Eric Enninful, a second-year student at Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, is the 2016 recipient of a $5,000 annual scholarship from Spurrier Group, a Capitol Communicator sponsor and one of the leading media and research firms in both Richmond and Washington, D.C.
Since 2008, Spurrier Group has contributed $45,000 to support scholarships for nine deserving Brandcenter students who intend to pursue a career in the advertising field. According to Joey Broussard, senior director of development for the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, with which VCU Brandcenter is affiliated, the investment by Spurrier Group represents a level of support that is unprecedented for a small business in the advertising and media industry.
“We are indebted to Donna Spurrier and her team for providing this financial boost to launch the careers of future professionals in the advertising arena,” he said. “Eric Enninful follows in a long line of deserving recipients.”
Enninful earned a bachelor’s degree in communications studies from the University of Ghana in 2009. Before coming to the U.S., he worked as an account manager/planner at a J. Walter Thompson affiliate agency in Ghana.
“My wife, who is currently a law student at the University of Richmond, told me about the post-graduate program in advertising at VCU Brandcenter while I was still in Ghana, so it became a part of my plans after I moved to Richmond.”
He commented that the style of teaching at Brandcenter offers students a real-world experience that is different from many other graduate programs. “The professors and guest speakers have worked in the industry and bring such a high level of expertise to the classroom,” he said. “I especially enjoy collaborating on the group projects to share ideas and to develop strategies for implementing them.”
During the summer of 2016, Enninful interned in the Washington, D.C. offices of Wunderman, a global advertising and marketing company with an elite clientele of major pharmaceutical brands. He was assigned to the digital team with responsibility to research and create a monthly e-newsletter on social media changes related to brand marketing, as well as helping to develop agency POVs for clients on emerging digital trends, among other duties.
A Brandcenter alum who worked with Enninful at Wunderman commented, “Eric gave a presentation to our department and it was very impressive considering he’s only had a few months to learn about the pharma industry. It had the entire group thinking of ideas for furthering our client’s brand purpose and getting them to really dive deeper.”
Those words of praise were no surprise to Caley Cantrell, who has been one of Enninful’s professors at Brandcenter. “He has really embraced the Brandcenter experience and wants to get the most out of it,” she said. “I am so fortunate to have had these two years to work with Eric.”
The generous scholarship from Spurrier Group is much appreciated by the Enninful family, comprised of three young children including a baby born in May 2016. “The demands of school and home have made it challenging to find another source of income, so the scholarship takes a lot of financial responsibility off my shoulders,” he said. “It really helps a lot, and I’m very grateful.”
Donna Spurrier, founder and CEO of Spurrier Group and a frequent guest speaker in Brandcenter classes, commented on her agency’s commitment to the scholarship program at Brandcenter. “We are delighted to help bright, talented students like Eric take full advantage of this world-class graduate school experience. We look forward to following his career trajectory for years to come.”
In his limited leisure time, Enninful follows European soccer, especially the Liverpool Football Club, and travels as frequently as he can. He has a long-term ambition to visit all 50 U.S. states in 50 days. “That’s probably wishful thinking, but it’s a dream goal,” he laughed. For now, Enninful is focused on finishing his master’s degree next May. Prior to enrolling in Brandcenter, he assumed that he was destined to work at an advertising agency. However, as his problem-solving skills have sharpened over the past two years, he is now open to considering brand strategy positions on the client-side. “Radio also intrigues me because it’s an evolving media option,” he concluded. “I’m exploring many opportunities!”
Photo by Spurrier Group. Pictured, from left to right: Don Just, managing director and professor at VCU Brandcenter; Ingrid Vax, president of Spurrier Group; Eric Enninful, VCU Brandcenter student and scholarship recipient; and Donna Spurrier, CEO of Spurrier Group.