Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Internship Interview Part I

I decided to split this post into segments because I interviewed both of my bosses. From each woman I learned so much and am insanely grateful for this opportunity. Not all the responses are perfectly word for word but I did my best.

To update any reader, I was previously interning at Smith Memorial Playground in Fairmount Park. The internship entailed me working as part of their promotion team for their three summer music kid festivals.

The first interview was with Zoe Hillengas,  Communications Manager.
What was your first experience with art? "First thing I ever did as a child at two or one years old, was draw. Before I knew how to write, spell, etc. I was drawing."

What things would you change differently in your career? “I’m happy with the path I have been on. I think you can learn anywhere you are. I think what I need to work on now is taking more risks. I am a creative person, eventually I want to be self employed. I am happy with the skill building I have been doing. But I think what’s next is those extra strides to take in that direction.”

What's the biggest thing you've learned working at Smith Memorial so far? “I’m getting good management experience, with you and Liz (fellow intern from Drexel). Managing a large workload, and how to multitask at a larger level than ever before.”

Have you had any mentors shape you into the person you are today? “I can’t name just one. I have had a series of mentors from all walks of life. Artistic mentors, music teachers, families, etc. Especially through the artistic lens, such as when you’re learning a craft. It is a great opportunity for mentorship. People who work here at Smith too (are also mentors), definitely my colleagues. It is a small staff and we support one another.” 

Since you didn't go to University of the Arts, where did you go? "Berkelee college of music, contemporary writing and production. 

What advice do you have for me? “I encourage you to try as many things as possible. If you are in the space of wanting to try a lot of things a nonprofit is a good idea. There is often a small staff, and you can get your feet wet in a lot of different areas. Don’t be afraid to try different things! If things don’t work out and you fail helps in the learning process too. Put yourself out there and make yourself uncomfortable.”  

How did you get from college to here? “When I was in school I went into school thinking I was going to take the performance track. When I graduated I was working behind the scenes in the performance arts. I got out of school and worked in arts administration as a teacher. I liked teaching, but I felt others were more passionate about those areas. So I focused on administrative work, from there I found out I was really good at creative marketing. Developing content, communications and some PR work. When I figured that out I began to look for jobs in those areas. There were periods that I was working four part time jobs. And times when they all fell off and I was unemployed. But eventually I found jobs in those areas such as  for parks and rec, education and then I came to Smith.” 

What's the biggest lesson you've learned from working at Smith? “It ties into management experience and supervising other people. But what it boils down to is knowing how to communicate to other people how to help me, it allows me to focus on the big picture, what I’m good at, and what I enjoy.” 

Other advice I quickly jointed down from that day: 6 months before you graduate (winter): start setting up meetings, job applications with the dates of when you graduate, alum office so you can contact the alum in your area, informal: graduating soon, ask for an opportunity. Set up a plan. Start running the numbers the winter before, call the loan company, etc. 

Call the loan company now, get concrete numbers together. 

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