My name is Lauren Davis and I will be entering my junior year with a major in Anthropology, and a double minor in Spanish and Studio Art. This summer I had the remarkable opportunity to work as an Events Marketing and Social Media Intern at HealthCorps, a national nonprofit organization founded Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is one of the nation’s most influential doctors. HealthCorps is dedicated to giving students the access to health education in underserved communities and provides them with the tools to understand the importance of mental and physical health, nutrition, and overall wellness. Last year I worked with HealthCorps as a Photography Intern, and I was grateful to be welcomed back in a completely different role where I previously had minimal exposure.
The Coordinators who teach HealthCorps curriculum are currently placed in 58 different schools systems throughout 9 states with 27 coordinators. One of the most fundamental factors that keep the program alive are their fundraising events. As an Events Marketing Intern, I was responsible for contacting numerous companies in an effort to get their support and involvement with HealthCorps Houston Wellness Day which will be hosted on September 27th. This event is dedicated to bringing the wellness community together for a day of deep self-care that consists of guest speakers discussing various topics on health and wellness, panel discussions, and mind and body breakout sessions. As anthropology has a major influence on my overall interest in HealthCorps and their efforts to help students in various communities, the events marketing role was outside of my typical interests, yet was still beneficial to me in countless ways.
One of my key responsibilities at HealthCorps was engaging in relationship management with confirmed and potential sponsors and social media influencers via email and telephone. With this, I was also held accountable for maintaining and organizing critical/evaluative information in an excel spreadsheet while working closely with one of HealthCorps Events Directors in Houston. The unique opportunity to work closely with someone remotely was a significant learning experience and had a positive impact on me and my achievements. I reached out to approximately 80 companies and every individual received a personalized and informative letter stating what HealthCorps does and the purpose of our Houston wellness day while addressing specifically how their mission/values were aligned with HealthCorps, making them a perfect fit for the event. With multiple levels of sponsorship opportunities, I would sometimes direct companies toward the level/position that would be most appropriate for event. Having to stay in communication with multiple people at once while continuing to reach out to new people was definitely an experience. Having many responsibilities at once made me realize how capable I was, and having the support of those in the office around me made my experience all the better. It is extremely rewarding to know that my endeavors and achievements throughout the day had a meaningful purpose that many students will benefit from.
Although, I was primarily assigned to work on the Houston Wellness Day event, I also assisted with HealthCorps Annual Fundraising Gala, where the majority of funds are raised for their program. I had the privilege to travel to multiple event spaces with one of Healthcorps Events Directors and my supervisor where we were given guided tours and where I attended sit down meetings, which gave me the extraordinary opportunity to learn firsthand about the process. I gained extensive knowledge on what it takes to plan an event, learned about the importance of location, cost, decor, ratio of people and size of space, and much more. After HealthCorps decided on a space, I was responsible for researching decor ideas, places that could donate decor, and auction propositions.
In addition to all of this, I was also a Social Media Intern where I worked with the Social Media Specialist on creating an organized content calendar in Excel that included everything that would be posted that month on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I manually tracked and calculated Instagram metrics in Excel to see how well each of our posts were doing, as well as creating digital graphics for a few posts. My passion for studio art was instrumental in working on the graphics.
Something else I got a chance to work on was transcribing videos of HealthCorps interviewing students, teachers, coordinators, and administrators. Through this process, I learned so much more about the students and the fundamental change Healthcorps was making in their lives. Rather than transcribing everything, I was instructed to quote the most important and significant sentences that would eventually be published. At times, these videos would take up to 2-4 hours to transcribe, but it was all worth the time as I gained more knowledge on the students and the direct impact Healthcorps had on them as well as learning more about Healthcorps through the teachers, coordinators, and administrators perspective.
Lastly, one of my favorite tasks that I found exciting was photographing HealthCorps merchandise that were going to be handed out to their teachers in training. As someone who loves photography, I was extremely excited to work with equipment that I had never worked with before. It was inspiring to take photos that came out looking professional and doing things in Adobe Photoshop that I have never done before in order to touch them up was gratifying. As a studio art minor, I thoroughly enjoyed this small project.
Overall, events marketing is a field I had minimal exposure in before this experience. Therefore, I was eager to learn more about the process and what it takes to truly market something and all the steps that are required to do so. I also have never manually tracked and calculated social media metrics before. I found it all to be very cool. Observing the metrics constantly fluctuate was very interesting to track.
Working on Houston Wellness Day helped me gain skills that are beneficial for life. In the beginning, I found myself getting nervous when reaching out to people. Phone calls made me jittery, as I was still in the process of learning how to verbally market the event and making sure that I was addressing each companies mission in the correct way made me think twice about how confident I felt taking on this role. However, through some trial and error, I learned and gained the proper social skills that are essential when connecting with various people. As we now live in a digital world, connecting with people over various platforms will be a necessity for business and tackling this skill now makes me feel prepared for the future. Going outside of my usual interests and also learning about what it takes to plan events for a meaningful cause is something that I definitely do not regret.
Something that I would definitely advise to other students in search of an internship and considering the funded award is that it is always valuable to take the time to learn something that is out of your typical interests and comfort zone. You may realize that by doing so it can result in something you enjoyed or did not enjoy, but at the end of the day you become more knowledgeable and well versed in other fields that do not directly apply to your own.
I want give out a big thank you to the generous donors that made my summer fun experience possible, as well as making it possible for many other students. I was fortunate for the opportunity that gave me life long skills no matter where I go or end up in my career.