For my final post, I thought I would talk about one other aspect of my job that I have taken a lot of pride in over the last few years: one of the co-coordinators of our 40-plus person team’s intern program. I’ve taken a lot of pride in working in this program because I love the opportunity to teach and work with new people who have joined our industry. For about 18-months, I’ve gotten to play the role of mentor for these fresh faces in PR, and it’s been fun.
One of the reasons I’ve taken a lot of pride in this role is that I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the internships – and incredible mentors in those programs – I had along the way. The path to this career I mentioned on Monday may have inaccurately come across like a straight trajectory, but it really was far from it. In fact, the winded route that took me to Edelman involved some side stops that taught me many intangible and tangible things that have made me the professional I am today.
There were the numerous internships in marketing in athletics and media, and while they may not be directly related to what I do now, there were definitely lessons. I joked in a grad school application that there is no reminder that you don’t always end up doing what you thought you signed up to do when your next task may involve sitting in a dunk tank outside of Gillette Stadium before a 40-degree October night game (that was my ESPN radio internship during senior year at Chestnut Hill). Same goes for those 7 a.m. Saturday mornings I worked to help get the Carrier Dome ready for the thousands of fans coming in for the next Orange basketball game.
Then there were the practical ones, like the internship I had at LEWIS PR when I first moved to PR. I learned two types of things those days. The first set of lessons were related to learning the trade of PR in the tech space – one that was more entrenched in online communication and media types since it was at the leading edge of the field. There were valuable first-time experiences in creating media lists or pitching stories to tech publications. That was definitely important, and those are still functions that are generally what I have to do or manage on a daily basis.
The much more valuable lesson was how to teach, train and mentor. I was incredibly lucky to work in a small office of five people – at one end of the room was my desk and at the other was the DC branch’s general manager, Ian Lipner. Ian went out of his way to teach me how to swim in the professional world of public relations – including being the one who made sure my resume ended up at Edelman after my internship with his team concluded.
I think I’ve gravitated to working with interns, perhaps without knowing it, because of the influence, mentorship and kindness of Ian. He wanted to see me succeed, and hopefully I’ve done him proud in the four years since I first met him.