To us, achieving success means creating an opportunity for all.

Alyssa Abilo Social Marketing Associate | Land O’lakes
Kealy O’neill Social Marketing Associate | Land O’lakes

Our Connect program helps build the bridge from college to career with mentorship, professional development and hands-on experience. The apprenticeship program gives college seniors part-time roles during the school year to develop skills and learn about an organization's work and culture.

The goal? Make the apprentice a full-time employee upon graduation so they can hit the ground running.

The outcome? This past year, The BrandLab piloted the apprenticeship program where four apprentices were offered full-time positions: Three at Land O’Lakes and one at Ovative Group.

08 8 total alumni were hired into the industry.

We’re getting noticed

Partners have become increasingly ready to hire The BrandLab talent.

Angel Xiong Summer Strategy Intern | Fallon
Nitin Dua Senior Strategist | Fallon

Over the years, we’ve listened to our interns to learn how we can make the Internship program more successful.

Since 2009, The BrandLab placed high school level talent into solo internships at our agency and corporate partners. Through the years, we’ve heard alumni share that while they loved the work, it felt isolating to go from a collaborative learning environment in the classroom to a solo-learning environment at work.

So, we switched things up: We remodeled the program to give high schoolers group internships with agencies.

The data shows: High school students need to have more hands-on learning opportunities and peer-to-peer support for their social and emotional growth.

The BrandLab high school interns were grouped with 4 – 6 other students and placed with a staff member from the BrandLab as supervisors.

These are called In-House groups that are hosted by various companies across the industry and supported in those experiences by industry professional volunteers.

It was a huge success: Giving them the comfort of peer learning in a big business allowed them to work on projects together and learn about the multiple areas within an industry.

And even beyond that: Our high school interns came back ready for a college internship. We got an increase in volume engagement from our partner volunteers.

91 91 interns completed this program—our biggest number yet. And it’s our new goal to beat.

A huge thank you to the brands that helped us grow this year

General Mills, Post, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and MentorMate for hosting the In-House groups this year.

Mike Caguin Chief Creative Officer | Colle McVoy

Our Fearless events and workshops are where we work with other industries to create environments for inclusivity.

Fearless works with The BrandLab partners through four areas of programming to ensure that both the workplace and work produced are culturally competent, inclusive of diverse identities, and equitable.

360 360 is our 2019 Fearless Conversation attendance rate—the new number to beat.

23 23 organizations completed at least one Fearless Workshop. These workshops are designed to help companies “… create a culture where everyone on your team is able to thrive.”

Let’s continue to grow together to better diversify our industry

Linda Valentine Graphic Design Instructor | Robbinsdale District 281

We’ve remodeled our Classroom Spark program by bringing hands-on industry experience straight to students.

“We have seen unequivocally that we are able to expose more students, partner with more types of youth programs and high school classes and get more internship candidates through this model with less resources.” – Ken Lawrence

636 636 students served in the classroom Spark program.

1,126 1,126 including Kansas City.

33% 33% of all applications received for the internship program came from our high school classroom exposure.

Ellen Walthour Chief Executive Officer | The BrandLab
Kevin DiLorenzo President & CEO | Rise & Shine & Partners

Kansas City brought great success.

We’ve expanded The BrandLab into a new market. It will continue to be one of our next major goals for moving forward.

Through all of our programs—Classroom, Internship, Fearless and Connect—we remain on a mission to expand opportunities and insights in the advertising and marketing industry.

Let’s make bigger and better ideas with broader backgrounds.

“The BrandLab’s expansion in Kansas City is a testament to the drive of the organization and the support that the Kansas City ad industry has to continue to put diversity front and center.” — Christopher Campos, Managing Partner THE CORAZÓN AGENCY

490 490 students were exposed to the marketing industry through the 2018–2019 Classroom program in Kansas City, MO.

26 26 students were hired on as a part of the Internship program.

750 We are on track to introduce another 750 students to the industry in 2019–2020 and we're actively looking for new cities to pull The BrandLab into their market.

About the BrandLab

Our mission is to change the face and voice of the marketing industry by introducing, guiding and preparing students for careers in marketing and advertising. We believe in a future industry that reaches new heights through the creativity of people of any race or socioeconomic background.

Our Programs

Classroom Program You can’t ask for a job if you don’t know it exists. That’s why we meet high school students in the classroom with our hands-on curriculum.

Internship Program We hire and place students as interns, providing support through workshops, trainings, soft-skill development, and career and college guidance.

Connect Program Connect builds a bridge from classroom to career to support students to be encouraged, motivated, and prepared to receive a degree and begin a career.

Fearless Program Working together with our industry partners, our aim is to create bias-free professional environments so that diverse talent can thrive.

Thank you, donors

Thank you for another amazing year. The BrandLab’s success could not be made possible without the support and efforts of our partners and volunteers. To each and every one of you who has been a part of our journey, either from day one or yesterday, this shows the incredible things that happen when we work together toward a greater goal. The following donations were received between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Agency Donors

Champions $20,000+ Barkley, Edelman, ICF Next, Intouch Solutions, Ovative/group

Partners $10,000-$19,999 Fleishman Hillard, Latitude, Signal Theory, The Sandbox Agency, Zeus Jones

friends $5,000-$9,999 Carmichael Lynch, Ciceron, Colle+McVoy, DEG, Fallon, Horizontal Integration, Ingredient, Martin Williams, McCann Minneapolis, Mono, Periscope, Rank Crankers, Rise & Shine & Partners, The Lacek Group, Trozzolo Communications, VML, Weber Shandwick, Yamamoto

additional supporters $1-$4,999 4A’s, Advertising Federation of MN, Antenna, BBDO, Beehive Strategic Communications, broadhead., Dimensional Innovations, Fame, Fast Horse, Friends & Neighbors, FRWD, Fusion Hill, GoKart Labs, Hanley Wood Marketing, International Association of Business Communicators Minnesota, KNOCK Inc., Kruskopf & Company, LEVEL, Lou Raiola, Maccabee Public Relations, Magney 360, MarketingLab, Mentormate, Mima Twin Cities, Mirum, Morsekode, Nina Hale Inc., Olive & Company, Padilla, Persuasion Arts & Sciences, Pixie Dust, Preston Kelly, Schermer, Sezzle, SixSpeed, Solve, Sprig Consulting, StoneArch, The Advent Group Inc., Tunheim, Words at Work, Wunderman

corporate & foundation donors

Champions $20,000+ 3M Foundation, Best Buy Foundation, General Mills Foundation, H&R Block, Land O’Lakes Inc., Land O’Lakes Inc. Foundation, Otto Bremer Trust, Post Consumer Brands, UnitedHealth Group

partners $10,000-$19,999 Dairy Queen, General Mills, US Bank

friends $1-$9,999 Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Bartholic Family Foundation, Bush Foundation Board of Directors Fund, Deluxe Corporation, Garmin, Hallmark, Mall of America, Walser Foundation

individual & community donors

fearless donor club $5,000+ Ann Simonds & Ken Rosenblum, Anonymous, Barry Wolfish, Kevin & Cathy DiLorenzo, Mark Addicks & Tom Hoch, Martha Campbell, Sonya Roberts, Step-Up, Urban Scholars $1,000-$4,999 Barry Westrum, Christine Fruechte, Daniel Jaker, Debbie and Gene Gioielli, Good Leadership Enterprises, Jennifer & Gregory Bastian, Guthrie Theater, Katie Arnold, Lili Hall, Mark Derks, Marlene Phipps, Michael Caguin, Mike Lescarbeau, Nancy Jones, Nina Hale & Dylan Hicks, Raquel Melo, Rosalind Chevreuil, Steve Wehrenberg, University of Minnesota $500-$999 Ashley Adkison, Brian Gioielli, Brian Lawrence, Brooklynk of Brooklyn Park, Daniel Tyler, Dion Hughes, Ellen Walthour, Elliot Payne, Eric Erickson, GiveMN, Heather Olson, Jenna Carlson, John Watson, Kat Dalager, Katherine Medler, Leah Lawrence, Linda Ireland, Lynne Robertson, Mahtab Rezai, Ray & Susan Gillette, Renee Rausch, Robert White, Roxanne Bernstein, Sean Irwin, Taylor Harris, Teresa Penn

additional supporters $100-$499 Alexander Mallinger, Amanda K Zweerink, Benjamin T Escobar, Carrie Young, Cathy Sabath, Christopher Obrien, Community Health Charities, Dana L Mortenson, Danika Hoffmann, Ed Huerta-Margotta, Elise S. Atkinson, Emily Ronning, James Rein, Janey Winterbauer, Jason Egerstron, Jay Miller, Jeanine Ronning, Jeffrey Sweat, Jerrold Gershone, Jill Aitchison, Joanne Brockington, John Arnold, John Hillman, Julie D McBride, Julie Koepsell, Karen Deustch, Karen Wilson Thissen, Kathleen Hartmann, Katie L Brown, Kelly Bent, Ken Lawrence, Kristen Nassif, Kristine Newcomer, Laura J Fegley, Lauren G Meicher, Lindsay Bacher, Loran Meccia, Lorenz Esguerra, Lynn Casey Thornton, Meghan McInerny, Melissa A Schoenke, Peter & Lynn Mallinger, Ralph Jenson, Richard Lawrence, Rose Wolfson, Sandra Peterson, Sarah Johansen, Spiwe Jefferson, The William & Rebecca White Family Fund, Thomas Newton, Tina Sherman, Twin Cities Public Television, William Hart, William Nassif $1-$99 Adam L Brady, Allegra N Lockstadt, Amanda Bingham, AmazonSmile, Amelia Colwell-Reedy, Anders Hopkins, Andrea Blakely, Angel Xiong, Anna Bethmann, Arturo Mendiola, Ashleigh Penrod, Barry Epstein, Beau Sinchai, Benjamin Theisen Escobar, Bethany Hoang, Brandi Kazimierski, Bruce Winograd, Calla Murphy, Carl Swanson, Carmen Nesenson, Carol White, Christopher Austin, Cole St. Arnold, Dan Ruppert-Kan, Danielle Gangelhoff, Elodie Lee, Emily Christine, Erica G Winegar, Erin R Aberg, Eve Poeschl, Flora Ekpe-Idang, Gabriel Sinner, Gabriela V Lambert, Gina M Czupka, Helen Kouba, Hope Frisch Kalin, Jacob Anderson, Jamie Millard, Jarell Skinner-Roy, Jennifer Shadowens, Jill Krueger, Jonathan Estes, Kathryn Gingrich, Kathryn Phelps, Katie Iwanin, Kelly Corbo, Kevin Call, Khadro Mumin, Kyle Patterson, Lary Lopez-Servin, Lauren J Anderson, Lauren Sutherland, Leah Eggers, Linda Kim Pham, Linda Valentine, Lisen Stoa, Mailee Yang, Marina Gazel, Mark Beyersdorf, Marta Fraboni, Martha Tobin, Maryam Zahid, Matthew Hart, Matthew M Keil, Meg Steuer, Megan Belmont, Megan R Unrau, Nicole Simmons, Olivia Wedemeyer, PajFuabcha Vang, Paula Patterson, Rob Martin, Sandra Boone, Sandra Simon, Sarah Crumrine, Sarah Nill, Stacy Opitz, Steffanee Jagdeo, Susan Sorkin, Suzanne Oh, Thomas Fountain, Vedashree Bankar, William Olive


AdFed, Rise & Shine & Partners, ICF Next, Transform Corp, Zeus Jones, Walker Art Center, Barkley, Fast Horse, Minneapolis College of Art & Design, University of Minnesota, Yamamoto

financial picture

July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.

The BrandLab

  • Individuals: $119,700
  • Agency: $343,500
  • Corporate: $217,600
  • Foundation: $157,100
  • In-Kind: $47,000
  • Event: $5,000
  • Interest/Investments: $200
  • Management/General: $180,000
  • Fundraising: $164,575
  • Program: $38,400
  • Classroom: $64,100
  • Internship: $264,700
  • Connect: $131,550
  • Fearless: $105,200
  • Scholarship: $57,975

twin cities

  • Individuals: $113,500
  • Agency: $245,500
  • Corporate: $170,400
  • Foundation: $157,100
  • In-Kind: $47,000
  • Event: $5,000
  • Interest/Investments: $200
  • Management/General: $151,100
  • Fundraising: $99,625
  • Program: $38,300
  • Classroom: $49,900
  • Internship: $191,750
  • Connect: $119,550
  • Fearless: $93,200
  • Scholarship: $56,525

kansas city

  • Individuals: $1,200
  • Agency: $98,000
  • Corporate: $47,200
  • Foundation: —
  • In-Kind: —
  • Event: —
  • Interest/Investments: —
  • Management/General: $26,950
  • Fundraising: $30,600
  • Program: $100
  • Classroom: $14,200
  • Internship: $72,950
  • Connect: $12,000
  • Fearless: $12,000
  • Scholarship: $1,450

new markets

  • Individuals: $5,000
  • Agency: —
  • Corporate: —
  • Foundation: —
  • In-Kind: —
  • Event: —
  • Interest/Investments: —
  • Management/General: $1,950
  • Fundraising: $34,350
  • Program: —
  • Classroom: —
  • Internship: —
  • Connect: —
  • Fearless: —
  • Scholarship: —