Ovative Awards 2021 Scholarship in Partnership with The BrandLab

At Ovative Group, we are committed to being Champions of Change in everything we do; fostering a culture inclusive of all dimensions of difference, within and beyond our walls, to attract, inspire, and retain a diverse workforce. Ovative’s Champions of Change initiative focuses on three pillars: education, charitable giving, and services 

Charitable giving is a passion for many team members at Ovative, and through partnerships with global and local non-profits our team members give their time, energy, and dollars to help drive impact in our communities and beyond. Our partnership with The BrandLaba Minneapolis-based non-profit that prepares diverse students for careers in the marketing industry, is one that allows us to make a significant impact. Through mentorship, internships, workshops, and more, The BrandLab provides students with the tools they need to find, receive, and thrive in marketing roles.  

Along with becoming mentors and volunteering time and resources, Ovative has created an annual academic scholarship that grants $10,000 to a deserving student from The BrandLabEach year, Ovative employees come together to raise the scholarship funds through employee-run events and fundraisers. A selection committee then works with The BrandLab team to distribute the application and evaluate applicants, resulting in interviews for the top three candidates. Each year we are blown away by the applications received and the inspiring individuals we get to meetand this year was no different. 

We had the pleasure of awarding our 2021 BrandLab Scholarship to Anaa Jibicho, a sophomore at Pomona College studying economics, media studies, and politics. We were inspired by Anaa’s drive and commitment to his education and community. Beyond graduating top of his class and attending a top university, we were amazed at his commitment to give back to this world. In 2017, as a sophomore in high school, Anaa found Didomi, a water bottle company that provides 10 years of water access to an individual in Africa with every purchase. Having experienced the water crisis first hand, this is a cause Anaa is very passionate about. 

“When I came to the United States as a refugee, my parents were forced to give up everything they had back home to flee to America. For their sacrifice, they asked of me only one thing; to pursue my education, for that is something no one will ever take away from us. This scholarship not only reduces the financial burden of my family, but enables me to keep my most sacred promise; to gain the education needed to be in service to others. Now I can focus on learning and becoming the best student and the best person that I can be…I am so thankful for Ovative Group for giving me this opportunity and for making this process of pursuing my education that much easier. – Anaa Jibicho 

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we are devoted to establishing foundational diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to drive sustained change. Learn more about our commitments on our Champions of Change page! 

Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke

CEO & Founder

About the Author

Dale is the Founder and CEO of Ovative. After years of operating a large omni-channel business and leading a customer data initiative, Dale knew there was an opportunity to create a marketing firm that helped clients become more customer centric and drove better performance outcomes. A gap existed between business consultancies and advertising agencies that modern marketing approaches demand. He also believed that a strong, healthy culture could attract and develop smart, talented team members. In 2009, he formed Ovative to bring media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to enable an enterprise approach that drives more revenue and grows clients’ customer base.

Prior to founding Ovative in 2009, Dale spent 23 years at Target Corporation where he served as President of and grew the ecommerce business from start-up stage to a $1 billion+ business and established the foundation of Target’s Guest database capabilities. Previously he served as SVP Merchandising at the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson. Dale has advised retailers and brands globally on business, growth, marketing, and measurement transformation strategies.

Outside of Ovative, Dale is a leader on topics including business strategy, change management, and team leadership. He serves on the board of Allergy Amulet and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.  He enjoys spending time with his family, up north in northern Wisconsin, playing golf, and cheering on Wisconsin sport teams.

Steve Benson

Steve Benson

Chief Financial Officer

About the Author

Steve is the Chief Financial Officer of Ovative. Steve is responsible for the company’s IT, corporate accounting, treasury, tax, financial planning and analysis, and Business Operations

Prior to joining Ovative, Steve provided finance and accounting advisory services to clients. Before that, he spent 23 years at Target Corporation, leading Finance and Accounting teams.

Steve enjoys distance running, woodworking, and traveling. Steve and his wife have two sons, and they enjoy escaping to the Minnesota north shore.

Annie Zipfel

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Annie is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. She oversees delivery and growth across paid and owned media (digital, traditional, and retail media) and creative services.

Annie has more than 30 years of experience in media, brand management, insights/analytics, marketing, and product. She has also developed large, high-performing teams and built new measurement capabilities. Annie led the marketing team at Andersen Windows & Doors, leading the digital, social, content, customer insights, and creative functions. Prior to that, Annie served in multiple marketing leadership roles at Starbucks, REI, Target, and General Mills, with a keen focus on brand, media, insights, analytics, and measurement.

Annie is an industry leader in brand management, customer insights, e-commerce, social media, and analytics. She enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, fishing, and spending time with her sweet dog and two sons.

Bonnie Gross

Executive Vice President, Talent Services

About the Author

Bonnie is the Executive Vice President of Talent Services at Ovative. She is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent and creating a culture in which our team thrives personally and professionally. Under Bonnie’s leadership, Ovative has defined an industry leading leadership and development program and transformed our approach to talent recruitment with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion. Prior to her current role, Bonnie led Ovative’s Client and Business Development team overseeing client satisfaction and new growth opportunities.

Before joining Ovative in 2014, Bonnie spent 13 years at Target Corporate as the VP of digital and Digital Marketing where she led the launch of Cartwheel, an industry-leading social shopping application. Bonnie was the VP of Marketing for Fingerhut for 15 years prior to joining Target.

Steve Baxter

Steve Baxter

Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

About the Author

Steve is the Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Ovative. Steve has been with the company since 2010 and launched Ovative’s media practice in 2012.

Prior to joining Ovative, Steve worked at Target for 8 years where he led development of Target’s CRM initiatives, Digital media analytics and Target’s Media Network. In 2005, Steve developed Target’s proprietary in-house capabilities to both measure in-store sales impact from digital brand investments and personalize marketing messages across both digital and non-digital channels.

Steve is an industry leader on topics including marketing, advanced measurement, ecommerce, and monetization. Steve enjoys fishing, camping, golfing and trying to stay competitive in any sport with his three boys. Steve enjoys escaping to the MN north shore with his wife, boys and dog whenever possible.

Beth McKigney

Senior Vice President, Measurement

About the Author

Beth is the Senior Vice President of Measurement at Ovative. She is responsible for developing, implementing, and supporting proprietary technology products that enable clients to unlock insights across marketing channels and devices. Since joining Ovative in 2013, Beth built Ovative’s Site Analytics & Optimization practice and Ovative’s unified marketing measurement tool, MAP. She is spearheading development of new technology products focused on advanced analytics, testing and reporting.

Prior to joining Ovative, Beth spent 9 years at Target in multiple digital and marketing analytics roles. She defined and delivered Target’s email and mobile marketing strategies, identified and defined guest-facing technology enhancements, and managed site-wide promotional marketing plans.

Beth is a thought leader in advanced analytics and optimization strategies. She regularly advises clients on strategies to improve their marketing effectiveness and is a published thought leader. She lives in Brooklyn Park with her husband, two boys and dog, Sota.  Beth’s an avid University of Minnesota sports fan (especially football – Row the Boat!) and enjoys downhill skiing, biking, hunting and fishing.

Lindsy Steinberger

Sr. Manager, Paid Search

About the Author

Lindsy is a Sr. Manager on the Paid Search team at Ovative.

Tyler Spiwak

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Tyler is an Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Dianne Anderson

Senior Vice President, Media

About the Author

Dianne is the Senior Vice President of Media at Ovative. She is responsible for delivery and growth across paid digital media, traditional media, marketplaces, and creative services. Since joining the company in 2013, Dianne has been a key leader in establishing new channel practices, a strategic voice in media and marketing strategy and a driver scaling best in class teams. She regularly advises clients on ecommerce, retail, digital media and measurement strategies.

Prior to joining Ovative, Dianne spent 8 years at Target leading strategy and activation of digital e-comm and brand marketing initiatives.

Dianne is passionate about music, leading ukulele lessons for the team and participating in office musical collaborations.  Her happy places are Northern Wisconsin, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where she enjoys making memories with her family.

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

Lillian is a Senior Analyst on the Paid Social team at Ovative.

More Culture


Star Tribune Names Ovative Group a Top Workplace for the Eighth Year 

Ovative was ranked 17th within the mid-sized company category of Star Tribune’s Top 200 Workplaces list for 2023, marking... Read More »

Insights Team

Chicago Office

National Firm, Ovative Group, Opens Office in Chicago

Ovative is expanding its national presence with the opening of an office in Chicago. Ovative is now in three... Read More »

Insights Team

Champions of Change

Ovative's 2022 DEIB Annual Report

In Ovative's 2022 DEIB Annual Report, we seek to demonstrate our accountability to being Champions of Change within and... Read More »


Insights Team

accent bar