Kirsten Brown Persley serves as the Executive Director of The BrandLab Kansas City. Before joining The BrandLab Kansas City, Ms. Brown Persley served as a Founding Principal for five years. As a founding school leader, Ms. Brown Persley managed a large team including five administrators. During her tenure, she helped the school secure funding and developed innovative programs that fostered community engagement, strategic partnerships, and authentic/real-world learning opportunities for students and staff.
She is committed to equipping young people with the tools necessary for them to pursue their dreams and aspirations. Ms. Brown Persley graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Institute for Urban Education (IUE). In 2021, she was recognized as a NextGen Leader by the Kansas City Business Journal.
Ms. Brown Persley completed the Leading Educators Fellowship program and has completed her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She was also an Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Fellow at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Ms. Brown Persley is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Kansas (KU) where her research focuses on effective HR practices around hiring and retaining talent, the achievement gap between white students and students of color, and real-world learning practices.
Additionally, Kirsten has done extensive research on and has led Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives. She brings this and her experience in education as well as her leadership expertise to her work at The BrandLab.
Amy Brown, program manager
Amy Brown comes to The BrandLab with eighteen years of successful experience working as an educational coordinator, teacher, and school leader. After graduating from the University of Missouri and starting out as a teacher, she followed her passion and went to graduate school to obtain her master’s degree in School Leadership at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
She then went on to lead several successful innovative educational programs in both South America (Chile) and New York City (Harlem). Through these experiences, Amy developed clear systems and structures that allowed her and stakeholders to execute strategic visions around programming that equip, educate, and empower youth through authentic and meaningful learning experiences.
Amy brings her experience and successful track record to The BrandLab as she works with The BrandLab team, board, and key stakeholders, in order to affect change in the marketing and advertising industry and the lives of the young people we serve.
Amy works to expand The BrandLab partnerships so that the impact of the organization can be felt in corporate spaces and marketing and advertising agencies across the city. Amy also manages The BrandLab’s corporate and agency partnerships and oversees quality partnership experiences.
Akiyaa Depusoir-Cochrane, program coordinator
Akiyaa Depusoir-Cochrane has an extensive background as an innovative developer of programs for youth. She has worked as a school social worker and knows how to identify holistic support to remove barriers for TBL interns and alumni including food insecurity, transportation gaps, and more so that they can focus on pursuing careers in the marketing and advertising industry.
Ms. Depusoir-Cochrane earned her masters in social work with a clinical focus from the University of Kansas and her undergrad in social work and history and political science from Bethel College.
Akiyaa knows how to coach and partner with young people to help them reach their full potential.
Akiyaa works to improve and expand our intern and alumni engagement by providing more robust and year-round professional development, mentoring, internship opportunities, and intentional peer-to-peer as well as professional networking opportunities for interns and alumni. Akiyaa also recruits new interns and she manages school partnerships.
Raymond Jarrett, editor and videographer, MMGY Global
Hogan Preparatory Academy
Hayley Finch Studio, Owner
Hayley Finch is the owner of Hayley Finch Studio, and works with businesses on their branding, design, and messaging. She enjoys bringing creativity and analytical skills to the table. When she's not at work, she enjoys making new connections and trying new coffee shops in KC.
Hayley Finch Studio
Message Less, Engage More
Message Less, Engage More
If you're working in the messaging and marketing field, it's because you are a great writer. This just means that you are a clear communicator, and your words have a purpose that lead others into understanding. It's a great skill and is needed today, especially if you think about how many businesses depend on clear writing to meet their audience. When I began working on projects for different clients, I quickly learned that one writing skill that is needed is an awareness for how long the copy should be in different situations.
Think about when you're scrolling on Instagram: What types of captions do you stop for? There is a good chance that if a post has a brief caption, you might just pause the scroll to read. Studies have shown that people prefer reading shorter lines of text, even if their brain technically reads one very long line faster. I think this is so interesting, because what does that mean for us? How do we interpret that in the marketing field?
To me, it has meant an awareness that my audience may be looking at the "shape" of my caption before they decide to read it. They may be drawn in by the media, but if the caption looks like one long, run on paragraph without breaks—that could feel tiring to look at, and they may opt to skip it. Or if I am writing the introduction paragraphs of an article, I may choose to keep them shorter, so the reader feels like they are rewarded quickly at the beginning.
Sometimes, the best caption may just be as simple as a one line slogan. Allowing ourselves to write less just might make the content stand out.
Participate and engage in skill-building labs and workshops hosted by industry professionals.
Workshops can be either virtual or in-person. Following all workshops, links to the recorded workshop will be uploaded to the website for those who couldn't make it.
Networking events for prospective interns and alumni
This is a chance to network with students across Kansas City. Some events may be specifically for returning BrandLab alumni while some may be BrandLab alumni and prospective interns. We do work to get students opportunities to network with industry professionals and BrandLab board members, so there may be some events throughout the year where other stakeholders will be present. We hope you will take these as opportunities to learn and expand your network.
Apply for Our summer internship program
Applications open in October for both high school and college students. The internship duration is 8 weeks and they are paid internships. Interns will participate in a one week summer institute in June and then transition to their matched host site and begin assigned projects in order to become better acquainted with the marketing and advertising industry.
Become a LabFellow
This opportunity is open to college seniors and recent graduates. Applications open in February. This is an 8 month, paid fellowship. Fellows will work around 32 hours per week.
*The KC Fellowship is currently limited to a virtual fellowship, however, we are always looking for in-person partners to host Fellows.
This opportunity is open to returning alumni that intend to engage in another summer internship. Once you submit an interest form you will be paired with an industry professional. It is then up to you both to find a time once monthly to meet. and find one time a month to meet. We ask that you participate in TBL mentor program events that will happen throughout the year.
We are launching the TBL x KC Alumni Board! Applications will go live October 1, 2022.
We are looking for alumni that intend to complete a BrandLab internship again next summer,or are intending to volunteer as a mentor, supervisor, or coach next summer as they jump into the professional world.
Industry professional leads a skill-building lesson or workshop for students on topics related to marketing, advertising, and entering into the professional field. This should be a topic or skill related to your area of work. If you are interested in facilitating but want some ideas, please reach out.
Workshops can be either in-person or virtual.
Create educational content for TBL X KC newsletter
Write up a short how-to for an important topic in marketing or advertising. Another option would be to write up what your specific role looks like in the industry. What you choose to contribute is up to you. Examples could be: how to write a brief, tips for acing your interviews, what a brand strategist does.
Be a mentor for TBL Intern
Once you've expressed interest in mentoring we will work to match you with a returning TBL intern. You will then work with the student to find one time a month to meet. In this role you will act as a mentor, coach, and role model. It is up to you and the student to decide what this mentorship will look like and what you both hope to get out of it. We ask that mentors participate in TBL mentor program events that will happen throughout the year.
SPARK classroom volunteer
High school students competing against other cohorts of students from different schools will create a campaign pitch for a local BIPOC business. Volunteer to assist high school students in developing their pitch presentation. (This could include coaching a team and giving feedback, teaching a mini lesson on a skill needed to execute campaign, etc.)
Volunteers needed for summer internship
In need of coaches to meet biweekly
guest speakers and folks to lead professional development workshops
Join a board committee
Our board committees meet bimonthly to help guide the programming, fundraising, and partnership endeavors of The BrandLab.
Hosting high school or college BrandLab summer interns is a great way to unlock new levels of creativity and innovation for your team, your work, and your culture. the internship takes place over the course of 8 weeks during the summer. Internships are paid, with high school interns working about 25 hours a week and college interns working between 30 and 35 hours a week.
$20,000 / 4 - 6 high school interns
$15,000 / 2 college and beyond interns
Support recent grads with a unique experience to build skills across organizations. Build your talent and strengthen your team through a multi-year partnership commitment (3 year minimum commitment. Host anywhere from 4 - 12 LabFellows for 6 -8 months. Fellows work 32 - 40 hours per week. If you are interested in creating a fellowship program with TBL, reach out to Amy Brown, email@example.com
reach out if interested
This is how you can get started or elevate the conversation of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in your workplace. Build more inclusive work, workers, and workplaces through our Fearless workshops. Facilitated by The BrandLab, Fearless explores topics like inclusive language, privilege, and creative blind spots. Workshops are 60 - 90 minutes each.
$2,500 / workshop
Pillar sponsorship supports SPARK programming in high schools and colleges. This allows for 2 - 3 high schools to create pitches for a local BIPOC business. Pillar sponsorship also supports summer institute, summer internship celebration, alumni awards, and annual scholarships. Pillar sponsorship is a great opportunity to show your organization's commitment to DEIB.
Our program coordinator would love to come out to your school to table during lunch or college and career fairs. We will introduce students to he work that The BrandLab is doing, equip them with our student engagement menu to decide what works best for them, and we will provide them with a quick way to register or flag interest in the future.
Host SPARK + Field Trip
SPARK is TBL's program geared towards high schoolers in the classroom. It starts with our program coordinator tabling at your school to find out who is interested. The next step is to determine a school TBL liaison, this will be a teacher that connects with the mission of TBL and wants to pilot a real world learning experience. The next step is to take students on a SPARK field trip to a local marketing or advertising agency. Here students will dig deeper into what marketing and advertising is, engage with a career panel, and end with a mini campaign pitch.
SPARK Pilot Project-Based Learning
The final leg of our SPARK program, is a capstone project-based learning campaign for a local BIPOC business. This campaign will be assigned to a cohort of students from your school that have expressed interest and have attended the SPARK field trip. It will be facilitated and monitored by the school TBL liaison. In addition, industry professionals and TBL alumni will volunteer to lean in, teach, and coach your cohort on necessary skills to compete their campaign. Cohorts from other KC schools will be working on the same campaign. All schools will then pitch their campaign to the local BIPOC business, who will then select the winning campaign.