Mohamed Malim of The BrandLab Wins $10k Scholarship From ICF Olson

Annual Scholarship is Memory of John Olson, the Ad Agency’s Founder and Founder of The BrandLab

ICF Olson today announced it has awarded University of St. Thomas student and The BrandLab alum Mohamed O. Malim with its third annual John Olson Scholarship in the amount of $10,000 during a ceremony held at the agency this morning. Mr. Malim is a junior who is working toward his degree in marketing after being introduced to the advertising and marketing industry through The BrandLab, a nonprofit organization also founded by Mr. Olson. 

“John Olson’s dream to bring new and diverse talent into our industry is extremely important to our future and we are committed to celebrating these bright, young people,” said Louise Clements, Global Agency Lead of ICF Olson. “We thank The BrandLab for continuing his legacy and we are here to support you in that mission.”

“To receive any scholarship is not an easy feat, and the John Olson Scholarship is no different,” said Emily Ronning, the Internship and Scholarship Director at The BrandLab. The BrandLab alumni are invited to complete a rigorous application. They are asked to write thoughtfully about their challenges, their future careers, and about how they will serve The BrandLab’s mission. 

Ms. Ronning added, “This scholarship gets to the heart of our mission and it is reserved for students who meet tight criteria.” Applicants must be enrolled in college, majoring in the industry, and be a student of color.

“Talent with tenacity is unstoppable,” said Alfredo Martel, The BrandLab Chair and CMO of Famous Dave’s of America in his address during the ceremony. “And this year’s winner is the epitome of the word tenacious.”

Mr. Malim balances his classwork with being a mentor, has interned at various organizations throughout his college career—including Cargill, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Central High School and Olson—and is an athlete on the St. Thomas track team.

Nicole Nye, Olson’s SVP of Marketing and someone who assisted Mr. Olson in forming The BrandLab in 2007, had the honor of presenting Mr. Malim with an oversized check. She said, “This year’s winner is incredibly bright, driven and hardworking. I loved hearing his story and how he plans to make a difference in our industry.” 

Mr. Malim’s family comes from Somalia, a place known for its civil war. Mohamed was born in a refugee camp in Kenya where he lived with thousands of starving people. The Malim family learned they were able to come to America when Mohamed was 3 years old and he still has vivid memories of that experience. 

He addressed the audience, which included his family, The BrandLab staff and board of directors, and ICF Olson employees, with a heartfelt message of gratitude. He said, “I want to thank everyone at The BrandLab and at Olson for being here to support me. I know that marketing combined with my future ambitions will help reach people in all parts of the world due to all of the great tools that one can have with a marketing degree and a clear vision and mission.”

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