Grant Klembara ’15 – In late January, I attended the winter Trustee-Alumni Board Dinner with some of my fellow Wallies. After mingling with a variety of doctors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other successful alumni, I found myself sitting at a table with Jim Kerr ’92, the VP of Business Development at Allegient LLC. Eager to make good first impressions, students anxiously introduced themselves around the dinner table. Alumni, on the other hand, cracked jokes to break the ice and calm the noticeable tension. Before long, everyone began sharing stories, ideas, concerns, and life lessons that related back to our beloved college. Jim and I swapped stories about sports and life, recounting the sweet memories that will forever shape our views of Wabash. The night ended with contact sharing, handshaking, goodbyes, and promises to keep in touch.
Little did I know that four months from then, I would be the newest member of the Allegient marketing team—sitting just on the other side of the wall of Jim’s office. With no previous ‘corporate’ work experience, I really didn’t know what to expect. Guidance from Brad Pusateri ’14, my fraternity brother and Allegient’s last Wabash intern, eased some of that uncertainty. He helped me through the application process and introduced me to Lindsey LaBerge, Allegient’s Marketing Manager.
Since my first day in May, I’ve had not only the privilege to work with Lindsey and Josh Burkhead, the newly hired Social Media Coordinator, but the opportunity to learn from them and their experiences. I’d like to thank both them and the entire Business Development Team for supporting and directing me these past five weeks, and for accepting me as a member of the team. It truly has been an amazing learning experience.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “That’s great Grant… But what have you been doing for the past five weeks?” I’ll stop dancing around the question. I’ve been Inbound Marketing Certified for Hubspot, a company providing a SaaS to help other companies with their online marketing strategies. I’m also currently working on a sales certification in two of Microsoft products: SharePoint and Dynamics CRM. I’ve written several blogs addressing Allegient’s new partnerships, researched Allegient’s use of social media outlets and produced reports/schedules for each (i.e. Twitter and LinkedIn), and I’ve participated in business meetings, webinars, in-person seminars, and event planning committees.
One of my favorite experiences thus far has been my interaction with Element Three, a marketing agency just down the road. Allegient is currently in the process of formalizing a “Brand Plan,” to help enhance and direct their marketing efforts. From a marketing perspective, I simply couldn’t be with Allegient at a better time. I have been free to actively participate in the discussion, thanks to the Lindsey and the Allegient Team.
There’s a difference between being busy and doing busy work. There’s no doubt I’ve been busy. This internship has proven to be unique; activities such as filing folders, making copies, and running tedious errands has not been a part of this experience. There’s a reason for that. Allegient recognizes the importance of personal improvement and the value of first-hand experience. No matter how big or small their role is, each employee is seen as a valuable resource to the company. I believe it is that attitude that separates the good companies from the great ones.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the Lilly Endowment Fund, so to them I am thankful. This partnership and investment in Wabash College students will undoubtedly continue preparing young men for a successful future.