Be the Change: Lacek’s BIPOC Scholarship
The Lacek Group lives our promise to support access to education for Minnesota students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the marketing field, which has a lackluster track record of BIPOC representation.
Toward that goal—and prompted by the surge of social action that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer—we came together as an agency community to identify where and how we could make an impact. “Out of those conversations came this annual scholarship program that reflects our collective and ongoing desire to foster active change in our community and our field,” says Bill Baker, president and CEO of The Lacek Group.
How the field benefits
According to a November 2022 report from the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (an initiative of the Association of National Advertisers), diverse companies are more likely to outperform less diverse peers in terms of financial performance. In other words, organizations that gather a diverse team, especially at the executive level, show a track record of higher profitability. Citing McKinsey research, the report shares five key areas in which diversity fuels companies’ success:
Recruiting and keeping top talent
Strengthening decision-making by involving multiple perspectives that encourage creative and effective solutions
Increasing customer insights and innovation, including anticipating consumer shifts
Boosting employee satisfaction and motivation
Improving a company’s image and credibility
Beyond these indisputable business reasons to develop diversity in meaningful ways, it’s also the right thing to do.
“Previous winners of The Lacek Group’s BIPOC scholarship clearly show that Minnesota has young people of color interested in entering the marketing industry—and they’re smart, driven, and talented,” reports Francesco Favazza, vice president, Strategic Services, at The Lacek Group.
“As the recipients of these scholarships advance in their studies and eventually graduate,” adds Alexis Vaughn, account executive, “we hope they enter Minnesota’s marketing community, bringing broader perspectives and experiences to our work.”
The opportunity in action
When asked how the scholarship impacted her, previous winner Brianna Jackson said, “Since I was graduating soon, I was concerned about taking on more student loans, but The Lacek Group’s BIPOC scholarship helped me pay my tuition for the semester. I’m so grateful for this scholarship. Otherwise, I would’ve taken on an unnecessary loan. I’ll graduate in the class of 2023 with an associate degree in graphic design: digital and print media.”
Now accepting applications for a third year, The Lacek Group’s BIPOC scholarship will award $5,000 each to two students with majors in marketing, communication, business, finance, creative arts, analytics, program/project management, or computer science. As in 2021 and 2022, one scholarship will be awarded to a Minnesota high school senior, and the second will be granted to a student currently attending a college in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
“Our biggest challenge is selecting the winners each year,” says Janessa Gould, associate account executive at The Lacek Group. “We want to continue offering this scholarship annually—hopefully we’ll be able to expand it to additional awards in future years to further accelerate change in marketing.”
“Ideally, The Lacek Group would love to offer internships, mentorships, or employment to previous scholarship winners as they advance through their studies and eventually graduate,” shares Chris Apgar, a technical project manager on Lacek’s Interactive Technology team.
The nuts and bolts
The scholarships aren’t need-based, but applicants must meet the following criteria:
Identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color
Be a high school senior or college student
Be a resident of Minnesota
Attend, or plan to attend, a college, university, or accredited arts school (MCAD, Dunwoody, or similar) located in Minnesota or Wisconsin
Major in, or plan to major in, computer programming, creative arts, data/statistics, marketing, business, communications, or program/project management
Have good academic standing
May not be an employee or a relative of an employee of Ogilvy or The Lacek Group
The Lacek Group’s BIPOC scholarship is a one-time award; recipients aren’t eligible to receive the award a second time. However, those who aren’t selected are encouraged to apply again so long as they continue to meet the application criteria. Applicants who are unsure whether their major fits one of the qualifying categories are encouraged to apply and provide a description of their program of study.
Funds for this year’s winners will be disbursed in two equal payments: one in September 2023 and the other in January 2024. The scholarship may be used for tuition, enrollment fees, and other attendance-related expenses, including room and board; it may also be used for fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses.
One challenge of launching a scholarship program is achieving visibility to encourage a wide pool of applicants. Please share the opportunity with your network of colleagues in Minnesota.
For more information, or to apply, visit lacek.com/scholarship. The application deadline is April 15, 2023. Applications submitted after the deadline won’t be considered. Finalists will be contacted for a phone or online interview, and scholarship recipients will be selected and informed by June 30, 2023. Winners of the scholarships will be featured on The Lacek Group's website.
The Lacek Group’s BIPOC Scholarship Committee members are Mary English, Francesco Favazza, Amy Steuart, and Alexis Vaughn. The Lacek Group—a Minneapolis-based data-driven loyalty, experience, and customer engagement agency—has been delivering personalization at scale for its world-class clients for more than 30 years. The Lacek Group is an Ogilvy company.