Intern Insight: Learning from Leaders

When I started my internship in January, I found myself thriving in a fast-paced environment where new things happen every day.

I looked forward to my twice-a-week commute and was eager to meet with the ambitious group of co-workers found at the Chattanooga Chamber. I began my internship experience determined to make a difference. And, seven months later, I can say this experience has taught me a lot.  

My friends and family say they’ve never seen me more excited to talk about a job. “It’s more than just a job,” I say when describing my experience as a writing communications intern at the Chattanooga Chamber.  

My primary role was writing articles for our Chamber’s publication, Through a collaborative process, I pitched and was assigned to work on weekly articles and other communication tasks.

Ariana Medina

Writing for TREND provided the opportunity to refine my professional writing, interview and research skills. The most exciting part was learning about the many job sectors and industries I never even knew existed. Meeting with awesome startups and having the privilege of sharing entrepreneurship stories became the highlight of my week.

Our Chamber offers a high-visibility internship that exposed you to many facets of business, corporate and nonprofit communications. It offers a one-of-a-kind internship experience, surrounded by people who care and are invested in each other while having a genuine interest in helping local businesses thrive.

Chattanooga Chamber’s Marketing and Community Engagement team know how to produce high-quality work, while having fun doing it. I enjoyed the opportunity to connect and contribute to the team while experiencing a behind-the-scenes look at the Chamber’s communication initiatives. My input was valued, and I felt encouraged to bring my ideas to the table.  

This internship has a lot of opportunities for growth and networking, but it’s up to each intern to take initiative and decide what to do with it.

I was given a lot of autonomy that allowed me to maximize my internship experience to build and develop my network and work on my weaknesses while gaining extensive hands-on communication experience(s). I can easily say that this internship exceeded my expectations

During my time at Lee University as a public relations major, my professors became accustomed to hearing me say, “You’ll never believe what I learned at the Chamber today,” as I merged class concepts with the tasks I was assigned at the Chamber. But at the end of the day, there are some lessons you just can’t learn from a textbook.

Here are a few top takeaways:

  • Writing is an ongoing and collaborative process
  • How to prioritize multiple tasks and deadlines while remaining adaptable
  • Finding the confidence to ask clarifying questions when something is unclear
  • The feeling of accomplishment that comes with becoming a subject matter expert in a day
  • Being comfortable with making mistakes and trusting leaders who encourage you to try again

I’ll take this experience to Texas Tech University, where I’ll begin my master’s in mass communication in the fall. I’ll be in an assistantship position where I’ll get the opportunity to pass lessons from Chamber’s leadership on to others.  

My advice for a future intern? If you’re willing to have the courage to step outside your comfort and consistently show up as your authentic self, you may be pleasantly surprised at how far these opportunities can take you.

Ariana’s top articles:

NOVONIX CEO Shares Insights Into LGES Agreement

Small Business Guide to Influencer Marketing

Member Spotlight: Lights, Camera, Action!

Future Workforce Looks Bright: Top Early Childhood Action Plan Takeaways

iFixit Warehouse Plan Wins Approval

Read about past interns, here.

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