Reflecting On My Summer Internship At WWT
World Wide Technology is changing what it means to be an intern. When I walked through the doors of WWT's Global Headquarters on the morning of May 22nd, I knew it was going to be a great summer. The grand balloon arch and the smiling faces ready to meet all the interns at the bottom of the staircase made me feel welcome and at home – I belonged there.
From the very beginning, I knew that my purpose as an intern wasn't to just get coffee and make copies; it was to learn and grow. On the first day, interns were able to engage with one another through informative presentations and enjoyable icebreakers, which gave us the opportunity to share information about ourselves and ask any questions before going our separate ways to meet with our teams and mentors.
WWT's commitment to engagement through the 3 Cs – community, caring, and culture – shines through all people within the company. On only my fourth day at WWT, I was able to see these fundamental principles in action on a large scale. I had the privilege of attending the 2023 St. Louis Sports Commission Biz Dash, presented by World Wide Technology, at the St. Louis CITY SC CITYPARK Stadium. It was amazing to see WWT's team members and over 200 local businesses gather downtown to support the community and promote health and wellness in a fun and beautiful environment. It was even more amazing to be a part of it. Right out of the gate, the people at WWT, especially my team, made me feel like I truly belonged.
The excitement, engagement and encouragement didn't stop there – it continues each day at WWT. The sense of community in this organization is unmatched. Whether it be helping the VETS Employee Resource Group (ERG) put up flags for Memorial Day, celebrating coworker birthdays, going out to dinner with my team, or simply having lunch with the friends you make here, you can tell that the people of WWT truly care about one another. Everyone in the organization cares about seeing one another learn, grow and succeed in both professional and personal lives.
WWT aims to use the growth and development of the company and its employees to foster a positive impact on the community through multiple programs and initiatives such as the annual May of Caring campaign. I was able to take action alongside 160 of my fellow interns for our Intern Day of Caring, a WWT benefit in which every WWT employee receives a day of pay to volunteer and serve their community.
This year, the interns were able to make a positive impact by volunteering for the Forest Park Forever Trash for Trails Program to help clean up Forest Park! This was such an inspiring experience that allowed the interns to engage with the community and one another to Make a New World Happen!
WWT's care and commitment to the community and its employees illustrate the company's world-class culture, which is rooted in our core values: THE PATH. THE PATH is an acronym for Trust, Humility, Embrace Change, Passion, Attitude, Team Player and Honesty. Everyone at WWT embodies these values and uses them to stand by our mission: to create a profitable growth company that is a great place to work for all.
I personally saw the core values in action during events such as: the Trust Presentation with WWT President, Joe Koenig; the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Summit; and, the executive-led Integrated Management and Leadership workshop, which explained the tools and concepts that drive employee, manager and leader development. These tools and concepts set the tone for the positive culture that is present and reinforced at every level of the company.
This summer, I had the unique opportunity to work with high school interns through WWT's partnership with NAF, an organization that enables students of all backgrounds to participate in meaningful education and skill development.
The NAF program gives businesses the opportunity to partner with schools to shape America's future workforce through career-relevant curricula and work-based learning experiences, including internships. Our NAF interns are based in St. Louis and were selected because they have an interest in pursuing a career in technology. To expose them to the wide variety of careers at WWT, we organized virtual and in-person information and shadow sessions with WWT employees from various areas of the company. My team also guided and mentored them through projects, events, readings and discussions.
Watching the NAF high school interns learn and grow as young professionals was extremely rewarding. Though my role as a college intern was to help assist the interns throughout their time here at WWT, in the end, they taught me so much about my own leadership and mentorship.
At World Wide Technology, part of being a Great Place to Work for All includes career development for employees at all professional stages. The University Relations & DEIB team engages interns through thoughtful career readiness activities. Interns want to know what it takes to be successful beyond the classroom, and are engaged through interactive presentations, real-world projects and meaningful connections. Interns are encouraged to think like a recruiter as they navigate their careers, considering how they want to brand and present themselves professionally. Finally, we create opportunities to connect interns with full-time employees at WWT, encouraging mentorship and belonging.
Kalia Wamer, Diversity and University Relations, captures the prioritization of career readiness and professional development by describing her experience: "As an intern, I worked with a team of 12 other interns across the business to solve a capstone case study. My capstone project gave me the transferable skills I needed. I learned how to become a better public speaker. I was able to develop my collaboration and communication skills. The one-on-one relationship with my team members aided them in mentoring me throughout the program. We met weekly and prepared goals related to my professional interests. Overall, from the mentorship and career development projects, I was able to engage in the company and grow as a professional."
It is difficult to put into words how grateful I am to be an intern at WWT. The awards and recognitions WWT's Summer Internship Program has received are well deserved. During my time at WWT, I have learned so much about myself as a professional and as a person. The practical experience offered in this program has allowed me to challenge and develop my skills in ways that I would have never been able to before. I have been able to network, make so many new connections and expand on my career interests. Lastly, I feel as if I was given the opportunity to truly make a world of difference. This has been the most rewarding experience. I cannot thank those involved with my journey as an intern enough for all that they do to help others learn, grow and achieve success.
For students looking for an enriching and fulfilling internship experience, I encourage you to take the advice our CEO, Jim Kavanaugh gave to our interns in the beginning of summer, and, "Take action!"
Application deadline: Friday, November 10, 2023