Hamza Molvi is not only a fifth-year Honors College student double-majoring in marketing and Business Information Systems, he is also the photographer and designer behind Honors College social media and many HC print pieces and publications. But this past summer, he found himself in an unusual new role that had him taking photos of dogs “excited about” a new housing community, brainstorming logos and taglines with a creative team for a school district wanting to address opioid abuse and helping a nonprofit communicate with the Latinx population in Oregon.
The job? The highly-selective Emerging Leaders Internship. Hamza was one of about 80 interns chosen from 876 applications for the Portland-based program.
Emerging Leaders matches current college students and recent graduates from underrepresented populations with paid internships in companies throughout Portland. Many participants transition into full-time roles with the companies, which must also competitively apply to participate. Interns receive support from a mentor at Emerging Leaders as well as a mentor within the host company.
Hamza matched with C+C, a public relations social marketing agency whose tagline is “all about the good.” The company creates social marketing campaigns that contribute positively to the world or engage with people in a way that could positively influence behavior. The goal of social marketing is to achieve social change.
Hamza says the support he received from Emerging Leaders was invaluable. He has continued communicating with his mentor, Cinthia Manuel, their director of workforce initiatives, and knows he can continue to ask questions and find assistance in the future.
“Being a person of color, it’s sometimes daunting to think about breaking through the ‘glass ceiling,’” says Hamza. “But people at C+C were really supportive, and it’s nice to know that Emerging Leaders was also there to support me.
“There were a lot of networking events throughout the summer where I could meet other interns and professionals in Portland. We went to the largest networking event for people of color in Oregon. There was a room of people from Nike, Intel, companies I didn’t even know about and everyone was so willing to help and to build relationships.”
Working at C+C gave Hamza the opportunity to contribute to campaigns that were meaningful while broadening his experience in the marketing world.
“Appreciating the work of a multicultural team and understanding social marketing were my biggest takeaways,” Hamza says. “This experience allowed me to see that there are people out there who consider what client to take on, who consider if the client is a match for the company’s ethos.”
Hamza worked on a team that designed and pitched materials to a nonprofit organization engaging with the Latinx population. He learned the C+C concept of “transcreation.” Transcreation addresses the cultural and linguistic gaps in communicating with the audience, not just the literal “translation” of language.
Hamza’s internship also allowed him to tap into his penchant for telling stories – literally. Hamza is an avid Instagrammer and particularly enjoys telling stories the platform, through the perfect juxtaposition of design and photography.
He also sat in on brainstorming meetings for social media and worked closely with a digital strategist who considered clients’ ideas and needs. He served as a second photographer on a photo shoot of dogs “excited” to move in to a new master-planned community and helped create the captioning and content for the campaign.
Another experience of marketing for good came with his work on a social marketing campaign for a coalition of school districts in southwest Washington who wanted to address the high rate of opioid abuse among children and young people. Hamza sat in with the designer and creative director on the campaign and brainstormed logo concepts. He also researched how they could use paid promotion on social media to target the audience. Hamza and the team brought the ideas to the client at the school district, and Hamza had the opportunity to present the social media component.
In his studies, Hamza has already been engaging with design thinking and considering the user experience. He took an honors course with Professor Andrea Marks in design thinking one winter term, which inspired him; Dr. Marks is now his thesis mentor. The internship gave Hamza a look at design thinking in action.
“One of the highlights from the summer is watching the design thinking process come to life. I watched firsthand as myself and members of the C+C design and multicultural team brainstormed with members of our priority audience using empathy, a stage in the human-centered design process,” Hamza says.
And overall, he takes away a renewed motivation and purpose within his field of study.
“I realized that social marketing really interests me. Especially with the issues in our society, being able to communicate effectively is important, and though it sounds cliché, being able to make someone’s life better is important to me. Together, marketing and design has the potential to make a meaningful difference in our lives. I want to be a part of that change.”
Hamza will graduate in spring term 2019 with honors baccalaureate of science degrees in marketing and business information systems, with a College of Business Dean’s Academy option.