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How I Became an Intern Convert

Last summer I had an intern epiphany. I had been putting off developing an intern program because it seemed like I wouldn't have time in my hectic days to train anyone. However, necessity prevailed, and I took the plunge. After sorting through over 80 resumes, I decided I couldn't hire just one, I had to hire two, and what a great decision that was. I was a newbie to the intern program, just as much as they were, and spent countless hours building a program that I hoped would be mutually beneficial. All of a sudden, I was no longer a one-person department. Projects and tasks could be spread out across team members, carefully assigned to fit their strengths and interests, giving me more time to create strategic communications and marketing plans for the organization. I didn’t have to do it all. Great ideas that has been on the back burner got the chance to see daylight, and grew into innovative Chamber programs and great learning experiences.

What I learned last summer is that the time and energy that you invest in your team comes back to you many times over, as they take ownership of projects and learn how to navigate their way and thrive in your world. They made me proud. I'm also proud of the intern program we've developed here at the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce. I feel confident that the young people that come to work here will take away amazing skills and knowledge, and will have a lot of fun with our team along the way. It's that Contagious Energy.

We’re so excited to bring young talent along that his fall I've hired four interns, and Membership Director, Britt Delo has hired one as well. Meet them here:

Baylee, Chandler & Emily at a Monday morning staff meeting.

Baylee, Chandler & Emily at a Monday morning staff meeting.

Baylee Harrison is actually in internship 2.0 for the Chamber. She was one of the newbie intern class of the summer of 2018, specializing in digital media. The information superhighway is accessible everywhere, and Baylee has been able to transition over to working for the Chamber remotely. Thanks to a partnership with Symposia Labs, she is able to work on tasks associated with the Chamber’s digital advertising campaign and website development. Baylee is a Senior at Olivet Nazarene College in Bourbonais, Illinois, and is engaged to marry a West Michigan native next September.

Emily Hostetler joined the Chamber as our Photography Intern. A 2018 graduate of Grace College in Indiana, Emily has taken command of the event photography at the Chamber, capturing the essence and energy at each event. She’s is often at work at ribbon cuttings, and is always out and about greeting new members with her warm smile and taking their photos for social media and Connect magazine. She’s also working on West Coast Cash marketing and promotions, helping to promote small businesses and connecting them with corporate buyers. Emily is a newlywed and has relocated to Grand Haven.

Chandler, Kara and Emmy join in the Chamber Waldo Halloween antics.

Chandler, Kara and Emmy join in the Chamber Waldo Halloween antics.

Chandler Reese joined the Chamber as our Video Intern. As a recent graduate of GVSU, he commutes into Holland from Grand Rapids. Chandler went right to work when he started, helping with videos for the Annual Meeting and the first Wake Up West Coast breakfast all within his first three weeks on the job. His primary responsibility is to organize pre-production, shooting, editing and post-production for our monthly sponsor videos for Wake Up West Coast. However, we’re keeping him busy with many additional video projects that help convey the Chamber story. Chandler also works as the camera operator for the Kalamazoo Redwings games, clerks in the bakery at Meijer, produces freelance videos, and is an avid hip-hop music aficionado.

Emmy Surface is working for Britt Delo as our Member Engagement Intern. Our youngest team member at 16 years old, Emmy is homeschooled and came to us via Careerline Tech’s Shayna Carlson, who recommended her based on her tremendous leadership skills. As Britt’s intern, Emmy assists with Member Engagement and Retention, focusing on the internal processes of the Membership department. With over 1,200 members, there are a lot of people and businesses to keep up to date, and Emmy is incredibly efficient. Emmy is a dancer, a student mentor at Careerline tech, and lives in Holland with her parents and brother and sister.

Kara Wassink has come on board as our Editorial Intern. A Senior at Hope College, she is a West Michigan native. Kara is an integral part of the monthly Connect magazine production, curating content, writing articles, and participating in planning the editorial calendar. Her excellent writing skills can be seen each month in the West Coast Cash merchant spotlights that she researches, interviews and writes. She also assists with Chamber public relations, writing media advisories and content for programs and brochures. Skilled at Adobe creative apps, Kara is also involved in helping prepare collateral materials and presentations for events.

If you're interested in learning more about how we work with interns at the Chamber, feel free to reach out. We're official converts.

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