Havas VX Partners with New York City Public Schools’ High School of Art & Design to Provide Diverse Student Body with Early Exposure to Careers in Healthcare Advertising

The 12-week Make Your Mark Academy pilot program is designed to help address the lack of diversity in the healthcare advertising talent pool

NEW YORK, May 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ – Today, Havas VX, a fully integrated healthcare advertising agency, announced it is piloting the Make Your Mark Academy program in partnership with the High School of Art & Design (HSAD), the leading career and technical public art school in NYC. The program is building a bridge between HSAD’s talented students and Havas VX, with the goal to attract diverse junior talent to the healthcare advertising industry, where new and varied perspectives will help solve health problems and better reflect the patients and people the industry serves.

High School for Art and Design boasts a student body from a myriad of different economic and socio-cultural backgrounds. To create an inclusive pipeline for talent into the healthcare advertising industry, 12 student applicants have been selected for the 12-week program, with the potential to lead to part- or full-time opportunities for the most outstanding students after they graduate from high school or college.

“Our industry does not represent the world we see around us, and we believe strongly that when it does our work will be better, our insights deeper and our experience stronger,” said Federico Chiesa, co-managing director of Havas VX.

Co-Managing Director Partner Tim O’Grady added, “At Havas VX we’re committed to making much needed change happen in terms of talent representation. Connecting with a young, creatively focused talent pool and helping them realize the opportunities that are available to them is the most important first step. This head start is a great way of living our commitment and driving action and true change. This is where the idea for our program came from.”

The initiative is the brainchild of Havas VX’s SVP and Creative Director Sharon Howard-Butler, who designed the curriculum with her partner, CJ Santaniello, SVP and associate creative director, in collaboration with the high school’s vice principal, Kevin Lopez.

Says Lopez, “By partnering with Havas VX, we’re giving our students an opportunity to literally get their foot in the door of a healthcare advertising agency, providing them with knowledge of the business and connecting them with opportunities and contacts that will help them break into the industry.”

The Make Your Mark Academy program combines on-site lectures, on-site experience and out-of-school hours to complete assignments, including 24 in-person sessions at the Havas VX New York office, led by Howard-Butler and Santaniello, with guest lectures from other advertising professionals. Additional mentorship is being provided by rising Havas VX creatives Shinyee Seet and Adam Singer. Sessions will focus on different aspects of healthcare advertising, concepting, craft, process and interview practice. It will culminate with a panel on how to get your first job.

“Over the years, our school’s industry partnerships have provided our students and graduates with a steady stream of mentors, rich internships and employment opportunities,” says HSAD principal Maximillian Re-Sugiura. “We’re currently partnered with HBO Max/Warnermedia, Titmouse Studios and BBDO, to name just a few, and are excited about our students exploring what’s possible in healthcare advertising with Havas VX.”

Richard Garcia, chief talent officer for Havas Health & You (HH&Y), added, “We celebrate this initiative. It aligns perfectly with our goals — not just diversity and inclusion but also to start creative careers earlier. We will be looking at the program and how it could be rolled out to other HH&Y agencies around the world.”

For more information on this program and other work-based learning initiatives at the High School of Art & Design, please visit www.artanddesignhs.org.

About the High School of Art & Design

The mission of the High School of Art & Design is to inspire, educate, and fully prepare our gifted students to become exceptional artists. Through a unified curriculum that incorporates a broad spectrum of disciplines integrating art, technology and academics, our students are prepared to go on to college and careers with industry-standard mastery in the major of their choice. With a commitment to promoting strong ethical values and professional demeanor, we strive to foster a sense of community among our students, staff and parents. We are dedicated to engendering students’ productive, creative and innovative participation in the world of visual arts as concerned and caring citizens of the global community.

About the New York Department of Education

New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) is the largest public school system in the United States, serving more than 900,000 students in over 1,800 schools. The department is responsible for the education of children from 3K through 12th grade and is overseen by the New York City Schools Chancellor, who is appointed by the Mayor of New York City. The NYCPS’ mission is to ensure that each student graduates on a pathway to a rewarding career and long-term economic security, equipped to be a positive force for change. To achieve this goal, the department sets rigorous academic standards, provides resources and support to schools and teachers, and offers a wide range of programs and services to students and families. New York City Public Schools is dedicated to providing all students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life and building a brighter future for the city of New York.

About Havas VX

Havas VX is a fully integrated creative healthcare advertising agency. Based on the Havas Village model, Havas VX brings talented people from across all disciplines together under one roof at 200 Madison Avenue, New York City, and empowers them to work side-by-side to deliver the best solutions for their clients. They are a unique highly motivated team committed to making their mark through their passion for ideas that create a healthier world, and are backed by the power of Havas Health & You, the world’s largest global health & wellness network, with 4,500-plus colleagues in advertising, medical communications, media, PR, social and analytics. For more information, go to www.havasvx.com.

About Havas Health & You

Havas Health & You is the world’s largest global health & wellness network, uniting Havas Life, Health4Brands (H4B), Lynx, Red Havas, Havas Villages and Havas Health Plus, all wholly owned health and communications networks, with the consumer health businesses and practices of Havas Creative Group. The network’s approach is centered around Human Purpose and has the talent, tenacity, and technology that health & wellness companies, brands and people need to thrive in today’s world. For more information, go to www.HavasHealthandYou.com.


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