In the summer of 2019, I got to intern for Mike Simmons, a Wabash grad and the CEO of Bridge Builder Strategies. It was my first summer internship and it gave me my first look at what working in office every day for a small consulting firm is like. In the summer of 2020,I was lucky enough to intern for Bridge Builder Strategies again but this time around it was much different.
With the circumstances of this summer we had to work from home and communicate over Zoom calls. There was no time in the office together where you could brainstorm solutions to problems on a white board in a matter of minutes or any face to face updates on deliverables. This summer Mike taught me the importance of leadership and communication and how vital those are to running a successful business in the middle of a pandemic. Mike and his leadership team managed several small groups of interns that were focused on different projects mainly around community development and experiences with measurable impact. I spent the majority of my summer researching volunteer programs for nonprofits to then create assessments for volunteer coordinators as well as social media and marketing tactics for these nonprofits that we were working with. My day to day consisted of summarizing what I had researched on specific topics and then turning that information into something that would eventually become a product that the company could offer to potential partners. As a rhetoric major and business minor, this internship gave me every opportunity to apply my classroom knowledge to the business setting especially when I was focusing on the marketing and social media best practices. It certainly was a weird summer working three feet away from my bed but because Mike prioritized communication between everyone it really helped keep us on track and make great progress on our projects. When a team was behind where they
wanted to be Mike would spend several hours a day on Zoom calls with that team to work through problems and he would always value everyone’s input which gave all of the interns a chance to bring to the table everything they had to offer.
This summer challenged me in ways that I had never experienced before but I learned how important leadership and communication are and how to effectively do thosethings even in difficult settings.