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December 2019

What's new

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As many of you know, Kelly O’Keefe's business, Brand Federation has had great success in a short amount of time, and as a result, he’s dialing back his role at the Brandcenter. We’re so grateful for his many contributions to the school from its inception as a founding board member, and for the past 13 years as a professor. Next semester, he’ll be supervising several second-year CBMs for their independent study projects. In the future, he plans to contribute to the school and its students as a community supporter and adjunct professor as his schedule allows. While Kelly’s shoes are big ones to fill, we are excited to share the team that is stepping in, several of whom are Brandcenter alums.

Dr. Brian Brown will be teaching the Craft class. Brian is a marketing professor at the VCU School of Business. Prior to that, he spent 6 years as a brand manager at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta.

Rian Chandler Dovis (CBM, 2017) will be leading the Advanced Portfolio/ Independent Study class. Rian comes from the agency world (WORK Labs) as well as the brand/innovation consultancy world (Sylvain Labs). She is now a Senior Brand Strategist + Partner at Brand Federation.

Jordan Childs (CBM, 2009) will be teaching Applied Brand Management. Jordan has worked as an account manager at Butler Shine Stern & Partners, and a Sr Marketing Manager at Lego. For the past 5 years, he’s been an entrepreneur building his own businesses: Shine Craft Vessel Company and Eastern Land Collective.

Daniel Riddick (CBM, 2008) will be teaching an Introduction to Account Management class. Daniel has 10+ years of account management experience at great agencies like Saatchi NY, Arnold NY, and Big River. Two years ago, he transitioned to the brand side and is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications for Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods.

We’re excited about the diverse backgrounds in brand strategy, account management, brand/marketing management, and entrepreneurship that these professors will bring to our students.

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In November, we piloted an intercollegiate partnership with students at a local HBCU, Virginia Union University, and worked closely with them on a sprint project. We’re especially grateful to the Strategy team at MullenLowe in Boston and their client, Royal Caribbean, who developed the sprint challenge. VUU students worked on the assignment for two weeks, with mentorship from current 2nd year Brandcenter students. The VUU students presented their ideas to an impressive panel of judges including Elizabeth Paul, CSO at MullenLowe, and our Director's Council member, Michael Chaney. Thanks to generous funding from our Director's Council, each member of the winning team won a $2K scholarship to the Brandcenter. Executive Director Vann Graves said, “We hope this collaboration exposes more VUU students to future educational opportunities at the Brandcenter as well as professional opportunities within our industry."

Alumni Salary Survey Report


Hot off the presses, here’s the latest VCU Brandcenter Alumni Salary Survey Report. It takes a village to produce this report. Very special thanks to:

  • Stacy Thomas Elsbury (ST, 2001)Noel Van Aartrijk (ST, 2016), and their team at Good Run Research for helping us improve the survey questions and logic as well as analyze the results
  • Diana Tung Ojibway (AD, 2002) for transforming the data into beautiful infographics
  • All 725 of our alums (a record response rate!) who took the time to answer the survey questions

Read The Full Report

Alumni spotlight



Mariana Oliveira (CW, 2012) was recently named one of the ten “Next Creative Leaders” by The One Club and 3% Conference. She is an ACD at BBDO NY. Here’s what they said about Mariana and the female leaders they selected, “These talented women are a beautiful reminder that real leadership doesn’t require the perfect opportunity, a big budget, or a fancy title. Real leadership just asks you to show up for yourself, your beliefs, and each other. For the ideas that light up your heart. And for the future you’re excited to be a part of.”

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Purina asked The Martin Agency in Richmond, VA to help them extend beyond product lines to "do more good for animals and their owners.” With roughly 400 natural disasters a year, the ramifications of those disasters on pet and livestock owners can be devastating. Moved by the stories of Purina consumers who lost their entire chicken flocks during the most recent floods, Jerry Hoak (AD, 2005) and his team at The Martin Agency developed “Project Re-Coop”, a custom-made chicken coop that floats in rising waters. Not only did they develop the idea, but they drew the plans and built the prototype Purina is using for donations.

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Greg Greenberg (CW, 2006) and his team at Media Arts Lab in Los Angeles created this beautiful holiday spot proving that sometimes the best gifts can come from the most unexpected places. You might want to grab some tissues before you watch it.

Watch The Spot Now

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