This is part of a series where we ask Grady College students to describe their summer internship experience.
I work as a communications intern for Nike Inc. The team I report to is Nike’s North America Comms Employee experience. Regularly, the internship is done in Beaverton, OR, but because of COVID-19, I’m Zooming in from my apartment in Athens, GA.
To start my day, I’ll chime in on NikeUnited’s Black Employee network morning kickoff. It’s called “Wake Up with BEN.” The meeting features notable Black employees from Nike and it’ll spotlight one of Nike’s major cities: NYC, LA, Beaverton, Portland, St. Louis, Boston, Memphis or Atlanta. The panel will discuss current events and the meeting is open to all employees at Nike, not just its Black counterparts.
Following that, I’ll have a touch base with my Nike manager discussing my tasks for the day. I had three main things on my agenda as an intern: personal project, intern combine (group project) and connection meetings. So, my manager would help advise me as to who would be best to network for my connection meetings. Oftentimes, these were employees who have been at Nike for years with tons of job experience and advice. Other times they were people in areas whose work I’d be interested in: sports media and sports marketing.
Following meetings with my manager, I’d attend my Nike NA (North America) Employee Comms meeting to discuss updates, planning and new features for Nike’s “North America: Now” newsletter. We collaborated with other teams to effectively compose a newsletter with stories and corporate updates so it can be a “one-stop-shop” for our employees.
After that, I would meet with other interns from different industry cohorts of Nike to work on our project, called our Nike intern combine. Everything at the company was competitive, so the group project competition was nothing short of that either. The five of us plus our Nike Supervisor helped create a business proposal that would envision a partnership between Nike and UberEats to save Nike Athletes and members time in the kitchen, giving them more time for sport or rest and recovery. The prompt was to help Nike address ways to help increase Nike membership accounts while connecting and partnering with another company.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
My biggest challenge was trying to balance football, summer classes and my internship. I learned the value of organization and rest and recovery to better my performance. No matter how hard you work or how organized you are, if you do not prioritize some time for your body and mind to rest, you will not operate at peak performance. And I am happy to say that I learned the lesson from Nike and my team. They were always willing to share advice and drop gems as to how to be successful when balancing life and work.
What has been the biggest growth you’ve experienced so far?
I’ve learned how to operate and function in the corporate world. I learned that regardless of your age or job position, it’s best to communicate with your co-workers and your superiors as another peer. Despite the southern etiquette, there is no need to say “yes sir” and “no ma’am” in the workplace. You will gain more respect without it.
I’ve also learned what I want to do and what I do not want to do. I’ve grown fond of working with a team that issues individual tasks that contribute to a bigger project at the end. It’s just something about that “teamwork-feeling” that made me happy to work with Nike. Projects are more fun when you work with an energized and passionate team. That’s something I want to be a part of.
Lastly, my confidence in myself has grown. I’ve left good impressions on people who have seen interns come and go, but I know they will remember my name and how I presented myself. I constantly looked for ways as to how I could help the team address a “hole,” seeking an opportunity to help the project grow or have a greater reach.
What is the most memorable experience you have had during your internship?
My most memorable experience was writing a video pitch for my NA Comms team. The pitch’s purpose was to help lead the appropriate production agency to create a video that will help energize and spotlight the Nike employee experience of employees in our major North American locations. After I presented it to my core team, it was time to pitch it to creative agencies who would then consult their teams and come back to us with a game plan as to how to fulfill the vision of our idea. So in a way, I was kind of a director of what this “hype video” was to be for our Nike cohort, which consists of over a hundred thousand employees. I was able to critique and give feedback to these creative agencies, sharing what I did and did not like in terms of the team’s vision for the video. It was a cool experience.
What lessons will you take back with you to Athens in the fall?
I’ll remember to take leaps and provide thought-out solutions and ideas that could contribute to a group’s project or mission. And when I succeed, I’ll remember to let that good feeling fuel my confidence to keep going.
Also, I remember to be intentional and to be present. Being an intern, you can be afraid to provide your opinion because you sometimes feel like a “fly on the wall.” But there is always something to contribute, no matter how big or small your role is. Leave your mark.