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Synopsis: In May 2021, the Explorance Marketing team selected and welcomed onboard a trio of student interns – Ian Ehninger, Julia Ortiz, and Minh Anh Ha, to assist with a busy summer of diverse work in this expanding, dynamic company. This blog post recounts their own take on the experience working with the leading provider of Experience Management (XM) solutions.
The end of August is synonymous with many things: misty mornings, the end of summer, the beginning of the school year – but it also marks the conclusion of our 3-month journey as interns at Explorance. This was our first taste of a professional setting, and we are all glad that it was as Explorers.
Before heading back to our respective schools, we looked back at our intern experience as part of the Marketing team at Explorance.
Meet The Interns:
Christian is a 3rd year university student at Concordia University, in Montreal, QC, currently majoring in Marketing at the John Molson School of Business. Christian joined Explorance as a Content Marketing Intern for the summer, assisting Explorance’s Content Marketing Specialist, Lorcan Archer, with blog posts, customer announcements, news articles, social media content and other writing-related tasks.
Anh is a 3rd year college student at Vanier College, in Saint-Laurent, QC, entering the final year of her Micropublishing and Hypermedia degree. Anh joined Explorance this summer as a Graphic Design Intern, working with Corporate Marketing Graphic Designer Cris Balderas where she assisted on a range of design projects from social media posts and brochures, up to company branding.
Julia is entering her first year at McGill University, in Montreal, QC, where she will be studying Environmental Studies at the Bieler School of Environment. Julia wore multiple hats this summer as she joined Explorance as the General Marketing Intern. Working closely with VP of Marketing, Catherine Sharp-Aouchiche, and head Web Developer Nadia Kovalenko, Julia assisted with a wide range of tasks and provided help wherever it was needed.
Finding the Right Experience
Opting to work over the summer of 2021, Explorance managed to catch all of our eyes.
Eager to gain professional experience, we knew that working in the right environment and for the right company was very important. Not only did Explorance offer a paid internship, with big corporate and educational names connected to the company, but it was also named the #1 Best Workplace in Canada in 2021 for having an attractive company culture. These things enticed us the most.
In addition to its diverse and inclusive work culture, and the cute and fun office pictures, Explorance caught our attention from the day we applied until now. Even though we visited the office and met in-person only once, everyone at Explorance made us feel at home from Day 1.
Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the daily and weekly Zoom / Microsoft Teams meetings allowed us to get to know each other well in such a short amount of time. Although we missed out on in-person conferences, office parties and after-hours shenanigans, the option to work from the comfort of our own homes and the efforts to make it more interesting, through lunchtime and after-work information sessions and even cooking classes was really appreciated.
Coming into Explorance, we all expected to feel stressed and overwhelmed since it was the first time any of us would be working in a professional setting. Add in the first day nerves, and we were pleasantly stunned with such a calming introduction. The workload during the first week may have been considerable, but the marketing team was supportive and always available if we needed their help.
Although we all had different roles with different responsibilities, we all agreed that this has been an amazing learning experience, which was exactly what we were looking for. The experience, knowledge, and skills we acquired were a result of one thing, Explorance’s culture of trust and reciprocity.
The trust instilled by the Marketing team in us helped to give the work we did a feeling of value and impact. It felt like we were a real member of the team and were able to contribute to the company instead of performing the typical administrative work that many interns might receive.
For Anh and I, completing our assigned projects felt impactful since they were often public facing. Whether it was receiving compliments from your peers across the company, or seeing your work published on Explorance’s social media channels and website, the sense of accomplishment and appreciation never got old.
Anh on her favorite project – “I don’t have like a specific moment, but I really liked it when Chris asked me to help redesign the identity for Explorance because I feel very honored to be entrusted with an important project of the company.”
Christian on his favorite project – “Working on my first blog was overwhelming at first. It felt like I was being thrown in the deep end, but the support around me was so helpful and seeing my name published next to the blog will always be memorable.”
On the other end of things, Julia wore a variety of hats, lending a helping hand wherever it was needed. From identifying and cataloguing important sales resources to assisting in event planning, Julia did it all. Being one of the first names to be called upon when help was needed meant that Julia was also fully trusted by the teams she worked and collaborated with.
Julia on her favorite project – “I liked working on the Bluenotes GLOBAL 2021 Conference because I really enjoyed learning how to use Canva, looking for meaningful quotes in the presentations, hearing what the speakers had to say, and seeing posts I helped with go live on LinkedIn.”
One of our favorite projects this summer was the one we all did together. Our Intern Recruitment Project allowed all of us to come together with Explorance’s HR intern, Alli Magna, and create insightful research that will help optimize Explorance’s attractiveness to potential Explorers. Using all our individual strengths together, we created and presented our findings to the Head of Marketing, HR, and it was shared with CEO, Samer Saab. As a result, we received amazing feedback from everyone that helped us build on the project, and implement some quick wins based on our findings, making it a memorable moment for all of us.
More to Explore
After overcoming the expected first week stresses, settling the overwhelming feeling of our new roles came naturally. Having a supportive team around us as well as getting into the groove of things really helped all of us settle in at Explorance. Although our peers are above us in the company hierarchy on paper, the team and company as a whole were easy to talk to and having that open communication really made us feel like true Explorers from Day 1.
Our biggest piece of advice for future interns is to not be shy – do not feel afraid to ask questions. Perhaps we were fortunate to have an amazing supportive cast around us but understanding that you are in this position for a reason is important and that you should not feel intimated to speak or ask questions to anyone.
It is completely okay to admit that you do not know how to do something and ask for help from others. It is better to have clarification rather than making mistakes. There are no stupid questions, and no one expects you to know everything. It shows that you are responsible, eager to learn, and are invested in the work that you are doing.
In the end, the main takeaway from this internship is the experience itself. Enjoying the work you do and the people you work with and for will always be the most important aspects of any job. Fortunately, we were able to experience that, and will always be appreciative of our time as Explorers.
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