When it comes to transforming ideas into new products and services, Suffolk alumnus Jason Stenson knows it’s not a one-man show.

Before graduating last spring, he teamed up with his entrepreneurship classmates, as well as Suffolk graphic design students, for a pro-bono consulting project. The project was part of his capstone course, where students build practical skills in an experiential setting as they transition from students to professionals.

Stenson and his team worked with Nancy Marks, who was launching Swing Dog Arts, an expressive art therapy service that helps people recover from illnesses.

Idea to Execution

“The big challenge was that Nancy hadn't started the business yet. It was still in the idea stage, so she was literally starting from the ground up,” Stenson said.

He and his group took a look at Marks’ projected expenses and helped her build a business model that would work for her lifestyle, while still generating a profit.

The biggest challenge was convincing Marks how much she should charge clients. “But after we broke down all of Nancy’s expenses, it helped her realize the value she was providing to clients.”

Building a Visual Identity

Next, it was time to work on the branding and design components.

“We worked with graphic design student Megan Cassello, who delivered a new logo with multiple color palettes, along with branded materials for Swing Dog Arts, such as business cards, envelopes, notepads, and stickers,” Stenson said. “It really provided the branding that Nancy needed for her business.”

Swing Dog Arts was suddenly becoming a reality.

Valuable Experience for the Workplace

Stenson said that constant communication and organized leadership were key factors in the collaborative efforts. His group was able to avoid a lot of potential hurdles by remaining especially disciplined in those two areas.

Stenson and his peers gained valuable experience from their allied efforts. “It was one of the most rewarding classes I experienced throughout college. It felt as if our group was working as consultants in a professional setting for Nancy,” he said.

It’s those real-world skills that have prepared him for the first step in his career. “At the end of the class, I felt ready to take on my own professional career,” said Stenson, who is currently a marketing associate at Moker CPA.