Looks like another great summer in the books. I can’t decide if I am more surprised by how much I learned this summer or by the fact it is already over. Within the next 24 hours I will be turning in my badge, returning my laptop, saying my final goodbyes, and receiving my final performance review (wish me luck!). Tomorrow is the last day, but I feel as though I have so much more that I would like to do. Even during my last week, I have had my hands full with new things!

This week I received the amazing opportunity of attending a Toastmasters International Meeting. For those who are not familiar, Toastmasters is an organization that centers on communication and leadership. To my surprise, Toastmasters operated almost identically to Just A Minute, or JAM, at the Ohio State University. The Toastmaster’s meeting I attended covered table topics. A table topic is when a Toastmaster member is selected to speak on a randomly selected subject. After many more senior members presented, I worked up the courage to give it a whirl. Through some gift of grace, I was given the word sunset. For some strange reason I had some very eloquent, poetic things to say about a diminishing sun. At the conclusion of the meeting I was blown away when I was awarded Best Table Topic (see trophy below). I feel very proud and humbled at the same time. When I begin to work fulltime in a few years, I would love to find a local chapter of Toastmasters and consider competing on a district level! It was really fun.

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In addition to Toastmasters, I also had the privilege of hearing from Beth Mooney, KeyBank’s CEO. Mooney has been famously quoted saying “I hope that when I’m done the fact that I’m the first woman CEO (in banking) isn’t a headline but is relegated to the footnotes, because that will mean others have followed.” When I heard from Mooney this morning, I was lucky enough to ask her thoughts on how others can follow. She provided genuine insight to bringing your best, authentic self to work and always reminding coworkers and bosses that you are here and you want to be a part of every solution. Hearing from Beth Mooney after briefly meeting her earlier this summer was the inspirational cherry on top.

In general, I could not have dreamed of a better internship after my sophomore year. I was unsure of my abilities and what the internship would be like, but I have walked away with so much experience and confidence. I can hardly wait to return to campus as a junior to continue to challenge myself and grow. I want to say a big thank you to all the amazing people at Key that made my internship experience what it is.

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Opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent those of KeyBank.


Point of No Return

This past weekend I visited Cedar Point for the first time in ten years. While at the park, I decided that I would work up the nerve to ride Top Thrill Dragster. After waiting in line for an hour and a half, I was shuffled closer and closer towards the cars. That’s when the anxiousness set in. Before I knew it I was strapped in the car and out of the loading station ready to be launched over 400 feet into the air at record speeds (120 mph). At that moment, I experienced the point of no return. I had crossed the threshold and there was no going back (regardless how terrified I was).

This week during the internship I experienced a similar point of no return. Thankfully my managers did not launch me 400 feet into the air or send me off at 120 mph. This point of no return surrounded a case study that the interns and I had been working on since the moment we joined Key in early June. The case encompassed four different hypothetical prospect companies that Key was interested in. We were tasked with deciding which prospect was most attractive for a partnership or a merger. The RRG interns were broken into two teams for this project. We named our team Risk Team 6 (in reference to Seal Team 6 – because we’re that good). Throughout the past 8 weeks we worked diligently to bring a presentation together.

At last, on Monday, the big day arrived! In addition to our case being the capstone of our internship, the entire risk leadership team was in attendance including the General Auditor Kevin Ryan. After working on this presentation for 8 weeks, we embarked on our final journey as a team. As we approached the presentation room, my heart began to race. To our nerve’s demise, we were selected to go second. While we waited outside the presentation room, I couldn’t help my mind from wandering back to Cedar Point. I remembered the way I felt as I inched closer and closer to the ride. I recalled the way I felt when I was strapped into that wild ride and just waiting for my turn. While I was waiting for my turn to present, I again experienced that point of no return. We had already completed our research, built our slide deck, and practiced our presentation. We were strapped in and just waiting for someone to pull the trigger.

The minutes passed by like hours, but our turn to present finally came. Our deliverable went off with only a few hiccups .We received positive feedback and insightful questions. Just like my anxious experience on Dragster, our team survived and thrived.

These experiences have thoroughly resonated with me as I reflect on my internship. I encourage anyone who is reading this to never let your fear hold you back from anything. Whether it is flying by at high speeds or impressing the entirely leadership suite; never let your nerves hold you back from anything. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how much experience you have, or where you come from, if you trust your intuition and silence the self-doubting voicing in your head there is no limit to what can be accomplished.

Check out some of this week’s intern fun:

Intern Lunch at Carrabbas







Intern 1
Interns at the Rock Hall!






Interns at the Indian’s Game!


Opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent those of KeyBank

Corporate Sustainability

Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility, Corporate Responsibility, Corporate Conscience, Corporate Citizenship, CSR, Responsible Business, or more commonly known as community service done by a corporation. Regardless how you slice it, giving back to the community is becoming more important to employees and employers alike; So important that some companies utilize giving back as a base for their business strategy, for example Toms.

I am proud that I am interning for a company that also celebrates corporate responsibility. Not only has Key granted the Public Square revitalization $4 million, but they also encourage all employees to participate in “Neighbors Make a Difference Day”. Each year on “Neighbors Make a Difference Day” around 6,500 employees participate on a wide variety of community service projects that costs Key a $806,445 wage equivalent value for donating their employee’s time for the day. For more information on Key’s dedication to the community, please check out their 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report.

BVU Volunteers

This year the Neighbors made a difference day fell on May 14th. Unfortunately, the internship began on May 27th after the volunteer day. Key is so invested in the value of corporate sustainability that the intern managers arranged an Intern version of the larger “Neighbors Make a Difference Day”. This past Friday, my fellow RRG interns and I departed the office around 11:30 and traveled to the Community Greenhouse Partners for an afternoon of greenhouse building.

Key Intern Volunteers

Our afternoon started with a pizza luncheon to learn about Cleveland’s water sustainability. After the lunch we proceeded to our service site. The Community Greenhouse Partners show individuals who live in the city ways to live off of the land. It was a pretty incredible operation. For example they had a chicken coup and greenhouses right in the middle of the urban jungle. Upon arriving we were divided into 3 different teams. To my surprise, the team that I was placed on was staffed to fix a 15 foot hole in a chain link fence. I have never built a fence before or really anything to be honest. I experienced quite the learning curve. Once getting into the work we realized there was a bee hive in the ground right by where the fence is. In addition to the bee hive, there was also a mountain of wood chips to get to the fence site. Candidly, it was really challenging to perform the community service. Our first attempt resulted in failure because the chain link fence roll that we were instructed to use was too long, after getting the right size fence we were successful in putting up the fence. Countless bug bites later, the team emerged victorious against the tricky chain link fence.

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Interns and Chickens

Regardless the challenges our team faced, it felt really good to be able to give back to the community. Thank you to Key Bank, BVU, and Community Greenhouse Partners for making this experience possible. Check out this neat article by about the volunteer day!

Opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent those of KeyBank.

A Day in the Life of a Technological Auditor

As I promised in my first blog post, “Gearing up for my Summer Internship at Key Bank”, I will go into more detail about what being an IT General Controls Sox Audit team member looks like on a day to day basis. Before I get into anything too serious, I need to start with the basics. Some of the most important things that I have learned this summer about being a technological auditor are from my marvelous manager, Brian Drotleff. Ironically, most of those things are witty one-liners. Some of my most coveted one-liners are:

  • Be comfortable being uncomfortable
  • Be curious
  • Trust, but verify
  • If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen

With these handy dandy proverbs in your pocket there is nothing you can’t achieve in the working world.

The first saying is by far my favorite. I think being comfortable being uncomfortable is applicable to all parts of life. If you can be comfortable not understanding or knowing everything, but make inquisitive, intelligent steps towards your task, then you will be worlds better off. Throughout my internship I have learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable really quick. From day one I was staffed onto a project looking into access provisioning. I am by no means a subject matter expert on access provisioning, but by accepting what I do know I am able to then build steps to fill the gaps of what I do not know therefore completing my testing. The more comfortable I get with being uncomfortable the better I fair with each set of new testing!

The second maxim once again applies to almost everything in life and ties in very closely with the first. If I had a nickel for every time I was encouraged to be curious, I would probably already be retired. All jokes aside, being curious is really important to being a technological auditor. If I get an email back from app support and I do not really understand what they mean, it’s imperative to take it a step further to make sure my understanding aligns with the deciphered technological lingo and abbreviations (there are abbreviations for everything – including abbreviations for abbreviations).

The third axiom plays off the second. It is paramount for all Risk Review, or the third line of defense, to ensure that what is being reported is accurate. There is no way to ensure the information sourced from applications and systems, if the application and system can’t be ensured to be working efficiently and accurately. For example, if an individual tells you a password is securely stored – that’s great. You can trust them, but you better verify.

The final one-liner is probably the most important. I can be as comfortable being uncomfortable, as curious, or as verified as I want, but none of it happened unless I document it. Throughout my internship the screen shot has become my best friend. I am constantly logging different conversations and pulled reports as form of documentation. As tedious as it may seem, documenting is very valuable. When coming across a speed bump in testing, it is very nice to be able to look back at all the documented details from last year to give clues to the next steps.

The most challenging part about being a technological auditor is walking the line between being a member of the KeyBank team and being an independent body to the lines of business. Many lines of business don’t reply or comply in a timely fashion because we are seen as the folks that show up once a year and point out all of the mistakes similarly to regulators and external auditors. I spend a measurable time at work trying to track down emails and get answers. At the end of the day, we all play for the same team. Whether the lines of business acknowledge it or not, it is much better off for Risk Review to find something rather than the regulators or the external auditors.

Opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent those of KeyBank

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Brian Drotleff – SOX IT Audit Extraordinaire

Performance Review

This week in my summer Managerial Accounting class I learned about the benefits of coaching and engaging team members through performance reviews to bring the team into alignment behind department or company goals. We looked at different ways managers can use accounting to aid in these exchanges.

Ironically this week I received my first set of performance reviews from my managers at Key. I have to admit, learning about performance reviews is much easier than preparing for one of your own. I swear I thought I heard the Jaws theme song as I got closer and closer to the conference room; or maybe it’s just a sign I should tone down binge watching Shark Week.

In case you were curious, all of my reviews went smoothly. I thankfully received positive feedback, which is really encouraging as I’m still trying to wrap my head around the projects I am staffed on. One of the pieces of feedback that I received surprised me a little bit. My manager encouraged me to consider ways the company could be more efficient. My first thought was who am I to tell the 19th largest bank in the USA that it isn’t efficient? Then it occurred to me.

As we journey through college, we teeter-totter between the working world and the world of academia. We are at a paramount position to bridge the gap between the latest case studies from school and the processes used in corporate America. I challenge you to look for connections between your studies and your work experience. Challenge what a book says; ask why to your professor. Challenge a century old process; ask your manager if they would consider a different method that may be more effective.

Time and time again the emergence of data has shown that long held beliefs don’t actually pan out across the data and new information. Be respectful, insightful, and always curious. Improving and learning go far beyond the numbers you analyze or projects you complete. Challenge the way others think and ask for the same in return. Before you know it you’ll be onto something you never thought possible!


Here are some of the fun things that the interns of RRG did this week:

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Opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent those of KeyBank