Ben Jackson, Summer 2015 Intern
My summer internship at Roam could be described as dynamic. I had the opportunity to spend 12 weeks focusing on day-to-day Roam operations in addition to several specific projects. The skills I developed through this internship experience have proven to be extremely helpful, especially as I approach my upcoming graduation from Mercer University and begin my job search.
After much reflection, I can best summarize my learnings and experience from the Roam internship in 5 major points.
1. Never underestimate the power of intentionally developing personal relationships (professionally & socially).
During my time at Roam I was trained to learn names, faces and even coffee preferences of members at the Dunwoody workplace. While this was beneficial from a customer service perspective, learning these unique details was also useful in forming personal relationships. In one of my favorite books, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie says, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” This was extremely evident during my internship because I was interacting with members on a daily basis. I realized that simply getting to know customers on a first name basis makes them feel valued because it conveys that Roam is interested in more than just business relationships.
2. Reflection is necessary in order to truly find deeper purpose and value from experiences. Give it some time.
As an intern for Roam, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend most Fridays visiting other companies (Chick-fil-A, Home Depot, Growing Leaders and Atlanta Tech Village just to name a few). After each trip, our group of interns would gather to share what we observed and some key lessons we learned. I found this time to be very beneficial. When you stop, ponder and truly process an experience deeper than the entertainment value, I believe we learn more about ourselves than we anticipate. Roam provided leadership, structure, and opportunities for me to learn and grow by getting to meet and hear from thought leaders in their respective industry.
3. Attention to detail can be a differentiator between good and great.
Operational excellence is one of Roam’s foundational cornerstones. Roam emphasizes that all employees are responsible for managing the smallest details because they end up making the biggest difference. I quickly realized this concept was just a small part of the larger idea. Details are critical to consistency and clarity. They allow people to understand what is expected of them and provide structure for each role and team member. Good teams survive because of details. Great teams thrive because of details.
4. Do not rush into things with expectations. Instead, seek out each experience as an opportunity to learn more about yourself.
I came into the Roam internship expecting to be given a few projects to work on throughout the summer, but this was actually not the case. While my initial expectations were incorrect, the design of the internship gave me the opportunity to take initiative. Over the summer, I suggested three different projects that I was able to take ownership of and work on as an intern. Because projects were not simply handed to me, I learned how to develop, execute, and present projects to a leadership board. Next time you pursue an experience or initiative, don’t limit yourself by setting expectations that just meet the status quo.
5. Simple: Focus on what you can control and let the other items sort themselves out.
This is my final thought, so I will keep it brief and direct. After all, any body who knows me knows that is the best way to communicate with me. This day in age we are constantly under the influence of our surroundings (TV, music, ads, social media, etc). For this reason, it is easy to get bogged down and emotionally overwhelmed because of the way we react to stimulants. Think about this: control what you can control. It seems very simple, but that is the intention. If we focus our energy and efforts on the things we CAN control, then we will be much more effective and valuable as team members of the organization or group we work for. When we allow our surroundings to distract us from what we can actually control, we let them slowly influence our destination. So going forward, focus on what you are capable of changing and allow that to empower you as make a positive difference and overcome obstacles.
Roam was a summer that shaped me as a person and as a young professional. It was a summer experience that I would highly recommend to anyone who is looking to learn business practices, leadership, and develop valuable relationships. I am thankful for the experiences I gained and lessons I learned over the summer with Roam, and expect to continue to see the value of this internship in the future.
Interested in the Roam Internship Experience for Summer 2016 or know a college student who could benefit from an intentional summer program focused on leadership, work experience and personal development? Apply and learn more here!