Last summer I interned for the Omaha Young Professionals, a catalyst organization led by Omaha locals who are passionate about seeing this city flourish and grow. For six months, my responsibility was to serve as a liaison between the local young professionals and the Greater Omaha Chamber, and help foster networking opportunities for those who had no clue what to think about this awesome town. My initial duties for the job varied between project coordination and public relations. In the beginning, my motivation for applying for this internship was that I wanted to continue gaining as much experience as I could in my field. I just graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in December 2010 and I wanted to make sure my talents and skills were put to use!
I believe I learned a lot about myself as well during this time as I was able to refocus my talents in a way that I never had before.
To be a successful OYP intern, you need to be fluent in these three areas (all of which I used on a weekly, if not daily basis):
- Interpersonal/Relationship building skills
- Project coordination
Every task allowed me to use these skills and from this I understood the true meaning of life: How to prioritize, set goals and most importantly, be my own number one fan! I believe that learning self-confidence encompasses all of these lessons. Self-confidence is the most important characteristic to have if one wants to be successful in any career path.
In college, it was a little easier for me to operate with self-confidence because I was usually working with my peers. And although our student PR firm dealt with some professionals as clients, my immediate interaction was with fellow students. However, in the ‘real life’ workforce, no one is going to notice your skills unless you make an honest effort to demonstrate them.
But I am grateful that I had a boss who was only interested in making sure I got the best experience I could out of this internship. On our first one-on-one, she told me that she wanted me to take on responsibilities and have an impact on our projects and events. And she stuck to her word. The next thing I knew, I was writing press releases, coordinating video shoots and event planning. The best thing about it was I had so much fun! Here is what she had to say, in her own words…
“The most successful intern experiences are those which both parties realize the interests and abilities of the intern and capitalize on those within the program of work. Internships can be difficult when the manager attempts to have the intern cover the entire spectrum of a program (or business) on a shorter time table. When we were interviewing applicants, we didn’t plan to have JoAnna work on the projects she did, but instead at the start of her experience we took time to understand what she would be good at and then set her up to have the opportunity to deeply dive into a specific project.”
On a personal level, this internship helped me gain confidence in my abilities and humble myself to learn more. With this attitude, I was able to talk to other professionals about my work and network more successfully. I can only hope that the next intern has an even greater experience than mine. Because truthfully, the Omaha’s Young Professionals are pretty awesome and being a native Omahan, it made me proud to know that this city is going to take off in the right direction with the leadership and talent of this organization.