The Storyware Internship Experience
It’s been a while, but I still remember my time as an intern. Thankfully, my internships at PGA Tour Productions, ISP Sports, and Virginia Tech Athletics were all extremely positive. I like to think those opportunities (and my managers) have influenced how I’ve crafted the Storyware internship “program”.
First of all, our program is not a program in the traditional sense. It’s an experience that changes semester to semester based on the individual. This is by design because Storyware is a small company and priorities can change rather quickly. Therefore, I try to create the right balance of structure and surprise by sticking to three main goals:
- Introduce new projects in the areas where the intern wants to gain experience.
- Assign recurring tasks, ideally on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Leverage the intern’s existing skill set and/or previous experience to make a real impact.
As we interviewed potential interns over the past couple of months, I reached out to some of Storyware’s previous interns to get their perspective on our strategy and see if I’ve been achieving these objectives. Here is some of the feedback:
“I really appreciated having the opportunity to apply my (some) skills and passion in video production to the Storyware internship. It was really rewarding as an intern to see how my skills could be used to make an immediate business impact.”
When Daniel Willson, COO of HackCville, interned for Storyware in the summer of 2013, the primary focus was our Tumblr theme business. We had to invest more in end user support, and Daniel played a key role in our plans. He created all of the help videos and resource guides, which ended up receiving tens of thousands of views.
“Storyware taught me how to use Slack and gave me experience with a CRM–which I am so thankful for, given that my current position requires me to use both these things daily.”
It’s pretty common for our interns to begin a work week not knowing what they will be doing. That’s the result of working for a small company in the services business. Project timelines change constantly and new projects pop up unexpectedly. We have to be flexible in our staffing to combat these challenges. Therefore, throwing interns “into the fire” is a common occurrence when they have previous or related experience. Morgan Assel is a Membership Services Manager for the Washington Capitals. When Morgan interned for Storyware during the 2017–2018 academic year, we gave her an opportunity to gain valuable sales research experience through learning HubSpot’s CRM. She did a tremendous job, and her work paid dividends for Storyware later.
“It was good to have some consistent tasks each day and each week because it gave the internship a general sense of structure. It also helped me see how I could improve day by day and week by week.”
More feedback from Daniel, who was Storyware’s first-ever intern. Given that our internships traditionally focus on sales and marketing, I try to add this structure though tasks like publishing to our social media platforms, sending weekly email newsletters, gathering data for monthly reports, and managing our professional development calendar.
“While I was a student with room to learn, I was also seen as a professional with value to add.”
This is exactly what I want all of our interns to feel! Brittany Snyder interned for us in the spring of 2016, specializing in content strategy and management. After graduation, Brittany continued her focus on digital content for agencies and companies in Prague. At her suggestion, we encouraged Brittany to create, launch, and run the Snapchat account for one of our clients during her internship.
“The ability to have flexibility in what the internship experience looked like was terrific, and I didn’t realize how valuable/rare that could be until future summer internships and jobs.”
Closing with this quote from Daniel. This is what we aim for with every internship. I know our internship program has room to grow, but it’s great to know that we have accomplished what we’ve set out to do on many occasions.
Of course, our internship experience wouldn’t be a success if it wasn’t for Brittany, Morgan, Daniel, and all of the great individuals who have interned for Storyware. I am so thankful for their effort and ideas. The University of Virginia has been our main source of interns since our inception. I’m grateful to have such an outstanding university in our back yard, but also hope we expand our network to other universities.
Based on experience with our past interns, I have no doubt that the students of tomorrow are going to continue to make a significant impact with Storyware while gaining valuable experience for their future careers. If you are interested in learning more about our internship opportunities, please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also published on Medium.
As CEO of Storyware, Todd oversees the direction of the company, business development and operations along with consulting key clients on digital strategy.