After eight weeks of interning for Cone, I can say that nothing makes a meeting more exhilarating than when Jenn Sheehy, our VP of Crisis Prevention & Management, begins by announcing that “We have a crisis.” Yes, exactly like that… Straight out of something like The West Wing. The first time this happened, I had a hard time convincing myself I wasn’t actually watching an Aaron Sorkin drama. Jenn deftly fired off a task list, team members had status updates, someone read a statement from the client. The whole thing was perfectly scripted.
I, of course, knew my role as an intern was to try desperately to avoid getting noticed. While it’s true that I was technically supposed to be in the meeting, I instinctively knew this subject matter was above my pay grade. Perhaps the guy standing at the door who asks for your clearance badge had taken a bathroom break, and I’d managed to sneak in.
The air itself seemed to be sweating adrenaline, and everyone was hyper-focused on what they were doing. For the moment, it seemed I had slipped under the radar – which was good because I figured this was my one chance to attend a crisis meeting. I’d always daydreamed during the Brand and Marketing classes what a real crisis was like. A quick pinch test confirmed the reality of the situation, and I oxymoronically forced myself to relax, which didn’t last long at all. I was sucked back into reality when Jenn asked me a question. Oh no, my cover’s blown! I stopped just short of apologizing for even working at Cone as I prepared to stand and exit the room. Hold your head high…
“Do you have any insights you think we’ve missed?” Jenn’s words suddenly formulated.
I was dumbfounded. Insights?!? If you’ve already had the typical PR internship, maybe you understand. In my previous experience, I would go into work and receive Task List ABC. I would perform ABC. Rinse and repeat. No analysis necessary. After all, I am an undergrad, with barely the mental capacity to shovel data in and out of a media list. My extreme shock (hopefully) explains my less-than-profound answer: “Well, there’s a lot of media attention around this, so it’s a hot issue.”
The lameness of that “insight” aside, this is the perfect example of how Cone operates. Everything you do as an intern actually matters. You’re not relegated to some intern cubicle in the corner and told to craft 100 tweets before lunch. The staff here is very eager to listen to your point of view. I’ve been trained in a few really meaningful agency tools, as well, that look quite nice on my resume. I daily see the results of my hard work neatly tucked into client reports or into an elite presentation to a local business school.
I could continue to gush about my time here, but I’ll end with this: I have one more year of my undergraduate education. If, after I complete my studies, I somehow end up back in Boston working for Cone, I doubt my experience will be any different. I’m already a member of the team.
If you are a student interested in learning more about or applying for an internship at Cone Communications within Crisis Prevention & Management or any of our other disciplines, please visit: http://www.conecomm.com/jobs.