A letter to the next Make-A-Wish Communications Intern

by elizabethshae

WISH INTERNS

Dear new communications intern,

Welcome to Make-A-Wish ® America and congratulations for landing what is arguably one of the best non-profit internships in the country.

I must start off by saying I envy you to extreme amounts. As you are reading this, I am long gone from sitting in the cubicle that is now your new work space. My journey with Make-A-Wish has ended and yours is just beginning. I encourage you to take advantage of every second you get to spend here. I am taking away from this experience something that I could have never learned behind the walls of any classroom.

The communication internship is unique because it is like a two-in-one opportunity, not to mention, Josh and Mark are some of the most talented communications professionals I have ever encountered.  Coming into this, I have always felt a need to defend my love for communications. People always seem to label this field as easy and the “lazy degree” of college. After this internship, I feel no need at all to continue defending it. The work I have seen completed in my 3 months here speaks for itself.

In all honesty, what you are going to take away from this experience is going to be based on you opening up and taking chances. When I walked in here, I was unsure what to expect. I was timid, scared and often refrained from contributing to meetings. Now, as I am leaving and have loosened up, I encourage you to not hold back. This opportunity is of high caliber, take advantage of it.

There are things I have learned since starting here that I want to share with you; things I think may save you some time.

Basics

  1. Read the branding style guide tonight. You are going to need to know it.
  2. Do the e-learnings. I know they can seem boring, but they really do help. When I came in, I thought I knew all there was to know about Make-A-Wish. I was so wrong.
  3. Learn about the other departments and ask about the structure/chain of command immediately. I was so confused about who was who, who did what, etc. I felt like I should already know and was nervous to ask. Josh explained it to me one day, totally made things so much easier.

Josh

Note: I spent the majority of my internship working under Josh.

  1. Loves clean, concise, neat and simple. Stick to that when formatting documents
  2. Likes your contribution in meetings, really wants to know your ideas
  3. Make an email signature ASAP (one of those pet-peeves)
  4. Take chances, be creative. He likes that.
  5. Take notes for him in meetings. He won’t typically ask you to, but always liked when I did.
  6. He is very intelligent; ask him career advice and the like. He is more than willing to talk about it.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask him questions. He is seriously so nice and wants you to be able to take a lot away from this.
  8. Ask him about being managing editor of a paper at 17. So impressive!!!
  9. He knows a ton about NBC/broadcast media. He used to be a meteorologist. Great convo starter and way to butter him up. He’s kind of a nerd about it and can name call letters and market sizes on the spot. Very cool though! 😉
  10. Ask him to learn about the daily wish, Be In The Know, and Week-In-Review. They are kind of tedious tasks, but interesting and he can definitely use the extra help with them.

Mark

  1. Mark is a FANTASTIC networking source. Get to know him and the people he knows. He is very, very experienced!
  2. Don’t take his jokes seriously and joke back. He is hilarious.
  3. He never remembers his passwords, LOL.
  4. Great for career advice.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask him questions he loves to teach.
  6. Ask to write press releases for him. He is more than willing to teach his ways.
  7. Watch closely how he pitches to the media, very smooth.
  8. Listen when he is on the phone. Often he gets off the phone and asks you if you heard that. Then he will proceed to explain what he was talking about and what he did.
  9. Get career advice from him. He knows his stuff!

Finally, I hope you enjoy yourself as much as I did here. If you ever get bogged down and to feeling annoyed by your workload I encourage you to take breaks. Stop, go to wish.org, youtube, where ever and watch Make-A-Wish videos, read stories and look at pictures. It was always enough to motivate me.

One of the biggest things I tried to remember when I would get frustrated was that my current situation was only temporary and just a mood. The kids I am doing this for are in much worse situations.

Enjoy yourself and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions at all.

Sincerely,

Shae Snyder

Contact information:

Elizabeth.Shae.Snyder@gmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.shae.9

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