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Com Internship

Final Reflections

Michael Imperiale
August, 2016

As the conclusion of my internship is rapidly approaching, I have


started to reflect on my time at CaringKind during the last two months.
Many of the classes I have taken during my three years at Elon, have
enabled me to be prepared to manage the responsibilites of my
summer internship. Corporate Publishing has equipped with me the
knowledge to use Adobe applications to create flyers for our annual
fundraising walk. Although not directly related to my Communications
Major but related to my business minor, I was able to use my
marketing skills to help differentiate some of our ads, tweets, and
posts to contribute in rebranding of what and who is CaringKind.
In retrospect, I wish I had more social media experience prior to
this internship. In PR it is necessary to deal with so many people as
well as interact with followers on social media. I quickly needed to
learn as much as I could about marketing on Facebook, twitter, and
Instagram advertising. If I had more experience and knowledge about
the inner workings of social media, I would have been more productive
and work would have been easier when I first started. I believe my
personal and group communication skills have greatly improved during
my tenure at CaringKind. I worked on numerous one on one projects
with colleagues. I also attended weekly walk meetings in which a
group of 8-15 people brain stormed on how to improve our
communications for CaringKinds annual fundraising walk as well as
how to effectively target our advertising campaign. I also felt
challenged and sometimes not as confident in my Adobe twitter skills.
It was a difficult transition for me to write a precise and informative
tweet consisting of 140 characters. After my first team meeting, my
supervisor, Danielle taught me a very important lesson on how one can
succeed when conversing with multiple people in a meeting
environment. She advised me that a proper etiquette and
professionalism will give you an advantage in a meeting environment.
This knowledge is tremendously important for a communications major
because COM always requires people to meet and discuss their ideas,
problems, resolutions, etc. I believe I now conduct myself in a more
professional manner and I feel more confident when I am attending
meetings. I believe this is an invaluable skill set to possess no matter
what career or field you are in.
During my first week at CaringKind, I set goals to be outgoing and
participate in meetings, to communicate productive ideas, and to be of
use to anyone in the organization. I believe that I achieved those goals
because I was able to successfully contribute to our meetings, people
felt comfortable with me and I believe I earned their respect. I was able
to brainstorm and create social media campaigns and provided insight
and suggestions on the walk logo. I also helped out in the office in

particular, working with a colleague to help organize five months of


newspaper tear sheets in a binder.
The leadership and morale at CaringKind can be described as
strong, respectful, and people centered. The President and CEO,
Ms.Lou Ellen Barkan, has taken a personal stand in the fight against
Alzheimers. CaringKind was the first association to disaffiliate from the
national Alzheimer Association and it was driven by Ms. Barkans belief
that as an independent foundation they could better serve the people
of New York in fighting dementia than as a branch of a national
organization. CaringKinds disaffiliating from the national organization
subsequently sparked numerous other chapters to follow suit. This
confirms that Ms. Barkan is not only a visionary, but also
knowledgeable and confident in her abilities as a leader fighting the
battle to end dementia and Alzheimer.
Her leadership and management style have convinced many
others to follow her path while contributing to the significant growth
CaringKind has enjoyed in its first few months of existence. My one
criticism of management that I think can be improved upon is that
more managers could exhibit more leadership and negotiation skills,
which would result in more timely decisions. I believe some employees
may be overshadowed by Ms. Barkans drive and charisma and deflect
making any decisions with her input. During a walk meeting the
team was discussing logo options for the upcoming walk. After some
disagreements, a huge argument broke out which necessitated that
Ms. Barkan join and mediate the issue. She listened to both sides
debate their viewpoints, and then vote on their choice. She was able to
resolve the matter in a civil and professional manner. Perhaps, in the
future, other employees would be able to resolve issues without always
having to involve Ms. Barkan and therefore allow middle management
to develop skills to be stronger.
CaringKind is a very diverse workplace. I work in the backroom
with another intern, Sheila, Andy, a twenty four year old Chinese man,
and Justin a twenty-three year old gay man. While most of us share an
interest in sports and video games, others are interested in food,
traveling and politics. Perhaps some of those interests are acquired
with experience, and savings. Also it seems with age and experience,
one may be less reticent to share viewpoints and opinions.
Additionally, the office is very multi-cultural with people of all colors,
both genders, all sexual orientations and all ages. Perhaps non-profits
tend to be more diverse than traditional companies as mentioned in
the Top 10 Economic Facts of Diversity in the Workplace, and
diversity also possibly fosters more creativity and an innovative
workforce.
CaringKind is the leading advocate for the fight against Alzheimer
in NYC and that is due to the efforts of our president, Ms. Barkan. Ms.
Barkan is an outstanding leader whose drive, passion, and humanity

helped revolutionized the Alzheimer community by disaffiliating from


the national organization. In addition to employing a female president,
diversity has been a huge factor in contributing to the success in
CaringKinds first year. One project highlighting diversity included all of
our staff members answer interview questions about their involvement
with CaringKind. The goal of the project was to have members of all
backgrounds state that Alzheimer can happen to anyone regardless of
ethnicity, gender, and culture. This representation of all people of
different ethnicities, religions, gender, wealth, motivated many people
to participate in our fundraising efforts once they saw similar people
informing the public about the horrors of Alzheimer and dementia.
Lastly, I would consider taking a permanent position with
CaringKind. There is one goal that everyone believes in which is
defeating Alzheimer and dementia. This noble goal unites people of all
backgrounds. The family that I have become a member of is amazing
and I believe I will be friends with for life. Finally, I would recommend
this internship to other students if they believe in helping people and
fighting for the greater good. The experience I have learned from this
organization is invaluable and I will truly miss once I leave tomorrow.