Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Broadening horizons: Cadency journeys to the Pacific Northwest


A group of students from Clemson's student-led brand agency pose for a picture with Sylvester Peoples.
Clemson's student-led brand agency poses for a picture with Clemson alumnus, Sylvester Peoples, executive vice president at Edelman.
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In 2020, The Erwin Center for Brand Communications launched Cadency, an interdisciplinary student-led brand consulting group. Cadency provides a platform for students of all majors to gain real-world branding experience before graduating. Companies and organizations can inquire about becoming clients, and the students, with guidance from faculty members, provide insights and create compelling campaigns. Cadency also offers opportunities for students to learn from industry and business leaders, including their most recent trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Cadency students were able to learn from industry professionals on their recent trip to the Pacific Northwest.

The trip came about when Sylvester Peoples, a Powers College of Business alumnus and Executive Creative Director/Executive Vice President at Edelman, approached Jackie Herr, lecturer for the Erwin Center, and proposed bringing students to Seattle and Portland to visit companies to get a feel for the branding world on the other side of the country. With an idea and invitation, Cadency, spearheaded by Herr, began to organize the Pacific Northwest trip.

Herr says she enjoyed the trip as much as her students. “It really is the most rewarding experience,” she explains. “Being able to travel with students—some of whom have never been on a plane, makes everything worth it. Many of the students who went had never traveled out of the Southeast. Hearing about the experiences and lessons they took away from the places we visited really showed me just how meaningful the trip was. Getting the Clemson name out there for industries and businesses to see will help them and other students get connected in the future.”

The trip was organized intentionally for students to learn from marketing and brand professionals working at industry-leading corporations. The first stop the 32 students made was in Seattle, Washington. The group visited Starbucks, Edelman, Seattle Kraken and HP, each highlighting a different facet of the branding industry. At Edelman, students delved into the intricacies of the public relations industry. Starbucks presented students with lessons on crisis management, gave them a tour and even let them tour their exclusive innovation lab. HP focused on the importance of professional development and provided students with advice about how to navigate their future careers. Seattle Kraken showed students how they built their brand from scratch and detailed the marketing strategies they took during the early stages of the brand.

From there, the group traveled by train to Portland, Oregon, to visit Nike and Adidas. Nike gave students a campus tour and provided insights into their brand innovation. At Adidas, students were also taken on a tour of the facility, learning about Adidas’ impact on the community. They even were able to meet and be greeted by the President of Adidas North America.

Cadency students visited a number of industry leaders, including Starbucks.

Logan Henderson, a political science major, says the trip inspired her. “During our trip, we were privileged to visit some of the most iconic companies globally, such as Edelman, HP, Starbucks, Seattle Kraken, Adidas, and Nike. Never in a million years would I have put in the cards that I would walk on Nike Headquarters campus,” she explains. “Because of the Erwin Center, I had the opportunity to do something I could have never in a million years saw myself doing. Touring and having conversations with these companies felt like stepping into a realm of boundless possibilities.”

“This is the future. It’s one thing to teach a concept to a student—the lingo, the facts, the knowledge. It’s a completely different thing to show them that concept. The Erwin Center, Cadency, and this trip are all examples of experiential learning that make their education impactful.”

Lori Pindar, Assistant Director for the Erwin Center

Cadency is planning another student trip for the fall of 2024 to provide their students yet again with networking and experiential learning opportunities and the chance to broaden their horizons.

Katie Hildebrand, Director of the Erwin Center, expresses her gratitude towards Clemson alumni. “We have some amazing alumni who help us provide these innovative experiences to students. They play a big role by becoming brand partners with Cadency and by making trips like this one really happen. Without alumni, this trip wouldn’t have been possible.”

To connect and learn more about Cadency, visit their Instagram or their website.

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