Word on the street is that Leo Burnett, Chicago and ComEd are on a mission to get more young girls involved in science, technology, engineering and math with the help of some unlikely learning tools — racing a set of old refrigerators.
The ComEd Icebox Derby is a four-year-old initiative that gives teams of young girls a unique opportunity to explore a future in science by turning a recycled fridge into a race car — and then racing them!
Thirty Chicago-area girls from ages 13 to 18 were chosen for the six teams that included names like Green Galaxy,” “Teal Turbo,” “Yellow Spark” and “Orange Flare” to compete in a six-lap race at Daley Plaza, Chicago.
For this year, the competition’s curriculum also included solar energy in the cars’ construction as a way to introduce the girls to renewable energy technology.
Now in its fourth year, it’s a program Burnett Executive Creative Director Dan Chodrow is proud for the agency to go full throttle.
“Leo conceived the derby a few years back and it’s only grown over time. We handle the overall design, branding and advertising of the program, including paid media and press relations. We create everything from individual identities for each team to more general communication around the historic role of women in STEM,” he explained.
Chodrow added that a big insight for him personally was the idea of how one small action can have multiple impacts.
“Somebody paid enough attention to the environment to recycle their old fridge,” he said. “Then, ComEd used that fridge, not only as an example of energy efficiency and the client’s commitment to solar power, but as a means to encourage women to engage with STEM.”
For both the agency and ComED, the race represents a commitment to finding ways to bridge the gender gap that persists in the STEM fields by providing girls an opportunity to jumpstart that future.
Chodrow shared, “I hope that people are reminded that more students in STEM means a brighter future. Specifically, we need to focus on women in STEM, because their current participation is disproportionately low.”
On your mark, ladies…
Dan Chodrow, EVP | ECD
Jim Stallman, SVP | CD
Natalia Kowaleczko Design Director
George Apfelbach, Associate Creative Director
Ainara Del Valle, Associate Creative Director
Jesus Alvarez, Senior Art Director
Tracie Roberson, Senior Copywriter
Caroline Ross, Senior Designer
Randy Rogers, Designer
Denny Grant, EVP Account
Amanda McKinney, VP Account Director
Danielle Pallardy, Senior Account Executive
Laurie Mitchell, Senior Account Executive
Juan Woodbury, SVP Production
Colleen Capola, Producer
Peggy Walter, Talent
Alina Carrel, Talent
Chris Clark, Music
Alec Stern, Music
Weston Pagano, Music
Chance Cooper, SVP Counsel
Follow Colin Costello on Twitter @colincostello10.