Awards & Press

The BrandLab x Ovative Group Work to Change the Face of the Marketing Industry

Minneapolis, MN – The marketing industry has long struggled to accurately represent the consumers it serves. Though it is more diverse than ever, at 30.8 percent (Association of National Advertisers), there is still much work to be done. The BrandLab, a local non-profit working to change the face and voice of the marketing industry, has partnered with Ovative Group for the past six years to drive sustained change. This partnership is part of Ovative’s Champions of Change program, created to enable Ovative team members to “just do” and “do more” within and beyond Ovative’s walls. Champions of Change focuses on opportunities for charitable giving, providing pro bono services to social organizations, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) education, and promoting equitable workplace practices. Ovative’s partnership with The BrandLab includes employing their students as interns and full-time analysts, providing professional mentors for students, providing employees fearless training, and raising annual scholarships.

“The BrandLab and Ovative Group’s partnership serves to break down one more barrier for the diverse talent we serve and another way partners can sow seeds directly into participants, their education, and future career paths,” said Koisey Hiama, College + Beyond Manager at The BrandLab. “It is the consistent commitment Ovative made to us year after year that truly helps to support our mission of changing the face and voice of this industry to reflect the world at large. The work is far from done, as we aim to also have equitable workplaces that make our talent feel like they truly belong, but this is an amazing start.”

Ovative Group hosted their first annual golf tournament fundraiser, the Octopus Open, on Friday, May 20, inviting team members, clients, and partners to deepen their involvement with The BrandLab.

Over 250 participated in golf, lawn bowling and volunteering from Ovative Group, UnitedHealthcare, Special Olympics Minnesota, Radisson, Bright Health, Post, Sleep Number, Mason, CH Robinson, Schwan’s, General Mills, Focus Brands, and more.

“The BrandLab is an amazing organization, taking action to change the face of the industry. We are honored to partner on several initiatives that truly make our team, and communities, stronger,” said Dale Nitschke, CEO at Ovative Group. 

The impact of the partnership lasts  longer than any individual event, by helping students find their place and grow in the industry.

“I am a recipient of the Ovative Group x The BrandLab scholarship. I am originally from Ethiopia. It was never expected that I would go to college. I was lucky to get in touch with The BrandLab and be awarded a scholarship. It changed my life. I am now majoring in Economics and attend college in California,” said Anaa Jibicho who co-founded Didómi, a social enterprise dedicated to combatting the water crisis through reusable water bottles.


About Ovative Group

Ovative Group is a digital-first media and measurement firm that helps clients drive and deliver measurable marketing performance. Founded in 2009 by Dale Nitschke, Ovative brings media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to measure the holistic impact of marketing on clients’ total business using its proprietary metric, Enterprise Marketing Return (EMR). Ovative’s team of marketing experts serve as a trusted partner for its national, world-class client base. Ovative is recognized as an industry leader and has received awards including Star Tribune’s Top Workplaces, MSPBJ’s Fast 50, and Inc. 5000. For more information about Ovative, visit or follow Ovative on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About The BrandLab

The BrandLab’s mission is to change the face and voice of the marketing industry. We envision an industry that thrives with the creativity and insights of all. The BrandLab works with students to achieve professional greatness in marketing. This includes hiring and placing high school and college level students as interns in marketing organizations, like Ovative, and providing support through industry workshops, experiential skills training, professional development, and career and college guidance. We are driven by our values for exposure, access, opportunity, and equity. For more information visit

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

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

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.

Seth Brand

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Seth is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Amanda McCann

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Amanda is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative, specializing in Retail Media Networks.

Jenny Reinke

Senior Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Jenny is a Senior Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

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.

Leander Cohen

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Leander Cohen is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Will Silva

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

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

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Sarah Chang is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

More Awards & Press

Digiday Finalist

Ovative Group Named Finalist for Digiday Awards’ Most Innovative Agency

Ovative was named a finalist for Digiday Awards' Most Innovative Agency. This award highlights Ovative’s innovation, dedication, and operational... Read More »


Insights Team

Ovative Named Media Agency Partner

Ovative Group Named Media Agency Partner for Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx have chosen Ovative as their Media Agency Partner.... Read More »

Insights Team


Ovative Group Wins Digiday Technology Award for Best Marketing Analytics Platform and Earns Finalist Spot for Best Data Team

Ovative is a winner of Digiday’s Technology Award for Best Marketing Analytics Platform and a finalist for Best Data... Read More »

Insights Team

accent bar