Working specifically for a non-profit organization that’s youth involved instead of interning for a creative agency seemed like a risky decision when I started the semester. While I read other students’ reflections on their internships I began to realize that I wouldn’t get much of a variety in terms of clients and kinds of designs and I feared that my experience might not be as interesting as everyone else’s seemed to be. As the weeks passed however, I realized that my fears didn’t need to be fears. Working for one main client has been a blessing in disguise because I’ve been able to see from the inside how the mind of a client works. Instead of getting a brief and then having to deliver drafts without much conversation in between, I’ve been able to communicate with the staff regularly and get a better idea of what is needed and wanted. The turn-around time here is not that fast which I know is a stark contrast to what I’ll have to deal with in the future of my career but at generationOn, deadlines are set way in advance and everyone knows when something is coming up. There’s really no last minute designing because the campaign dates are on the calendar and have to follow a design style based on the sponsor/partner for the specific campaign so there’s a style and form to follow at all times.

Beyond the things I can apply to design, working at genOn this semester has inspired me in terms of volunteering and bettering our community. I read stories of genOn youth doing great things across the country to combat problems in their cities and even in bigger communities and I am motivated. This feeling of wanting to be involved has been heavy on my mind lately and I’ve been thinking of how the worlds of service and design can overlap. Although I don’t know what direction I would like to take it in, I would love to find a way to merge these things I’m passionate about to help the world in some capacity. Reading about some of the ways these kids have put together events for those less fortunate has made me realize that creativity goes a long way, beyond the ability to make aesthetically pleasing things. That said, there has to be a way to bring art and design to community service in a new, exciting manner and my goal is to figure out just how it can happen. I’m very excited to find out just how it can be possible to achieve!

Another reason I’m glad I stuck with my gut feeling and decided to come to genOn is the staff. Everyone has been very friendly and helpful. I’m more than thankful for the instruction and encouragement of these women that I’ve met here at genOn. It’s somehow strengthened my already undying support for women in business to be part of a women-led team. Just a few of the things they’ve taught me are:

  • Practice What You Preach – during my first day here, I was told that in keeping with this expression, they like to do service projects with the staff and I’d have the opportunity to give back to the community. (That’s how I had the amazing chance to volunteer at the Bowery Mission, a mindset-changing event that I’ll never forget.)
  • Believe in Yourself and Your Abilities – once, I mentioned that I was a bit nervous to show my design for something because I worried that it wouldn’t be liked. Kate responded to my email with this: “These are beautiful! Don’t send work over saying you’re apprehensive – sell it girl!!! You have talent! ” She reassured me that my design was great and it made me think differently. I never really think that it’s important to be confident in my work & now, I realize how silly that actually is.
  • Talent Sharing is Caring – it’s very normal in the office to hear people asking for help with a program or task as well as offering help. Our lunch and learn meetings were founded on the staff sharing their talents and knowledge with us interns so that we’d be better prepared to go on to our next positions. Everyone helps each other because they know that the work will be stronger with the combination of everyone’s talents and special skills.

I’m very happy to have been working among these strong, powerful professional women and I’ll really miss the cupcake parties, conversations about Beyonce, and hearing all the interesting stories from their youth.

These are just some of the things I’m thankful for in this internship and I couldn’t have imagined a better semester as an intern.