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It Takes A Village: Draftfcb Staffers Mentor Students


By Peter Drakoulias, global chief of staff, Draftfcb;
    Gabrielle Steele, sophomore, Benjamin Banneker High School; 
    and Eunice Kindred, group art supervisor, NeON
 

 
TORCH stands for “Together Our Resources Can Help,” and nothing could be truer.
 
TORCH’s mission is to give high school students, who would otherwise not have an opportunity, exposure and hands-on training in communications and the arts. This is done with an eye towards increasing diversity in the workforce of those industries. To that end, as they say, it takes a village.
 
Any successful not-for-profit is only as good as its volunteers – the “together” in TORCH’s name. Draftfcb can and should be proud that the giving of its resources has changed the trajectory of young people’s lives while also helping the ad industry take ever-important steps to reflect the faces of its consumers in its workforce.
 
During TORCH’s week-long Shadow Day program from March 25 - 29, students had the opportunity to be mentored by Draftfcb professionals. Below is just one story of the mentor-mentee experience from Eunice Kindred, group art supervisor, NeON and Gabrielle Steele, sophomore, Benjamin Banneker High School.
 
You may not recognize the window of opportunity and possibilities a mentoring program provides a young person, but trust me when I tell you that the time invested in such a program is very much appreciated and valued, not only by the student, but by Draftfcb. Aside from Eunice, I want to thank the other mentors from the week including Rodrigo Burdman, associate creative director, New York; Kevin Schoonmaker, front-end developer, Draftfcb Healthcare; and Lauren Cooper, junior developer, Draftfcb Healthcare.
 
This is what it means to make a difference.
 
Best,
 
Peter
 
* * *
 

Gabrielle Steele
sophomore, Benjamin Banneker High School
 
My Shadow Day experience was extremely exciting and informative. I was given the opportunity to be mentored by Eunice Kindred, group art supervisor at NeON.
 
During my visit, I learned about what it takes to brainstorm ideas for advertisements and how to execute those ideas. Eunice walked me through her day-to-day assignments but the best part of the day was being able to sit in on a meeting where she and her colleagues discussed the creative ideas they would present to their client for a pitch.
 
Although my original career choice is to pursue a medical degree, I really enjoyed learning more about a career in advertising. This experience has shown me that there are so many exciting career choices that I have never considered doing or even knew existed. I’m very happy and grateful for the opportunity TORCH and Draftfcb provided me during my spring break. Thank you!
 

Eunice Kindred
group art supervisor, NeON
 
I met my TORCH mentee, Gabrielle, in the lobby of the NeON offices and was greeted by a bubbly 16-year-old sophomore dressed in chic jeans and a navy blazer. She seemed both nervous and excited to spend a half day with me.
 
Gabrielle had never been to an ad agency so I gave her a crash course on what we do, how the agency is structured and explained the overall functions of each department. I also showed her samples of work I've done and all the different outlets our work is pushed to including print, the web, and TV.
 
Being a creative, I also wanted to show her how campaigns come to life - starting from the ground floor - which is concepting.  I took Gabrielle to one of our concept reviews where various creatives pitched their ideas. Afterwards, I invited her to our concepting session where a few of us copywriters and art directors all tried to come up with ideas for an upcoming pitch. It was a jam-packed half day and I think she walked away with an appreciation (and possibly a peaked interest) in the advertising profession.