Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business


Graduate marketing association gives back to non-profit organization based in Kenya

Graduate marketing association gives back to non-profit organization based in Kenya

QGMA team from left: Karl Kullathawat, Wenhan Yu, Nicole Lawrence, Icela Marie Diaz. Not pictured: Keegan De Silva, Anushi Shrivastava and Ava Chen. (Photo by Duo Yu)

By Adriana Geday  |  Student reporter

The students in Quinlan’s Graduate Marketing Association (QGMA) are committed to giving back to the community. 

This year, their commitment took the form of providing branding and marketing assistance to two education clients—School of Hope and Senn High School—under the guidance of Associate Professor Lauren Labrecque, PhD.

School of Hope is a Chicago-based organization that raises funds for St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School in Nairobi, Kenya. The school provides a holistic education for children who have been affected by AIDS or have a family member that has been directly affected.

“We knew this would be a great opportunity for QGMA members to get hands-on experience and at the same time aid a non-for-profit organization, whose values are very aligned with the Quinlan brand and everything we do as a business school,” says Icela Marie Diaz graduate student and project lead.

A project turned passion

School of Hope needed a comprehensive communications and rebranding plan to announce an organizational name change and let people know they still supported St. Aloysius Gonzaga, explains Diaz.

Eight graduate students were tasked with developing a brand recognition and communications strategy and presenting their positioning proposal to School of Hope last December at 1871, Chicago’s leading hub for tech startups. The organization’s regional director, Jeff Smart, was so pleased he gave QGMA a call for further assistance.

The team is now working on the School of Hope’s visual identity, online presence and creating their communication plan. Next steps include creating a marketing and tactical plan on how to consistently communicate with their audiences, says Diaz. This includes a new website, a logo, and other marketing materials.

“Our goal is to make the entire communications plan for this organization amazing,” says Diaz. “We don’t have the pressure of finances, because this is much bigger than money. We are trying to help children in need go to school, and there is nothing more rewarding than helping others.”

A humbling partnership

GQMA’s partnership with School of Hope has been rewarding for both parties. Jeff Smart and the Rev. Terry Charlton, SJ, a Jesuit from Chicago running the school in Kenya, have both expressed their gratitude to the student group.

“It has been a pleasure to collaborate with the Quinlan Graduate Marketing Association to rebrand our School for AIDS orphans and vulnerable children,” says Smart. “With their help, we will be in a better position to share our story with a broader audience.  I am very grateful.”

Diaz adds, “We’re so happy to be working together with this organization and have the opportunity to work with real people and making a real difference. We work hard to make the School of Hope proud.”

The QGMA also partnered with Senn High School to create a brand logo and virtual identity. Recently, the student group joined with the Graduate Women in Business and Entrepreneurship clubs on a project to create a business plan for a food company being started by Syrian refugees in Chicago.

Get involved

For more information or to get involved, visit the QGMA website or contact Neal Mahoney or Icela Diaz.