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UNF student shares experience as United Way intern

May 8, 2018

By Diandra Thompson


Diandra Thompson interned with United Way's marketing department spring 2018.
Diandra Thompson interned with United Way’s marketing department spring 2018.

As the great Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” In my opinion, the best way to stand out to an employer is taking the initiative to complete an internship. Internships are a great way to gain experience in your career field regardless of the industry you choose to work in.

Here are the top 10 highlights of my experience as a marketing and communications intern at United Way of Northeast Florida:

10) Importance of communication

As much importance as we put on communication, sometimes it is neglected in the workplace. The marketing team always kept me in the loop of organization happenings and it was comforting to know I had a team of individuals who were always available to answer the simplest of questions.

9) Confidence

With United Way being my first internship, I was worried about whether or not I’d meet the expectations of my fellow teammates. Ultimately, it was their patience and encouragement that helped to ease my anxiety. I gained new confidence in the workplace and I now understand the importance of not being afraid to confidently pitch your ideas.

8) Willingness to learn

The ability to further my education in the marketing and communication field is what my internship was all about. I was excited to take part in so many different meetings and to have the opportunity to soak up a lot of ideas and knowledge. Two of my favorite meetings were the website redesign meeting and the production studio tour. The website meeting allowed me to gain insight on how to better target audience segments. The production studio tour gave me a glance into what being behind the production board is feels like and I really enjoyed that feeling.

7) Time management

Time management is an important skill in every field and attests to your professionalism. Knowing how to manage your time when it comes to completing a long list of required tasks is pertinent to prioritizing when and what tasks get done.

6) Prioritization

The companion to time management is prioritization. United Way taught me the importance of putting first things first and deciphering which tasks could wait. Every week, I either had a blog or two to write or graphics to create and with every week came new tasks that required my immediate attention. Creating balance in everything I had on my plate is a task I’ll continue to use throughout my life in and outside of the workplace.

5) Flexibility

No matter the industry, having the ability to shift priorities when you have to is one of the keys to being successful on any team.

4) Importance of mission

United Way’s mission is what drives us to continue to be a part of the positive change being made across Northeast Florida. Everything that is done here is for the people and has a purpose of creating lasting change.

3) Creativity

Interning for a non-profit has opened my mind to how essential it is to be creative. United Way blossoms from the creation of new ideas and campaign strategies. I was able to explore my creativity through various projects including, graphic design, creating social media campaigns, and brainstorming fun and creative ways to encourage audience engagement.

2) Teamwork

One of the many aspects I admire about United Way staff is how much the different departments depend on each other and how well they interact. One of the benefits of having a small marketing team was how well everyone worked together. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more supportive team than United Way of Northeast Florida’s “marketeers.” It’s always great to have people on your team to help motivate you to keep going.

1) Building meaningful relationships

I’ve found that building relationships is much more than just networking. Networking is the short exchange of information to gain familiar acquaintances in your career field, while building relationships is creating a genuine connection with those around you. Building relationships can not only lead to career opportunities, but also lasting friendships.

There were many aspects I enjoyed about my internship experience at United Way, but my favorite part was the kind staff that always welcomed me with open arms. I found experience to be a great way to build my resume and get my foot in the door toward employment in my field of study. I’m leaving my internship inspired to get more involved with my community whether it’s through making a simple gift or volunteering to create change across Northeast Florida.

For more information about marketing internships with United Way of Northeast Florida, visit unitedwaynefl.org/careers.