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Wieden+Kennedy’s ADMagic Empowers HBCU Students

Brand executive Charity Pourhabib aims to pave a path for HBCU students in advertising, beginning with her ADMagic program.

Working on Nike and Facebook accounts, Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) brand executive Charity Pourhabib has been in the advertising business for close to a decade now. When she isn’t deep in her work, she is focused on giving back to HBCU students who come behind her. She does this through her and W+K’s ADMagic program that gives HBCU students a chance to experience the advertising business.

“There’s not that many Black and Brown people in advertising, especially when you look at certain departments,” Pourhabib explained to Boardroom.

By bringing in HBCU students, she hopes to not only increase the number of Black professionals within the advertising business, but to give them an experience they have not yet had as well.  

“It was mind-boggling to me that so much of the output was utilizing Black culture, and that wasn’t reflected more in the business,” said Pourhabib. “A lot of people I knew didn’t have the exposure or sponsorship to get their foot in the door. I looked at my journey into ADMagic as well as my peers and noticed a lot of unnecessary hurdles.”

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The program, which began last year, has helped to enable students to be a part of the Marcus Graham Project Cohort — partnered with Apple and J. Cole’s Dreamville. Other companies the ADMagic interns have landed at include VaynerMedia, Patreon, Promote Talent Agency, and United Talent Agency. 

ADMagic gives students the opportunity to grow by exposing them to brand management, strategy, design, and more.

“We got to learn the world of the advertising agency, within that there was an opportunity network,” Jamara Robinson, a former ADMagic fellow, told Boardroom. “The real-world examples and aspects of the program in general helped me really cultivate my love and interest in strategy.”

At the end of the program, interns were able to work with Old Spice. The deodorant brand’s list of endorsed athletes includes Derrick Henry, Von Miller, and Jalen Hurts.

“It was an eye-opener to think about ideation and execution. Sometimes it isn’t about failing or whether or not you had a good idea, it’s more so about putting the puzzle pieces together to fit what a brand is looking for,” Robinson said.

Lincoln University alum Charles Green, another intern on the project, added that the experience “allowed me to realize the potential that I have to pair my background and skillset with went a long way for me.”

“The ADMagic program was a great catalyst to help me develop who I am,” he continued. “At the end of the day, they really put us together. Even with us not being in an office environment [because of the COVID-19 pandemic], every time we met was a good time.”

Pourhabib and W+K welcomed the second class of ADMagic fellows last month.

“This moment feels like a gift to my younger self,” she said. “When you’re in a space when it’s only you, it is difficult to be what you cannot see. This [is a]grind and a hustle, so creating an opportunity for young people who look like me means the world. At the very least I can provide knowledge, ADMagic aims to do so much more than that.”

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