The Brandcenter Professional Development program invites curious minds of all levels to learn from the premier institution for creative problem solving.
ABOUT BRANDCENTER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The Brandcenter Professional Development program has been purposely designed to provide remote learning for working professionals looking to expand their knowledge. Led by accomplished Brandcenter alumni, faculty, and distinguished industry leaders in our extended network, our individual, open enrollment courses are developed to up-skill, re-skill, or cross-skill industry professionals in a convenient, virtual format.
Whether you’ve been thinking about your own professional development as an advertising or brand marketing professional or you are an L&D professional looking to reward, retain, or simply challenge your rising stars, we would love to have you join us.
Associate Director for Extension Programs
Professional Development Courses
- All of our open enrollment, virtual courses are designed to meet the needs of creative problem solvers of all levels.
- We hope to release new courses every 60 to 90 days and offer a range of topics.
- Most courses will be between four and six modules, take place during the work day, and last approximately one hour.
October 2023 Courses
Click on the courses below for details.
For so many, 2020 was an awakening, and those who had something piqued inside themselves have been scrambling for the past three years to achieve measurable change in meaningful metrics related to representation, participation, application, and appreciation in the advertising/marketing industry. But the truth is, many people have been challenged to make progress because they were unaware of past struggles and/or were ill-equipped to appreciate what the lack of past progress would mean for the nature of the change that this present moment requires. This has been true across all industries—including the advertising and marketing industries.
So, why start with equity? Because as the old adage states, it is best to begin with the end in mind. Regarding the desired outcomes of workplace DEI efforts, equity acknowledges the past and provides critical elements to consider to ensure a changed future. Thus, this course will specifically focus on defining and differentiating equity. It will reflect on the history of exclusion or underrepresentation and how this has led to less-than-desirable outcomes. We will discuss how requisite action must be taken in terms of policies and practices in order to transform workplaces into spaces attractive to and inclusive of diverse individuals. We will explore where we go from here to achieve excellence that can only result from effectively defining, operationalizing, and implementing equitable practices.
This course includes the following four modules:
- Defining Equity
- Contextualizing The Contemporary Moment
- Operationalizing Equity
- Where Do We Go From Here
- This will be a remote, live and synchronous course starting Tuesday, October 10, and ending Tuesday, October 31.
- We’ll meet on Tuesday for the four consecutive weeks for 60 minutes each session—11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PT / 2 to 3 p.m. ET.
- 4 weeks | October 10, October 17, October 24, October 31
- Module 1: Tuesday, October 10: Defining Equity
- Module 2: Tuesday, October 17: Contextualizing The Contemporary Moment
- Module 3: Tuesday, October 24: Operationalizing Equity
- Module 4: Tuesday, October 31: Where Do We Go From Here
- Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 12 noon PT / 2-3 p.m. ET
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Chandra Guinn is the Executive Director, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDIB) at McKinney, a creative advertising agency. At McKinney, Chandra leads the EDIB strategy; convenes the Agents of Change cohort to drive change-making efforts; is the executive sponsor for Chroma, the Employee Resource Group; is the community engagement representative for McKinney’s work with North Carolina Central University (Durham, NC); stewards the partnership between the agency’s burgeoning work with the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice (PMC); and acts as the accountability partner to agency leaders as they continue to advance on the commitments to change made in 2020.
She has delivered dynamic training and facilitated thought-provoking conversations throughout her career, especially regarding racial equity, cultural fluency, and personal identity development. She takes an intersectional approach to cultivating awareness and developing personal and social action tactics. Chandra has sought to leverage her prior experience in higher education to build bridges of opportunity for those outside or new to the industry. She truly believes that her success lies in helping others succeed.
Chandra is a member of the ANA DE&I Forum, Cultural Roadmap Planning Group, the PMC board, and the Durham Arts Council Board of Trustees.
With vast experience and an impressive slate of intellectual interests, Chandra received her B.A. from Bucknell University and a master’s degree from the University of NC at Chapel Hill, both in sociology. She is a native Mississippian who makes her home in North Carolina’s Research Triangle.
The marketing communications industry has never been more challenging—not only for brands and agencies but also for the individual professionals who drive the business each and every day. To help these professionals maximize their potential, the Brandcenter is excited to offer The Life Brief.
Created by Bonnie Wan, Partner and Head of Brand Strategy at renowned ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, The Life Brief is designed to teach anyone how they can co-opt the ‘creative brief’ traditionally used in advertising to achieve greater intention in their own lives. Through this course, Bonnie will bring The Life Brief’s practices and frameworks into clear view to help hardworking professionals gain valuable insights for creative, no-regrets living.
- The course is an engaging, multimodal learning experience that immerses you in the wisdom of The Life Brief and equips you with the tools to implement it in your own life.
- It consists of three modules which correspond to The Life Brief’s three sections:
- Module 1: Get Messy
- Module 2: Get Clear
- Module 3: Get Active
COURSE STRUCTURE & SCHEDULE
- This course has three live/synchronous modules.
- 3 Weeks | October 12, October 19, October 26
- Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PT / 2-3:30 p.m. ET
- In addition to each live/synchronous module, there will also be optional office hours on the day following each live module.
- Office Hours (optional; offered day following each module)
- Fridays, 11 a.m. to 12 noon PT / 2-3 p.m. ET
- October 13, October 20, October 27
- And, on their own time, participants will also have the opportunity to access and explore content, including additional exercises, visual templates, audio/video recordings, and session overviews in the online hub.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Bonnie Wan is a Partner and Head of Brand Strategy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, one of Fast Company’s 2021 Most Innovative Companies In The World. As a career brand strategist, she has been celebrated as an Ad Age Leading Woman for 2023 and 2022’s Chief Strategy Officer of the Year. She has spent the last three decades helping brand titans get clear about their essence so they can grow and innovate from a place of clarity and purpose.
Today, Bonnie teaches others how to get clear, get creative, and get courageous about living without regret through her keynote talks, workshops, and retreats, including SXSW, Google, Apple, Jane Goodall’s Global Hope Summit, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “In Goop Health.”
Good relationships are the foundation of good work. The goal of this course is to provide a better understanding of how to foster those relationships with real-world stories and practical tactics.
In a panel-like discussion, we’ll have a group creative director from an agency, as well as the head of brand creative from a marketer, and an SVP, client service director at an agency, share the thoughts, insights, and secret weapons they’ve used over the years to foster the benefits and influence of collaboration.
There will be some truth-telling and myth busting as they discuss how to build relationships, the importance of understanding the vernacular of your partner (internal and external), and the power of candor and transparency in building relationships.
- This course includes the following 3 modules:
- Module 1: Healthy Collaboration
- Module 2: Great Work
- Module 3: Strong Partnerships
- Starting Wednesday, October 11, at 4 p.m. ET
- 3 Weeks / Wednesdays, 4-5 p.m. ET
- October 11, October 18, October 25
- *Please note: We’ll be setting up office hours for this course.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS
Pete Ruest / SVP, Client Service Director / Energy BBDO (Brandcenter, Strategy, 1999)
Pete is a senior leader in omnichannel advertising & marketing communications who has more than 20 years of experience guiding US & global brands across the health services, consumer health, CPG, retail, QSR, and technology categories. He’s an excellent collaborator and strategic business partner in development and deployment of integrated campaigns, brand activation, and performance marketing that increase leads, drive business results, and improve marketing KPIs.
Greg Christensen / Group Creative Director / TRG (Brandcenter, Copywriting, 2000)
Greg started his career as a copywriter at FCB Chicago and then moved to FCB Geneva before returning to the US to work at TRG, where he’s been for nearly 15 years. Most importantly, here’s what Greg believes: “Doing difficult things changes how I see the world. It's always been for the better. If I stop being curious, I stop living my best life. I am at my best when I am collaborating. My greatest successes are things I did not do alone. Being a miser has never led me to prosperity. I feel happier when I tip generously, support school fundraisers, buy Girl Scout Cookies, and stop at lemonade stands.”
Jim Bosiljevac / Head of Brand Creative / Yahoo (Brandcenter, Copywriting, 2000)
Jim currently works as the Head of Brand Creative at Yahoo. The job is part creative director and part client, leading Yahoo's internal agency of 70+ creatives, producers, animators, editors, engineers, photographers, strategists, and brand marketers and developing work for Yahoo's various product groups and brands (Yahoo, TechCrunch, Aol, etc.) across the full spectrum of media. He also helps to manage all of Yahoo’s external advertising agencies, trying to make great work by buying great work. Most of his career has been at global agencies on global clients. He’s also had a run at the freelance life, where he helped agencies win new business and worked on brands as varied as Google, Apple Beats, Oscar Health, La Quinta, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, and Energy Upgrade California.
This October, Sweathead is offering a 4-Week Accelerator Training Program designed for both strategists and non-strategists looking to expand their strategic chops. From ideas and problems to insights and strategy, this course will help your creative briefs, words, and presentations come alive. Participation in the 4-Week Accelerator program includes tickets to additional Sweathead programming, specifically their upcoming masterclasses to further sharpen your strategy skills.
This course includes the following 4 modules:
- Week 1: Group Training 1 - Kickoff; Group Training 2 - Ideas
- Week 2: Group Training 3 - Problems; Group Training 4 - Insights
- Week 3: Group Training 5 - Advantages; Group Training 6 - Strategy
- Week 4: Group Training 7 - Work Review Session 1; Group Training 8 - Work Review Session 2
- Starting Tuesday, October 3, at 12 p.m. ET
- 4 Weeks / 2 classes per week: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12-1p.m. ET
- October 3, October 5, October 10, October 12, October 17, October 19, October 24, October 26
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Mark has worked in and around agencies since he was 19, starting out doing “Internet things.” He then became an account planner at Leo Burnett in Sydney before moving to New York to run agency strategy teams and departments. From the Economist to Twitter and Euronews to Complex, many companies have hired Mark to help them with strategy.
Now, as the host of the Sweathead podcast and founder of a 19,000-strong Facebook community of strategists worldwide, he teaches strategy to thousands of people via Sweathead. Find him on LinkedIn here.
Our Professional Development program consults with all types of companies to design custom programs for your employees—including a range of departments, L&D professionals, and leadership teams. We offer a unique, individualized process tailored to your organization’s specific needs and professional development goals. If you're interested in exploring options for custom curriculum, fill out this interest form and our team will be in touch with you in 1-3 business days.
Policies and FAQs
See below for policies and frequently asked questions. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions or need more information.
We offer professional development for people at any stage of their careers, providing you with a platform to achieve your goals. The courses are designed for individuals looking to sharpen an existing set of skills, learn new skills, or make a career pivot.
All programs are solely offered in virtual formats at this time. Each program offers material that will be consumed via live video conference calls with the whole class.
For our custom programs, we are open to holding these programs in person (at the Brandcenter or at your office), if we agree that it would be advantageous to hold the courses on site.
Program duration differs depending on the course, but we expect most to last about an hour. Each course will likely have between four and six modules, and the modules should occur on consecutive weeks.
After completing a course, attendees will receive a certificate of completion, enhanced understanding of the program material, and a new network of professional colleagues.
New programs will be added every 60 or 90 days, which will include brand new topics and may include additional sections of current offerings. Be sure to fill out the interest form to stay up-to-date on new programs.
Of course. If two programs you’re interested in have overlapping dates and times, please email email@example.com to inquire about how enrollment would work for both programs.
The registration fee varies for each program. BC offers a 10% early-bird discount (usually two weeks prior to each program start date), and Brandcenter alumni will receive a 10% discount regardless of when they register. For alumni, simply indicate your graduation year and concentration upon registering. (Please note, there is a 10% maximum discount per participant.)
Payment is due in full at registration; we do not accept payment plans. You will receive a receipt up to 72 hours after completing registration and payment.
Accepted payment methods include credit card and check. If you need a W-9 form to issue a check, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend requesting a check from your organization 90 days prior to the start of the program. If we have not received the check by the start of the program, you will not be permitted to attend.
Since professional development classes are non-credit, they are not covered by the VCU tuition waiver. Please direct all reimbursement questions internally to your organization.
For additional questions about payments, please email email@example.com.
If you’re unable to attend, you may be eligible for a refund, based on cancellation date:
3+ weeks prior to the start date = full refund
2-3 weeks prior to the start date = 50 percent refund
Less than two weeks prior to the start date = no refund
All requests for refunds must be in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Approved refunds will be processed in 7-10 business days.
Brandcenter reserves the right to cancel any program if minimum enrollment is not met prior to the start date. If a program is canceled, the full registration fee will be refunded. Brandcenter also reserves the right to postpone programs, limit enrollment, split or combine programs, change instructors, or change locations.
Participants must attend at least 80% of a course to receive a certificate of completion.