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January 15, 2021

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Ashley Sommardahl Named Brandcenter Associate Director

After nearly two decades at the Brandcenter—including two years as a graduate student—Ashley Sommardahl (ST, 1998) has been named the new Associate Director of the Brandcenter. She will transition from her current role as Sr. Director of Academic and Student Affairs.

"Ashley's service to the Brandcenter has been invaluable,” says Executive Director Vann Graves. “She works tirelessly to support our students throughout their two years in the program, during their job search, and long afterwards as alumni. We are grateful for her service, leadership, and guidance she has given the Brandcenter and our community."

Ashley was part of one of the first graduating classes of the then-Adcenter, completing the Strategy concentration in 1998. She joined The Martin Agency following graduation and worked in account management before coming back to the Brandcenter in 2004.

At the Brandcenter, Ashley is a self-proclaimed “teacher, coach, advisor, mom, therapist, and agent.” She successfully juggles everything from student and alumni affairs to the oversight of major events like Recruiter Session and Friday Forums. She continues to play a crucial role in so many students’ lives, as many Brandcenter alumni can attest to.

"The students are so lucky to have Ashley,” says Marcel Jennings (CW, 2000), undergraduate Associate Director and Associate Professor of Creative Advertising at VCU. "She always puts what's best for them first and goes above and beyond expectations during and after their time at Brandcenter."

“The success of this school and the success of our alums is inextricably linked to Ashley,” says Jordan Childs (CBM, 2009), Brandcenter Adjunct Professor and entrepreneur. “Her devotion to student success cannot be overstated and is owed a debt of gratitude not just from alums, but also from the category she is helping to build. Her commitment to students is measurable in the diversity and scale of talent she has introduced to the greater industry. At a time when equitable access to opportunity is finally at the forefront, we can learn a lot from someone who has been working to create opportunities-for-all for nearly two decades."

"Ashley can do it all; she IS the Brandcenter,” says Jess Collins (ST, 2010), Associate Professor of Creative Advertising at VCU. “Once you meet Ashley, she is in your life forever. Her commitment to her students during their time at the Brandcenter stays alive long after graduation. Need a job? Call Ashley. Need life advice? Call Ashley. Everyone that crosses paths with her immediately recognizes her unparalleled devotion to making the Brandcenter experience a success. Life is good with Ashley by your side."

“Ashley has always been the glue that holds Brandcenter together from the inside, but she is also the glue that keeps Brandcenter connected to the outside,” says Jerry Hoak (AD, 2005), Executive Creative Director/SVP at The Martin Agency. “Since graduation I've relied on Ashley to help me find the best talent and she and VCU never disappoint.”

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