By Emily Larson
Like all college students, I was thrilled when I learned that I landed a summer internship. Having completed an internship at a local nonprofit the summer before coming to Bentley, I knew I wanted to jump back in. As a freshman at Bentley, this was an early undertaking, but I knew I was up for the challenge.
KSA Marketing & Partnerships, LLC is the small marketing agency where I spent part of my summer. Located in Warwick, Rhode Island, the office is about 30 minutes from my home. Joining a small team of six, including another intern, I was excited to get a feel for this new business environment.
The “KSA Kave” — a quaint, historic home turned office/Airbnb settled in next to a small river really captured the character of Team KSA — authentic, welcoming, and current. The office also has an outdoor deck area where we sometimes had team meetings, and admired (and fed) the ducks swimming by.
WEARING MANY HATS
Being an intern at KSA meant that I, likewise every team member, would be wearing many hats. In an open office atmosphere, everyone offered each other a helping hand, and decisions were mostly made collaboratively. We often worked together to learn new hard skills, all while developing and exercising communication and teamwork soft skills. Some of my responsibilities included media buying, cold-calling potential event recruits, writing for various disciplines, and creating email newsletter design and content.
KSA’s founder and owner, Katie, regularly challenged me with the question “What did you learn?” after I completed a new project or task. This was crucial because it encouraged me to really reflect on what I gained or what lesson I learned from each experience.
A major aspect of the internship included volunteering at KSA client events on the weekends. It was rewarding to see our work executed into a tangible product, and doubled as a way to get to know Team KSA better, while also getting involved with the community. Doing business in Rhode Island has quite the interesting dynamic. Working in a state where everyone knows everyone (it’s true, we do), it’s very easy to make connections and develop meaningful business relationships.
I felt valued at KSA as my opinions and input mattered to the people I worked with. I was able to work independently and “own” my own projects. This was really important to me, especially as an intern because it showed that I was trusted to do valuable work on my own. Not to mention, at 19 years old I was always the youngest in the room, which can sometimes be intimidating. This is an area where the team element of KSA was very prevalent. I always felt like I was working alongside and collaboratively with my bosses, and I felt very comfortable asking questions or identifying when I needed help. I was even given the opportunity to sit in on important meetings and contribute my ideas. This freedom really created a wholesome learning experience for me.
On my last day at KSA, we ordered tacos and enjoyed the beautiful Rhode Island summer weather out on the office deck. The team presented me with a big book as a departure gift. A dynamic text about the idea of archetypes within branding, it is incredibly interesting. A favorite of Team KSA, they asked me to read it and hoped that it would resonate with me as much as it did with them. I really appreciated this gift that I know will be a unique resource within my career.
Recently I was able to attend one of our client’s largest, most important events of the year. With a ceremony and ballet performance honoring those who have been touched by breast cancer, and the Rhode Island State House lit up in pink lights, “Illuminations of Life” is one of the most iconic events in Rhode Island. Witnessing it for the first time with my own eyes was an experience like no other. Being able to see how my work over the course of the summer culminated into such a moving presentation was incredibly rewarding and also gave me a unique and more analytic perspective of the event.
I think about Team KSA regularly as many of the things I learned over the summer are being reiterated in class. Many of the public relations and branding strategies I discovered at KSA are being taught in GB214, and the internship allowed me to draw connections from real experiences to the concepts we discuss in class. I look forward to heading back to the office over winter break, hopefully with newfound skills and knowledge from Bentley to put to use.