University of Texas at Austin Grads Launch Class of 2020 Agency

By Erik Oster 

It’s a tough time to be a recent graduate.

“It’s not easy to jump into the job market and have every headline say it’s going to be tougher than ever,” University of Texas at Austin grad Vanessa Zielinksi told AgencySpy.

“That ignited something in us and we wanted to do something that was positive and still contributing to the world,” added fellow graduate Cruz Rendon.


Rendon and Zielinski are among the University of Texas at Austin grads who came together to form their own agency, Class of 2020, with an emphasis on their expertise of the Gen Z perspective and a stated mission to “empower, grow and support the relationship between brands and communities in a time where it matters most.”

So far they’ve been encouraged by the reception they’re getting.

“Everyone we’ve talked to has showered us with support and it’s really motivating to see that we can be motivated by the people around us to do good work and what we finished school to do,” Isaac Watson said.

Among Class of 2020’s current projects is a collaboration with DeVries Global to reveal “insights on this generation in a post-pandemic environment,” Rendon explained.

“For every generation there’s this big before and after,” Watson said, adding that Gen Z is now considering, “What world do we want to keep? What kind of world do we promote?

Class of 2020 is also working with partners including the 4A’s, Andy Roddick Foundation, APC Collective, Edelman, MAIP, Margin Walker and Publicis Groupe, according to its website. The agency believes it can offer a distinct, informed, inside perspective on Gen Z. In addition to working with brands, Class of 2020 works with agencies to provide extra help to existing agency teams on assignments typically given to interns or entry-level employees while also offering consultation on social media, content creation, campaign ideation, promotion/media relations, and research.

“There’s so much data coming out about our generation. I’m a strategist and a total data nerd. What I’m excited about is we do understand the data, but what we get to do is color that data with stories, with relevant memes,”  Zielinski explained. “We really understand what that [data] means. I’m excited to have that discourse with agencies and clients and make sure what they’re saying isn’t missing the point.”

She added that while there’s a great deal of emphasis placed on Gen Z’s extensive screen time and use of social media, what’s often missed is the empathy and openness that goes into those social connections.

“I think that’s because we’ve been building online communities on our own. We get to see what their stories are like so when something is new to someone who is older, we are like, ‘We get that, our friend across the world gets that, they’ve gone through it.’ We have our hearts open and our minds open as well,” Rendon said.

Class of 2020 operates in an open and collaborative environment across services including creative and experiential ideation, PR, social media, strategic planning and research, with each member of its team focusing on a different specialty. Rendon specializes in PR and media relations and leads new business conversations with potential clients, Zielinksi takes a client-facing role on brand planning and strategy, Watson specializes in creative and experiential and Meagan Doyle handles digital and social media.

“We don’t exactly know where it will be in a year or two years from now but we’re all [gaining] valuable experience,” Rendon said. “I didn’t know everything that went into starting a business and now I have that foundation.”