Havas VX, a member of Havas Health & You, believes that children are our future, which is why it recently piloted the Make Your Mark program in partnership with the High School of Art & Design.
As part of the initial effort, Havas VX is working with the career and technical public art school in New York City to attract a diverse swath of junior talent to the healthcare advertising industry.
A dozen student applicants will be selected to participate in the 12-week program, where they will hear on-site lectures from advertising professionals, experience on-site work and complete out-of-school assignments. Additionally, the students will attend 24 in-person sessions at Havas VX’s New York office as part of the learning-based initiative.
Sharon Howard-Butler, SVP and creative director at Havas VX, designed the program with her partner CJ Santaniello, SVP and associated creative director, as well as the school’s vice principal Kevin Lopez.
Howard-Butler said her son attended the High School of Art & Design, where she noticed that the student body was artistically talented and could contribute to the advertising industry if given a proper introduction.
“Before Make Your Mark, a lot of these students had never been in an office before,” she said. “Through having these kids in and learning about how passionate and applied they are as well as how much they want this opportunity to work in advertising, then you can identify the students that you’d want in the industry.”
Empowering junior talent from diverse backgrounds is also a major consideration for the initiative, according to Howard-Butler. She said that agencies featuring a diverse staff can better reflect the communities they seek to help with their work on behalf of healthcare clients.
Some students will have the opportunity to participate in a summer internship, while others will remain in touch with the agency as they head off to college. Career preparation, including setting up a LinkedIn page and participating in a panel on how to land your first job, are other aspects of the program.
Make Your Mark’s goal is to run it back next year with the school before potentially examining expansion plans, Howard-Butler said, though Havas VX is primarily focused on empowering young prospects and seeing its efforts replicated across the industry.
“I encourage other agencies to implement similar programs so that there are more opportunities open to kids from diverse backgrounds across the U.S.,” she said.