Rachael worked this summer in an internship for Skinfix, part of the Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies internship program. Skinfix is the maker of natural skincare products that is based on a heritage Maritime healing balm.
1. What has it been like to work in a small organization experiencing rapid growth?
It has been a great opportunity to try a bunch of different things and everyone at Skinfix have been great at helping me do that. I get to sit in on everything and you always know what is going on in different departments. I have helped the Canadian sales team and this entails doing a lot of research. I was also able to go to Calgary and be part of the Shoppers Drug Mart Tradeshow, where I gave presentations to almost 800 pharmacists. And I worked a lot with our customer service department.
2. How did you feel when they gave you these responsibilities?
My responsibilities have grown over the course of the summer. So in the beginning I was just observing, sitting in on meetings, reading over customer e-mails and how they are responded to – learning the ins and outs of the organization and how it is done. In the past few weeks things have really picked up and I have had a lot more responsibility, which has been great. Also stressful at times, but overall a great learning experience. I wasn’t just thrown into it I had the time to get to know the business, I knew what I needed to do beforehand and now I know what to do to accomplish the task.
I was surprised by the amount of responsibility they gave me, but in a good way. They put a lot of trust in me which was really great and that has helped me a lot as well.
3. What was the hardest part of the job?
My previous job was as a teller at a bank so it was an adjustment for me to work an office job, to sit at a desk, where I am in charge of prioritizing my tasks. What needs to be done first? If different people asked me for things, what do I do first? That was one of the tougher things for me I think.
4. What was your favourite part of your summer internship?
I have so many. I really have absolutely loved it. Everyone has been so welcoming to me. People from different departments have sat me down and talked to me about what I want to do after graduation, given me advice, and told me what they did. I have made great connections. There is only about 50 of us so it a really fun work environment. It is the start-up environment, which I have not been in before. I also loved going to Calgary. It was awesome, that was probably my favourite part.
Also their willingness to help and give me as many opportunities as possible. They set me up with the best internship possible this summer.
5. Are you applying things you learned in your courses?
One skill in particular that has really come in handy would be presenting. Coming out of high school, I was not a very strong presenter and I did not like presenting, but over time at Mount A with a concentration in marketing, I have been perfecting my presentation skills. For my internship, when I come back after doing my research visits, I give a slideshow presentation each week on what I have found and I am very comfortable with that. As well, at the Calgary tradeshow I was presenting, by myself, to large groups of people about our products and I had a lot of responsibility to make sure that they understood the benefits of what we are selling.
I also had the opportunity to be part of the Bagtown Brewing entrepreneurship class at Mount A this past year so that gave me some experience when it comes to start-ups. The fact that everyone has to come together to get the task done and help out, it does not matter what department people are from or what your job is. And the craziness that happens as well because things do not always go as planned. Never boring!
Bonus question: Why did you decide to come to Mount A?
I was able to play volleyball for Mount A and did so for my first two years. I also always wanted to go to a school that was in a small town, so the town revolved around the school. It is two hours from home so far enough away but not too far so I am able to go home. And my best friend went here.