Repping the RAF: The Intern’s Experience

Repping the RAF: The Intern’s Experience
By Courtney Downing

It was a “first” for all of us. This was the first time the Rochester Advertising Federation offered an internship and my first time working with multiple professionals from top marketing companies. We all didn’t know what to expect, and going into it I had an unprecedented feeling of nervousness. How can you not really – I was going to be working with authorities from big name companies in Rochester; it’s enough to intimidate anyone. Despite my initial weariness, I can gladly report that it’s been an incredible experience. This position has helped me grow not only in terms of career and professional development, but also expanded my knowledge of Rochester as a whole and my connections I’ve made within the community.rom day one, I was surprised at how incredible the environment is. The RAF has a perfect balance of having fun and getting work done. Meetings were meetings, but it didn’t stop us from joking our way through them. I felt respected and included from the beginning, and it didn’t take long to warm up to everyone (except maybe Aaron – he still intimidates me if we’re being honest). From the moment I joined, I was included in the process of planning three events and served as a member of a team working towards the establishment of a campaign. Through this internship, I was able to work directly with my favorite professor at Naz (and no, I’m not just saying that because I want a good final grade, she’s actually just awesome) which helped me feel comfortable; I always felt like I had someone to go to who I trusted and connected with.

On a more “adult” note, my position with the RAF has helped me develop an interest in and skills relating to project management and event planning related fields. I thoroughly enjoyed coordinating events and as a result meeting a mass number of professionals in the area. This position has largely helped improve my networking skills, and has given me the confidence to walk in to a 20MAAB and know I can succeed.

Overall, I can’t be more thankful for the opportunity to intern for the RAF and am looking forward to continuing it in the summer. The board members of the RAF are not only everything I aspire to be within my career, but are a group of supportive, funny, and hardworking individuals who went out of their way to make me feel appreciated and welcomed. Working immediately with a board member who I’m familiar with made it easy and - dare I say it, fun - to coordinate events and campaigns. I have grown stronger in my communication, networking, and teamwork related skills, and feel more confident as a young professional. And I’m just saying, they provide food at every meeting which this starving college kid is eternally grateful for.

Courtney Downing is a student at Nazareth College, Class of 2019