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Professional Development

Brandcenter Professional Development offers individual courses for marketing communications professionals seeking personal growth, plus custom curriculum for companies and organizations tailored to their specific needs and professional development goals.

Open Enrollment Courses

Whether you are seeking personal growth or an L&D professional looking to reward, retain, or simply challenge your rising stars, our open-enrollment courses are designed to meet the needs of marketing communications professionals of all levels.

Led by accomplished Brandcenter alumni, faculty, and distinguished industry leaders in our extended network, and covering a range of topics from hard skills to soft skills, these courses are offered in a convenient, virtual format. They’ll be between one and six modules, take place during the work day, and last approximately one hour per module. We launch new courses every few months, so be sure to join our list to receive updates.

January 2024 Session

Here are the courses launching in January 2024. Click on the drop-downs below for additional details.

Headshot of Lisa Prince

Eating Ice Cream with Our Hands: The Six Tall Tales Limiting Your Ideas

Lisa Prince, Founder / School of Ideas

This course begins January 8, 2024. Register here.

Course Overview

Imagine a world where only a few chosen people can eat ice cream. And they have to do it with their hands. And no one questions whether this messy and unpleasant decision is the right one. This is how we currently approach creativity.

From my years of teaching creative companies how to be even more creative, I’ve learned that we’ve made creativity exclusive and difficult.

We consistently tell ourselves six tall tales that are poisoning our ability to have great ideas. These six beliefs undermine our creative identity, our creative self-belief, our creative process, our career choices, our team structures, our education system, and our approach to equality and emerging technologies.

Before we can unlock our great ideas, we need to confront these tall tales and the invisible ways they limit us. This course will show you how. You will leave with a completely new way to think about creativity, an ability to spot crippling approaches in every area of your work, and a cone.

Course Dates & Schedule

  • This course has three live/synchronous modules, with one module per week for three weeks.
    • 3 Weeks | January 8, 22, 29
    • Mondays, 12 to 1:30 p.m. PST / 3 to 4:30 p.m. EST
Course Cost

The cost of this course is $899.

About Lisa Prince

The Founder of School of Ideas, Lisa Prince has spent the last seven years teaching the world’s most creative companies how to be even more creative. Her clients include Netflix, Nike, adidas, Snap Inc, DoorDash, Zappos, The New York Times, Riot Games, Toyota, and Lexus. Based on findings from the front lines, Lisa has identified six tall tales that are poisoning our ability to have ideas, and she is passionate about helping people to demolish them and unlock better ideas.

Before this, Lisa had a 20-year career as a creative strategist, including over 10 years as a Group Strategy Director for Wieden+Kennedy in London, Shanghai, and Portland. Originally from Ireland and the UK, she now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, daughters, dog, and Beyoncé the fish.

Register for Eating Ice Cream with Our Hands: The Six Tall Tales Limiting Your Ideas

Headshot of Carl Desir

The Coach Approach: Cultivating a Team Culture of Growth & Empowerment

Carl Desir, Executive & Leadership Coach; DEI Consultant; Founder / The Boom List

This course begins January 10, 2024. Register here.

Course Overview

In today’s dynamic creative environment, traditional leadership models are being reevaluated. The “Coach Approach” for Creative Leaders offers a transformative perspective on leadership, focusing on empowerment, active listening, and fostering growth both within individuals and organizations. This course delves into the fundamental principles of coaching, which can be applied in a leadership context, allowing leaders to drive change, innovation, and engagement.

Participants will explore the techniques and strategies that make coaching people in the creative industry effective, and they’ll learn how to integrate these into their leadership style. From understanding the nuances of powerful questioning to creating a safe environment for feedback and reflection, leaders will be equipped with the skills to support their teams in achieving greater autonomy, motivation, and productivity.

Course Dates & Schedule

  • This course has four live/synchronous modules, with one module per week for four consecutive weeks.
    • 4 Modules, 4 Weeks | January 10, 17, 24, 31
    • Wednesdays, 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET
Course Cost

The cost of this course is $699.

About Carl Desir

Carl is no stranger to transitions and transformation. His own path has been a zig-zag across careers and industries before realizing the Work he was meant to do. Carl believes the Work (with a capital W) is what truly aligns with one’s values and passions. For Carl, that Work is coaching.

Carl spent the first 15 years of his professional career in advertising, tech, and entertainment. Over that span, he’s done everything from advising CEOs, supporting career changes, missing deadlines, creating strategies (DEI & business), making mistakes, building brands, being fired (3x), winning awards, and changing career paths.

After becoming certified as a coach for transformation in 2020, Carl’s purpose and Work are aligned. He’s found his way back Home.

Register for The Coach Approach: Cultivating a Team Culture of Growth & Empowerment

Past programming includes:

  • Starting with Equity; Getting to Excellence with Chandra Guinn, Executive Director, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDIB) / McKinney
  • The Life Brief: Creative Strategies for No Regrets Living with Bonnie Wan, Partner and Head of Brand Strategy / Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
  • The Power of Collaboration with Pete Ruest (Strategy, 1999), SVP, Client Service Director / Energy BBDO; Greg Christensen (Copywriting, 2000), Group Creative Director / TRG; and Jim Bosiljevac (Copywriting, 2000), Head of Brand Creative / Yahoo
  • The Sweathead Strategy Accelerator with Mark Pollard, Founder / Sweathead
  • Degrowth Marketing: Building the Brands We All Want to Root for with Ivan Kayser, CEO / Redscout
  • A Primer on How Production Works in Advertising with Temma Shoaf, Former Head of Production / Arts & Letters Creative Co.
  • Brand & Culture, Bridging New Divides with Rian Chandler-Dovis (Creative Brand Management, 2017), Partner, Chief Product Officer / Brand Federation
  • The No BS Course on Media Planning with Todd Alchin, CSO & CMO / Noble People
  • Modern Brands and the Importance of Motion Design with Rick Plautz (Experience Design, 2014), Sr. Associate Motion Designer / Capital One

Don't miss a course!

Join our mailing list to receive updates about our professional development offerings.

Custom Curriculum

Are you interested in custom programs for your employees? We’ll work with you to design a custom curriculum tailored to your organization’s specific needs and goals and for a range of departments. Complete this interest form, and our team will be in touch with you in 1-3 business days.

Headshot of Rich Weinstein

Rich Weinstein

Associate Director for Extension Programs; Adjunct Professor

Have questions? We’ve got answers.

Who are the Brandcenter Professional Development courses for?

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 their skills, learn new skills, and network with other marketing communications professionals.

Are Brandcenter Professional Development courses taught in person or virtually?

All programs are solely offered in virtual formats at this time. Each program offers material that will be consumed via live video 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).

How long are the courses?

Program duration differs depending on the course, but we expect most to last about an hour. Each course will likely have between one and six modules, and the modules should occur on consecutive weeks.

What do participants receive upon completion of a course?

After completing a course, attendees will receive a certificate of completion, an enhanced understanding of the program material, and a new network of professional colleagues.

How often will new programs be added? Will topics be the same or change?

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.

Can I register for more than one program?

Of course. If two programs you’re interested in have overlapping dates and times, please email [email protected] to inquire about how enrollment would work for both programs.

What is the program fee? Are there any discounts (Brandcenter alumni, early bird)?

The registration fee varies for each program. Brandcenter often offers a 10% early-bird discount (usually two weeks prior to each program start date), and Brandcenter alumni 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 Policies

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 [email protected]. 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 protected].

Refunds & Cancelations

If you’re unable to attend, you may be eligible for a refund, based on the 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 [email protected]. 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.

Special Accommodations

If you require accommodations due to a disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act, email us at [email protected] at least two weeks prior to the program.

Grievances can be reported to VCU Equity and Access Services Office: 804-828-1347 or [email protected].