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Whitman Shows Its Commitment to Entrepreneurship by Hiring Student-run POV Digital Marketing Agency

Whitney Krayer, Phoebe Gullingsrud and Fiona Connolly

If you’ve noticed some additional content on the Whitman School’s social media platforms lately, it’s likely the work of POV Brand Management, a student-run digital marketing agency working with the School’s Marketing and Communications Department this semester.


“Fostering emerging entrepreneurs and supporting their ideas are at the heart of the Whitman School. And, what better way to promote our commitment to entrepreneurship than to hire some of our own?” says Executive Dean J. Michael Haynie, who also is vice chancellor for strategic initiatives for the University and a faculty member in Whitman’s Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises (EEE). “We identified a need in our efforts to market to Gen Z and filled that need this semester by hiring POV, a digital marketing agency founded by a Whitman/Newhouse student and run by other students across the University. It’s been a terrific partnership that has benefitted both Whitman and POV.”


POV was created by Phoebe Gullingsrud ’24 (WSM/NEW), CEO. Her entrepreneurial talents date back to high school, but once she started her first year as a dual major at Whitman and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, “her brain was racing with ideas” on how her courses in business and communications could help her establish a real business. At the time, the pandemic was in full force, but Gullingsrud understood that companies were struggling, and there was an urgent need to adapt to online business. Knowing she couldn’t do it all herself, she brought on others with diverse skillsets, and by Gullingsrud’s sophomore year POV Marketing Consultancy was launched.


Gullingsrud continued to run POV, even while studying abroad in Barcelona during spring 2023. Upon her return, she thought about getting an internship but quickly realized what she really should be doing was building out her own company. With the mentoring support of Professor of Entrepreneurial Practice Ken Walsleben, who encouraged her to take the summer to work on POV, she realigned her team and created a clear focus for the business. In fall 2024, Gullingsrud relaunched as POV Brand Management, a full-service digital marketing agency.


Today, Gullingsrud has a team of six other students: Whitney Krayer ’24 (A&S), chief operations officer; Fiona Connolly ’24 (NEW), chief creative officer; Heather McClure (NEW), director of public relations and copywriter; Lauren Diaz, chief financial officer, Boston College; Melissa Garcia, chief strategy officer, University of Rhode Island; and Sona Cyriac, integrated marketing specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison.


The opportunity to partner with the Whitman School was a fortunate coincidence. In the fall of 2023, Gullingsrud was strategizing with Walsleben in Whitman’s Couri Hatchery when Haynie stopped by and heard them talking about POV. Haynie asked Gullingsrud more about the agency and gave her the opportunity to pitch ideas for assisting Whitman’s efforts to reach the School’s target Gen Z population.


“After Mike (Haynie) stopped by, I told Phoebe that, if she did things right, she might have a new client,” Walsleben explains. “The next thing I knew, I was giving her feedback as she polished up her pitch. Phoebe and her team are true digital natives, and that gives them a great advantage in this space. They may well find they have a niche in digital marketing in the higher education space.”


The pitch was a success, and POV was hired to run social media at Whitman for the spring 2024 semester.


“It has been a benefit to our department and the Whitman School to have had the resources of POV available to us this semester in our continued efforts to share on social media some of the amazing things we do at this School,” says Dawn McWilliams, director of marketing and communications at Whitman. “Just over the past few months, the team has been doing an outstanding job highlighting students, alumni, speakers and events happening at the Whitman School, including a visit from celebrity baker Buddy Valastro in March and the Panasci Business Plan Competition held in early April.”


According to McWilliams, POV has helped the department create a more formalized system for social content, while also providing a GenZ perspective that is attracting Whitman’s target audience,


“POV has created a great partnership with Whitman. This has been transformative to our business goals and helped us show that we have the ability to operate with a client on the scale of the Whitman School,” says Krayer.


The POV team will graduate this May, but Gullingsrud is confident that the business will continue to adapt and grow to its full potential.


“We have realized the intrinsic value that the innovative digital approach holds in business growth, and our group of talented professionals has already helped 20 businesses, including the Whitman School,” she says. “We plan to continue to evolve as we anticipate business needs, produce unique and innovative digital solutions that will increase client value and grow POV into a full-time digital marketing service that is like no other.”

Tagged As:

  • Alumni
  • Corporate Partners
  • Full-Time Master's
  • Undergraduate
  • News

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