Orange Umbrella

The nation’s only full-service, student-run communication consultancy




Orange Umbrella is the nation’s only full-service, student-run communication consultancy. Operating out of the School of Communication at the University of Miami, Orange Umbrella utilizes an experiential-based learning model, in which students put their skills to use for local and national clients. Orange Umbrella gives students a unique opportunity to take their abilities far beyond the classroom and right into the industry.

Orange Umbrella was founded in January 2017 as the vision of Gregory Shepherd, Dean of the School of Communication at the University of Miami. The name Orange Umbrella references the wide-ranging services the consultancy provides, while drawing inspiration from the many orange umbrellas found across campus.

Since its founding, Orange Umbrella has employed over 150 students and completed projects for over 80 different clients across a variety of industries, including non-profit, media and entertainment, healthcare, retail, food and beverage. Orange Umbrella provides a variety of services, including advertising, strategy, web development, social media consulting, design, branding, videography, public relations, event planning, and much more.

Staff members meet for class on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week at their on-campus headquarters, the Koenigsberg & Nadal Interactive Media Center (IMC) in the School of Communication. Here, students collaborate with their peers, meet face-to-face with clients and take the necessary steps to fulfill project deadlines. The staff is separated into five departments: account management, business development, creative, public relations, and strategy.

Meet OU
Under the guidance of Managing Director, Melissa Jane (MJ) Barnes, advisory boards and seasoned alumni, staff members infuse industry-based best practices into all of the work they do. While Orange Umbrella is staffed by students, the level of service and forward-thinking ideas reach far beyond traditional student output. All work is reviewed by professionals before being shared with clients, ensuring the highest standard of excellence.

Additionally, Orange Umbrella takes pride in its truly collaborative company culture and strong client relationships. Staff members are expected and encouraged to work across departments to solve problems and solicit the best possible ideas and solutions from their peers. Orange Umbrella developed proprietary workflow models and standard operating procedures, ensuring client expectations are fully met.

This ever-improving, fully-flexible structure helps the business to create the ideal educational and professional environment for both staff members and clients. By doing this, Orange Umbrella bridges the gap between the traditional classroom and the workplace.

Orange Umbrella operates on the pillars of education, business, and professional development. Although Orange Umbrella is a fully-functioning business, it’s also the most unique class at the University of Miami. Staff members reach their full potential as students through the experience they gain and the network of professionals guiding them.

Each small success sprouts an opportunity for students to learn and grow. Additionally, Orange Umbrella invests heavily in the professional development of its staff through initiatives such as resume workshops, job shadowing, networking events, and guest lecture series.

By building up and equipping each of our staff members to be the best professional they can be, Orange Umbrella is ensuring the future success of our team members and the business as a whole. Everyday, Orange Umbrella is setting the bar for what education, collaboration, and young, dedicated minds are capable of achieving.

Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems