Hello All! I’m Kat and I’m from York, Nebraska which is the home of the colorful water tower and the wonderfully crafted fried chicken from Chances R. I am the Co-Director of Fundraising for my sorority Delta Gamma, the Communications Chair for UPC Nebraska, and an ambassador for Guayaki Yerba Mate. You can find me at Pioneers Park on long walks with a cup of coffee in hand, or reading Mark Rothko: A Retrospective acting as if I’m this renowned art critic. My passion for making mood boards and charcuterie boards, as well as crafting “one-of-a-kind” pasta dishes in my apartment are evident as well. However, I would have to say that my brand new experience at Eleanor Creative inspires me the most.
Here are just a few of my thoughts, ideas, and advice that altogether have created a ‘brand new kind of experience’ for me as a Junior Brand Strategist, thanks to the creative and beautiful minds at Eleanor Creative.
Create Your Experience
My internship at Eleanor was created upon this idea — don’t wait for the opportunity, create it. I realized that I could only go so far by waiting for internships to appear on my LinkedIn and Handshake pages. I set the standard for myself in that I didn’t want the run of the mill internship where I would have similar experiences to many of my collegiate peers. I wanted something unique, different, and an experience that wasn’t the same for the next ten people in front of or behind me.
You know the Hamilton lyrics in The Room Where it Happened, the section I’m referring to reads, “I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating”. That’s similar to the feeling I gained in the process of becoming an intern at Eleanor Creative. I found Eleanor through my own research, I arranged the meeting with the owner and CEO, I educated myself and researched anything and everything Eleanor, and I asked the right questions: her story, her leadership style, goals, and aspirations, etc. In return, I had an incredible experience with a brilliant creative who is the one-and-only, incredible Christine Weeks.
It’s that effort and determination that will set you apart from other interns.
The Intern Superpower
I remember reading a blog before I started my internship at Eleanor Creative. I read that as an intern, you are supposed to be seen and not heard. You make coffee, run errands, essentially your task list is similar to the “a la carte” section of the menu. However, when I walked into the office on my first day and started brainstorming brand names, Christine asked me, “What do you think?” and that’s when I realized the intern superpower.
Yes, you will do “a la carte” tasks but you can do those “a la carte” tasks in any way you want. Your brain and ideas are your superpowers. Take advantage of that and don’t be afraid to say what you think. I’m still struggling with this aspect of it all, but the worst thing that can happen is that you gain learning experience and your creativity is stifled, not pushed in other exciting directions.
The other day I was given the opportunity to be a part of the naming process for a new client. In the moment, I felt as if I had the keys to the city! The mere thought of seeing my creative ideas join with everyone else at the table was simply too good to be true. These are the moments where you have every right to bask in this luxury and allow yourself to imagine the next incredible task they can give you.
Learning and Growing
I’ll be honest, the pandemic has put some limitations on my experience as an intern at Eleanor Creative. However, my instructor, Sheena, whose main role at Eleanor is brand strategist, has been the ultimate teacher. I firmly believe that Sheena should receive an award for “best intern educator and instructor during a worldwide pandemic.” Her empathy, encouragement, clear communication skills, and ability to do the absolute next best thing are just a few of her leadership traits that I will forever try to inherit.
Yes, school and classes have helped me understand various aspects of a branding agency, but I have learned more during a pandemic about advertising, public relations, branding, and professionalism than I have throughout my collegiate career. I owe it to Sheena and the incredible Eleanor team. They really do the next right thing in every aspect of their work at Eleanor. So far, I’ve written social media posts, organized social media calendars, written website and blogs, completed social media analytics, participated in team and client meetings, as well as social review meetings, written PR documents, learned and played with adobe applications, aided in the process of completing brand audits and turning them into project briefs, and so much more. I’m convinced that every day I learn approximately 10 new things, which is incredible to think about.
During my internship within this past month, I’ve learned that I am the most passionate about public relations, the power of rebranding, and learning about graphic design. My favorite days are when I get to sit in on client meetings. The stories that take place are phenomenal, and after every meeting, I have a new appreciation for the work that Eleanor Creative does; they truly care about each client, who the client is professionally and personally, and how they can help their clients to do the next best thing.
The Best Advice
With the current state of our world, many of you have lost internships that could’ve changed the course of your career. I empathize with you and I too lost an internship in this process. But this is your chance to do something. We have all the time in the world it seems like. You might say “I’m working at Perkins 40 hours a week and it isn’t going to help my career, but I don’t have time to do something else.” Well you can, this is your chance to email or message any professional that you are inspired by or look up to. There is nothing wrong with asking a professional for some time in their day to meet with you for a learning experience. This is your moment to seize an opportunity and educate yourself on what they do, who they are, and questions that could challenge them.
Remember, your superpowers are your ideas and brain. Use that to propel your career in a time where everybody has more time. Be brave. Be different. Be bold. Be THAT intern. Be the one that created a one-of-a-kind experience during a zoom call with a professional that inspires you. Suddenly, you now have made a professional career move when you thought this was the summer your career was put on pause.