I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into my summer internship at Williams Whittle. Even though I am an advertising major in college my past internship with a startup company had little to do with advertising and more to do with marketing the startup. All I knew before I started was that I was looking for an internship that furthered my experience within the field of advertising while also giving me the opportunity to make a lasting impression on my employers, no matter the size of said impact. While the latter can only be told with time, there were two aspects of my internship this year that really stood out to me.
The first of them being the actual work that the company assigned to me. The stereotype of an intern is being a coffee runner or being given tasks that nobody else in the company would do. Having an all-virtual internship in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic eliminated the possibility of me getting coffee for anyone, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that none of the work I was given throughout my time felt like busy work or typical intern work. Everything I was doing had a clear and obvious impact on the company or a client’s goals which was extremely rewarding for someone who is trying to find his footing within the professional world. Additionally, the chance to get to do such work for non-profits made the entire experience that much more memorable. As someone who has grown up working with and volunteering for multiple different non-profits, giving back to people and the community is a concept that was instilled in me at an early age. Knowing I was working for and with some of the important people that made up the non-profits I had the opportunity to work with at Williams Whittle made my time that much more enjoyable. It was also extremely special to me that one of our clients commented on the quality of my work and even asked me and my fellow intern, Abby, for additional help. Which helps transition to my next point…
The people I worked with at Williams Whittle and the culture within the company added a layer of depth and experience that I wasn’t quite expecting from my time as an intern. Our weekly status meetings on Monday morning usually consisted of 2-3 minutes of chit-chat before getting into business. I felt this helped transition me into more of a work mode after the weekend. However, more importantly, it helped me get to know the people I worked with despite the internship being all virtual. All my coworkers were super helpful. They consistently took time out of their busy schedules to walk me through anything if I needed help. I was always thanked when I turned something in and even though my work was praised, I also got a healthy dose of notes on what I could improve upon. I relished the feedback because it made me feel more as though I was an employee and not just an intern that was there for the summer. It felt so rewarding for the people I work with to say that I did a great job as they presented my work to our clients. Getting to know my coworkers and being able to experience such a great culture made me feel deeply connected to the company for which I was working.
While trying to sum up my past three months was somewhat difficult, what isn’t difficult is to recap two of my favorite parts about my experience with two of the most valuable lessons I learned during my internship. The first is to do what makes you happy. I was extremely fortunate to be able to land such an exciting opportunity and I can truly say that this summer would not have been the same without working at Williams Whittle. Being passionate about your work will not only make your work seem less tedious but will also improve the quality of your work as well. Second, make friends and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The people you work with can make a huge difference when it comes to teamwork and the overall performance of a team or company. Reaching out to others to see if they need any help and getting to know your coworkers can go a long way in improving the overall cohesiveness of the group.
Overall, I cannot thank the team at Williams Whittle enough for providing me with the opportunity to work for and with them this summer. I look forward to hearing great things about the company down the road.
Eric Stein is a senior at the University of Tennesse, Knoxville majoring in advertising.