On Nov. 5, Kaitlin Moore Morely won her bid for an at-large seat on the Evansville City Council. The people behind parts of the campaign’s marketing weren’t a large firm or even seasoned marketing veterans. It was a group of University of Evansville students working with Embrace Marketing and Communications, a project through the school’s ChangeLab program.
Embrace operates as a true business with a team of eight students who went through a traditional interview process to be accepted into the program and that celebrated its first anniversary this October. Unlike many new businesses, however, Embrace turned a profit in its first year.
“For the first couple of months, it was really doing everything a startup business would do, just getting ourselves up and running before we even looked at clients and interacted with them,” says Jesse Stafford-Lacey, Embrace’s creative director and a senior sports communications major.
Along with work on Morely’s campaign, Embrace has worked with clients including website development for the Vanderburgh County Democratic Party, internal communications for Alcoa, social media promotion for ShrinersFest, and branding and promotional efforts for Willard Library’s inaugural Heritage Days Festival.
“It’s really cool to see a client come to us with a problem, with some sort of marketing objective, and for us to take it, talk it through, come up with a solution, and then be able to tangibly measure that, making a difference in their business,” says Emily Schuster, Embrace’s CEO and marketing strategist and senior multimedia communications and political science major.
While employees at Embrace will graduate each semester, the goal is to prepare participants with real-world, professional experience they can take with them after they leave. It also gives students opportunities to gain experience they might not be offered through their majors.
“I’ve been able to build up on the knowledge I’ve been acquiring through my classes, but I also have been able to be out of my comfort zone in things I would not have been exposed to otherwise,” says Pamela Oliva, Embrace’s CFO and account executive and a junior accounting major. “It definitely gives you that real-world experience you don’t get in a classroom.”
▲ Pamela Oliva, Emily Schuster, and Jesse Stafford-Lacey are three members of the student-run business Embrace Marketing and Communications, which gives UE students real-world experience in marketing and client relations.