By Katie Chrisco
This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with Ascendant, a firm specializing in CEO branding. My previous internship experience was at a firm with a wide range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations, so working with clients as individuals was definitely a unique experience for me.
I learned about Ascendant through a family friend, and shortly after sending in my resume, I was added to a conference call with the CEO for an interview. After accepting the position, we worked out the logistics of my situation.
Since Ascendant’s main office is in Delaware, but there is another office in Indianapolis, we decided I would work remotely and commute to Indianapolis weekly. This allowed me to work part-time in Bloomington while completing my internship.
Through this experience, I learned so much about CEO branding. CEO branding is about building a clear, personal brand through creating visibility. The main ways that Ascendant creates this visibility for a client is through social media, public appearances, and book deals. During my internship I conducted research for clients, helped with the editing of manuscripts, and did a lot of social media.
The most rewarding experience I had during my time with Ascendant was having the opportunity to live-tweet an event for one of our clients. The Vice President of Diversity for Walgreens hosted a charity event, which included an auction and screening of a film based on his time in the foster care system as a child. Our CEO trusted me to travel to Chicago for the event. I was given social media passwords and instructed to greet the client, then live-tweet, as well as post on Instagram and Facebook throughout the event.
I was extremely nervous, as I had never live-tweeted an event before. I was also nervous to engage with our client face-to-face since I had been mainly working remotely up until that point. However, the event went smoothly and afterwards I received praise both from the client and Ascendant’s CEO. I was ecstatic to receive such positive feedback, and that’s something that will definitely help me stand out when looking for jobs and internships in the future.
I think my favorite part of this experience is the level of trust and responsibility I was given. Some companies don’t give interns very much responsibility, and they are simply given menial tasks. I am so thankful that Ascendant trusted me enough to have me work directly with clients, have access to social media accounts, and communicate with the CEO.
I’m not sure if I would like to work at a firm specializing in CEO branding after graduation, but I think my internship was a great experience. One of the challenges was that my work wasn’t structured since I was working remotely. However, it was also a benefit in a way since I could work on my own schedule. I feel like I learned what it would be like to freelance, and I think that’s a very valuable takeaway as well. Overall, I’m happy with my internship experience and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me after graduation this spring!