VVK CEO SELECTED FOR Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School

VVK CEO SELECTED FOR Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School

Happy to announce that VVK’s CEO Peter Van Dyke was chosen for the Detroit region’s seventh cohort of the Young American Leaders Program (YALP) at Harvard Business School (HBS). The aim of YALP is to improve U.S. competitiveness by advancing prosperity for all Americans and to develop leaders who can implement cross-sector collaboration at the community level.

For four intensive days, the group will learn through case-method discussion about best and worst practices on cross-sector collaborations from across the country and around the globe. The HBS faculty will focus on where America and American cities stand today and share insights on improving cities’ standings in K-12 education, economic development, infrastructure, and workforce development.

“Bringing young leaders together from diverse industries and backgrounds from across Detroit to learn from each other, share with each other, and collaborate with delegations from cities across the country is critical for helping advance our region’s competitiveness,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “The Chamber takes pride in its role in convening leaders to support equitable, long-term, and sustainable growth for all people in our region.”

Congratulations to the other Detroit participants. We’re proud of our PVD.

Jamie Kaye Walters, COO/Head of Marketing & Talent

Velocity Cow is now VVK PR + Creative

Velocity Cow is now VVK PR + Creative

Velocity Cow is now VVK PR + Creative. We’re still producing great video and we’re still partnering with amazing clients. That’ll never change. How we move forward and what we can offer our clients, that IS changing. And it’s exciting! We’re now an integrated communications company with a 12-person team dedicated to helping clients tell stories in various ways. 

For the last few years, we have been working on projects with Peter Van Dyke and some of the PR team in different capacities so the move to being a unified company already feels natural. I’m also happy to bring Jamie Kaye Walters, my friend and Velocity Cow’s founding partner, back into the company. For 13 years Velocity Cow, with its strong team headed by John Heiple, has and will continue to provide creative and strategic partnership to create high quality video for organizations of all sizes. We continue to be here for small businesses without massive marketing budgets, larger companies looking for something new and everything in between. 

We’re looking to fill a couple new positions so please pass on the word to anyone that you know who fits the bill. 

Mike Sherman, Executive Vice President/Head of Creative Production

In the news: “PR exec Peter Van Dyke launches new firm with other communications veterans”

In the news: “PR exec Peter Van Dyke launches new firm with other communications veterans”

EXERPT FROM CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS (APRIL 25, 2022) By: Nick Maines

Just seven weeks after a sudden departure from the Detroit public relations firm with his name on the front door, Peter Van Dyke is back with a new venture.

Van Dyke and two other partners — Jamie Kaye Walters and Michael Sherman — have formed VVK PR & Creative LLC, a Detroit-based communications firm focused on public relations, video production, and other services.

Launching Monday with a team of more than a dozen staffers and revenue-generating clients on board, the nascent company is essentially “a startup with an incredibly strong foundation,” Van Dyke said.

The article continues.

In an interview with Crain’s last week, Van Dyke said plans for the new firm, VVK, were not yet in motion at the time of his resignation. The type of business VVK seeks to be, however, has been part of a “long-term vision.”
The “foundation” Van Dyke mentioned consists of bringing Sherman and Walters’ long-standing company, video production firm Velocity Cow LLC, under the umbrella of the new VVK firm.

Sherman will serve as VVK partner and executive vice president of production. He started Velocity Cow with Walters in 2008, and will bring his nationwide portfolio of clients and six team members to the new agency. Walters, who served as creative services and programing director at WDIV-TV for eight years after co-founding Velocity Cow with Sherman, will serve as VVK’s COO and partner, and will lead the agency’s marketing practice and talent development.

Sherman said that over time, Velocity Cow will wind down and all of its work will be shifted to the new entity.

The company’s name, VVK, stands for Van Dyke, Velocity Cow and Jamie Kaye Walters, according to Van Dyke.
The three principals have worked together on various projects in the past, and bringing their skills under one roof felt like a natural fit and helps fill a gap in the marketplace, they said.

“What’s really exciting about our company is that it’s pretty hard to compete in today’s communications landscape without having integrated services,” Van Dyke said. “Video and digital and earned media are all part of the storytelling process. And having those all under one roof with a really smart group of team members who are working together to help tell our clients’ stories is a great benefit to the clients that we have, and then clients that we’re seeking to get in the future.”

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE.

Client in the News: “Invest Detroit Ventures Makes Money Moves for Disenfranchised Entrepreneurs”

Client in the News: “Invest Detroit Ventures Makes Money Moves for Disenfranchised Entrepreneurs”

By: Sherri Kolade (The Michigan Chronicle 

Although minority tech startups are making a larger footprint in Michigan, the landscape does not always offer equal financial footing from the initiation stages.  

Luckily, bridging the gap for these underserved entrepreneurs, like women, minorities, immigrant founders and other marginalized populations is something that comes naturally to Invest Detroit Ventures, (IDV), which provides early-stage investment to Michigan-based, high-tech startups and programs, especially through the organization’s FAM (Funding, Access & Mentorship) fund program, now in its second year.  

Nonprofit Invest Detroit, a mission-driven lender, investor and partner that supports business and real estate projects, created IDV in 2009 to enhance its overall mission to support the inclusive growth of entrepreneurial ventures.  

“At Invest Detroit we raise capital separately and operate through state investments,” Ben Bernstein, principal at Invest Detroit Ventures, told the Michigan Chronicle recently.  

Bernstein, who develops relationships with entrepreneurs across Michigan, assisting them to develop startup talent to prepare them for investment, said that ID Ventures has an “intentionality” in assisting underserved communities.  

“[With] extending venture capital to a broad fund of entrepreneurs our numbers speak for itself,” Bernstein said.  

Sixty-four percent of its total portfolio is represented by founders of color, women, immigrants and Detroit residents.  

“Those are areas we consider of need,” Bernstein said. “If you look at any other funds across the country you see that mix … being much lower. Our Black founders are 20-222 percent of our total portfolio.”   

Earlier this year, Bank of America supported IDV’s IDV Fund IV, which is an established $20 million fund that provides capital investment to Michigan startups during early, critical stages of development.   

“This investment by Bank of America is significant because there is not enough early-stage capital for Michigan-based startups,” said Patti Glaza, managing director of IDV. “Only 10 percent of Michigan venture capital is currently invested at the seed stage, resulting in entrepreneurs spending too much time fundraising instead of executing in a space where time to market is critical.

(READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE)

HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE LAURA L’ESPERANCE AS VVK’S NEW SVP OF PR

HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE LAURA L’ESPERANCE AS VVK’S NEW SVP OF PR

May 22, 2022: Recruitment is hard.  Plain and simple. Never mind the immense competition for talent that challenges all employers, finding the right candidate, with the right skillset, who values our agency culture, takes time and intuition. But, sometimes there is that one candidate who just clicks.  

When I started interviewing for our senior vice president role, I was looking for someone who could seamless step into our agency, our client meetings, and into a lunch or happy hour, with expertise, ease and ingenuity. After interviewing six or more candidates, I interviewed Laura and soon after called my colleague saying, “I think we have our senior vice president.”  An initial interview, led to happy hour with Laura and VVK’s partners, which led to a number of engaging follow-up calls, which led to an employment agreement.  Laura’s experience was a direct hit. Her past work remarkably aligned with many of our important clients and their missions – she has deep experience in insurance and nonprofit, leading strategy, developing trusting relationships, and implementing campaigns that help advance marginalized communities.  Of equal importance was her immeasurable, hard-to-place-on-a-spreadsheet, personality fit that is so crucial to thought partnership, team leadership and client relationships. In our final meeting with Laura, it was agreed upon that above all job requirements, there will be a element of joy when working together. And, for VVK, that is non-negotiable.  

We are thrilled to announce Laura L’Esperance as our senior vice president of public relations.  

-Peter Van Dyke, CEO/Partner 

WE MADE A PODCAST (WITH CRAIG FAHLE)

WE MADE A PODCAST (WITH CRAIG FAHLE)

June 14, 2022: You may be asking, why would a PR and creative company like VVK make a podcast? Because we can, and because it’s fun! Is it more work? You bet…but it’s awesome work. I have been incredibly fortunate over my career in both journalism and PR to forge relationships with some amazing people. Many of those relationships began sitting across from each other at an interview table. I’m comfortable there. I love the interview process. Being curious, doing the research, asking what I hope are thoughtful questions, and then actually listening to the answers has given me some insight into subjects and people that I didn’t have before, and I love to be able to share those conversations with anyone willing to listen.  

And, now I am part of an agency with incredible reach and relationships with local, statewide and national business and community leaders.  Some are clients, many are friends, and others are intriguing people who we meet along the way.    

So, what’s in store for the VVK podcast?  It will be an art not a science.  We are letting the spirit of the time drive our programming, but you can be sure there will be good conversations with smart people at the center of it. If we can give you a little more insight into our community, then it’s totally worth the effort. Our inaugural episode is available now, with our special guest, Cindy Pasky of Strategic Staffing Solutions. Look for fresh content weekly, or more often when I get on a roll. Thanks everyone and enjoy!  

You can listen here.

Craig Fahle, PR Director