Grady InternViews: Olivia Lamme
Grady InternViews: Olivia Lamme
This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.
Olivia Lamme is a fourth-year public relations student working with UPS as a media relations intern. Read on as she provides insight into what this internship looks like.
This summer I am working as a media relations intern at UPS in the global communications department. In this position, I collaborate alongside other professionals from all around the United States. I work closely with the media relations team to develop content that highlights incredible UPSers. I amplify those Great Employer stories through connections with the top 10 media markets.
What does the structure of your internship look like?
I work full-time, five days a week. I work remotely on Mondays and Fridays, and I report to the Atlanta office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. My tasks and meetings vary from day to day, but a typical day includes calls with my manager, meetings with the media relations team and intern sessions with the eight other interns in the communications department. When I am not in meetings, I am helping my manager with pitches and stories or working with the other interns on our summer project.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Because of the large geographical areas each member of the media relations team covers, we are relatively spread out. Two of my teammates are in the Atlanta office, but my manager that I report to is based in Jacksonville, Florida. I initially found it difficult to feel connected to my team and ask for tasks. I didn’t want to bother anyone. However, I quickly realized that the company culture at UPS is centered around inclusivity. As previously mentioned, my manager and I call every day and message on Teams all the time. She makes me feel valued and appreciated by giving me tasks and substantial responsibility. Several other members of my team have also connected with and called me multiple times to check in on how I am adjusting to and liking my position. What started as a challenge quickly became one of my favorite parts of the team.
What has been your favorite part about your internship so far? Tell us a story if you have one!
I pitched and landed my first ever story! A UPS Tractor-trailer driver named Craig Campbell Sr. won the Florida Trucking Association’s Driver of the Year award. My manager tasked me with writing a pitch and trying to get news coverage in Jacksonville, Florida. I developed a strong pitch and spent a couple of days contacting and following up with news stations, newspapers and reporters in the Jacksonville area. One day later my story was broadcasted on News4Jax evening news! Then two more outlets picked up the story and wrote short articles. It was so cool to see my work being used and enjoyed by the public.
How have the classes you’ve taken at Grady prepared you for this internship?
PR Communication with Tom Cullen has by far been my biggest asset in terms of career preparation. The extensive portfolio I created in his class was the main attraction for the UPS recruiters. The two media relations professionals who interviewed me read the entire portfolio and asked numerous questions about it. Tom taught me the basics of writing pitches, crafting press releases and compiling media lists. These skills are essential in the public relations realm, and I am so thankful that his course prepared me for this position. Of course, I am gaining a real-world application at UPS, but Tom’s class set the framework for me.
Additionally, Crisis Communication taught me how to work on a large and complex project with a team. We created a crisis management plan that ended up being 52 pages long. The work was confusing at times and very time-consuming. But my team and I learned to work well together and share responsibility. I have continued to develop these teamwork skills with my team of interns at UPS. We have a group project presentation at the end of July, and we are already gelling and communicating as a unit.
What’s your advice to other students looking for a similar opportunity?
Join clubs and get actual writing experience. UGA offers so many extracurricular and educational programs. I utilized Talking Dog and PRSSA to produce tangible content. When applying for jobs, actual work is way more impressive than a stacked resume. Prove to them that you are as good as you say.
Also, utilize the career fairs and learn to follow-up. I made a conscious effort this year to go to both Grady career fairs and even a Terry career fair. Even if you know the job isn’t for you, it never hurts to make connections, spread your resume and practice interviewing. I interviewed with so many companies just to get the experience. With time, I knew exactly how to pitch myself and talk with professionals. By the time I spoke with UPS, I had a well-developed PR portfolio and personal portfolio with a wide variety of work from different clubs and classes.
How will this role guide your future career path?
UPS has ultimately set me up for success. It is a large, well-known corporation with a huge network of professionals. I have connected and bonded with so many people already and its only week four of the program. The hands-on learning experience in media relations is exactly what I wanted. I want to experiment and try different fields of public relations, and UPS is a wonderful way to start that process. I hope to carry forward the relationships and work I develop at UPS.
What’s your career goal?
I just want to love what I do. I want to enjoy the culture and people around me. So far, UPS has provided exactly that. Everyone I have met is upbeat, friendly and always willing to help. In the next few years, I hope to continue working in an environment like this one. I also want to continue working for a big corporation. I love working for a company that everyone knows. And if I’m lucky, I would love to come back to UPS in my career.
What lessons will you take back with you to the classroom in the fall?
Ask questions. It is very easy to feel intimidated or nervous to speak with industry professionals. I experienced this fear during the first week of my internship. But as previously stated, I quickly realized that the professionals (and professors) around you want to see you succeed. It is their job to answer your questions and provide you with the insight you don’t have. I am going to make a conscious effort to connect with my professors and establish connections. You can’t do it all on your own. Utilize the amazing professionals around you.
How has this role helped you discover what you are passionate about?
I have discovered that I am passionate about working for a company that does good in the world. UPS establishes itself as a progressive, forward-thinking company with a focus on sustainability and equality. It is so easy to write for a company and work with people who have similar views as you. I want people to know I represent UPS because I believe in the work they do. I want to always feel this passionate for the companies I work for.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
When it comes to extracurriculars and involvement, prioritize quality over quantity. It is so easy to get stressed because you think you aren’t “doing enough.” I remember feeling this way at the end of my sophomore year. I wanted to join five clubs because I thought that would look impressive on a resume. Well, the reality is, five clubs can’t all fit on a resume. Instead, pick one or two organizations/clubs that you are truly interested in and fully commit to them. For me, I committed to Talking Dog and the PRSSA content committee. Both positions provided me with tangible writing experience and allowed me to personally connect with new peers and classmates. Those clubs stood out to recruiters and provided me with content to put on my personal portfolio. Don’t get bogged down in the numbers. One club that you are extremely invested in is way more beneficial than five clubs that you don’t care about.