GreenStone’s internship program seeks to build leaders and provide interns with the skills they need to excel as they prepare for their professional careers.
This week we are talking with James Kosmerick, the Brand Manager for the GreenStone Marketing and Public Relations Department and direct supervisor of the two current marketing interns. He shared his wealth of knowledge and discussed how the marketing department seeks to develop leadership among their interns.
Q: In what ways do you feel interns are valuable to your department? To GreenStone?
A: The interns provide a fresh perspective to our department with their new ideas and ways of looking at problems and providing solutions. We give them freedom to be creative in their projects and tasks and collaborate with team members to solve problems. Our goal is to tailor this internship program to provide the next generation of company hires. This is why our interview process is extensive; we are looking for the next generation of GreenStone employees, and we hope to provide a positive and meaningful internship experience so that our interns desire to work at GreenStone when they finish. The interns in our department also help employees and teammates develop mentorship skills and enhance our marketing and overall business strategy, which goes back to the fresh perspective that I touched on earlier.
Q: What have you learned the most from your interns, past and present?
A: This continues to resonate: Interns are hungry to learn and work in the business world to gain knowledge, enhance skills and gain insight into the workforce.
Q: What goals do you set to encourage and develop leadership among interns?
A: Leadership goals are built within each intern’s job role. We develop leadership by encouraging interns in connection building, decision making, time management, project management, self-discipline, and team-first responsibility. Leadership is something that is developed over time, but you can usually tell if people have those initial basic skills just by talking to them; people who are inquisitive, people who are go-getters - that is the first sign of potential leadership. And then you go from there and try to foster it by allowing them to work on projects independently. We are there to help, but we give them the parameters and then allow them to develop their own style and leadership qualities within that project. Afterwards we debrief and talk about what went right, what went wrong, and help guide them on those items that did not go perfectly, because no one ever does everything perfectly, and they develop over time. Leaders in our department are people who solve a problem, plan it out, and continually ask questions.
Q: What are the industry-specific skills that interns learn in your department?
A: Our interns are getting that integrated look at how we are working internally within departments. Marketing interacts with sales, operations, human resources, and other segments of the company to then be able to develop marketing strategies that help in those problem areas that we need solved. You get to see how marketing is truly a problem-solver within the company. Other departments run into issues and they come to marketing for help, usually regarding how to gain more leads or connect more with customers, but also a variety of other issues. Our interns are gaining the skills to do that. Part of it is collaborating with those departments and internally with our team, and part of it is learning how to come up with research to do it, where to go for the research, how to then formalize a plan and make an outline. All of these things are important not only in marketing, but in the business world itself.
Q: How do you build trust with the interns in the tasks that they are assigned to, especially when they are working remotely?
A: Once interns start in the Marketing department, we immediately focus on building trust by providing them with information they need to be able to do their job. We then monitor and actively collaborate to make sure, not that they are not doing their job, but that they are not struggling with it. Whether it is through our project management software or through our weekly team meetings and one-on-one meetings, we build trust by giving the interns the space to lead their projects, but also the help they need to build trust and collaborate with the team and receive constructive feedback.
The Marketing and Public Relations department currently has two interns: Alaina Schrauben, a Marketing & Writing Intern, and Camryn Lewis, an Event & Outreach Intern.
“This GreenStone internship has not only allowed me to learn more about marketing and develop creative skills, but it has also given me the opportunity to strengthen my leadership skills in a way that is going to prepare me for my last semester at school and beyond,” says Alaina. “They have let me take the lead on a variety of projects and have given me the responsibility I need to grow in this position. Marking is an essential function to any business strategy, and GreenStone has instilled the knowledge in me to understand this more!”
To learn more about GreenStone’s internship program, visit Internships (greenstonefcs.com).