I have been going through my things lately, at home and in the office. Tidying, cleaning, and preparing for the removal of every trace of me from my desk on the 13th floor of the Met building. I’ve come across sticky notes, agendas, random event collateral, and loose paper that was relevant at some point in the last 9 months. All of these things hold memories. Flashes of experiences had, feelings felt, and relationships made. I’ve got too many business cards to know what to do with, tchotchkes of the finest (and least fine) quality, and more notebooks than my bibliophilic heart can handle. I will be taking with me more than the material artifacts I’ve accumulated over my time here.
It all started with building a relationship. I met the former COO, Gisele Marcus, while working at a previous position. Her presence really left an impression on me. I reached out to her on LinkedIn to keep in touch should I decide to leave the roll I was in. Months later, I did leave and found myself scrolling through my LinkedIn feed for job inspiration. I was impressed by Gisele’s engagement on the platform and did some further investigation into her role. I imagined myself working in an environment surrounded by people like her. Encouraging, empowering, and serious about making authentic connections. I found myself scrolling through the Chamber’s website. I clicked through the mission and vision of the Chamber and right onto the careers page. I came across the listing for a Marketing and Communications Intern and considered applying. For context, I don’t have a degree in marketing or communications. I do, however, have experience in the customer service and retail industries, making me a talking-while-walking marketer. So, I considered reaching out to Gisele.
For those of you who know me now, I wasn’t the best at reaching out and starting conversations. I have been working on my social skills and this was the first step. I shrugged off whatever feelings of self-doubt were creeping up and shot Gisele a direct message. I thanked her for her exemplary engagement on LinkedIn as it attracted me to her in the first place and mentioned that I saw an internship opportunity available on the Chamber’s website. I wasn’t sure if I would be a good fit considering my lack of formal education on the subject. She assured me otherwise and encouraged me to apply. That was exactly what I was looking for. An environment that fostered venture into the unknown offering support and guidance along the way. I applied.
Not long after, I received an email asking to schedule a phone interview. I excitedly scanned the website and LinkedIn for all of the information I could find that I felt was relevant. When Alesha called, I was so nervous. I had never been nervous for an interview before. When the conversation ended, I was almost sure I bombed. But just a few days later, I received another email requesting a follow up interview. This time, at the Chamber! I was so excited. Once again, I dove into the website and social media to find out as much about the Chamber as I could.
When I arrived at the St. Louis Regional Chamber for the interview, I stepped off the elevator to be greeted with the warmest smiling face. It was that of Dee Johnson, the front desk customer service support. She greeted me with a compliment of my own smile. I can honestly say, she set the tone for the rest of my day. I felt entirely welcome and even at home here already.
I spent longer than the 30 minutes allotted for our interview speaking with Adrienne, Bailey, and Alesha about how my previous job experience and current enrollment in a massage therapy program tied into marketing and communications. They were impressed because here I am, nine months later, typing this at the end of my internship experience.