March 23, 2012
I started my career in 1989 clueless and hungry.
After a sleepy six-month internship at a slow-moving association, I knew I wanted to work someplace faster-paced and a bit more cerebral. I wanted to work at an agency. Through dumb luck and a bit of gumption, I managed to land a three-month internship at a white hot PR agency in the Twin Cities. I had no idea what I didn’t know, and it turns out that was a lot. But I did know I wanted to be there. The place had a reputation for great work and great people, and I wanted to learn from them.
And for the next 12 years I did.
I floundered for the first couple years of my career. But I had managed to find a few mentors during my internships, and they proved invaluable, coaching and steering me in the right direction during those undistinguished and whirlwind early years. Eventually I found my toe-hold and started earning more responsibility. By age 29 my career had taken off. I was named a vice president at the now global agency, and was handed the reigns to a small practice group made up of seven people and less than $1 million in billings.
Over the next five years, I hired dozens of the smartest, hungriest people I could find, the vast majority of them interns. Many of those interns grew into leadership roles, and together we grew the group I had inherited to 40 people and close to $5 million in billings before I left to chase the dream of opening my own agency.
And now, some of those very interns make up the senior leadership team here at Fast Horse. In fact, more than half of the current Fast Horse staff got their start as an intern, either here or at my previous agency. I’m proud to say others have gone on to great things elsewhere, becoming lawyers at fancy firms and even VPs at global agencies.
I put a lot of emphasis on cultivating entry-level talent because I know how critical internships are to finding your way in the professional world. And I know how critical great entry level people can be to the growth of a business. Interns are the lifeblood of our agency. If we are going to be a destination for the very best people available, then it’s critical that we open the doors to Fast Horse in every way possible to give entry level professionals a chance to determine whether this would be a great place to grow.
To that end, over the years we have done countless informational interviews, hosted dozens of college classes and professional organizations, transformed our Facebook page into a digital informational interview and have even raised the profile of our summer intern search by offering a broader platform for aspiring professional to showcase their skills. We’ve even created an “Intern for A Day” program, and Thursday, we’ll show a few aspiring professionals how we celebrate as we host four college seniors as our guests at the MN PRSA Classics Awards banquet.
Here at Fast Horse, interns and internships matter.
So, this post kicks off “Intern Week” on the Idea Peepshow. All of our posts through Friday will deal with the wild, wacky world of interns and internships. We’re hoping to show some of the prospective candidates for our Summer Internship Campaign that we take our interns and internships seriously.
You never know who might notice…