Graceland University Attends the Principal Voice of the Young Consumer Business Challenge

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Press Release

April 21, 2017

The 2017 Enactus team poses in front of Principal Financial in Downtown Des Moines

Graceland University believes experiential learning is an important part of student success, and the Principal Voice of the Young Consumer (VOYC) Business Challenge provides Graceland social media marketing students with just that. Each spring for the past five years, students in the Social Media Marketing class at Graceland have had the opportunity to develop a real marketing plan for a Fortune 500 company.

On April 18, a team of select Graceland University student presenters –Keira Porter (team leader), Amber Edwards, Kari Cardiel, Tyler Wood, Alex Richt, Jackson Shantz, John Greenlaw and Arlington Nunez – traveled to Principal Financial Group world headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, for the 2017 VOYC, where they presented an original marketing plan to the company’s top executives.

In addition to Graceland, the 2017 participants included Drake University, Grand View University, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa. This semester’s business challenge asked each team to develop a marketing strategy to help Principal engage and then re-engage contingent (contract) workers.

This year, Graceland students brought another unique idea that enabled them to progress through the semi-final round ultimately ranking third overall in the competition.

According to Principal, the VOYC University Partnership program provides an experiential learning opportunity for marketing students to address a “real” business challenge throughout the semester. In return, Principal receives the millennial consumer perspective related to their business.

Graceland University Associate Professor of Business Jeff McElroy teaches Social Media Marketing and has taken students to the challenge each year. It is through McElroy’s contact with Graceland alumna Terra Whipple `09 that Graceland was originally invited to participate in the inaugural event, and Graceland students have been asked to return each year. It’s these connections and opportunities that help make Graceland University empowering for students.


“I love how we got the opportunity to present and elaborate on our ideas to Principal in the final round of the competition. Our presentation came out better than I expected and I am grateful to have the opportunity to present with a stellar group.”

~Alex Richt `17

“I was grateful to present with a wonderful group of people to an amazing company that took the time to learn from us.”

~Jackson Shantz `17

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