MEFA's Studio Spotlights is offered free of charge to all registrants, courtesy of our sponsors

MEFA is proud to host VMLY&R’s Studio Spotlights, featuring conversations with marketing experts and industry leaders working to bridge the gap between brand theory and brand practice.


Discover how marketing education strategies, working at the intersection of academic research and agency practice can help strengthen brands and elevate your practice.


Topics will include the fields of research, culture, branding, user experience, health, and BAV. 


See below for more details on each session.

The Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association (MEFA) is a national professional membership organization dedicated to empowering marketing academics and researchers of color.

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Research Studio

Continuous Curiosity

Market Research is where we investigate human and organizational behaviors that lead to strategic decision making and societal change.  Whether through qualitative methods to understand experiences or examining big data to propose new strategies, businesses need data and the people who ask “Why?”  Join us as we discuss how cooperative research between academia and agency help us all grow by means of continuous curiosity.

Carrie Patterson Reed, Research Studio Lead, VMLY&R


Takisha Toler, PhD, Stevenson University


Dalila Salazar, PhD, Texas A&M University - Central Texas


Culture Studio


When we think of culture, we often think of trends. But humans create the foundations of culture. In this session, we’ll discuss those culture foundations like ideology, food, language, and art. We’ll also discuss how relatable art, reflected in entertainment can help brands build lasting connections with consumers as well as help marketing educators connect with their students.

Amber Chenevert, PhD, Culture Studio Lead, VMLY&R


Tyrha Lindsey-Warren PhD, Baylor University


Brand Studio

Designing Courageous Brands

Most brands wait until they stagnate to redesign, reimagine and relaunch. In Designing Courageous Brands, we’ll take a deep look at brands going against this trend. These brands design with adaptation in mind, continuously evolving their brand assets in new ways to keep up with modern communication and culture.

Ian Davidson, Brand Studio Lead, VMLY&R


Tatiana Fajardo, PhD, Florida State University


Experience Studio

In this session we will explore the importance of understanding the Customer Journey in a modern marketing world, how being human centered is critical for success in the future and some tools of the trade to unlock new value for humans and business.

The Modern Customer Journey

Eric Looney, Experience Studio Lead, VMLY&R


Lez Trujillo Torres, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago


Health Studio

Join our experts as they debate some hot topics in health branding. They’ll cover the need for grounding health communication in brand marketing foundations; the distance between heath communication and authentic cultural connection;  the tension and changing role of health care professionals and patients when it comes to treatment decisions; And finally the growing need of community engagement in health decisions.

Christianna Gorin, Health Studio Lead, VMLY&R


A Healthy Debate

Tony Stovall, PhD, Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis (IUPUI)


BAV Studio

Concepts like brand value and brand equity are meaningful to the balance sheet, but how actionable are they to the everyday marketer? Join our experts as they break down how brand value has evolved from 1 metric to multiple metrics, balance level theory with day-to-day practice, and apply their POV to a couple of popular brands who are both incredibly valuable, but have wildly different measures.

Clara Luo, BAV Studio Lead, VMLY&R


What’s the Value of Brand Value?

Eric Rhiney, PhD, Webster University


Live Informational Session with VMLY&R Recruiters

Don't miss out on the opportunity to hear from top VMLY&R recruiters and learn how your skills can help to kick-start a career in agency-based marketing.

Tasha Gilroy, Executive Director, DE&I Talent and Partnerships, VMLY&R


Omo Ogbomo, Manager, DE&I Talent and Partnerships, VMLY&R



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We’d like to thank our generous sponsors who make our Spotlight Series possible. Through their continued efforts, we’re able to support marketing academics and researchers as well as impact the next generation of marketing professionals. 

Sponsorship funding will contribute to professional development grants for MEFA members.


VMLY&R is a global brand and customer experience agency that harnesses creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. Made up of more than 12,000 employees worldwide, the agency has principal offices in Kansas City, New York, Detroit, London, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. VMLY&R works with client partners including Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Ford, New Balance, Pfizer and Wendy's.

Platinum Sponsors

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Gold Sponsors

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Silver Sponsors

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