Not everyone finds themselves as the owner of an organization they interned at only months before, but that just happens to be how Owen Woltjer’s (B.S. ’21) story turned out.
He admits that it’s not a typical path for a recent college graduate, but it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
In fall 2020, when Woltjer was a senior at Cornerstone University, he set out to find an organization where he could complete an internship. Woltjer is highly motivated and a self-starter, so that wouldn’t be a problem. Over the years, he’d built a relationship with Joshua Best, the founder of David & Brook, a small advertising agency based in Zeeland, Mich. Best had built David & Brook from the ground up starting in 2019.
Woltjer asked Best if he wanted to have coffee, and during their meeting, he mentioned that he needed an internship.
“I thought what his agency did was fantastic,” Woltjer said. “I wanted to come along for the ride and learn everything I could.”
At the time, Woltjer was studying marketing at Cornerstone. He had remained undecided in his major until his sophomore year. He found it hard to choose one of his passions to focus on, and he has a lot of them—music, ministry, psychology and business, to name a few. But most importantly, Woltjer realized he liked relationship building and presenting ideas.
The internship he was offered at David & Brook was ideal for him. He was able to do the “real work” of marketing and advertising and receive experience in that field.
“The idea of a marketing and advertising agency is a little misunderstood,” Woltjer said. “It’s not like Mad Men. There’s so many other little things that need to happen.”
After just four months on the job, Best was extremely impressed by Woltjer’s intentionality and drive, to the point that when Best was offered an opportunity to work for a client of David & Brook, he offered the agency’s ownership position to Woltjer.
Woltjer’s role in the company went from intern to account director in a matter of months. Woltjer describes his role as essentially building relationships with each client and walking alongside them from the first presentation to the finished product. What’s most important to him is making their dreams and desires a reality for their brand.
By the way, David & Brook aren’t the names of any agency partner or CEO. The names come from Scripture—David being the hero of Israel who defeated a giant and Brook being the stream he chose his weapons from. The name plays off the concept that every individual and company have giants they need to take down. David & Brook provide the tools that brands need to be their very best.
So far, David & Brook has helped develop brands like Craftology, Neurovine, The Ella Foundation and the city of Zeeland’s Strength & Main campaign.
While somewhat out-of-the-ordinary, Woltjer’s experience from intern to owner is a testament to how intentional he has been in his experiences. During his time as a Cornerstone student, he also interned for a Fortune 500 company and a small ministry. No matter what each experience threw at him, he learned from each one and refined his goals based on his experience.
“I gave every opportunity everything I had,” Woltjer reflected. And wherever college students find themselves in their academic careers, he recommends they do the same. “Any opportunity you’re given, be intentional about it and go at it with a hopeful heart. Doing things intentionally and wholeheartedly is going to open up good opportunities for you.”