Jordan Hansen ’18: Nantucket Bike Tours- As I searched for internships this summer, I knew I desired something that would directly impact my life. I was longing for an experience in which a person(s) would invest their time into me, propelling to reach my full potential. I was longing for an internship that prompted me to “buy into” the business in which I would become a part of. In doing so, I would be encompassed in an environment full of problem solving, lifelong lessons, team work, and influencing others.
The search came to an abrupt halt the moment I was introduced to the Nantucket Bike Tours internship with Jason Bridges ’98 and his wonderful wife, Courtney. To say it initially met my wants and need would be an understatement. Not to mention, I would be able to live and work on a beautiful island 30 miles off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean (Massachusetts) for the whole summer. With that, I couldn’t resist the experience and exposure to new things and opportunities all of which this internship would offer me. Thus, I jumped on the opening to apply for the position and luckily I was given an interview by Jason. He came back to interview potential interns on campus, and I accepted the next week. From there, the rest is history.
I am thrilled to inform you my Nantucket Bike Tour internship has thus far, five weeks and halfway, met and exceeded all my expectations. Expectations not just limited to the realm of small business but also leadership, and emotional intelligence (“EQ”).
Hansen ’18 and Hoekstra ’18 with Bridges ’98
With little to no prior experience with small business, I was intrigued to know that I would immediately be immersed in the environment. The hands-on exposure became our daily bike tour routine which included; control over the day-to-day operations of the business along with finances, communication, and logistics for each day. With that, I was engrossed into a new learning environment that provided beneficial insight into how to run a successful small business. Giving bike tours to hundreds of people around this 14×4 island has allowed me to learn many different things. With that being said, the first thing that I quickly learned that was that when running a small business, let alone a bike tour company, you are required always have a high-level of focus or be “on” at all times. Especially when coming into contact with many different people from all over the world, it is crucial that you are ready for whatever challenge that may be thrown at you. Whether you are involved with providing customer service, operating our bike tour booking system, or just walking through town, it is imperative that you are operating with a high-level of energy. In turn, it provides those you come in contact with a positive and memorable experience.
Along with high-levels of focus and energy, I have learned that a lot of what goes into small business “branding” goes back to community involvement and relationship building. Thus, becoming a part of a small business brand, Nantucket Bike Tours, we take pride in attending local events, charities, and any public outreach we can be a part of because not only does it give back to the town of Nantucket, but it positively voices what the Nantucket Bike Tours is all about. Our success in public branding boils down to — how well we can create relationships by remembering names, showing appreciation, and being genuinely interested in others in any public or private setting. Not only does this action help create new relationship you may not have had, but it also shows others you are taking the initiative to be a leader in your community.
One of my goals going into this summer was to refine and truly hone in on interpersonal skills. Skills within both simple listening and communicating in a business structured system, as well as maximize my potential as an all-around leader. Jason and Courtney make these personal objectives possible, along with delving into small business, because they make it a high priority to foster others personal growth. For example, at the beginning of the internship every summer Jason and Courtney present their interns with a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People. Once given this book, as a team, we each read a chapter or multiple chapters a week and go into great detail the importance of the content and how to transfer that teaching into the real world. Some of the discussion we have had on this has been about your body posture, eye contact, how others will perceive you based on your reaction, and how genuine appreciation is always a key. Retaining all the information and discussing it is the easy part, but retaining it and then projecting it in a social setting is where the difficulty lies. However, after having two hour nightly conversations and debriefs about the material, along with making daily challenges to execute the lessons, it has allowed for much individual and team growth. Ultimately, not only does this make you more self-aware and more emotionally intelligent, but also it enhances your overall leadership and growth potential.
In addition to these great lessons and experiences, I have immensely improved my ability to make quick, confident, and effective decisions. I have learned that the business world is all about the hustle and work you put into your business. In this world, you cannot be complacent with where your business is. It is imperative that you train yourself so that when challenges or obstacles arise, you have a stable and set foundation for making decisions. With that, you have to become comfortable being put in vulnerable situations (as much as they may seem contradictory, it’s true). When you are put into a vulnerable scenario, it allows you to better understand your personal weaknesses. Becoming more calm, cool, and collected in vulnerable situations has truly allowed me to minimize personal weaknesses and become more self-aware. As a team, vulnerability may be depicted in a last minute booking, flat tire, or making a quick alteration to the tour route. However, by training myself and being open minded in vulnerable situations, I have been able to let my quick decision making ability flourish.
As I embark on my junior year at Wabash, and continue to ponder my career objectives, I cannot help but be fortunate to have this experience with Nantucket Bike Tours. I cannot thank the whole career service department, Mr. Scott Crawford, and most importantly the Small Business Internship Fund (SBIF), enough for providing me, and many other Wabash men, with these once-in-a-lifetime experiences and learning opportunities. You do not realize how positively impactful you are by providing each of us with opportunities through the SBIF program.
Experiencing Nantucket with Jason Bridges ’98 and his wife Courtney, as a whole, has provided me with copious amounts of insight and knowledge that will be crucial with me in whatever desired career path I take. Whether it’s learning how to properly introduce yourself, how to positively control a situation, or simply building relationships with different people, Nantucket Bike Tours has allowed me to engage and build a foundation to prosper as an overall leader and person.