Grady InternViews: Valentina Drake

Grady InternViews: Valentina Drake

August 03, 2021

This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.

Briefly describe your internship and responsibilities. Walk me through a typical day.

I’m currently working at Georgia Power Company as a social media intern. Our headquarters are in Atlanta, G.A. but I’m currently working remote. My internship responsibilities include strategizing social media posts for two out of the six content pillars, taking ownership of the value channel calendar, working with the brand strategy team, brainstorming new campaign concepts and executing my ideas. Everyday looks different depending on where we are in our calendar. Right now, we are in Q3, so we are really trying to drive up our J.D. Power score. J.D. Power rates utility companies based on key messages like reliability, billing, rates, customer service and more. My typical day includes waking up, checking emails and prioritizing my tasks for the day. I can do anything from working in our social media calendar deck to updating our vegetation management creative brief to analyzing a media flowchart and inputting that information into our value channel calendar. I also love to sit in on meetings that don’t necessarily pertain to my job but clarify the brand on a holistic level. For example, I’ll be a fly on the wall during our economic development meetings, media relations or email strategy. I learn a lot from just listening and taking it all in. 

How is it structured? Is it remote or in-person and what has that been like?
A view of buildings
Drake’s view from her office. (Photo: submitted)

There are four social media interns, including myself. We report to either the brand strategist or the digital media manager. I absolutely love my higher ups, and they are both Grady alumni! Since I also work with the brand strategy team, I have weekly one-on-one’s with the brand strategy manager. I am in the corporate communications department where there are several different teams like media relations, internal communication, public relations, brand strategy and more. If we were in person, we’d be on the top floor with an amazing view. The different areas may technically be separate, but we all work together to make Georgia Power the best brand it can be. My job can be fully done remote and I don’t mind working in my pajamas. That being said, I’ve gone in-person twice and can’t wait to be back. I have met all these people through Teams, I want to meet them in-person and get to know them a bit better. We are thinking that it’ll be a hybrid remote / in-person situation once the pandemic is over. 

What has been the biggest growth you’ve experienced so far?

My biggest growth is my creativity. I brainstorm new ideas every day and this role has really pushed me in terms of how I think. My company posts almost every day, that’s a lot of content! It takes time, effort and new ideas to keep the stories engaging and fun for our customers. Sometimes topics like energy efficiency and rebates can be boring, but we try and figure out how to make it interesting. Once you have the idea and it’s been approved, you must execute. In creative fields, there can be a lot of talk, but you must act on the idea or else nothing is going to happen. That’s my other area of growth, execution. I’ve seen many of my ideas come to fruition because I pushed and advocated for them to come alive. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your ideas and make it happen!

What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship? Tell us a story if you have one!
Drake and the other interns standing in front of a lake in white t-shirts under blue sunny skies
Drake and the other Georgia Power interns at Lake Oconee. (Photo: submitted)

My most memorable experience during my internship must be when I got to be in a Georgia Power commercial. All the social media interns as well as some line workers from the citizens chapter drove to Lake Oconee for a commercial shoot. We staged a volunteer lake clean up event for our sustainability commercial. My role included carrying the soil, planting a tree, picking up trash, etc. I haven’t seen the commercial yet, so hopefully they got a good close up of me (just kidding). It was incredibly cool to see the level of production that goes into shooting a commercial. Our clip is probably five seconds long, and it took two hours to film. How crazy! 

How do you feel that Grady has prepared you for tackling the job?

Grady has given me the tools to succeed in this role. From being a leader in PRSSA, to networking at meetings, to working with clients in Talking Dog, Grady has given me everything to be successful. I wouldn’t have this job without Grady. I met my current manager at a PRSSA meeting during my junior year of college. I added them on LinkedIn and followed up when I saw a job posting. My biggest advocate was my PRSSA advisor and campaigns professor, Kim Landrum. She really believed in me and put in a good word to the hiring manager. I am forever thankful to Kim and everyone at Grady for helping me get to where I am today. 

What is your advice for other students looking to take on a similar role?

My biggest advice is to network, network, network! Your professors, speakers at your clubs, and faculty members are very connected in the industry. Don’t be shy and reach out. you’ll be surprised how many people want to help aspiring young professionals. You just have to go for it, you’ll never know what will happen unless you do.