Jordyn Burrell Heading To Denver Ad School On Full Scholarship

Here’s an agency story agency well-timed for today, International Women’s Day.

Independent advertising agency Vladimir Jones, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs is providing a full-tuition scholarship to a young woman named Jordyn Burrell to the Denver Ad School.

Burrell is the second recipient of the Jim and Nechie Hall Scholarship to Denver Ad School (DAD), which is funded by the agency and named after its founders. They established the agency in 1970.

Burrell will begin the 14-month program this October.  

Burrell wrote in her application, “the likelihood of a Black girl from a single-parent household going to a four-year university is slim. The odds of that four-year university being one of the top public universities in the country are slimmer. The odds of that same Black girl from Charlotte, North Carolina, becoming a creative director for a major advertising agency or company are the slimmest yet, but I am willing to bet it all.” 



Jim Hall (who died in 2012) was the son of a white woman and a Cherokee man and was orphaned when he was very young and grew up in the foster care system. Nechie Hall, Jim’s wife, is the oldest child in a large, boisterous family of Italian immigrants, grew up in a rural area and had planned to be an art teacher.

Neither were likely candidates for the advertising profession, much less for starting and growing an agency—something they both share with Burrell, who now has a pretty good shot at doing just that.

In 2020, VJ created and awarded the full-tuition scholarship to celebrate its 50th anniversary and honor the co-founders.

To Hall and her daughter Meredith Vaughan, currently the CEO of Vladimir Jones, Burrell’s “bet” struck a chord.  

“Jordyn emerged early as an exceptional candidate for the scholarship. Given her life experience and demonstrated creative vision and leadership, she will bring a unique and bold voice to advertising,” said Hall.  

Among her early accomplishments, Burrell has served as the photographer for Coulture, University of North Carolina’s fashion and lifestyle magazine, for the last three years. And she led an online student organization in creating a pop-up shop for a thematically unified collection of student-made T-shirts, prints and artwork that honored the university’s history. 

“This scholarship acknowledges that people from different backgrounds, abilities and ambitions can all contribute substantially to the field of advertising,” said Vaughan. “We know that Jordyn will excel at Denver Ad School, and in her career, and we are thrilled to be sponsoring this next step for her.”

DAD is led by Heather Vanisko, co-founder and education director, and Jesse Alkire, co-founder, owner and creative director. 

Started in 2019, DAD offers comprehensive 14-month programs in Art Direction, Copywriting, and Strategy. Structured to have the feel and pace of an ad agency, all classes are led by active Denver/Boulder agency pros that guide students to produce spec campaigns for real brands.


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