This blog has been, by far, the hardest for me to write. I am sitting here, sipping my coffee with a shot of pumpkin, staring at a blank page. Here's why:
First and foremost, I don't want to think that my time here may be coming to a close. To think that I have been here for 6 months is just so shocking because that means my semester is approaching an end, but weird because it feels like I've been here for so much longer. I have built a life here, so to speak. The idea of leaving hadn't crossed my mind until I was asked to write this blog about my time here, and then I realized just how long it has been.
I've learned so much (but there is still so much more to learn).
From simple things like learning how to create tables with headings on Excel, to harder things like CRM and applications such as Q360. From writing blogs, to newsletters, to collateral, to editing and proofing everything.
Branding, cultural values, cohesiveness within the company, how to build a website, all the moving parts to a marketing team; I've been exposed to so much, and I am forever grateful for it.
However, there is so much more left to learn. Every week that I am here at Ronco, I learn something new. When I ask, "what's next?" I am given something new, interesting - sometimes challenging - and I appreciate it all the more.
I have felt appreciated, and I know that it is genuine.
Everything that I do, I know that Liz and Emmi are appreciative. When I started taking over the monthly newsletters, I visibly saw the stress melt off of them (especially since they were elbows deep in website creation). And it isn't just the newsletters, it is any number of things that may be low on the priority list, but still on the list. Helping them to check off things is a great feeling.
Everything I edit and proof, I know that they get a sense of relief because they know that everything they send out is going to be perfect - both in message and in grammar.
Every time I ask to help with something, especially when it is something the team is stressing about, I know they appreciate the gesture (even if I have absolutely no experience doing such things). They know I am willing to try and do anything, just show me once and I'll do it. For instance, I am starting keywords (for SEO) with Emmi soon - totally excited to be exposed to something new, and I know she is grateful for the help since there are so many pages!
I have learned to be confident (well, more than I was)!
I have always been painfully introverted. It has been hard for me to talk to people I didn't know. I have always been a listener, not a talker. With Liz and Emmi, I have come out of my shell a lot. With the countless phone calls I've made (even if it is my least favorite part of the job), to the customer appreciation event I helped with in Pittsburgh, to happy hours, to networking events -- they have exposed me to different people and different settings, and I appreciate every single one of them. They got me to talk, to socialize, and to come out of my shell around different types of people.
Having no experience in the industry or knowledge of the company, I really questioned my abilities when I first started my internship here. The most important thing that I have learned is that I can learn and I can grow. This internship has served as a gentle reminder that knowledge is always developing, and I have learned to be confident in that. I have learned that it doesn't matter if I don't know what I am doing at this second, I have a supporting team that is willing to show me the ropes and I'm in an environment that breeds creativity and growth. I am confident that I will learn, especially under Liz and Emmi; they won't let me sink, we will swim together.
And that leads to the last piece of information that I have learned...
I have found a family.
Ronco is a culture that I haven't been exposed to before. Everyone cares about everyone else. I have been fortunate to meet so many of Ronco's employees, from a handful of our locations and the close-knit bond between everyone is just so refreshing to see. Sure, they may be coworkers, but they are friends (and family) too. They create a friendly and fun environment, taking the Ronconian values in stride, and personalizing all of them. From each member of the HQ team that passes my desk each morning and welcomes me with a warm "good morning" and a smile, to the pop-ins throughout the day, to the techs at GIB (our Buffalo location) that showed me the awesome sound systems that they were working on, to all of the members of Ronco I met at networking events and happy hours, and to the entire Pittsburgh office team that allowed me to throw axes with them and have a great time --- everyone made me feel, well, at home.
My mentor, Liz, cares for me and wants me to be successful in all that I do. She helps guide me in the right direction for new projects and she encourages me to try new things, giving me exposure to so much more than I thought was possible. She greets me each morning with a positive attitude and questions about my life, along with catching me up on everything I missed when I wasn't in. This woman even gifted me a personalized shirt that said: "Haven't coffeed, can't English," which was a line that I happened to mutter out one morning before I had my coffee (I am so very terrible at English while functioning without coffee). She is definitely the best boss I have ever had, and I have had quite a few. She genuinely cares and you can tell. In the end, that's one of the things that makes a company worth working at; feeling like you belong.
Emmi, another mentor of sorts, allows me to look over her shoulder, takes the time to teach me things that I'm not familiar with, and welcomes any and all questions. Although I know nothing of the steps that makes the magic happen, watching her operate in Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Cloud as a whole is an other-worldly experience. Her personal conversations with me each day helps get me through (and I think it gets her through too). I look up to her so much. Only a couple years older than I am, she shows me how hard work and dedication can get you to an amazing place in life, and that school simply can't prepare you for everything you'll encounter in the workforce. In fact, most things that you do, and that you will do, is a learning experience where you learn on the job - and that took the pressure of feeling like I have to know everything before it is explained away.
Both ladies greet me with smiles and positive attitudes. They care and are invested in me - even in terms of school and personal life. With my time here at Ronco, they have gone from business mentors, to friends, to family. And I don't think I ever would've expected that in a thousand years. I cannot stress enough how thankful I am for them, and for all of Ronco. I may be a lowly intern, but I am a Ronconian, and I hope that I am able to continue being a part of Ronco for a long time still.