. Culturally, there are only a few degrees of separation in many cases. The silver lining is that this can be used to our advantage. We, as a culture, can use this proximity to promote conversation, action and change within the world around us – even with people we may not know on a personal level, but who we are connected to in some way. We all have our own individual platforms and a network of people in our proximity to help amplify that for good.
 
3. The time for silence is not now. There are so many platforms to use to sound off on what's important to you. Stand up for what you believe in, and don't be afraid to have brave, bold conversations that may be uncomfortable, but crucial in helping to move the needle forward. In the words of activist Maggie Kuhn, “Speak your mind – even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say.”

4. There's a distinct difference between diversity and inclusion. The two are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations think it's okay to just be diverse (or say they are) in order to fill quotas, but don’t actively create strategic initiatives, best practices and platforms to help integrate that diversity. As Trisch L. Smith, Executive Vice President & Managing Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Edelman, so eloquently put it during a panel, "Diversity is inviting people to the party. Inclusion is asking them to dance."
 
5. Rise up and reach back. This is the underlying current of the ADCOLOR mission. Here are some tactical ways to do just that:

  • Invest in ADCOLOR: volunteer for upcoming events, give feedback to the team, follow @adcolor on social media, and bring a friend to the next ADCOLOR Conference!
  • Recommend speakers for industry panels and lists.
  • Give back through mentorship. 
6. Our differences bring us together. In the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” If we are brave enough to truly live out the theme of this year’s conference and talk about our differences as a way to bridge the gap instead of letting our differences divide us, we truly can come together.



About Saata Bangura:
With a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio arts and graphic design from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and over 10 years of experience in the field, Bangura has been recognized by American Advertising Federation and Graphic Design USA for her work in graphic design and art direction.

 

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Support TLF by Submitting a Video Entry to Starbucks' UPSTANDERS Challenge!
                                                                               


Help support The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) win one of 25 grants for $25,000 from the Starbucks Foundation!

The Starbucks UPSTANDERS CHALLENGE is a peer-to-peer social media video contest that provides a platform for nonprofit supporters to share why their nonprofit is an “Upstander” (i.e. a person or organization that acts to make a positive change in the community). Through this challenge TLF supporters can create positive engagement and showcase all of the efforts that TLF provides to ethnic minorities pursuing careers in advertising, marketing and public relations in a short video.
 
Challenge background: Inspired by Starbucks’ Season 2 Upstanders series, the Starbucks Foundation is excited to highlight and share stories about everyday people/orgs doing extraordinary things across the United States.
 
How do I contribute?
It takes less than 5 minutes to participate. We each have a unique story to share as to why we support and believe in TLF’s mission. Take your storytelling and creativity expertise to the next level and let others know why you think TLF is an #Upstander!
 
1. Create a short and captivating video (two minutes or less) that highlights why The LAGRANT Foundation is an “Upstander”. Be creative and use your resources (i.e. GoPro, phone, etc. – be original, have fun and make sure the video is non-produced). Think to yourself “Could this go viral?”
2. Upload your video at http://indi.com/starbucks/upstanders. Please follow challenge instructions to correctly nominate The LAGRANT Foundation. The first 200 eligible entries will receive a $20 Starbucks eGift. An official email confirmation from Indi will be sent when your video entry has been approved for posting, which could take up to 24 hours.
 
My video was approved! Now what?
 
• SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! Utilize your social media platforms Facebook/Twitter/Instagram whether personal or business as well as family, friends, coworkers and encourage them to watch, like, retweet, repost and most importantly SHARE the video. The more “Buzz” generated the better!
• Don’t forget to tag TLF on all social media mentions and utilized the Starbucks hashtag #Upstanders when sharing online. TLF will only be sharing approved video entries on its social media platforms.
• Multiple TLF supporters can engage and create separate videos on behalf of the organization. The more entries the higher the possibilities for selection.

Remember, the sooner videos are submitted and approved, the more time you have to generate buzz and share TLF’s efforts with the community. Please visit http://indi.com/starbucks/upstanders to view official contest rules, sample videos and tips on how you can generate online buzz.

NOTE: The contest officially launched on Oct. 10 and will end on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 11:59 PM PT with winners announced by Thursday, November 30, 2017. Help TLF continue its efforts to support ethnic minorities and diversify the advertising, marketing and public relations industry of tomorrow. Submit a video entry today!
 
 

356 Comment(s)
TLF 2016 Scholarship Recipient Profile- Leah Shin


My name is Leah Shin and I am a rising sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Washington. I am track to double major in Business Marketing and Information Science with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction, and a minor in Entrepreneurship. My past year I have been currently involved in the Foster School of Business Lavin Honors Entrepreneurship Program where I hope to expand, Literacy for Love, an organization I established that has collected over $55,000 worth of books for English Language Learners and low-income families. Within Foster, I am also a Mentor-In-Training for the Young Executives of Color (YEOC) Program. Through YEOC, we directly mentor high school students across Washington State in professionalism and various business concentrations.

Lastly, this past summer I have been working with T-Mobile’s Diversity & Inclusion team to establish and develop a phone application (Abroaden) to spread diversity and awareness of other’s culture. We are projected to launch our prototype by spring 2017.

The LAGRANT Foundation Scholarship (TLF) has allowed me to dream— to dream my dream of confidently changing the world with the power of business, tech, and design as an Asian-American woman. It was through our conversations and networking with these professionals that fueled an insatiable desire to continue to work hard and do more every day. The friendships I built with the top 41 student scholars and leaders all across the nation had us learning from each other’s projects, experiences, failures, and dreams. I’ve made it my goal, to return to TLF as a professional where students are able to look up to and say, “I can do it too.” Thank you TLF for an experience of a life time and for believing in me.

Leah Shin is a rising sophomore at the University of Washington, majoring in Business Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Information Technology and received TLF's undergraduate scholarship this year.
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TLF 2016 Scholarship Recipient Profile- Hunter C. Durham


Hello, my name is Hunter Durham and I am in my senior year at Palm Beach Atlantic University. I have been passionate about marketing since I arrived at the university and I have worked hard to develop myself as a marketing professional over the past 3 years. I started the first collegiate chapter of the American Marketing Association on campus and have maintained a 3.9 GPA, but what has impacted me the most are the opportunities I have had outside of school. I have worked for major brands including Red Bull, Dell, and currently, Microsoft. Another major outside influence has been The LAGRANT Foundation. After winning the scholarship three times, they have encouraged me to excel, developed me professionally, and inspired me to give back.

My passion for people and my skill in business is what attracted me to the world of marketing. I am interested in product marketing/brand management and want to eventually work my way up the ladder to a CMO position.  After establishing myself in the industry, I plan to return to get my MBA at a top university.  Please feel free to connect with me on Linked In or email me.  

Hunter Durham is a rising senior at Palm Beach Atlantic University, majoring in marketing and received TLF's undergraduate scholarship this year.
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TLF 2016 Scholarship Recipient Profile- Ryan A. Jordan


My name is Ryan Jordan. I am a 2016 graduate of Hampton University and will be attending American University in the fall to pursue my master’s degree in strategic communications (thanks TLF for the graduate scholarship!). While attending Hampton University I played on the championship winning Division I women’s basketball team. I was also one of the founding officers in the first student-run PR agency, a full-time position that allowed me to work with real clients and add experience to my profile. In my senior year, I also interned with the Office of University Relations which gave me the opportunity to work on my writing skills and see public relations in a different way.

My goal after graduating with my master’s is to work at a public relations agency for several years and see if agency life fits me. I would also love to gain experience in-house for a Fortune 500 brand. In my 5-10 year plan I also plan on going back to school and gaining my MBA. Although the communications field is heavily based on creativity, at the end of the day it utilizes business concepts for success. I want to be able to understand the business aspects of my creations and how it affects my company as a whole. Also, by attaining an MBA, I would be a more credible candidate for a leadership positions, and therefore able to create more opportunities for increased ethnic representation within the communications field. 

Ryan A. Jordan is a rising 2016 graduate from Hampton University who will be attending American University in the fall for her master's degree in strategic communications. She received TLF's graduate scholarship this year. 


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TLF 2016 Scholarship Recipient Profile - Alicia Tran

My name is Alicia Tran and I am an undergraduate communications student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My interest lies in leveraging diverse media channels to promoting social change.
 
I first became interested in marketing through an internship position at a Los Angeles-based marketing strategy firm. From this experience, I was able to explore marketing as a platform for big ideas. I learned that truly remarkable companies do not in fact sell products; rather, they sell stories. It is therefore the marketer’s responsibility to ensure that these stories work seamlessly and cohesively with consumer values.
 
The LAGRANT Foundation has provided me with all the resources to tell stories of diversity and social change through connecting me with successful industry professionals who have lived these experiences. Their insight and advice inspires me to think creatively about inclusion in order to disrupt the status quo. In the upcoming months, I plan to divide my time between a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia and a social policy Think Tank in New York City. I aspire to one day work for an organization which helps philanthropists, NGO’s, and social entrepreneurs become more innovative and effective in their brand messaging strategies.

Alicia Tran is a rising junior at University of California, Santa Barbara majoring in communications and received TLF's undergraduate scholarship this year.
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TLF 2016 Scholarship Recipient Profile - Kavita Raval

My name is Kavita Raval and I am a rising senior at the University of Michigan working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and Political Science. As a 2016 TLF scholarship recipient, I have had the pleasure of meeting and networking with an incredible group of peers and mentors passionate about fostering diversity within the field of communications.  As I prepare to graduate, I am looking forward to developing my TLF relationships and beginning my career in the world of public affairs.

My lifetime goal is to see gender equality as the norm around the world. To transform this vision into a reality, I would like to be a public relations advocate for women’s rights issues ranging from unequal pay to domestic violence awareness. By translating business PR strategies to the nonprofit sector, I want to elicit the same excitement people feel when reading about a campaign to extend maternity leave as they do while watching the launch of an Apple product.

I am encouraged by how The LAGRANT Foundation has opened up many opportunities for minorities like myself interested in the Communications/PR field. It is my desire to positively influence young South Asians to enter into professional fields that are not typically associated with our ethnic background. My friends and I recently launched the #SouthAsianAnd twitter campaign dedicated to cultivating conversations around the multiple talents of South Asians in hopes that it will have a positive impact on younger generations.

Kavita Raval is a rising senior at University of Michigan majoring in communications & political science and received TLF's undergraduate scholarship this year.
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TLF 2016 Scholarship Recipient Profile - Landyn Pan

My name is Landyn Pan and I am a junior majoring in PR & advertising at Chapman University in Orange, California. I come from a background of non-profit work in LGBTQ and people of color communities and have a strong love for film and television. In the future, I aim to work in non-profit communications or at an entertainment company while promoting partnerships that benefit society. It is my hope that whatever I do in my career, I will be able to continue improving LGBTQ and people of color communities and providing educational and life opportunities to marginalized youth.

The trip to Atlanta was a fun and educational experience where I was able to meet and connect with students of color and high level executives in the marketing/PR/advertising industry from across the country. Each workshop we attended was beneficial to my career exploration and gaining new professional skills and insights. My mind was opened up to new ideas I hadn’t thought of before. I can’t thank The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) enough for putting on such an incredible three-day program.


Landyn Pan is a rising junior at Chapman University majoring in public relations & advertising and received TLF's undergraduate scholarship this year.
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TLF 2016 Scholarship Recipient Profile - Ana Sabarots


My name is Ana Sabarots. I am a rising junior at the University of Washington in Seattle studying Business Marketing at the Michael G. Foster School of Business. I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, moved to Panama when I was seven, and ultimately settled in the United States when I was 15. My upbringing has shaped much of who I am as a person, and consequently, my career goals. Cultural awareness and the understanding of diversity is something that is engrained in the deepest parts of who I am as an individual. 
 
Looking to the near future, I am very interested in pursuing a Master’s degree in a subject area related to the marketing and communications fields. My experience thus far has helped me realize that I have a true passion for people. I am particularly interested in the communicative and creative side of business, and enjoy working collaboratively with others while observing the way individuals communicate. I see marketing as a means through which one can influence real change and as a platform to leverage my global vision for a more positive world. Ultimately, I want to establish a successful and motivated career for myself where I am able to apply my skills and unique perspective to create innovative strategies within the field of marketing communications. I can only hope that this career allows me to expand my horizons globally and work on an international level while building valuable, long-lasting relationships with my future co-workers and colleagues.

Ana Sabarots is a rising junior at the University of Washington majoring in business marketing and received TLF's undergraduate scholarship this year.
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TLF 2016 Scholarship Recipient Profile - Jade Song


My name is Jade Song and I am a junior undergraduate student at Cornell University. I am currently pursuing a double major in Communication and Information Science, concentrating in User Experience Design and Technology Studies, and two minors, Business and Visual Studies. At Cornell, I am the founder of the Cornell Design Panel, where 200+ students come together to hear from design professionals such as the VP Design of Buzzfeed, the co-President of Operation DEEP, which works to fund and improve rural education in China, and an Operations Team member of Cornell University Sustainable Design, where we oversee project teams working on sustainable projects around the world.
 
My career endeavors are to be creative and to make people care, whether that be a creative director in advertising, making consumers care, or in social marketing, making the population care about the cause.
 
Outside of career and academic oriented things, I love to read all genres of books and enjoy photography as a creative outlet, shooting weddings and portraits. In addition, I love to travel with only a camera and a backpack, and have been to twelve countries solo and counting. I want to visit every art museum in the world.
 
Thanks to The LAGRANT Foundation, I was granted a wonderful opportunity to travel and learn about the various communications fields in all sorts of businesses. I had the chance to meet and connect with so many brilliant professionals and students, and for that I am forever grateful to the wonderful foundation!

Jade Song is a rising junior at the Cornell University double majoring in Communication and Information Science and received TLF's undergraduate scholarship this year.
492 Comment(s)
Diversify Your Internship by Yahnnica Tate


Diversify Your Internship
Internships are the gateway to deciding your career path; they provide you the opportunity to work with experts in your field and offer you the experience and advice that will sculpt your career interest. Each internship varies and it’s important to explore your options and figure out your career path by diversifying your internship.  Here are a couple tips on diversifying your internship to help you in becoming an exceptional professional. 
 
Networking
The art of networking is not difficult, but might be intimidating as an intern. If you set a goal for yourself, you’ll soon be able to extend the conversation past introductions and small talk. The best places that I’ve found to strike up a conversation are in common areas such as the kitchen or the elevator.
 
Lattes will be your best friend! Coffee dates often eliminate the pressure of feeling like “just an intern” because it’s a casual setting. You want to make sure that when you set up meetings for coffee that you come prepared. I’ve found it useful to bring a notebook and pen to every meeting because you don’t want miss details. Also, researching who you’re meeting with will help you structure your topics of interest and questions.
 
Taking Advantage of the Experience
Attending workshops has been the most useful tool for me throughout my internship at Weber Shandwick. It’s provided me opportunities to get to know colleagues as well as learning useful tips for career growth and client work. If your company offers workshops, consider it as a benefit to your growth because that means the company cares about your advancement and wants to provide you the tools to do your job better.
 
Challenging Yourself
Discover what makes you unique and applying that to your work environment. It’s important as an intern that you decide what assets you could bring to the table. As a senior at Hampton University, a Historically Black College University (HBCU) in Hampton, VA, and graduate from Mercer Island High School, I have had the opportunity to be exposed to diverse lifestyles, cultures, religions, and much more. In the summer of 2013 I completed my first internship with a boutique agency in Los Angeles, CA.  During this internship, I’ve successfully managed and secured media coverage for their clients and The LAGRANT Foundation’s annual scholarship reception.
 
Overall, I believe your internship should be a way for you to apply your knowledge and an excellent forum to grow professional skills that employers seek. What do you think?

Yahnnica Tate is a rising senior at Hampton University pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Strategic Communication. Yahnnica completed her internship with Weber Shandwick Seattle this summer, made possible by a grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation, in partnership with Hampton University's Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication. 

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TLF 2015 Scholarship Recipient Profile - Nathan DeVaughn


I am Nathan DeVaughn.  I am a rising senior at the University of Portland where I am pursuing a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing and a Minor in Fine Arts.  My time in college has been amazing as I am fortunate enough to participate in activities such as Varsity track and field, being the cartoonist for the school newspaper, and serving as a role model for a struggling 4th grader at a local elementary school.  I am a driven person with a range of talents from academics to athletics to art.  I want to best use these talents in the real word and I believe TLF and the University of Portland are doing a great job in aiding me in my dreams. 

My ultimate goal is to be a head creative at either a major ad agency or corporation.  My creativity comes inherently from the many experiences I have undergone and being a creative at an industry leading firm is the best way I can flex that muscle.  My opportunities have set me up for success and I plan on capitalizing.


Nathan DeVaughn is a rising senior at the University Portland majoring in marketing and received TLF's undergraduate scholarship this year.
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The HBSI Experience by Cosette Haugen

Cosette Haugen


I get uncomfortable when the unread email count surpasses one-hundred and too often my solution is to unceremoniously start deleting with just a half-hearted glance at the subject line. But my inbox purges never include TLF emails, because one such email helped me get the internship of a lifetime:
 
This summer, Burson-Marsteller will welcome three interns sourced from TLF into the 2015 U.S. HBSI program. Burson-Marsteller will cover housing expenses for the three students selected at a local university dormitory in the city of their choice.
 
What drove my interest was the company’s promise behind their invitation. Their act of providing housing for summer interns meant they didn’t want anything standing in our way – location and economic background included.
 
Through my work with various brands this summer, I have seen how public relations firms interact with key influencers with blogger programs and editor kits. I have learned about the pitching process firsthand and have contributed to pro bono campaigns. I have even worked on two start-up companies that could completely disrupt their respective industries. Now I am waist-deep in my final internship project, where my partner in Dallas and I are planning a comprehensive campaign for a first-of-its-kind airline company.
 
At Burson-Marsteller, we are taught to always be searching for ways to Be More. I hope to bring that mentality to future projects as I enter my senior year and, after that, the professional world. Thank you to TLF and Burson-Marsteller for making opportunities like this possible!

Cosette Haugen is a two-time TLF scholarship recipient and is majoring in marketing, psychology and strategic communications at the University of Minnesota.

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My Summer Internship with W20 Group by Andrew Echeguren

Andrew Echeguren


I never thought I would end up in this industry, let alone at a place like W2O Group. My name is Andrew Echeguren and recently I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Spanish Literature of all things. Last summer, I spent many hours proofreading long insurance and legal documents in Spanish. It was about as fun as watching paint dry.

This summer, I have had the opportunity to support a team of incredibly creative, intelligent, and motivated people that help bolster the image of brands. My title is Technology Practice Intern, but the position should probably be called Technology Practice Team Member. I say this because here at W2O Group, everything is about collaboration. I am always communicating on one level or another with my colleagues, whether that be via email, on chat, or in person.

As a three sport athlete, I’ve always known that teamwork wins championships. I feel like this principle reigns true at W2O Group. At this company, interns get the opportunity to contribute. We aren’t looked down upon, and our ideas matter. For example, within the first couple of weeks of my experience here I was in a meeting and thought of a social media partnership that we ended up pitching. I felt like I’d already came up with a big hit, basket, or goal for my team. Not bad for someone with his degree in Spanish Literature, right? 

Andrew Echeguren is an alumnus of Occidental College and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Literature.

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Five Pieces of Advice Every Marketer Should Receive by Hunter Durham*
Over the course of the last month, I got married, moved to Austin, and started my first internship at one of the largest companies in the world: Dell Inc. The first step of any journey is never the most important. What is the most important is what you learn from that first step. As I begin to establish myself as a marketing professional, the knowledge, expertise, and skills that I take away from this internship will direct the path of my career and even my life. I have already met with some of the most talented marketers in the industry in my short time here. Those I have spoken to, including the CMO’s chief of staff and the VP of Brand Governance (or the Brand Police as she unfairly gets called), have given me priceless information to jumpstart my career. The following quotes are my reflections on the top 5 pieces of advice every marketer should receive: 

1. “Marketers must start from a customer perspective.”  – Michelle Daniels, Director of Corporate Brand Identity

This is a core belief rooted in Dell’s philosophy, starting in 1984 when Michael Dell revolutionized the direct sales model. This concept is routinely preached across the marketing industry nowadays, although we often forget to think customer-first when creating a social media strategy or developing sales enablement tools. The bottom line is to always start with the question: how does this benefit the customer?

2. “Marketers must view the sales force as the second customer.” – Michael Marchand, Global Director of Strategy & Corporate Development

As Dell continues to increase the size of its salesforce across the globe, this piece of advice is now more important than ever. There is often a deep disconnect between us – the marketers – and the salesforce; however, both teams rely on one another to succeed. This is why it is important to not only start from a customer perspective, but to then stop and try to understand how an initiative will make a salesperson’s job easier.

3. "Marketers must have a love of learning.” – Ann Lott, Director of CSR Marketing

Today’s business landscape is rapidly changing, and nowhere is this more evident than in the marketing industry. With these changes comes the responsibility to learn, adapt, and implement new marketing elements and techniques in the right way and at the right time. The best marketers are those with an insatiable curiosity to understand how customer behavior and the media landscape are changing in order to adapt, evolve, and capitalize on these advancements. Personally, I think that modern marketers are the smartest people in business (perhaps I’m a little biased).
 

4. “Marketers must learn to tell a story with numbers.” – Joseph Moke, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing
 
The number crunchers love to slash marketing’s budget if it cannot definitively prove a positive ROI. As marketers, we are taught to ignore the fallacy that all marketing dollars must lead to revenue because, as already stated, we are the smartest. OK so maybe that’s not always true, and marketers ought to be accountable for their actions. Marketers are excellent storytellers so having the ability to tell stories in the language of our audience is as useful internally as it is externally. So when speaking to a CEO or CFO, make sure you incorporate some numbers into your story to convince them that your marketing investments are paying off.


5. "Marketers must always have a connection with the customers.” – Rajbir Panag, Director of Solutions Marketing, Large Corporations and Public Institutions

Not all salespeople are good marketers, but all marketers need to have the key skill of a salesperson: knowledge of the customer. As previously mentioned, there is often a gap between the two functions. However, every marketer, regardless of the industry they are in, should spend at least a day interacting with customers face-to-face. This enables us to better serve our customers and become more effective marketers.

*Hunter Durham is a two-time TLF scholarship recipient and a marketing major at Palm Beach Atlantic University
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My Internship at The LAGRANT Foundation by Vannyda Thach
If I could choose one word to describe my entire internship experience at The LAGRANT Foundation, it would be growth.

Since I began in March 2015, not one day of my internship has gone by where I have not learned something new. Tasks and projects that I had the opportunity to work on allowed me to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I was able take part in a range of work such as pitching to media, outreaching to schools across the U.S., creating graphic design materials, and more.

I especially enjoyed working on TLF’s various career and professional development workshops. From creating the event flyer to promoting it on social media, it was great to see how my contributions helped make the event happen. Outreaching to different schools across the U.S. and inviting students to come to a workshop that may lead to their future job also felt very rewarding. I felt like I was helping out students like me.

I worked closely with Nelly Alonso during my time at TLF, and she has been awesome.  I learned a great amount from her and I am grateful that I was able to work with an expert in the industry. I’ve gained so much knowledge and skills that I can put to use in my future career throughout the past months and cannot thank the TLF team enough for allowing me to be a part of the team.

*Vannyda Thach is a senior public relations student at California State University, Long Beach


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My Visit to Burson-Marsteller and the HBSI Program

My visit to Burson-Marsteller’s Santa Monica, Calif. office for its recruitment program was incredible. It was an honor to be in the office of one of the top public relations firms in the country.
 
I had the honor to talk to Client Executive Anne Russell and Human Resource and Recruiting Coordinator Kalee Bodey. Both of them were really nice and gave me some advice on how to get better within my career. They said that if I ever need anything to contact them. The rest of the staff was really nice and very professional.
 
Bodey started the program by talking about the application process. The applications have to apply online along with attaching a resume, cover letter, school transcripts and write a press release about how they got the internship if they were hired.

 
Other employees talked about their experience as former interns and employees of Burson-Marsteller. They’ve talked their job descriptions, working with clients and took questions for the students who attended the recruitment program.
 
One thing that stood out to me during the panel discussion was they’ve talked about how they are best friends outside of work. I would like to work at a place where I am able to have a chance to build a relationship with.
 
Burson-Marsteller is the ideal agency that I would like to work for. Even if I do not get an opportunity to intern with this company, it feels good to know that I could have that connection with one of the top public relation companies in the nation.


*Anthony Hodge is a senior public relations major attending California State University, Long Beach and former intern of TLF.
636 Comment(s)
My Internship with the Herbalife Family Foundation by Kimberly Roussell
Working with Herbalife Family Foundation (HFF) was an invaluable experience. I learned so much from the women I worked with. This was my first step into the corporate environment, and it taught me how to be assertive while also professional. The ladies at HFF supported me and made me feel like I was part of the team from day one.
 
During the course of the internship, I worked on fundraising for an annual gala. The proceeds from which go toward over 120,000 kids in various HFF programs. It was great to be apart of that and to be able to contribute in some capacity. I worked closely with the Executive Director to create solicitation letters asking for donations for the live auction. Writing those letters not only strengthened my writing skills, but also taught me to write persuasively. I also created an official database for auction items, contacted luxury donors directly and helped to secure donations for the event.
 
My time at HFF showed me all the work and strategizing that goes into working with a global nonprofit, and taught me valuable skills I will use in my future career path. That being said, my internship is something I will never forget and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been apart of the HFF team. 

*Kimberly Roussell is a senior public relations student attending California State University, Long Beach.

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ADCOLOR 2014 by Amber Jackson*
Life changing doesn’t even begin to describe my experience as a 2014 AdColor Future. Yes a fully paid trip to sunny Los Angeles, CA was great but the real highlights of the AdColor Future’s Program came from the week long experience.

The opportunity to learn and bond with forty of the top emerging multicultural professionals in the communications industry was enlightening. Their stories and advice gave me inspiration to apply to my current job and my growing career.

I had access and exposure to some of the most successful, senior level executives in the industry. Often inaccessible, I had the opportunity to network and set into motion the beginnings of new opportunities, partnerships, mentorships and more.

Education was also integral to the AdColor Future’s experience. Through the efficacy training I learned how to navigate industry issues faced by multicultural talent and forward my career through network building. Attending the conference gave me insight into some of the best work, insights and people in communications.

The most exciting experience for me was winning the first ever AdColor Futures’ case study competition and speaking at the AdColor Futures Speak Out panel at the  conference. Through this opportunity I had the chance to share the multicultural millenial’s point of view of advertising and the future of the industry.

Finishing the week with the award show and after party celebration was an unforgettable experience. Both events were formal, glamorous and unlike any event I’ve attended during my time in the advertising industry. Following that week, I came back to New York City and my job motivated and refreshed. I took the chance to share my experience back with my agency and specifically how diversity efforts could be increased internally and externally.  Since then I’ve been invited to join the agency’s new diversity council.

I’m excited to continue the AdColor future motto Rising Up. Reach Back. Through my own personal efforts, I plan to assist in the goal to make communications a more inclusive industry.




*Amber Jackson is a 2014 graduate scholarship recipient and is currently pursing her Master's degree in Branding & Integrated Communication at CCNY.
281 Comment(s)
ADCOLOR 2014 by Kendra Croft*

We learn from the past, to plan for the present, and prepare for the future. ADCOLOR® did all of that and more in less than one week. This year I was honored to be a member of the ADCOLOR® Futures 2014 class.  Attending ADCOLOR® as a Future gave me a unique experience that exceeded my wildest imagination. At our opening dinner, ADCOLOR® Founder, Tiffany R. Warren approached me and said, “you all are the real celebrities this weekend.” At the time I just shook it off, because all I could think was “Who would want to meet me with Michael B. Jordan in the room?”

 We stared off the week by working on, and presenting our case study. It was a brand new experience for me, as a student, to work with young professionals who are already in the industry. Not only did we all have to coordinate times for meetings and tasks, but we had to do this all while being spread around the country. The case study project allowed us to come together at an early start. As a group, we then became even closer by going through efficacy training together. As ADCOLOR® Futures we recognized that we all came from different parts of life with different perspectives.  Our efficacy training taught us how to be stronger leaders when working with diverse groups such as ourselves.

The highlight of my weekend was the conference. Every panel gave insights into a new and different form of diversity in advertising. Diversity of thought, physicality, and perspective were all thoroughly analyzed and presented in the conference. I was especially excited by the closing presentation of No.2.66 (no-to-sixty-six). The No.2.66 campaign was launched at ADCOLOR® to combat the shockingly low representation of African Americans in the creative fields The entire campaign lies on the fact that “At the current rate of hiring, true equality will not be realized in the advertising industry until 2079.” It was at that moment that I was finally able to tell myself, “You will enter the advertising industry, and you will enter as a creative!”

My entire ADCOLOR® experience came full circle at the awards show after party. I had finally built up the nerve to talk to a personal inspiration of mine, Bozoma St. John. I had been admiring her groundbreaking success since the 2013 ADCOLOR® Conference, and this after party was my last chance to tell her what an inspiration she has been. So, the minute she took a break from “breaking it down” on the dance floor I was able to tell her “thank you for being an inspiration.” She ended my night by telling me, “No, thank you! I have been looking forward to meeting the ADCOLOR ® Futures this whole weekend. You all are the real inspiration and the real celebrities.”




Kendra Croft is a two-time TLF scholarship recipient and is majoring in advertising at the University of Texas, Austin

258 Comment(s)
ADCOLOR 2014 by Steven Bram

Last year, I was introduced to the world of ADCOLOR through The LAGRANT Foundation. The 2013 ADCOLOR Conference and Awards show was an eye opening experience that left me really motivated and inspired. I was so inspired that I applied for the ADCOLOR Futures Program in 2014. This year, the Futures Program was comprised of a class of 30 students and young professionals in PR, advertising, marketing and media. All are very motivated, bright and successful individuals from all over the country.
 
ADCOLOR broadened our network beyond our current cities and introduced us to industry professionals at top companies and various levels. Being selected for this program meant a lot to me. Not only did ADCOLOR give me the opportunity to represent the Latino PR community, but it was my first time openly representing the LGBT community. The week of events have instilled pride in me for who I am and increased my interest in becoming even more involved in my communities.
 
During the five days I spent with my fellow Futures, I got to know them on both a professional and personal level. I can tell you that my fellow Futures and I are a determined bunch. We are determined to continue to move the diversity momentum moving forward and be change agents to better our industries while leading the way for others to follow. We learned so much from each other and made connections and friendships that I know for certain, will last a lifetime.


(L - R) TLF alumni and 2014 ADCOLOR FUTURES Danielle English, Amber Jackson,
Kendra Croft and Steven Bram

#JustADCOLOR
 
-Steven

*Steven Bram is an alumna from TLF's scholarship program and is a Senior Associate at Roll Global.


274 Comment(s)
My Internship with Nordstrom by Douglas Ta'a*

My name is Douglas Ta’a and I am a recent graduate from the University of Washington, with a degree in Business Administration with a focus in Information Systems & Marketing.  This summer I’ve had the opportunity to intern with Nordstrom through the Buying & Planning corporate internship. This summer I’ve supported the Men’s Tailored, and worked very closely with the Buyers, Assistant Buyers, and Buy Planners to assist them in their daily business decisions. Last year, I was selected as a 2013- 2014 LAGRANT Scholarship recipient, and had an opportunity to meet people at Nordstrom at a corporate visit. Since then, I have kept in contact with them and they recommended that I apply to the Nordstrom Merchandising Group Corporate Internship. 

My summer experience at Nordstrom has been fantastic! I have always had a deep interest in fashion, but never knew what career opportunities existed within that industry. The Nordstrom Internship Team planned out great events for us throughout my internship. I’ve met the Nordstrom family, heard from corporate leaders from different divisions within the company and have gone on many tours of the company! I have really been exposed to all facets of the company and the endless career opportunities that exist at Nordstrom. As an intern, I have had the opportunity to take on projects and make real business decisions that will have an impact on the company. That responsibility has challenged my way of thinking and work ethic in a positive way. I have learned so much and motivated to continue a career with Nordstrom. If it wasn’t for TLF, I would have not been able to make those initial connections that would lead me this internship. The LAGRANT Foundation does a great job at connecting students with the right people to help them reach their goals. I am excited to see where this internship will lead me and what my next challenge will be. Thank you Nordstrom and TLF for such an awesome opportunity!


*Douglas Ta'a is an alumna of the University of Washington and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Information Systems. Doug received TLF's scholarship in 2013.

303 Comment(s)
My Internship at Sabre - A Life Changing Opportunity by D'Andrea Willis

In a little over two months, I’ve entered an industry with the ultimate potential to contribute to my professional and personal growth.  One week after gaining my B.A in Public Relations from UTArlington, I began a summer internship at Sabre Corporation with the help of The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF).  During this time, I participated in an intern case competition tasked with building a business case for an innovative app idea.  I attended executive forums featuring intimate conversations with the CFO, CMO, and even the CEO!  I got an inside look into Sabre Labs, our technology incubator, where a small team works daily to discover the next technology trend that could change the future of travel.  

There were endless networking opportunities including hackathons and world cup watch parties. However, what I found most motivating was the opportunity for career growth within Sabre. I worked on the corporate communications team drafting press releases, writing blogs, and even creating tweets.  I feel blessed to say that my internship turned into a full-time position within the corporate communications team.  The LAGRANT Foundation played a huge role in creating the first advance towards my career.  TLF helped me from beginning to end. In addition to helping me through the application process, they checked on me to ensure that I was having the most positive experience possible during my internship.  Therefore, when I received a full-time position, I only saw fit that I show TLF my gratitude for their part in my recent success. The panic that comes with being a recent college graduate can be discouraging however; the Foundation was instrumental in providing me the support and resources I needed to feel confident in advancing my career.  Thank you TLF for fostering this life-changing opportunity.

*D'Andrea Willis is an alumna of the University of Texas, Arlington and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations.


246 Comment(s)
From Fellowship to Full-Time by Samra Mengitsu

My last week as a fellow at Burson has been a busy one. I have continued working on technology accounts as well as helping with two proposals to new companies. New business acquisition is one aspect of agency work that I had yet to see before this week so I’m very glad that I got to experience pitching and proposal writing before my fellowship term came to an end.
 
Today, the last day of the Harold Burson Fellowship, I am happy to announce that I have received a full time job offer! I will be staying in the San Francisco office as a Client Staff Assistant in the Corporate Practice. When I started this journey as a Harold Burson Fellow I did not anticipate that I would love working in public relations so much and that this agency would be such a good culture fit for me. I am overjoyed that they want to keep me here and that this has all fallen into place so seamlessly.
 
I am going to Seattle next week to collect the rest of my belongings and to sell my car – then I am back in San Francisco for my first official day on April 14th! A big thank you to Kim Hunter, Ericka Iniguez and all of the people at The LAGRANT Foundation for giving me this life changing opportunity! I am so incredibly grateful for what LAGRANT does and I want be involved with the foundation for years to come.

*Samra Mengitsu is a 2014 Harold Burson Fellow and an alumna of the University of Washington



227 Comment(s)
Week Three As A Harold Burson Fellow by Samra Mengitsu

On Monday I participated in a technology practice meeting and in the meeting a senior associated stated, “There is no such thing as multi-tasking – there is only task-switching”. This idea really resonated with me and set the tone for the rest of my week in the office. This has been the most hectic week at Burson yet and I have had to learn (quickly) how to prioritize different projects and how to speak with supervisors about deadlines. I have come to realize that you can only do one thing at a time and it is unwise to take on more than you can handle. As an intern or junior person in a company it can be very intimidating to tell a manager that you already have a lot of work and cannot realistically take on their project that day – but my colleagues at Burson have been showing me how to negotiate deadlines in a tactful way.

This week I have learned how to focus on one project at a time without being distracted by all of the requests and emails that are coming in. My supervisor, Kathryn, explained to me that I am being asked to do so many projects because people have heard that I am doing a good job – so that was very encouraging! I am enjoying the fast pace of PR at Burson and I appreciate that I am at an agency that is pushing me to work hard. I have learned so much by being here and by being around the incredibly smart people who work here.

This fellowship experience has shown me that I do want to work for a company that will challenge me and help me develop my skills. Next week will be the last week of my fellowship and during that time I will be interviewing for an entry level position in the corporate practice. I am very excited about this opportunity and hope that Burson is able to hire me! 

Samra Mengitsu is a Harold Burson Fellow at the agency's San Francisco office and is an alum of the University of Washington. 



245 Comment(s)
When A Billion Isn't Enough by Givon Forbes*

All good things must come to an end so I understood my time at Burson-Marsteller (BM) had to finish eventually. Yet my last week has come and I’m still not quite ready to say goodbye. I have spent considerable time trying to devise ways to convey my full appreciation for having been afforded this Harold Burson Fellowship experience. Unfortunately, it has become clear that nothing I do that will be sufficient enough. There are too many people to thank and too little time.

It sounds impossible, but my four weeks have felt like four years—in a good way. I have been exposed to both the foundational and higher level strategic functionalities of a global firm. I have participated on projects with small, growing firms as well as the most recognizable brands in the world. I have collaborated with talented, eager young executives and seasoned, experienced industry veterans. This has all happened in less than 30 days.
The insight gained has been invaluable and is directly applicable to my professional future, regardless of where my career takes me. I didn’t know what this experience would entail, but it is safe to say that my fellowship has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.
There are so many people who helped to make this such a memorable journey for me, from the incredible patience of Ericka Iniguez at the LAGRANT Foundation to the trip sponsorship from Mr. Albert Sweets (iSTEMS) to the helpful guidance of Danielle Chase (the 1st LAGRANT Fellow) to the unbelievable support of Stephanie McGuane and Eric Benderoff (My BM Chicago managers). Much more people should be named and thanked individually for their contributions to my unforgettable experience, but that would take at least a billion words and this is a time when a billion isn’t enough.

Givon Forbes is a Harold Burson Fellow who completed his fellowship at the Burson-Marsteller Chicago office. He is currently a graduate student attending Bowie State University.


211 Comment(s)
My First Week at Burson-Marsteller by Samra Mengitsu

My first week at Burson Marsteller SF has been absolutely wonderful. I arrived last Friday to settle in and unpack before my first day on Monday, March 10th. I am living in Berkeley, in an apartment behind my aunt’s Ethiopian restaurant, and commuting into San Francisco every day. Although the commute is lengthy, walking around the Bay Area and taking public transportation has given me the opportunity to meet people and get a sense of what the different neighborhoods are like.

The office has been extremely warm and friendly. I had a welcome banner, balloon, and ‘lucky bamboo’ plant waiting for me in my cubicle on the first day! While starting a new job or internship can often be intimidating, I can tell everyone is going out of their way to make me feel welcome and help out whenever they can.

I have been able to silently sit in on two client meetings this week and have also been working on a research project – so I have definitely been keeping busy. My manager, Kathryn, has been very helpful in facilitating meetings with people in every practice so I get a well-rounded idea of everything Burson Marsteller does. Overall, this has been a great week. My goal for next week: join the 24 Hour Fitness adjacent to the office!

*Samra Mengitsu is a Harold Burson Fellow and an alumna of the University of Washington
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250 Comment(s)
My Second Week in the Second City by Givon Forbes

As Dan Quayle once said, “It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago.” I wholeheartedly agree….with part of his statement anyways. Although Chicago technically does not qualify as one of America’s 50 states, it may as well be. Chicagoland offers a different culture, historical relevance, cuisine, architectural layout-- basically its own unique twist on everything.  However, one of its best features is the Burson-Marsteller Chicago office.  Being afforded the opportunity to work alongside the most talented, seasoned, and friendliest people in communications is proving to be a truly memorable experience.

I was fortunate to have experienced several firsts during my second week in the Second City; first Cross-Agency Briefing, first Content Factory, first Messaging Session Planning, and first time trekking to work through 4 inches of heavy snow. I have been included in two different internal groups within the organization which has allowed me to witness how teams collaborate across practices, companies, and even states. These collaborative groups require impressive strategy in order to effectively operate projects and manage accounts. Participating on these teams has provided motivation to quickly advance my skillset and increase my knowledge base so that I can be a helpful team member.

Burson-Marsteller is a global firm with a wide range of clients so it engages in differentiated communications activities to service the diverse needs. My managers have ensured that I will observe as much as possible of the entire Burson operation during my time here. This has allowed every day to be a new learning experience and virtually guaranteed that I will continue to enjoy new “firsts” throughout my fellowship here in the Second City. 


*Givon Forbes is a Harold Burson Fellow and is currently a graduate student at Bowie State University
210 Comment(s)
Welcome to Chicago! by Givon Forbes

I received quite the welcome during the first week of my Harold Burson Fellowship. Upon arriving in Chicago, I was greeted with below zero temperatures, falling snow, and authentic wind gusts from the Windy City. It was almost as if the city wanted me to receive the full Chicago experience as soon as possible.

The first day of my fellowship at the Chicago office of Burson-Marsteller began with equal energy. I felt pretty special after being shown my work area, which had been prepared in advance with my own phone extension, name plate, and welcome package. Next, I was immediately included in a few brainstorming sessions then introduced to several associates, managers, and directors. It was both exciting and intimidating.

The Burson team was experienced, talented, and worked with the most recognizable companies around the world. Yet everyone that I had the opportunity to meet was extremely friendly and uncharacteristically concerned with my comfort level. My on-site internship coordinator, as well as my director, wanted to ensure that this month long experience would be both meaningful and memorable. Before the week was over I had already worked on four different major client accounts and attended several team strategy and status meetings.

I already have several more assignments, projects, and meetings scheduled for next week. So the second week of my March adventure with Burston-Marsteller promises to be equally fun and exciting.

Thanks LAGRANT!

*Givon Forbes is one of the 2014 Harold Burson Fellows and is working in the Chicago Burson-Marsteller office. Givon is a graduate student at Bowie State University.


 

537 Comment(s)
My Experience as a TLF Scholarship Recipient by Stacia Doss
My knowledge about The LAGRANT Foundation came from an unexpected place. While I currently attend graduate school at DePaul University, I learned about this scholarship from a posting on my undergraduate university’s website…the college from which I graduated three years ago! It was one of the best opportunities I could have stumbled upon, and I could not be any more grateful for it. From the initial application process to the awarding of the scholarship—and everything in between, I have learned so much about my goals and how to make them a reality though mentors through TLF.
 
The application process helped me realize how passionate I am about communications and public relations, but also my personal contribution to increase minority representation and enthusiasm amongst others in the field. I was initially very excited upon finding out that I was chosen as a recipient for the scholarship, but the elation increased when I met with fellow recipients in New York a couple months later. I had the chance to network with people in important leadership roles from communications positions at Verizon Wireless, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Ketchum and many more in between. It was truly an honor. Having the opportunity to listen to their individual stories of success as well as advice helped me step back and really look closer at my personal goals. No matter the company or organization, something that echoed from nearly every speaker throughout each event and workshop was “stay true to who you are.” It helped me realize that the best way of reaching my goals as a public relations professional is to never compromise myself and keep that belief and passion for what I do.
 
My connection with The LAGRANT Foundation will truly be a lifelong one. The communication did not end with the weekend in New York. Through social media and email, I am able to keep up with events and opportunities that come my way through TLF sponsors. I have maintained contact with fellow scholarship recipients, and I plan to continue correspondence with TLF so that I may one day be a mentor to future recipients.


*Stacia Doss is a graduate student pursuing her Master of Art degree in Advertising and Public Relations at DePaul University. Stacia is a 2013 TLF scholarship recipient and was selected as one of the Alfred Fleishman Diversity Fellows.
499 Comment(s)
My Experience as a TLF Scholarship Recipient by Hunter Durham*
TLF's scholarship recipient program was such an honor to be a part of.  I am just beginning my career in Marketing as a college freshman.  At first I was overwhelmed by all of the experience and expertise of the people that surrounded me.  TLF did not waste any time immersing us into the culture of marketing.  The welcome dinner was a great opportunity to speak with individuals, such as President of the Microsoft Account Worldwide and Agency Founder of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Pam Edstrom, who has established herself in the industry.   Vice President of Corporate Communications at Verizon Wireless Torod Neptune told us that night to not sacrifice our values in order to climb the corporate ladder. I will use that advice throughout college and my career.  The next day at Ketchum was truly an eye-opening experience into the PR industry. 

Before the TLF program I had not thought about going into the PR industry, but after hearing and speaking with the people at Ketchum, the PR industry is definitely a viable option for me.  I learned that PR is not all about the media and news agency.  All the new technology in the world has influenced and changed the PR industry for the better.  Ketchum also gave the undergraduate students valuable information on how to market ourselves. A person has to be able to market themselves in any industry that they want to get into- so this is an important skill that I will have to use in other scholarship applications, job interviews, and networking opportunities. 

The last part of the TLF scholarship experience was the awards ceremony, which I found out was actually a huge networking opportunity.  The money was great, but the influential people I talked with will stay with me far longer than the money I received.   I spoke with associates of Cohn and Wolfe who encouraged me to apply for an internship with them and spoke to the Senior Partner & CEO of Ketchum, Rob Flaherty.  I would have never met any of these people or had any of these experiences if it was not for TLF and all the companies and individuals who support them.  It was truly an amazing experience and I look forward to applying again next year.  


*Hunter Durham is an undergraduate marketing student attending Palm Beach Atlantic University and a first-time recipient of TLF's scholarship.
217 Comment(s)
TLF Scholarship Experience by Cindy Chow*

It’s been a few months since the TLF scholarship reception and career development workshop, but the connection to the organization remains as strong as ever. TLF has continued to show it wants to offer lifelong support as it has sought our opinions on how it can best serve us and actively promotes relevant career opportunities to us. I also had the opportunity to meet some talented people in New York, and can’t wait to catch up with the fellow Chicagoans after I return to the city and read more about the other recipients in the TLF newsletter.

It is a great network and one I am thankful to have as I return to school this fall as a second year MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I worked for four years as a marketing consultant prior to school, and had a wonderful experience this past summer interning at The Walt Disney Company. I am now focused on building a career in marketing or corporate strategy in the Travel/Hospitality industry that I am passionate about. At school, I am preparing myself by concentrating on Marketing Management and General Management, and also serve as a co-chair of the Travel, Transportation, & Hospitality group; Food, Environment, Agribusiness, & Development group, and OUTreach. It will be a busy and fun year ahead, and I look forward to it!

*Cindy Chow is an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

379 Comment(s)
My TLF experience by D'Andre Young*
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and at an early age I developed a passion for the communications field. That first started in writing and my passion for journalism. I was always told I’d be a great broadcast journalist. In my senior year of high school, I received a full-tuition leadership scholarship from the Posse Foundation to attend Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

With this I came to Brandeis, with a “Posse” of nine other friends from Atlanta. Together we helped each other academically and socially adapt to the difference of the Northeastern culture from Atlanta. It was my Posse that stimulated my passion for communications and encouraged me to create my major in communications, because Brandeis doesn’t offer the study. With this I was steadfast in finding mentors in the communications field who lead me to finding out about TLF.
 
My career goals and aspirations have changed over the years; from me wanting to be in broadcast journalism, to me now wanting to venture into public relations. I worked in public relations this summer at Regan Communications Group and the experience was rewarding because I truly enjoyed contributing to the growth of RCG’s clients and I got to see first hand how PR works. TLF also opened me to future career goals. Thanks to TLF, Ketchum and Pam Edstrom, President of the Microsoft Account Worldwide and Agency Founder of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, I see myself doing corporate public relations work for a company as established as Ketchum. TLF taught me that being a person of color shouldn’t hold me back from my goals.


*D'Andre Young is a 2013 TLF scholarship recipient pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications  and American Studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
217 Comment(s)
My Experience with the United Nations Foundation by Aunya Lewis
I recently wrapped up a life altering summer internship with the United Nations Foundation (UNF) as a media relations intern. Prior to my experience with the Foundation I was uncertain about my future professional career. I am currently a senior at Kennesaw State University. Although, I am a Political Science major, after completing a series of government related internships I decided to deviate from the discipline. I developed an interest in communications; however, communications-related internships were difficult to obtain due to my limited credentials and experience. The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) created a platform for me to excel within the UNF.  My initial day with the organization solidified my decision to pursue a professional career in media, communications, and public relations.
 
During my time at the foundation I attended brainstorming meetings, in which I received invitations to express my ideas, regardless of their presumed importance. I was provided with personal mentorship from the Foundation’s Vice President of Communications and Public Relations, Aaron Sherinian. Mr. Sherinian extended his experiences, advice, guidance, and made sure I was paired with areas of the Public Affairs team I was interested in. In addition, I was given the opportunity to write press releases, press pitches, compile media list, draft internal communications documents and help assist with events. The most influential event was their annual Social Good Summit, a three-day conference held in New York City during UN Week. This particular experience allowed me to network work with leadership of other organizations and companies, work in a fast paced environment, test my ability to deal with issues in a timely manner, and see the results from months of hard work. The Social Good Summit was the perfect way to wrap up my internship.
 
Due to the invaluable experiences provided by the UNF, I was able to receive a public relations internship with Adult Swim (Turner Broadcasting) for the Fall of 2013.
 
Thank you Kim and TLF for continuing to help bridge the gap between minorities and the communications field. 


Aunya Lewis is a student attending Kennesaw State University in Georgia. TLF secured Aunya the internship opportunity with the UNF and wishes her the best in her future endeavors.
 
332 Comment(s)
TLF Scholarship Recipient Experience by Sara Farooqi
I am pursuing my MBA at Mills College with a concentration in Socially Responsible Business. My goal is to build a career devising communications and corporate social responsibility strategies that maximize profitability while catalyzing social progress.
 
Currently, I work as a communications practitioner for a large information technology (IT) consulting company. I love how my career allows me to capture a story and bring it to life to advance a business objective, whether it be a white paper discussing an approach to financing an IT project or a social media blast detailing my company’s community service work.
 
Upon graduation, I plan to work towards a senior level position in which I can direct company-wide communications and corporate responsibility efforts. I also hope to teach business communications and marketing at the community college level part-time, and work with underrepresented youth to help them gain the skills needed to succeed in the communications industry. 
 
My experiences as a LaGrant scholar will be critical in helping position me for continued success as a businesswoman and a communications practitioner. The LaGrant Foundation has provided me with exposure to leaders across the marketing, communications and public relations spectrum. Through my interactions with these leaders, I have received important advice relevant to my career goals. Most importantly, LaGrant’s support means having an entire network of talented professionals looking out for me, an honor for which I am immensely grateful.


*Sara is a 2013 TLF scholarship recipient obtaining her MBA with an emphasis in Socially Responsible Business at Mills College in Oakland, California.
213 Comment(s)
2013 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient Highlight: Benjamin Ladrillono
My name is Benjamin Ladrillono, and I am a senior at The University of Alabama. I am studying public relations with a minor in business. I’m honored to have received The LAGRANT Foundation's (TLF) scholarship twice, and I have gained so much knowledge from my peers and mentors that I met through TLF.

During this past summer, I interned with a marketing firm the Intermark Group in Birmingham, Ala. In the spring of 2013, I was the Creative Director of The University of Alabama’s Bateman Competition Team, which we received honorable mention by PRSSA for our efforts to fight bullying.

I have bold career goals. Although it seems as if my goals are dream-like, I know I can achieve them. After all, goals are nothing more than dreams. I want to work at a major public relations firm and work my way up. From this gained experience, I intend to open up my own marketing firm or become a Director of Public Relations or marketing for a Fortune 500 company or a rising business. From there, I want to begin reaching out to students in need of scholarships. I would like to start my own scholarship program, very similar to TLF's.

Because of my experience with TLF, these goals formulated. The more I learn from the mentors I gained through the Foundation, the more I know that these dreams are possible.

Thank you Kim Hunter and The LAGRANT Foundation for all that you have done for me.


Benjamin Ladrillono is a 2012 and 2013 scholarship recipient pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations at the University of Alabama.
190 Comment(s)
The LAGRANT Foundation's 15th Anniversary Scholarship Recognition Reception & Awards Program by Rachelle Ramirez
Born and raised in Southern California, I studied Business Management and Psychology at Whittier College.  After working for Bank of America for seven years, I made the decision to leave the banking industry and follow my dream of attending the University of Southern California to pursue a Master’s Degree.  After careful consideration, I decided that the Strategic Public Relations Program at USC’s Annenberg School was the right fit for me.

As an avid sports fan and enthusiast, I hope to secure a PR position in the sports and entertainment field.  I am interested in most aspects of sports, but I am most passionate about football and baseball.  My dream job would be to do PR for a professional MLB or NFL team.

Being chosen as one of TLF scholarship recipients was truly a blessing.  I was very grateful and honored to be chosen out of a pool of very deserving applicants.  My experience in Seattle was one I will never forget.  I was exposed to a variety of very accomplished and inspiring individuals who offered very insightful career advice.  I also had the pleasure of meeting fellow TLF scholarship recipients, many who are great individuals who I plan to stay in touch with.  Overall, the TLF experience was very rich and rewarding, and will be something I will always look back on with fond memories.


Rachelle Ramirez is a 2013 scholarship recipient attending USC's Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism pursuing her Master degree in Public Relations.
209 Comment(s)
Fleishman-Hillard Workshop Reflection by Gabbie Alvidrez*
Workshop: (noun) a seminar, discussion group, or the like, that emphasizes the exchange of ideas and the demonstration and application of techniques, skills, etc.
 
Prior to attending the The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) Career Development Workshop hosted by Fleishman-Hillard, my definition of a workshop mirrored the one stated above. They sounded stiff and quiet, a company presentation filled with students weighed down my intimidation. My preconceived notions prevented me from feeling the excitement of visiting a top tier public relations agency; I could imagine myself being caught yawing or seeming inattentive while I squirmed in an uncomfortable chair. Boy was I wrong. Oh so wrong.

The brightly painted walls and modern style of the office decor immediately caught me off guard. A word had not even been said and there still existed an upbeat vibe and free-spirited environment. We were welcomed into a decent sized room with a long curved table (with comfortable chairs I may add), and introduced to a few members of the staff. John Soriano, senior account manager and internship coordinator and introduced to a few members of the staff. John Soriano, senior account manager and internship coordinator, was a bundle of smiles and energy. He described the company and shared a few client projects with the help of Ann Leverdier, assistant account executive. Their enthusiasm and expertise made a perfect match, creating a professional yet relaxed mood. Ann described the office setting as relaxed and comfortable, sharing that their office had an “open door policy.” In more than one sense of the phrase, there were literally no doors in the office. According to Ann and John, this created an environment that promoted creative exchange and enhanced office relationships with executives and entry level associates. This policy illustrated to me how devoted Fleishman-Hillard is to the creation of new ideas and the fostering of employee morale.

As the introductions ceased, John welcomed Senior Vice President, Emily Frager, and Managing Supervisor, Lauren Karasek. Lauren settled my suspicions on public relations being more than “big ideas and big titles you don’t know.” I had made a sweeping conclusion about the large company and was quickly put into place when Lauren and Emily genuinely described their contentment within their roles. Lauren detailed significant aspects of her background in crisis management, giving the green light for questions or comments on her experiences. She continued with advice on how to package ideas relative to client needs, stating that innovation and quality control play huge roles in a campaign or pitch. She elaborated on how professional development is more than elevating skills you already have, it is about challenging those around you to reach higher and think harder as well. Currently focused on a new client project, Lauren is a member of the innovation team working with digital and social media.

Lauren’s charisma set the tone for Emily to take the floor. Taking time to encourage us to keep our minds open to unique opportunities to grow, Emily shared more than just career experiences, she challenged us to never settle.

"Put yourself in as many positions as you can,” Emily said. “What clients are paying for is the number of situations you have been in; the more scenarios the better.”

She spent time describing how public relations is personality-driven in nature and is made up of  “thoughtful, real-time decisions.” Emily’s advice was priceless, and after every profound statement or insightful suggestion, I was drawn further and further into the allure of public relations and it’s versatility. Describing public relation professionals as the “Jack of all trades,” Emily illustrated the different hats that everyone rotates. From planning, writing, accounting, and counseling, to flexibility, diversity, and organization, public relations is really a chance to do it all. From outlining RFPs (Request For Proposal) to building the perfect “War Room,” Emily unwrapped a whole new side of public relations that I had never been exposed to. It was the “inside lingo” and the “behind-the-scenes” essence that made the entire afternoon an educational and encouraging experience.

Determined to make sure we understood what set Fleishman-Hillard apart from other agencies, Emily ended with a metaphor that spoke to me on a professional and student level.

“We are the student council presidents when most of our competitors are ‘the cool kids.’” While some will stick to textbook tactics and goals, Fleishman-Hillard takes charge as the responsible leader with unique concepts, refusing to sink into the generic sea of agencies that won’t break the mold.

Using innovation as a process geared toward brainstorming, and moving outside the constraints of traditional public relations approaches, Fleishman-Hillard sets the bar for the new wave of creative and evolving public relations mindset. I would have never known the extent of creativity in public relations if I had stayed glued to my misconception that workshops were monotonous and not engaging. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised and am so fortunate to have been invited to go.


Gabbie Alvidrez received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations at California State University, Long Beach and previously interned for TLF.
282 Comment(s)
Why Everyone Should Attend a LAGRANT Foundation Career Development Workshop by Breana Harris
As a recent college graduate, I’m struggling like most to find employment so when a mentor of mine at Clark Atlanta suggested I attend The LAGRANT Foundation’s (TLF) Career Development Workshop hosted by Verizon Wireless. I thought it was a great idea! The only problem was that I live in Louisiana and the workshop was being held in Atlanta. When I spoke with my parents they immediately said they would cover the cost because “it is worth it to follow your dreams and seek out all opportunities.”

 I was all set to go until I received news from my doctor. I was in a car accident and one of the vertebrates in my neck was now out of place. I had to begin physical therapy and consider the possibility of surgery. Immediately, I began feeling depressed. How would I be able to attend the workshop now or apply for jobs out of state?

A friend of mine reminded me that I must never give up. I began to think about all those who had gone before me and faced adversity but refused to give up. I was not going to let my injury hinder my career before it even started. After explaining my situation to my uncle he advised me to go and not let anything stop me from pursuing my dreams.
After eight and a half hours of driving, I finally made it to Atlanta. Once I arrived at the workshop, I met people who were just like me, dealing with the same situation. Though I knew I was not the only person struggling to find employment, it felt good to be reminded that I was not alone.

Attending the career development workshop was one of the best decisions I ever made. I learned a great deal about my profession from some very knowledgeable and successful professionals in my field. Without attending this workshop, I would not have the upper hand in knowledge that I feel I have now. We were able to ask questions, receive advice, and network. There were also scholarships applications for undergraduate and graduate students. For anyone considering attending a TLF Career Development Workshop, the choice is easy: GO! It will surely be worth your while. If I drove over eight and a half hours with a vertebrate out of place to attend, there is no excuse not to go.  Be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to you because you never know what could happen. Whether it’s a job opportunity or the chance to gain knowledge from someone who is in the position you want to be, it is definitely worth it.

Breana Harris is an alumna of Louisiana State University
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251 Comment(s)
My Internship with TLF by Joseph Apodaca

I have been interning ever since I began as a freshman at California State University, Long Beach – I have been a city newspaper reporter, an entertainment news website contributor and a social media marketer for a film distributor. Today, I can honestly say that my current internship with The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) has by far been the best experience of them all.
 
When I first began interning, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be my ultimate career goal, to work in the entertainment industry as a public relations professional or a feature writer for a national entertainment-driven publication. However, after I had the honor of being a 2012 LAGRANT Foundation scholarship recipient, the direction of where I wanted to take my career changed drastically, as I began to look closer at the world of nonprofit public relations. Working directly for the foundation that invested so generously into my education has not only given me the opportunity to work with amazing people, but it has given me the chance to work on incredibly rewarding tasks.
 
Prior to being an intern at TLF, there were several things within public relations I had never conquered before, nor had I learned before in a classroom. Working on a communications plan for the 2013 scholarship applications was one of the first assignments I was given, something I had never done or learned to do before. It was such a pleasure to be given the freedom to try something new and to receive genuine, constructive feedback that will better my skills as a public relations student. Conducting outreach on behalf of TLF to promote career development workshops and the scholarship program has also been amazing, as I am actively implementing the TLF mission on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to speak with students, professors and faculty members from schools across the country about our programs and to hear people who are genuinely excited about what TLF does has been one of the coolest experiences about this internship.
 
One of the great things about interning with TLF is the guidance and advice that is given going beyond your position as an intern. If there is a particular agency or corporation of interest that you would like to pursue for an internship, TLF can help you achieve that goal and do what they can to help you progress within the industry. Having my resume completely edited and looked over was also such a great opportunity, as it is something I rely on to represent myself on paper as a public relations student. Knowing that the information I want portrayed on my resume is being showcased properly gives me the piece of mind I need when I submit it for various internships and jobs, and for that I thank TLF.
 
There are countless amazing things to say about interning with TLF and I feel so privileged to be in my second internship term with such an amazing foundation. As someone who is ethnically diverse myself, I feel like I am making a difference in the public relations industry every time I step through the doors of the office. This has been such an incredible experience and I look forward to my continued growth in the public relations industry with the help of TLF.

*Joseph Apodaca is a 2012 LAGRANT Foundation undergraduate scholarship recipient pursuing his degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations at California State University, Long Beach.
177 Comment(s)
Continuing My Journey by Rachelle Dejean

I honestly don’t know where to begin to recap this week. Being a part of this program has surpassed my expectations and goals, and the third week definitely did not disappoint. Among the various projects I was assigned, I still had the chance to sit in on more meetings to learn about specific parts of the Brand Marketing practice. In my opinion, you can never learn enough, and seeing how the agency manages their accounts for writing and pitching, celebrity seeding, media relations and events, was more priceless insight that I could take away with me beyond this program.

 As I have mentioned in every post so far, I came here to learn. And I’ve done that by being attentive in meetings, scribbling down notes, highlighting and book marking pages of information, and being open to new practices. But I received a piece of information last week in casual conversation—just a few short words—and they may have been the most valuable lesson yet. The conversation expressed that the best way to adapt to a new environment (my time with B-M is my first real agency experience), and succeed in it, is to watch the environment and actions of my colleagues. Doing this is the easiest way to assimilate with a team. This really stuck out to me and wasn’t something that I discussed aloud before.

To top off this week, I had a phone call on my schedule with Harold Burson himself. Being so new to the office, I was surprised and excited to talk with him; he was inviting and engaging. His story of creating a public relations firm is truly inspiring, and I am happy to represent The LAGRANT Foundation as the second Fellow (following Danielle Chase at Burson-Marsteller New York).

The one thing that has helped me transition from an e-commerce marketing job, to a month with the Brand Marketing team at Burson-Marsteller, is the support system I have been blessed with. Danielle shared her experiences and advice with me even before I flew out here. The LAGRANT Foundation has offered more support than I could hope for, and my family continues to send their blessings from miles away. Furthermore, everyone in the office has offered their time to mentor me. I want to thank everyone for their support and following me along in this journey.

*Rachelle is the second participant of the Harold-Burson Fellowship program.

316 Comment(s)
Goals for Success by Rachelle Dejean
         
My first weekend after joining the Burson-Marsteller LA office greeted me with sunny skies and 80 degrees in “fall”. While the weather is something I was certainly happy to get used to, I also needed to mentally prepare for Week #2. Having spent a full week in the office, in and out of department meetings, learning about clients, and getting briefed with tasks, Hour 41 was my chance to put what I have been learning into effect.

I came into this fellowship with three goals in mind, which I think are valuable at any level: to learn everything I can, challenge myself, and work really hard. To me that means being accountable, accepting any and all responsibilities as an opportunity to perform, and do just that—perform. Four weeks is not a lot of time to leave a positive impression, but it is something I aim to do as a representative of both myself and The LAGRANT Foundation.

Having this new acquired knowledge for BM practices, processes, and client campaigns, I was able to accept more account-specific responsibilities my second week. Thus, it has been much busier than the first—I have spent allotted time on various accounts and worked to fit in multiple projects a day. I was overwhelmed, but soon after I realized this as an indicator of me reaching my goal. The beauty of this fellowship program is that I am doing the exact work I would be doing if I worked at Burson-Marsteller beyond the fellowship. I’m not just an “intern.”

I still can’t believe I am here working alongside and connecting with great professionals and of course, I’m happy and saddened that I’m half way there. I find joy that I’ve come much further than Day 1, yet sad because only two weeks remain.

Every new day reiterates that this opportunity is a priceless chance to better myself and grow as a professional, so I will definitely take however many days I can get!


*Rachelle Dejean is the second Harold Burson Fellow. She currently interns at the Los Angeles office of Burson-Marsteller.
200 Comment(s)
Rachelle Dejean 2012 Harold Burson Fellowship Program Burson-Marsteller Los Angeles
I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Danielle Chase, and feel so blessed that I was selected to learn from the great Brand Marketing team at Burson-Marsteller (BM) Los Angeles. Being a female Haitian-American, diversity is very important and it means so much that the LAGRANT Foundation advocates diversity and specializes in providing opportunities such as this one.

Heading to my first day at the BM office, I didn’t know what to expect, but I flew (literally) at the chance to move from my home in Chicago to work with one of the best PR firms and Brand Practice teams in the industry. Being in a new city with only a few nearby friends had me a bit overwhelmed, but in five days, I have taken part in a crash course in the Burson Toolbox as well as brand meetings, met U.S. CEO Dave DenHerder, and participated in brainstorming and lunch-and-learn sessions with the team. I’ve learned about global networking and requests for proposals, updated media lists, and even compiled a social media report that will be used as a resource in the future. There is no time to be overwhelmed with relocation when I’m this busy!

It has been an interesting Week 1 to say the least. In between scheduled meetings, learning sessions and getting acquainted, we also experienced technical difficulties that made it hard to stay connected. Our main server is located in New York, which required us to be flexible and mindful when trying to reach others outside of the office. No email in a PR office is one thing, but even more bizarre, I got to spend some time with senior executives halfway during the week! They showed up at our Halloween office party to help celebrate the holiday.

While I am learning so much in the office, I am picking up a lot when I’m away from my desk, like how crazy the traffic in Los Angeles is—especially when relying on the metro system. Nevertheless, my daily commute brings me to the gorgeous Water Garden, a center of corporate offices where BM is located. Elegant water fountains at every turn were not something I was expecting, but it mirrors the atmosphere of BM and the team. It didn’t take a full day before I realized that the team works so hard for their existing clients and for new business alike.

I am eager to continue learning and get more involved. Bring on Week 2!



160 Comment(s)
A Weekend of Leadership by Senait Chrisostomo
When I first met the group of LAGRANT Scholars I was genuinely happy to be surrounded by other students of color with similar goals. It gave me more motivation to excel in marketing and change the perception of the industry and also, to continue to encourage youth to pursue higher education and consider marketing and public relation as an area of study.
 
Over the two days of the program, I received plenty of insight on the marketing and PR industry and met amazing leaders. I have no doubt that the program positively impacted us all, beginning with the welcome dinner hosted by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE). Pam Edstrom herself gave an awesome speech about her journey in becoming the President of the Microsoft Account Worldwide and Founder of WE, sharing a conveying message to take risks because “if you don’t die, it’s not that bad!”
 
The second day was filled with a career development workshop led by APCO Worldwide. We were presented with motivational speeches, learned of different projects within the strategic communications firm, and even received a personal tour of the Capitol building.
 
The LAGRANT Foundation 14th Anniversary Scholarship Recognition Reception and Awards Program included a lineup of very accomplished professionals in the marketing and public relation industries such as Director of Standards and Staffing of USA TODAY and Master of Ceremonies for the evening Brent Jones, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TE Connectivity and Committee Chair, Joan Wainwright, Executive Vice President of Global Communications and Public Affairs of Marriott International, Inc., Kathleen Mathews and our very own Founder/Chairman of The LAGRANT Foundation, Mr. Kim L Hunter. Powerful words were shared to guide and motivate all of the scholarship recipients to continue chasing our dreams. APCO Worldwide was a wonderful host for the reception providing a beautiful space for presentation and networking amongst representatives and students.
 
Overall, The LAGRANT Foundation 14th Anniversary Scholarship Recognition Reception and Awards Program was monumental. I am very grateful to have been selected as a 2012 LAGRANT Scholarship Recipient and greatly value my experience during the program.


*Senait Chrisostomo is a 2012 TLF undergraduate scholarship recipient


169 Comment(s)
The LAGRANT Foundation Career Development Workshop with THINQACTION
The LAGRANT Foundation Career Development Workshop with THINQACTION
by Joseph Apodaca*

Today, myself along with four of the 2012 LAGRANT Foundation scholarship recipients had the honor and pleasure of participating in a career development workshop with renowned journalist and career coach, Antonio Neves.
 
Going into this workshop I was excited and eager to receive career advice from someone who has gained a tremendous amount of respect as a business journalist, television producer and a speaker who seeks to teach students and young professionals to "kick butt in their career". Antonio was immediately welcoming and engaging and conducted himself in a comfortable manner, making himself more relatable to myself and the four other attendants whom he had just met. After introducing ourselves to him formally, Antonio told us more about his career experience, detailing his life as a small-town kid from Michigan who left his humble roots to seek greater opportunities, eventually making it to New York City with a mere $600 in his pocket.
 
Antonio challenged us to really think about where we wanted to take our career aspirations as public relations, communications and marketing students. We were asked to consider what do we do, who do we do it for, how do we do it and why do we do it - an exercise that was eye-opening for us all. While we went into the workshop with ideas about where we wanted our careers to go in the future, Antonio's exercise allowed us to see other career interests in ourselves that we might not have initially considered. Seeing the reactions of the other individuals in the room when Antonio would ask certain questions about the career and their interests and how their faces would light up when he would touch on something that was a minor interest to them was awe-inspiring and gave us all a chance to think about what truly makes us "come alive".
 
As the founder of THINQACTION and its corresponding website, thinqaction.com, Antonio stressed the importance of building our network with a long-term approach. Social media was something he regarded of extreme importance, especially websites such as LinkedIN. He also stressed practices that, in this day of technology, often go overlooked. Taking the initiative and requesting an informational meeting with someone you want to learn from one-on-one was something he made clear was very important in building your network and gaining a better outlook for career direction. Simple things such as asking questions and writing hand-written thank you notes to those you encounter along the way up the corporate world were also things he regarded as important, even in an age where email communication is the easier option.
 
Attending this workshop with Antonio Neves hosted by The LAGRANT Foundation was easily one of the most eye-opening and inspiring events I have participated in during my three years as a public relations student. It is one thing to go to a workshop and gain information about the profession you want to go into or a company you wish to work for, but what Antonio did for us, and for other young professionals he coaches, was take that experience to the next level and challenged us to think critically while maintaining a personable level of communication with myself and the other scholarship recipients in attendance. I have walked away from this experience with a whole new perspective on where I plan to take my career and I'm sure my fellow scholarship recipients in attendance feel the same.
 
THINQACTION is a great way to gain career guidance through one-on-one coaching sessions with Antonio and through various other helpful articles and blog posts on his website. For more information about Antonio Neves and THINQACTION, visit thinqaction.com.

*Joseph is one of The LAGRANT Foundation's 2012 scholarship recipients.



183 Comment(s)
"Communications Conversations" Hosted by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide in Seattle

"Communications Conversations" Hosted by Waggener Edstrom Worldwide in Seattle
by Monica Santos-Pinacho*


On Thursday, April 12, 2012, I left my house, in Vancouver, Washington, at 4:45 a.m. and drove to Seattle to attend the Communications Conversation event at the Waggener Edstrom Worldwide headquarters. The LAGRANT Foundation and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide joined forces to create this opportunity for me and eight other undergraduate students majoring in the fields of Marketing or Public Relations.

At 8:38 a.m. with just seven minutes to spare, I found my way to the 6th floor of the Civica North Tower. This development workshop was a dynamic all-day experience that included breakfast with Pam Edstrom, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Co-founder and President of the Microsoft Account Worldwide; a Waggener Edstrom Worldwide employee panel that answered questions and provided us with valuable career advice; resume reviews and mock interviews with WE HR personnel; lunch with Melissa Waggener Zorkin, WE Founder and CEO; a brainstorming session with See Your Impact, a WE pro bono client that helps raise funds for other non-profit organizations around the world; a behind the scenes glance at what is like to open Microsoft retail stores across the country; an engaging conversation with the General Manager of Communications for the Server and Tools business group at Microsoft, Amy Barzdikas; and a social hour reception that allowed us more time to interact with the speakers and other WE staff.

The entire event was a phenomenal experience. Having a chance to interact with the agency?s founders, Mellissa Waggener and Pam Edstrom was definitely the highlight of the event. Listening to Pam Edstrom's story of how her drive and determination got her into the technology field was very inspiring. With her story, she showed us that knowing everything is not always the key to success. The key to being successful is having the self-motivation to keep learning something new every day. The highlight of her presentation was when she told us not to be afraid and shared with us a few stories of some of her most memorable mistakes. "Fear is your enemy", she told us. Melissa Waggener shared a very casual lunch with us. I sat there in awe having a hard time believing that the CEO of a worldwide company would take so much time out of her day to simply talk to nine undergraduate students. It was very impressive to see that Waggener knew I attended Washington State University Vancouver. She knew a little bit about all of us.

The day continued and we had an amazing opportunity to interact with professionals in public relations who are all are so passionate about the industry we one day hope to venture into. One of the most encouraging aspects of this workshop was seeing first-hand how helpful the Waggener Edstrom Worldwide staff is. They were genuinely willing to give us their best advice and tips for success in this field. They all love what they do, and they enjoy the environment Waggener Edstrom Worldwide provide them. They see their jobs as careers and as an opportunity to explore their talents and grow as professionals. Their passion for their careers leaked everywhere and all nine of us students were there to catch some of it.

At about 6:25 p.m. with a wallet full of business cards, I said goodbye to all of the amazing people I had met throughout the day. I walked out the door, hoping to return one day. The three and a half hour drive home was the perfect opportunity to think back on all of the great things we were exposed to in the last nine hours and felt incredibly thankful to the LAGRANT Foundation and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide for providing this extraordinary opportunity.

*Monica Santos-Pinacho is one of The LAGRANT Foundation's 2012 scholarship recipients


166 Comment(s)
Waggener Edstrom Hosts "Communications Conversations"

Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Hosts "Communications Conversations"
By Senait Chrisostomo*


On April 12, 2012, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and The LAGRANT Foundation partnered together to offer undergraduate students from the Seattle area to partake in an exclusive workshop. I was fortunate enough to be among the nine attendees and can honestly say the eventful day was beyond rewarding. The day began with a lovely breakfast with Pam Edstrom, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Co-founder & President of the Microsoft Account Worldwide. Through her bubbly and energetic personality, she shared her journey into technical communications through Tetronix, as Director of Public Relations for Microsoft and currently as Co-Founder of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and President of the Microsoft Account Worldwide.  Pam Edstrom left us with three great pieces of advice to always remember: ask questions, fear is your enemy, and “the world changes dramatically”.

The program proceeded with a panel of young professionals who shared their journey into communications and their positions at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. The panel shared very honest and humble experiences which was very beneficial for me. Many undergraduates share the commonality of not knowing exactly what they want to be when they “grow up” and hearing their stories confirmed that there is not always a direct path and that trial and error may be necessary to find a good fit.

After the panel discussion, we transitioned into the Speed-Dating styled interviews with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Human Resources. Students spent about 10 to 15 minutes with each Human Resources expert to either participate in a mock interview or receive resume advice. The experience was golden because we were able to spend one on one time with the ticket holders of the communication and public relation industry. I learned how to improve my interviewing skills and tips on how to strengthen my resume qualifications through honest feedback.

What better way to follow up Speed Dating than a lunch discussion with Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO, President and Founder of Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Waggener definitely shattered any intimidation one may have being an undergraduate and speaking with the CEO of a global company. She knew quite a bit about each student which expressed Waggener’s interest in getting to know potential interns and employees.  She humbly spoke about her journey into communications and into entrepreneurship as well as her interest in service both locally and globally, including Mercy Corp, a non-profit organization that addresses social development across the globe.

After lunch, we later participated in a brainstorm with See Your Impact, a Waggener Edstrom Worldwide pro bono client. Divided into groups based on different projects within the organization, we developed ideas on how to inspire youth engagement in service projects. Specifically, I participated in the brainstorm for Gen Up, which allows young adults to create a service project to fundraise for a cause he or she supports. It was a great experience to know the organization will be using our ideas to improve their communication and marketing tactics.

*Senait Chrisostomo is one of The LAGRANT Foundation's 2012 scholarship recipients


 

163 Comment(s)
How To Get The Most From An Agency Internship

How To Get The Most From An Agency Internship
By Danielle Chase*


Here at Burson-Marsteller, no two days are the same. Every day I am assigned a completely new project. While having to acquire the skills and content knowledge necessary for these tasks, I’ve also had to manage the demands of graduate school.  There have been many bumps along the road.  That being said, I’ve learned a lot about best practices for agency interns.  Considering that many frequenters of this site are probably communications students, I thought it might be beneficial to share a couple of these best practices.
  1. Be proactive. Speak with your managers early on about your interests and your goals.  Ask them their advice on which projects or clients you are best suited for.  Meet as many people as you can.  Practice your three minute pitch (your background, your short term goals, and your long term goals).  Have a CV and digital portfolio on hand if and when an opportunity presents itself. 
  1. Take responsibility for your learning. If you don’t know something, figure it out. Be resourceful: Google it first, then ask for help. Research. Take notes. Find a mentor—or two. If you find that all you are doing is faxing and fetching coffee, it’s likely because the team doesn’t think you’re capable of much else. Prove them wrong. Go above and beyond what they expect from you.
  1. Give thoughtful input. Always listen more than you speak.  When you have something worth saying, say it. Even if they think your idea was awful, at least now they know what your voice sounds like. Be sure to find opportunities to showcase what you do well. For example, I have an education background, so I presented about twenty suggestions on strategies we could use for a financial literacy program.  They didn’t take any of those ideas, but they did use one sentence from that e-mail in a Reuters Op-Ed.  Speaking up can have surprisingly good results.
  1. Manage expectations. If you have too much on your plate already, say so. When you take on too much you do things poorly, you fail to earn respect from colleagues and you can potentially threaten agency-client relationships. Do what you can, and do it well.
  1. Grades first. In the same vein as “managing expectations”, be sure to be clear with your team about your academic responsibilities. If you have a midterm that day, tell your supervisor. Not only are you incurring a great debt for that degree, but you likely won’t get the job without it. 
  1. Know your stuff. Every morning scan at least three news sites—I recommend The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. If your company delivers an email digest, read it. If your agency has a public blog, subscribe to this as well. Also, if the CEO of your organization wrote a book, you better at least have a working knowledge of its content.  (Special mention to Mark Penn’s Microtrends and Harold Burson’s E Pluribus Unum.)
  1. PROOFREAD EVERYTHING. Spell check is your enemy. Print everything and go over it with a red pen. Know the rules regarding quotation marks, commas and parentheses (Strunk and White’s Elements of Style and the AP Stylebook are great resources).  Check all formatting (common day practice is to use only one space after each period, but this is personal preference).  Know your contractions; there is nothing worse than reading a “you’re” in the place of a “your” or an “it’s” in the place of an “its.”  Also, figure out which font, size and header your supervisor prefers.  Arial 11 seems to be the BM fav.
  1. Be professional. Regardless of what you hear, don’t use lewd language or attempt to win friends with distasteful jokes. Don’t engage in office gossip. Regardless of the casual nature of your agency, dress for where you want to be.
  1. Be NICE. This seems obvious, but always remember: your resume will get you in the door, but whether or not they like you will get you the job.  Smile, be personable, and don’t forget your thank you cards.

Now you may not sleep much. You may be in a constant state of anxiety and approaching deadlines. You may long for a meal that isn’t a microwaved frozen entree. But if you made it a point to learn as much as you can and make the best impression you possibly could, your experience will far surpass your expectations.  
 
Without question, my experiences at B-M have far surpassed mine. 
 

*Danielle is the first recipient of the Harold Burson Fellowship program through The LAGRANT Foundation.
 

213 Comment(s)
Ethics 101
Ethics 101
By Danielle Chase*


As part of the NYU Public Relations curriculum we are required to take a course titled “Ethics and Law of Public Communications.”  Required reading for this course includes the book Toxic Sludge is Good for You by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton. 
 
With a strong inclination for social justice, I became engrossed in this book and its discussion on the ethical qualms of public relations practitioners.  The more I read, the more disconcerted I became.  It seemed that every chapter had the regular mention of Burson-Marsteller, the agency where I am completing my LAGRANT Fellowship tenure. 
 
As part of the fellowship I have the opportunity to meet once a week with Mr. Harold Burson, founder of B-M.  This week was our first sit down meeting.  I knew I didn’t want the topic of controversial clients to be the content of our first chat, but after about an hour of friendly discourse I mentioned the book to him.  I asked him what his guiding forces were on ethics.  I believe his answer was important enough to share.
 
Mr. Burson gave me about a half a dozen criteria that must be aligned in order for him take on or retain a client.  Most of these were related to the economics and logistics of agency-client relationships, i.e. negotiating a fair rate, being respectful to his staff, whether or not their requests were reasonable, and if he was certain that he wouldn’t lose any clients by taking on this newcomer.  But the most interesting criterion he mentioned I believe was the most important takeaway of that conversation: Mr. Burson said he would refuse a client if more than half of his staff refused to work for them.
 
Above all, I think this rule of thumb should be standard throughout our burgeoning careers as public relations practitioners.  The subject of ethics is not a science.  Working for one client may be completely at odds with my moral imperative, while my colleague might kill for the chance to be on that same team.  In agencies as big as B-M, it would be impossible to make choices on who we represent based on the values of a few selected individuals.  For that reason, Mr. Burson is right to use “majority vote” as a criterion for whom he chooses to represent.
 
Then I asked Mr. Burson if that had ever happened.  Had he ever had to turn down a client because more than 50 percent of his staff wouldn’t take them on?  He said he never did. 
 
At first I thought he never had to refuse a client because his staff would be too nervous to actually protest.  But I realized very shortly that it had nothing to do with a culture of fear, and everything to do with how well the B-M staff is prepared to handle ethical quandaries. 
 
When I was bought on at B-M I had to participate in ethics training, anti-bribery training, and anti-corruption training.  I had to sign a Code of Conduct statement, pledging to never commit to any illegal or immoral activity.  I had to read and acknowledge understanding of our Right to Speak statement, which offers confidential reporting to encourage employees to speak up if they ever felt they witnessed or were forced to participate in less than ethical behavior. 
 
After all of this incredible focus on deterring less than scrupulous activity, I couldn’t simply believe, as the authors John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton might conclude, that B-M was a place with no moral imperative.  In these past two weeks alone I have been told many times that if I ever feel uncomfortable working for a client that I can simply refuse the project.  At first I thought this would be ridiculous; as a pseudo-intern (secretly hoping for a job offer), what would I look like turning down a project?  But the more I learn here at B-M, the more I realize I will never have the need to protest an “unethical” client.  I might find myself working on crisis communications during an oil spill, or issues management for a nuclear power plant, or research and development for a food corporation that is being protested against.  With each of these tasks my job is not to protect a client who has done wrong, or “spin” a story to best reflect their interests, but to guide that organization to do what is best. 
 
What is best is always what is in the public interest (yes—regardless of your client’s bottom line).  This is why for year’s public relations was defined as the medium which helps an organization and its publics “mutually adapt” to one another.[1] This is why Arthur Page tells us that “every business exists by public consent.”
 
As public relations practitioners it is our job to “reconcile client goals with the public interest.”[2]  By definition then, we must work in accordance with our true north.  We must do work that we believe most accurately reflects what is best for the greatest number of people.  If we fail to act ethically, not only are we endangering the reputations of our client and our agency, but we are doing our society a great disservice as well. 



*Danielle is the first recipient of the Harold Burson Fellowship program through The LAGRANT Foundation.
 

[1] http://www.prsa.org/AboutPRSA/PublicRelationsDefined
[2] http://www.burson-marsteller.com/Innovation_and_insights/blogs_and_podcasts/harold_burson_blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?List=6d4dbc50%2D37e1%2D4c20%2D8040%2D703259fddd1f&ID=70


 
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What Leadership Looks Like

What Leadership Looks Like
by Danielle Chase*


I’ve had tons of jobs.  I’ve been a public school teacher, a campaign manager, a community affairs coordinator, a junior publicist, a legislative assistant, a florist, a community board member, a gas station attendant, and pretty much have held every job you can think of that involves food service, including waitressing, bartending, dishwashing, bar back, and cleaning staffer.  But never before did I have a job quite like this one.
 
This was my first week at the world renowned PR agency, Burson-Marsteller (“B-M”).  I have had the fortune of being selected as the very first Harold Burson Fellow.  The fellowship includes four weeks with the Corporate Practice team, participating in numerous learning opportunities, and one-on-one mentoring meetings with the legendary, Mr. Harold Burson, in the flesh.  Just this week, I’ve participated in a lunch-and–learn session, several conference calls, and a workshop with B-M South Africa’s CEO.  I’ve learned about luxury marketing, global expansion, innovation and rankings, thought leadership strategies, and executive visibility.  I’ve been on projects for three Fortune 100 companies, an NGO, a luxury car company, an investment bank, and a global beer brand, and it’s only week one!
 
In the culmination of this week of non-stop activity and learning, I’ve come to an important realization: that this is the best job I’ve ever had, and I think I know why.  In critical business class we have been learning about effective business models, and the theories behind how to create one.  My favorite theorist thus far is Robert Deming.  Deming was a philosopher and statistician.  He theorized that there were 14 factors needed if a business were to truly sustain and remain prosperous.  He called this the 14 Points of Management.  
 
When I was studying the 14 Points of Management, I increasingly began to associate them with the qualities and culture of B-M.  Simultaneously, I began noticing that all of the mismanaged institutions where I previously held employment had qualities that were in opposition to Deming’s theory.  Where B-M is forever focused on its mission and vision, other organizations fixate on short-term objectives.  Where B-M is constantly giving its staff opportunities to learn and contribute creatively, other organizations impose limitations, stifle progress, and prioritize seniority as the most important factor to an employee’s value.  Where B-M is constantly making efforts to break down silos—evident in their SharePoint databases, and their ongoing interactions between departments—other organizations manage rigid levels of inclusion, and managers take advantage of their authority.  These are the differences between a functioning, well-managed organization where employees feel they are valued, and organizations that are doomed to fail due to lack of effective leadership.  This is the difference between an organization where I would like to be employed by, and an organization where I never want to work again. 
 
Mr. Burson and his extraordinary staff have created a world-class organization, one that truly exemplifies its values, and is on the direct path to achieving its vision.  B-M is an industry leader, and I couldn’t have picked a better organization to learn the fundamentals of public relations, and real-world implications of effective leadership.
 
At the end of the day, it sure beats working at the flower shop!


*Danielle is the first recipient of the Harold Burson Fellowship program through The LAGRANT Foundation.

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