This summer, Highlights had a total of seven interns in our Columbus offices and our intern program leader (also my boss) organized a ton of events for us! All of these events gave us an opportunity to understand our company and our co-workers better, with many that were focused on networking and the job search after our internship. Between the seven of us, we are a mix of school years with graduation dates ranging from this past May to May of 2021, so we will all be job or internship hunting again soon.
One of our first events was a series of tours for each of our business locations in Columbus. Highlights has their headquarters in Grandview in addition to a second office for one of our associated companies, Zaner-Bloser, down the street. We also have a distribution center for Zaner-Bloser’s products in Hilliard. We were given tours of each of these locations and were able to learn a lot more about the history of our companies.
Other events that we all participated in included mock interviews, resume reviews, and networking sessions with some of our directors and VPs. This not only allowed us to practice our skills for the job search but also simply gave us face time with company leaders, especially ones that were in different job functions than where we currently sit. Having so many events also gave us the chance to meet these people more than once and develop a better connection with them. One person who was particularly involved in many of the intern events was our VP of Operations, Richard, who helped out despite not having an intern in his department.
We have also gotten to meet with our CEO, Kent Johnson, formally and informally a couple of times. Yesterday we had time to sit down with him and hear about how he got where he is today (he became our CEO at age 36!) and his advice for us in our careers. When asked what types of things he works on most in his job, he said that although he does spend a good amount of time looking at finances, what keeps him up at night is managing his people. This was really notable to me in HR, since I assumed his answer would be something in line with finances or strategic planning.
Finally, our biggest event of the summer was undoubtedly our presentations that we gave last Friday. All seven of us presented in the same two-hour time span to our managers, department VPs, and our CEO. Since none of us sit with each other, I think it was definitely a great opportunity to just hear about what we have each been working on in so much detail. The large group that we presented to was a little nerve-wracking but the more times you do it, the easier it gets! Since this was my second internship and therefore my second final presentation, I definitely felt like I didn’t have as much trouble with it as last year.
If you have an internship in the future where they don’t have some of these events, make sure to ask! Most internship programs are always looking for ways to improve the experience for their students and I’ve found that if you ask, they will make it happen if it is possible. Take some of these ideas and look for other events that fit your personal goals for the summer.