We all have to start somewhere. Internships are a great way to gain experience and knowledge in any field. The next step is taking that knowledge and applying it toward your professional life. Meridian Group has a list of successful interns turned professionals.
Meet Jordan Barnes, Tara Mazzarella, and Emily Brown. All three ladies are graduates of Old Dominion University (GO MONARCHS!) who began their careers with internships at Meridian Group. Jordan is now an account manager, Tara is an account coordinator, and Emily is a public relations assistant. The road wasn’t easy but through good work ethic and perseverance, their journeys brought them back home to Meridian.
What made you want to intern for Meridian Group?
JB: A professor of mine had interned at Meridian Group when she was a student and raved about her experience.
TM: I was part of the AMA (American Marketing Association) and Bill Brunelle came to speak on “Working at an Advertising Agency.” Shortly after, I was forwarded the information under a list of companies to watch. The director of my chapter decided to recommend me!
EB: Following graduating I knew I needed to gain some experience if I wanted to pursue a career in PR. After intense investigation and email inquiries, the rest was history!
What was your favorite memory as an intern?
JB: The whole experience was amazing. Kate, my boss/intern God, was such an incredible teacher and I learned so much from her. I’ve said this a million times – I learned more in my one semester internship at Meridian than I did in my entire college career.
TM: Positive feedback that I heard from everyone in the department. It made my work quality and ethic feel valued.
EB: My internship was during the summer and man, was it HOT! One afternoon, I was manning the front desk and Joe told me he had a secret task for me. He asked me to go buy 35 Ben and Jerry’s ice creams for the entire office. After rushing to Wal-Mart, I set everything up in the conference room. Joe sent an email to the agency and the room was flooded. It felt pretty awesome to be in on Joe’s surprise.
Biggest accomplishment as an intern? Professional?
JB: I worked really hard on securing media coverage for several of Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride events. I remember how moved I was when interviewing some of the injured service members and how excited I felt when I landed media hits and got to share these veterans’ stories.
TM: As an intern, I think it was finding myself in the marketing field. It was a process getting comfortable with everything, specifically learning professional communication skills, but I conquered it! Professionally, my biggest accomplishment was establishing and keeping a relationship with my intern supervisor. This is what ultimately landed me the job, three years later.
EB: I feel like my biggest accomplishment as an intern was GETTING THE JOB! My biggest accomplishment during my short time in the PR world would be getting stories published that I personally pitched- there’s no better feeling!
When/how did you know that Meridian Group was the place for you?
JB: After my internship I was eager for a spot at Meridian. I remember a few weeks after graduation getting a call from TK (Terry Kelley) saying they needed someone to cover the front desk for a month. Although it wasn’t exactly the opportunity I was hoping for, I’m thankful I accepted the offer- look where I am now!
TM: I was always interested in advertising and marketing and wanted to stick with a smaller company and stay in Virginia Beach after graduation. Meridian seemed to be the perfect fit.
EB: I woke up in the morning and it wasn’t a drag to come to work, I was actually excited for each day. It’s never the same here. Sometimes things get crazy, but it’s exhilarating and that keeps me coming back for more.
Favorite part about working at Meridian Group?
JB: THE PEOPLE. Everyone is so wonderful and extremely talented… and I can wear shorts to work.
TM: THE PEOPLE. Newbies can learn so much here. Almost everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different skills.
EB: THE PEOPLE. I know everyone says it around here but it’s true. I work with a great group and I laugh everyday (special shout out to the PR team!)… and we get donuts every Friday.
What makes Meridian Group stand out from other agencies?
JB: Most agencies have their quirks and our in-house bar, while amazing, is not a novelty. I think Meridian’s commitment to its employees is what stands out here.
TM: I can’t speak on how we compare to other agencies but I can say that communication is always open here. Not everyone works with the same clients but you’re absorbed in all the work that is done here
EB: The work ethic that’s found here. Everyone works as a team to reach certain goals and I think that’s super refreshing. We work hard but also play hard!
Any advice for interns transitioning into the professional world?
JB: The follow-up is key. Once you land a job, regardless of the position- work your ass off!
TM: Get ahead of the game! Take the initiative – earn certifications, research training opportunities. A company is going to hire you for what you can bring to the table, not what they’ll have to teach you.
EB: Learn as much as you can and soak up every bit of knowledge. If you go into the field that you interned in, you will have a leg up on the competition.
With determination, wit, and creativity; Emily, Jordan, and Tara were able to move their careers in the direction that they wanted. Meridian Group recognizes potential and helps mold interns into adults that will be successful after their experience here. Always striving to have the best on their team, these inspiring women were an addition that the agency is more than happy to have.
Our team also includes former interns Amara Betoney, and Lindsey Browning. While they don’t star in this blog, they are valuable members of Meridian Group and we are delighted to have kept them in the family.