For the second consecutive year, we have partnered with The BrandLab to hire an intern for the summer. This year, our BrandLab student is Innocent Murwanashyaka! From June to July, Innocent will learn all things digital, the interworking of agency life, and business lessons from mentor, Leslie Gibson. Our CEO, Donna Robinson, spearheads the partnership in hopes to motivate students toward future possibilities.
“When students don’t have the opportunity to learn that marketing is a career option, or might not know it exists, it limits thinking and potential. Maybe marketing isn’t what they pursue but this experience provides a spark of curiosity and hopefully a motivation toward future possibilities. We wanted to partner with The BrandLab because we believe in the mission and believe in the value of diversity, especially in our industry,’ stated Robinson.
“Our clients are extremely diverse and in turn, so are their consumers. The ad industry should recruit, and retain talent to reflect that diversity, which ultimately will lead to better thinking, and results.”
What is The BrandLab?
The Minneapolis-based organization aims to diversify the marketing and ad industry by introducing young people from diverse backgrounds to various industry opportunities.
Get to Know The BrandLab Intern, Innocent Murwanashyaka
High school and graduation year?
I went to Como Park Senior High School. Class of 2017!
What are your future plans?
My plans are to continue my education, running career, and have a part-time job while attending Iowa Central Community College, which is located in Fort Dodge, Iowa. I will be majoring in mechanical engineering and also running track and field and cross country.
I am the first one in my family to attend college or university, mostly due to financial reasons. This makes me super excited to have the opportunity that my parents and siblings never had. I want to be a role model for my young siblings who still have the chance to pursue a college education, dreams and happiness my parents dreamed but never had.
What are you working on at Nina Hale?
I just finished rewriting the content strategy electronically, which I found very interesting and fun. Also I completed two competitive research projects. One was on TRX suspension trainers from Andrea. Shout out to him – he is super nice guy.
Another research project was on 3M command strips from Leslie. I think you all know how awesome she is, but I have to say it again – she is astounding. I would love to explore as many great things as I can with the little time I have left here at Nina Hale.
What have you learned so far?
So far, I have learned a lot about digital marketing here at Nina Hale. Communication and teamwork are the main things that I recognized since day one. I have learned that teamwork plays a huge role. In order for a project to be executed, teams collaborate and inform each other to ensure that every individual has a common goal.
Thus, there has to be tremendous amount of communication such as emails, meetings, or other communication tools. This helps every individual to know more about the project, like how much progress has been made, what needs to be changed, or who is behind. By doing this, the team is able to meet the deadline and deliver a great experience to the client.
We heard you were featured by Deadspin and the Star Tribune. Tell us more!
In December of 2004, my family fled our own country of Congo and went to Rwanda. A place where I would see unseen or unimaginable things. A place where a decade before my family moved, there was blood shed. A place where there was no such thing as humanity. A place where there was genocide. Basically we left death to meet death. My mom would rather die moving than waiting for the death to come, so she made that decision by herself because my dad was taking care livestock. My mom had to make that decision within a day which meant that we would have to leave my dad behind. So we did it. Since that day until today, I haven’t seen him again. But one thing that hurts me the most is that I never had a chance at least to say goodbye. However, the good thing is that he is alive and with hope that soon enough I would see him again.
Anyway, what I call the “wandering journey” started just like that. The morning after my mom made her decision, my family started our wandering journey on foot. We walked from 5am to 3pm just to reach taxis in the city of Sake. We were all covered in orange dust from head to toe. If you were to see us and make an assumption, you would probably say we were those zombies in The Walking Dead, but in orange costumes. We took a taxi from Sake to Goma the city that borders Rwanda. We stayed in Goma for one night. Early in the morning we walked towards the Rwandan border and before we crossed the Congolese border, we were stopped and Congolese military started questioning my mom. For the grace of God she was released. Then we walked to the Rwandan border. When we arrived, we went through the immigration process and within an hour we were loaded into a UN truck. The UN brought us to a refugee camp where we were given the basic needs: shelter, food, and water. Since then, I have been refugee until today. Surprisingly, I don’t regret being a refugee because I have learned valuable things from this experience that no else could learn, regardless of how much money they have. I have learned humanity.
What do you like to do for fun?
I have learned that the best way to meet amazing people is through various activities, which helped me when I came to the United States. Therefore, I spend most of my spare time playing sports. I play soccer, volleyball, running, and biking – basically anything that keeps me moving and helps me to find new friends. The funny part is that I tend to have better friendship with people who are much older than I!
Anything else you think we should know?
This link has interesting information about Congo, don’t miss out. This news magazine would be able to answer various questions about poor countries in Africa.