We are building...

the next generation of creative talent
inclusive and equitable workplaces
an industry that thrives with the creativity and insights of all

Who we are

The BrandLab

We are on a mission to change the face and voice of the marketing industry. We believe in a future industry that reaches new heights through the creativity of people of any race or socioeconomic background. We advance equity through inclusive workplaces that help all talent thrive.

Through our youth work, we’re changing the face and voice of the industry

In 2020, we…

Introduced ~1,000 new high school and college students to creative careers

Placed 80 summer interns into paid internships with 100% completion rate

100% of our summer interns reported that their ideas were valued and 95% are (or are planning on) pursuing a college degree in marketing or advertising

Served youth in three markets: Twin Cities, Kansas City, and Chicago with over 100 industry volunteers supporting our summer internship curriculum, totaling over 500 volunteer hours

In 2020, the industry continued to lean into equity

Were nationally recognized by FORBES as one of the Top 100 Outstanding Internship Programs

Crossed a new milestone of matching over 170 mentor-mentee matches

Hosted over 30 Fearless workshops with agencies and corporate partners from Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Canada, and the UK

Galvanized over 80 agencies and corporations through a new initiative, The Way Forward, an industry-wide network to hold the industry accountable to progress toward equity

How we make a difference

Spark Workshops
College & Beyond

Spark Workshops

Students can’t consider a career in marketing or advertising if they don’t know these opportunities exist. Our Spark Workshops help ‘spark’ interest and give students a peek into a creative career.

In partnership with public high schools that have at least 50% BIPOC students or 50% students that qualify for a free/reduced lunch, we bring our industry-created curriculum into the classroom and invite students to gain paid learning experiences through our internship programs.


For more than a decade, we have placed high school and college students in summer internships. This year required us to pivot. During the pandemic, we created a five-week virtual program, offered interns competitively increased pay, and paired corporate hosts with agencies in our three markets.

Thank you to our 2020 partners who made our pivot possible!

Target, 3M, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Fast Horse, UnitedHealth Group, Colle McVoy, Zeus Jones, General Mills, Knock, Inc., Best Buy, H&R Block, InTouch, Amply Media

College & Beyond

We don’t want to build interest and experience alone. We want to pave the path to a successful career through mentorship, apprenticeship and hands-on experience. Our College & Beyond program bridges the gap from college to career and connects students with a network of professionals.

Thank you to our apprenticeship partners!

Land O’Lakes, Inc., Planned Parenthood – Northern Central States, Pimento Relief Services, Target


Through Fearless, we provide four areas of programming that help foster culturally competent work and workplaces that are inclusive of diverse identities and equitable.

Our Fearless Workshops help organizations build workplaces that include authentic voices at the table to connect with diverse communities. Our annual Fearless Conversation event brings together professionals from across the industry to address challenges in achieving diversity, equity and inclusion. Our Fearless Podcast, produced by students of The BrandLab, asks creative leaders to share insights and answer our 3 Fearless Questions. Lastly, our State of the Industry report assesses the changes in demographics within the industry and measures the changes in beliefs and behaviors around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Scholarships for Higher Education


Corporate & Foundation Donors


Individual & Community Donors


Your support allowed us to weather the many storms of 2020. More than ever, the need for diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces is clear, and our programs helped more students consider creative careers, helped more workplaces challenge their cultures, and provided more students with hands-on learning opportunities and work experience. This simply would not have happened without our donors!



Advent Group

Caribou Coffee

Deluxe Corporation



General Mills

H&R Block

Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Post Consumer Brands


UnitedHealth Group

US Bank




Center for Economic Inclusion

St. Olaf College

University of Minnesota

Urban Scholars


Bartholic Family Foundation

Belton Family Foundation

ECMC Foundation


Google Charitable Giving

Mortenson Foundation

Otto Bremer Trust

Social Venture Partners

Staley Family Foundation

Sundance Family Foundation

US Bancorp Foundation- Employee Matching Gift Program



3M Foundation

Best Buy Foundation

Google Charitable Giving

Mortenson Foundation

Otto Bremer Trust

Social Venture Partners





Maccabee Public Relations

Pixie Dust

Public Works

Rank Crankers

Sprig Consulting





Carmichael Lynch



Dimensional Innovations



Fast Horse



Fusion Hill


KNOCK inc.


Magnet 360


Martin Williams



Nina Hale


Preston Kelly

Rise & Shine & Partners



The Vomela Companies

Trozollo Communications


V2 Ventures

Weber Shandwick

Words at Work




Colle McVoy

ICF Next

Intouch Solutions

Ovative Group

Walz Tetrick Advertising


Allegra N Lockstadt

Alyssa Abilo

Andrew McGee

Angelo Trozzolo

Asya Sturgell

Best Buy Employee Giving Program

Bridget Murphy


Carol White

Dan Ruppert-Kan

Daniel Brandt

Darla DeJong

Emily Ronning

Emma Mazour

Gabriela  Lambert

Gemma Reed Forbush

Ghadeer Garcia

Grace Kramer

Gracie Mckinstry-Smith

Jamie Millard

Jason Parker

Jeffrey Margolis

Jennifer David

Jennifer Liebenow Abbey

Jennifer Shadowens

Jennifer Weismann

Jerrold Gershone

Julia Mann

Julia Volker

Ka Vang

Kaitlin Strong

Kelsey Knothe

Kirsten and Scott Rewey

Laura J Fegley

Lauren Sutherland

Lisen Stoa

Marina Gazel

Marta Fraboni

Martha Abbott

Martyn Crook

Megan and Casey Collins

Meredith Wathne

Michael Lundquist

Myna Sharma

Rachel Durbin

Sandra Boone

Sara Buck

Shannon Forsythe

Soladay Olson

Steffanee Jagdeo

Stephen Rueff

Susan Sorkin

Suzanne Oh

Tena Murphy

Thomas Toley

Tommy McQuillan

Trevor Spranger

William Olive


Aaron Komo

Adam L Brady

Andrew O’Neil

Anne Greer

Annie Pecoraro

Ashley Adkison

Ashley Kimlinger

Benjamin T Escobar

Bethany Zucco

Bill Hart

Bob and Libby Weil

Brandi Olson

Brian Gioielli

Brian Reid

Carrie Young

Christina Zajic

Christopher Hiland

Christopher O’brien

Christopher Schermer

Courtney Schroeder

Dovber Ainsworth

EJ McNulty

Elizabeth Weil

Erin Aberg

Heather Olson

J L Esguerra

James Ladner

Jane McLean

Jeanine Ronning

Jen Scully

Joanne Brockington

John Arnold

John Blackshaw

Jorg Pierach

Julie and Michael Levine

Julie Koepsell

Kaori Yamada

Karen Deutsch

Karis Montanez

Kelli Ramey

Kelly Bent

Ken Lawrence

Kristen McLinden

Kristine Newcomer

Leah Lawrence

Linda Valentine

Lindsay Bacher

Lisa Hannum

Loran Meccia

Lorenz Esguerra

Marie Carlson

Michael La Kier

Michael Westrum

Michelle Sullivan

Norman Wright

Pamela Brown

Peter Lindahl

Rachel DeSchepper

Renee Rausch

Rob Clapp

Russ Rubin

Samuel & Sylvia Kaplan

Sandra Peterson

Sarah Curfman

Sharon Sayles Belton

Susan Blaska

The William & Rebecca White Family Fund

Tina Sherman

Wendy Brown


Advocate Group

Brenna Smithson

Chris and Marne Gade

Crawford Nelson

Daniel Tyler

Dionne Gumbs

Doug Moore

Ellen Walthour

Elliot Payne

Eric Erickson

Jim & Angela Cousins

Katerine Dalager

Kathy Tunheim

Kevin Spight

Linda Ireland

Marion Bond

Mary Kemp

Marybeth George

Melissa A Schoenke

Molly Kinsella

Mr. Nate Hogan

Neil White

Raquel Melo

Ray & Susan Gillette

Roxanne Bernstein

Sean Irwin

Steven Ayres

Taylor Harris

Teresa Penn

Timothy Scott

UnitedHealth Strategic Insights Group


Alex Pagliano

Barry Wolfish


Blessed By Design, LLC

Christine Fruechte

Douglas Martin

Ed Huerta

Elizabeth Ross

Gregory Bastian

James Tobin

Jeff King

Jeff Wojnicz

Jen Eggers

John Watson

John Wernz

Kevin & Cathy DiLorenzo

Kristine Glancy

Lili Hall Scarpa

Mark Addicks & Tom Hoch

Mark Derks

Martha Campbell

Mary Beth George

Michael Caguin

Nicole Smith

Rich Butwinick

Sonya Roberts

Spiwe Jefferson

Steve Wehrenberg

Thomas Newton