When I think of The Brandlab, I think of a newly paved road. It's something that can get me off the path that's already been walked so many times by people before me and help me go down a new road to an industry that's always changing.


Fred Williams

The BrandLab Intern 2016,

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Our work is bigger than diversifying staff: it’s about breaking unintentional barriers and creating positive change in workplace culture. We must ensure that the talent we discover is not only able to secure their first professional job in the industry but that they will be able to thrive!

Our Fearless work is growing and we are proud to highlight these ambitious and innovative programs.

Fearless Conversations

The BrandLab's annual Fearless Conversation event brings together industry leaders to discuss race in the marketing and advertising industry. The goal is to have honest conversations around diversity to eliminate unintentional bias and help foster healthy work environments that know how to support, and retain a diverse talent pool. 2016 was our largest gathering to date with 225 guests. Our 2016 panelists: Pamela Brown, Brand Licensing & Partnership Management, General Mills; Dorion Taylor, Director of New Business, Partner, Carmichael Lynch; and Caroline Wanga, Vice President Diversity & Inclusion, Target. Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Weber once again facilitated the conversation. The topic: Are You In or Out? A Fearless Conversation on Race and Retention. Listen to the full conversation here.
Fearless Conversation 2015
Fearless Conversation 2014

Three Fearless Questions

At The BrandLab we want to actively drive the dialogue around access and inclusion. We want to move beyond lip service and inspire industry professionals to take action and create change. The 3 Fearless Questions podcast is one of the ways we are doing that. Created and produced by students, this series asks creative leaders, entertainers, athletes, politicians, CEO’s and authors for their answers and insights to our 3 Fearless Questions. Special thanks to Carmichael Lynch and sixdegrees for their support on this project. Listen at our website or at SoundCloud.

Fearless Workshop & Consultancy

Over the years you have asked us to bring Fearless to you, we have listened. Today The BrandLab offers ongoing consulting and training to ensure the diverse organizations of tomorrow will allow all people to thrive.

Our workshops are developed for industry professionals by industry professionals. We work with you to ensure that every level of your organization will have tools to put equity into action. And, we approach the work through a framework of marketing and advertising. We use real world case studies to help our clients understand how they can build strong and inclusive brands to authentically engage in the marketplace.

As a nonprofit organization we make sure every action we take and every dollar earned or donated supports our mission. In 2015-2016 we not only built the Fearless Consultancy & Workshops program, we have secured five clients. Our vision is that this work will sustain itself and eventually help to fuel our other programs.

Our goal to double the diversity rate in the metro from 6% to 12% is doable. Lean on The BrandLab to ensure your organization gets there.

State of the Industry Research

For The BrandLab to effectively engage industry leaders in fearless conversations about race and to track their progress over time, we needed to develop a baseline of diversity rates locally. In 2015 Common Grounds, an interdisciplinary group of graduate students at the University of Minnesota, was asked, in partnership with 3M, to administer a survey and analyze the results measuring diversity rates locally. We invite you to review our results both at a glance or in depth. The local rate of diversity within the marketing & advertising industry remains low. We plan to continue measuring this work with our courageous partners in the coming years.

2014-15 – Results At A Glance
2014-15 – Full Paper
attendees at the 2016 Fearless Conversation
plays of 3 Fearless Questions
Current Twin Cities industry diversity rate
of attendees of Fearless Conversation intend to change a work related action based on the learning from the event