Marketing: More Than Meets Your Eyes

This blog post was written by Foster student and YEOC Mentor-in-training Sheldon Spring.

To most, the term “marketing” suggests advertisements, commercials and billboards – all methods with which companies display their services or products to consumers. And while this may be true, this is not the entire definition.

During a presentation led by Young Executives of Color mentors Rheina Agosa and Uyen Cao, high school mentees were introduced to a more holistic view of marketing that included both design and branding components. “Uyen and I represent two ends of the spectrum,” stated Rheina Agosa, “she excels in the design aspect and I prefer the marketing strategy and presentation portion.” Throughout their PowerPoint, the duo referenced key marketing terms like the “marketing funnel” and provided video evidence of how effective marketing can really establish a corporation’s brand and product in the minds of potential customers.

Mentee groups were then tasked with creating their own shoe brand and pitching their business model to other mentee groups. Given a white shoe, a blank three-paneled board, and a limitless hypothetical budget, teams worked together efficiently to produce shoe designs, board layouts, and oral presentation scripts under the very-limited one-hour time allotment. The result was a variety of impressive brands and business models centered on concepts like social impact and global change to athletic performance and all-encompassing utility. The top mentee teams from each bracket advanced to the final round, presenting their brand to a judges panel composed of the YEOC mentor staff and 160+ of their fellow peers.

Building on the idea that marketing involves much more than just advertisements, keynote speakers Jennifer Rance (Microsoft) and Candice Garza (Renton Secondary Learning Center) cited the turbulent political landscape pre and post-election as a by-product of the media’s influence. With content pertaining to social, political and racial relations in the U.S., both women explained how the media has affected the way that others perceive them and their respective capabilities. In a powerful activity to close out an impactful presentation, mentees were asked to write down labels that other people had given them on a post-it note, and then rip up the note and throw the remains in the air as a symbolic act that the titles others attribute should not act as a deterrent to one’s dreams and passions.

YEOC Presentation

Teams had to create designs for their blank shoes that tied in with their company’s brand and overall message.

YEOC Pitch

Students received practice constructing and presenting a business pitch during the “YEOC Branding Pitch Challenge”.

YEOC Finalists

Finalists from the “YEOC Branding Pitch Challenge” had the opportunity to present in front of an auditorium filled with YEOC Mentors and students.


YEOC mentors and volunteers from across the UW Seattle campus worked with seniors on their personal statements in preparation for college application season.

Photos courtesy of Wendy Leuthold, Khyree Watson, Leah Shin, and Helen Fessahaie.

The mission of the YEOC (Young Executives of Color) program is to cultivate the academic potential of underrepresented high school student leaders in Washington State through college preparation, powerful mentorship, and the development of real life business skills. Find out more about the YEOC program on the Foster website. Follow YEOC on Facebook and Instagram: @yeocuw.

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