Last year, as we prepared to turn the corner on 2020, we knew we wanted to do something different and more personal to mark 50 years in business. Something that could reflect and carry forward the ethos with which we approach our work. That good ideas can and do come from anywhere. And that, regardless of your background, you can be successful in this profession.
My parents and the co-founders of this agency were unlikely candidates for this work. Nevertheless, they forged ahead. They celebrated typical and atypical talent. They welcomed the most highly qualified, most interesting thinkers, regardless of gender, race, background or industry-specific experience. And, bucking both the decade and the industry, the agency had a gender-neutral pay policy from day one.
To honor this legacy and our 50 years in business, we created the Jim and Nechie Hall Scholarship to Denver Ad School (DAD), which covers full tuition for one student per year. It’s our way of providing opportunity for individuals from any background to enter this industry and thrive. We don’t want debt, fear of not fitting in, or lack of industry experience to hold anyone back from considering or pursuing this education.
The stories of our founders were on our minds as we reviewed the applications of several qualified applicants along with Heather Vanisko, DAD’s co-founder and education director, and Jesse Alkire, DAD’s co-founder, owner and creative director.
Ultimately, we chose Piotr Brozyna. And our group came together to give him the news. Over Zoom, of course. In that screenshot of our time together are (clockwise from left): Nechie Hall (VJ), Meredith Vaughan (VJ), Heather Vanisko (DAD), Jesse Alkire (DAD), Piotr Brozyna (soon-to-be DAD student).
Piotr and his family emigrated from Poland to the United States when he was four years old. He grew up in Chicago, began working at 16, and later paid his way at DePaul University, eventually becoming among the first in his family to earn a college degree. Brozyna now lives in Denver.
Throughout his youth and now, Piotr has cultivated an intense curiosity about people, cultures and brands, as well as where and how they intersect. Among his early accomplishments, he helped to guide the creative direction for and launch Denver’s RoseBud Ice Cream, which sells handcrafted, CBD-infused ice cream.
Of the scholarship, he says, it’s “a key to a treasure chest I’ve been trying to unlock for years.” Indeed. Heather and Jesse shared with us that Piotr had consistently been in touch since the school opened in 2019, and he would likely have been part of the inaugural class if not for financial restrictions.
So, looking back on our first 50 years in business and looking ahead, it is an absolute joy for us to send Piotr to ad school. We are eager to watch him grow, and we know he will make a significant, unique impact on the advertising industry in the very near future.
Now in our 50th year of business, Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.