Intern Takeover - Part 1: Making the Jump From Intern to Employee

Podcast / 08.05.2022

1/31/2024 10:59:14 PM Red Door Interactive http://www.reddoor.biz Red Door Interactive

Some of the brightest careers in marketing start with a summer internship. And while sometimes an internship means learning, growing, and then moving on to another opportunity, other times, the stars align, and a company is able to provide an intern with a full-time role that offers room for growth and a chance to propel their career to the next level. In part one of this series, some of Red Door's brightest stars, business manager Alyssa Heddington and social and content specialist Lexi Marron, share how they were able to transition from part-time interns to full-time marketing experts at Red Door Interactive. They'll offer a sneak peek into Red Door's company culture, talk about the challenges they faced along the way, and offer tips to help future interns make the most of their marketing internships. 

Tell Us About Yourself 

Lexi: My name's Lexi Marron. I went to San Diego State University. I started as an intern in June of 2020, right when COVID hit. So that was a little bit unique for me because I was completely virtual. So, I've been here for just about two years and my current position is as a social and content specialist. 

Alyssa: My name's Alyssa Heddington. I started at Red Door in June as well, but of 2019. So just past my three year work anniversary here. 

Reid: Congrats. 

Alyssa: Thank you. Thank you. Also went to San Diego State. Started at Red Door in kind of a dual position. So a project management as well as a Red Door marketing intern. And now, in my current title, I'm a business manager. So have lept through a couple of teams in my few years here. 

What’s are your role’s responsibilities? 

Reid: Well, awesome. For the sake of our listeners, let's talk a little bit about what you do beyond the title, so people understand what that's all about. So Alyssa, why don't we start with you. We're talking about business manager, you started in a dual role. So talk maybe a little bit about that trajectory as well about what those different roles are. 

Alyssa: So as an intern, it was really interesting getting to do kind of the project management side of things, which is something that I was interested in before I came to Red Door. That was really what drew me to agency life. I was really excited about project management. I always say that I PM my life. So came very naturally to me, something I do fairly often. But also had a really unique opportunity to participate in Red Door Marketing. So on the flip side of these podcasts, writing show notes out, things like that, partnering really closely with Tyler and the marketing team. So got to learn a lot and it was really exciting. And then coming into Red Door, went to the project management team and got to learn everything I could about managing projects and digital marketing, which also gave me a huge foundation for digital marketing itself. 

I got to learn about paid, taking courses on Facebook ads and Google ads. I learned about SEO and what that means and how that works. Working with a creative team. And then I also earned my PMP during that time. So just a lot. Yeah. A lot of education in that year. And also during that, I kind of, as I said, I PM my life. So in my role figured maybe there's an opportunity for me to expand what I'm learning and do something that feels a little bit different. Maybe something that's not as natural or not as comfortable for me. And that's the business management team. So they partner really closely with the project managers, but instead of focusing on the day-to-day tactical of what are we getting done in order to get to the next step and the next step, and then ultimately completing our projects, they're focusing on that client relationship and saying, okay, yes, this project's going on, but what's the next project? What's the project after that? What are your marketing objectives and how are we strategically getting you there as your agency? How are we pushing you forward? So that's what I'm focused on in my current role. 

Reid: So, project managing your life and it just stays over there, and now on the business manager side, managing the relationship and the long-term relationship with clients. So Lexi, tell us about what you do on a day-to-day basis. 

Lexi: So now that I'm on the social and content team on a day-to-day basis, I'm really looking out for the client's social media accounts on the one hand, and then, on the other hand, I'm writing content. So, blogs, webpage content in particular, really managing the goals. If we're starting from a customer journey funnel, how do we want to bring them into our site? Whether it's a service, a product, we got to bring them down the funnel, and tailoring content pieces that can drive them further down to eventually become the client of our client. And then on the social media side, I'm managing what content are we putting out. I'm creating that content with the creative team. I'm managing their analytics and what performs best. How are we getting in front of their customers? How can we continue to grow their social media accounts? So then organically they're bringing in customers. I also collaborate with the paid social team, so based on what's performing organically, how can we further push that content out to get that wider awareness for their consumers? 

How was your transition from a part-time intern to a full-time employee? 

Reid: Well, got a little bit of background on what you're doing on a day-to-day basis, and we're here to talk about the company as a whole. Again, what your intern experience was, and how that prepared you for the role you have today. So, from that standpoint, why don't we talk a little bit about Red Door and how going from that intern position to where you are today, how did Red Door as a whole help prepare you make that transition? Alyssa, why don't we start with you? 

Alyssa: So, as I mentioned, I really went through a couple of different teams, a couple of different positions, and I think the biggest thing Red Door did for me is tell me, “That's okay.” And encouraged me to go from team to team. It was even my manager at the time who first posed the question to me of do you like project management or do you maybe want to be on the business management team? And I thought, I don't know. I'm on the project management team. I didn't think about going to the other team, but let me think about this. And I actually went through about a six-month existential crisis as I like to call it interviewing members of each team, talking to them, shadowing meetings, understanding who's doing what in each meeting, really getting to the foundation and the root of the role. Red Door encouraged me to do all of that the entire time and really pushed me to learn and explore and understand what makes me happy and what is going to make me happy at work. So, I think that's the biggest thing Red Door did for me is from starting my internship through where I'm at today is continuing to push me to try new things and find what I'm really going to excel at the agency. 

Reid: Do you think that's part of the intern experience is just kind of exploring different things, identifying what you like and don't like? 

Alyssa: Yeah. Absolutely. That's something I even say when I talk to current interns is you have a role, you have a job title, and you have a list of job responsibilities, but what you can learn during these few months goes so far beyond what's listed there. It's not just this task, this task, this task. It's what does working at an agency mean? You're learning how do I fit into a bigger organization? I always say that Red Door was the first place I worked with people who were in their careers. So what does that look like? Do I like this kind of work? Do I like working from home? Do I like being in the office? There's so much more to learn. And then even within each department, as you're working with people, oh, what you're doing is interesting. Maybe I want to do that. So yeah, 100% part of the internship. 

Reid: Lexi, tell me about your experience. Was it similar or something different? 

Lexi: I think for me it was similar, but in terms of the transition from being an intern to full-time. I don't really feel like there was necessarily a big transition for me, because as an intern at Red Door, I feel like people think of interns as like, oh, you're going to go get the coffee. You're going to go get the lunch order. But at Red Door, it's not like that at all. Well, I was virtual, but never one time I seen an intern do that. You're being trusted to do the exact job duties that someone that is full-time is doing. 

So, for me to have the opportunities to get to grow in different realms, because I worked on the SEO team as an intern, as well as the social and content team, I got to do both deliverables in both teams and got to see that experience, so when I came on full-time, I don't feel like it was necessarily a big difference for me because you're trusted so much as an intern. You're not looked at as just an intern. Now I feel normal companies or that the culture puts that stigma around interns. You are actually like a Red Door employee no matter what, and you get to work on all of the cool stuff that full-time employees get to do. So for me there wasn't a really big difference, but that was a big part of my internship was being able to actually do deliverables that mattered, and I got to see the progress that it did for clients.

What does your support system at work look like? 

Reid: Tell me about the support system that you had or have, actually I suppose it's a little bit of both at this point as we're talking about your past experiences as an intern and where we are today as a full-time, but the support that you get from Red Door as an organization, from your manager, from your team to be successful as an intern and then transition from intern into full-time employee. 

Lexi: When I was an intern, I mean, the support system has pretty much stayed consistent. I think your manager is a huge support system because you can talk to them daily. You can run them down on what happened that day and get their advice. But beyond that, you have your team members that without a doubt, will help you with, they will drop everything for you to talk to you if you're having a hard day, if you need to talk through a deliverable or something. But even beyond just your own team, I know that there was times where, Reid, I talked to you and have gotten advice. And that's not common. Usually at other companies, you don't just go to the CEO and you're like, hey, you want to chat? I'm having a difficult day or I need some help. So pretty much everyone at Red Door I feel like is my support system. I know that I could go to absolutely anyone and know that they would have my best interests and help me and work and guide me through that. 

Reid: Yeah. And Alyssa, you had a couple different teams, couple different managers. Tell us about your kind of the support that you had making that transition. 

Alyssa: Yeah, definitely. I think Lexi makes a great point that your manager is always there. And as she was saying with the internship, you're doing things that employees are doing. You're not just on the sidelines and that's because everyone wants you to succeed. So we're not just thrown into the fire, but your manager is there saying, okay, run with this until you need me. When you need me, I'm here and I can help. And we have a couple different ways of supporting. We implement situational leadership and there's different kinds of coaching, different kinds of feedback and advice based on what you need from your manager and everyone around you is really tapped into that. On the project management business management teams, I know we have shadowing programs as well as mentoring programs. So just working with your peers even on, hey, I don't really know how to do this. And maybe I don't want to loop in my manager because they're busy, and I feel like this is something that you could help me out with, and you get that connection across the team. So like Lexi was saying, everyone here is so happy to help. 

What makes Red Door stand out as an employer? 

Reid: Yeah. So you talk about programs and different things. You learn situational leadership is something you brought in, which has a curriculum associated with it, books, things like that. From an employer standpoint, that's something obviously we try to put into place, programs like that. What are some of the ones you guys have taken advantage of or do you see firsthand that helps make your manager may be effective or the people around you effective at what they do? Does anything stand out for you? 

Alyssa: Yeah, I think for me it's just those mentorship programs that I talked about across the client services team. So we meet with people within our own squad just to learn, okay, from the senior business manager on the team, what are you doing with your clients? Let me tell you about something that's happening on my clients. What are your thoughts on that? So it just brings in a different perspective. Your manager is so looped in on your clients, what's happening all the time. So when you talk to someone who is outside that account and outside of that client, they have different ideas and different ways to pull in information that you maybe wouldn't have thought of because you're too close to it. 

Lexi: I think maybe it's not a direct program, but something that I find very useful is expos and share and evolves. Because for me, I don't have a lot of visibility on everyone else's clients. Maybe it's not like that day-to-day visibility, but when we go to a share and evolve, and we hear... 

Reid: What is that? For our listeners, let's explain what expos and share and evolves are. 

Lexi: Good point. So, share and evolve is essentially, a team is assigned or can pick a topic to discuss for the whole company. So, I know the business manager team has done the favorite business books, and what are your best business tips and advice? And then an expo is where essentially you get to show your work and show your clients' progress and your successes. For me, when I go to expos, it's really awesome for me to see what everyone else has done because it gives me so much inspiration and ideas for what I can bring back to my clients. I feel like that's really the goal of it, how can we make it better for all of our clients? and to share your experiences with that. So, I really appreciate doing those. 

Would you recommend Red Door to others? 

Reid: Yeah. Expo for me is one of my favorite meetings that we have every quarter. You don't always get the exposure to all the different clients. You oftentimes just have what you have in front of you. So it's fun to see what everyone's putting together and doing for other clients.  

Reid: So then with all of the experience that you do have that you've been building throughout your career here at Red Door, maybe what would make you recommend, talk about in full glass door style, what would make you recommend Red Door, and why, to other folks? 

Lexi: I have many reasons, but I think my top probably two or three reasons would be, one, the culture and the people. It's just unbeatable. We have people here that truly embody our company's values and that's what makes it a hundred times more enjoyable to come into work. I think secondly, for me, is really the growth opportunities that you have here. Because as an agency we get to be and see so many different opportunities and clients and have so many variant ways to solve the problems and you get to experience all of that. And that's what's really special to me is even if you are entry level, you're not just given tasks that are entry level. You can go beyond that and still get that broad experience. And again, given that opportunity to, like Alyssa was mentioning, run with this as far as you can go and we'll step in when you need. So I really appreciate that. 

Reid: Cool. Alyssa, what would make you recommend people? 

Alyssa: Lexi stole my answers, but to continue off of them, really it's you have this huge array of clients. And so yes, I've worked in beer at Red Door. I've also worked in cloud software. I've worked in banking. I've worked in finance. So it's this idea that while you work at Red Door, like Lexi was saying, there's so many growth opportunities, but you also get to learn so much about industries kind of across the world and across the world of work and what it means to work in those industries and learn a little bit about a lot of things. 

What have been your biggest challenges in your time here? 

Reid: Yeah. Well, with all that diversity, maybe talk about some of your biggest challenges or hurdles that you had to navigate in your time here. 

Alyssa: Yeah. I think along with that, it's getting to know an industry every time you get a new client. So it's not like, okay, I got it. I understand now. And now I'm good to go for the rest of my career. Every time you get a new client it's how does this industry work? How do they make money? Who's their audience? What's their journey on the path to conversion or whatever we're asking them to do? So it's getting to know the industry, the client, the audience, everyone we're talking to. So I think that's one of the biggest challenges as you go. There's no done. You're never done learning and you're never done understanding what's out there, which is also one of the exciting parts. Of course we want to continue to learn and continue to understand, but that's definitely one of the bigger challenges is just wrapping your mind around things. 

Reid: Yeah. Lexi, what about you? Any challenges you've faced? Hurdles you've had to overcome? 

Lexi: Yeah. So bouncing off what Alyssa said, I think that's definitely a challenge because at Red Door we consider ourselves subject matter experts. We refer to it as SMEs. So you are essentially needing to be an expert in your field, of course, but as well as with the different clients that we have, like a hospital client, I have to become an expert in that field, write articles for them. We have children's hospital as a client and I have to write about brain surgery, and that takes hours and hours of research that I am not equipped to do necessarily just off the top of my head write about brain surgery. But when I put myself in that field and the fact that I have to be a doctor right now, I think that's something that's super unique to our team and our agency, because we want to provide the best deliverables for our client. 

But on the other hand, I think with all that exposure of being on so many clients and needing to be an expert in so many different fields, I think a challenge with that is also balancing all of those different clients in your head. Because you can't just forget about all of that. You're learning the objectives, you're learning the goals of the industry, what the actual industry is, but you're continuing to work on those clients. So that's not something that just like, oh, I learned it today and it's out on the door. You have to continuously have that mindset every single time you're working on a client deliverable for them. 

Reid: Yeah. And it's nice to be able to provide that objectivity to clients. Not that we're necessarily trying to be a doctor per se, but we're trying to make what they would write palatable to a typical consumer who's experiencing probably a degree of fear or whatever those emotions are that we try to invoke in the work that we do. And thankfully for anything truly medical, there is always a review process. 

Lexi: Yes, definitely. 

What advice would you give to those hoping to turn an internship into a full-time role? 

Reid: So, part of this is we talk about learning and adapting and the kind of evolving process going from an intern to a full-time job. What advice would you give? In our next episode, we're going to talk to the interns that are here right now. But what advice would you give to those interns of how do you make that leap from Red Door intern to full-time employee at Red Door? 

Alyssa: One of the biggest things I always say is don't be afraid to ask questions. And I feel like that sounds very cliche and generic to say, don't ask questions or don't be afraid to ask questions, but truly as an intern, when I first started, I was surrounded by people for the first time in my life who were so, so sure of everything. They knew what they were talking about. They were so knowledgeable. I was so impressed by everyone that I was working with. They can be a little intimidating to say, wait, I don't know what you're talking about, or I don't know what that means or what's that deliverable. But one of my managers at the time told me we're all going to ask questions. Someone on the SEO team may be so knowledgeable about what they're doing, but they don't know what's happening in the organic content space. So they're going to ask questions to that team. 

And everyone's asking. It actually shows you're curious, it shows you’re thinking about things strategically to say, wait, I have a question about that. I want you to talk about that more. So I think that's one of the biggest things I always say is don't be afraid to ask questions. Put yourself out there, raise your hand for things, always show up for opportunities, even if they don't seem like maybe what was listed in your job title. Raise your hand and be a part of it. 

Reid: Yeah, being visible and engaged. Absolutely. 

Alyssa: Exactly. 

Reid: Lexi, what do you think? 

Lexi: I think for me, this one is kind of a two-pronged. The first one being, to lead off of Alyssa, definitely to ask questions and take advantage of what you get out of the internship. Talk to people, talk to former interns, which I know our current interns have done a great job. I've had many of them reach out to me and ask about my experience. And I think that's really important to learn about the process of people that came before you and did the exact same thing and to learn from them. But on the other hand for me, I think that an internship, obviously at the end of an internship, a lot of people's goals are to get hired on. 

But in my opinion, I think that at the root of an internship is to get that experience and those skills and truly explore if you could see yourself in this career, because that gives you the opportunity in that realm. So in that I think my biggest piece of advice would be to invest in yourself through really taking advantage of the whole internship process. So ask those questions, explore different departments when you have that opportunity. Because when you get into a career, at Red Door it is nice that we get to hop around and we have that opportunity, but at most companies you don't just get to switch if you want and work on other deliverables and such. So I think that would be my biggest thing is just to really invest in yourself. And at the end of the day, if that doesn't lead to a job offer at the company that you wanted, that's okay because the skills and what you learned at this internship will take you much further in any other career that you do. 

What are you most excited about in regards to Red Doors future? 

Reid: Yeah. And I think another part that's a factor here is there a role open? Is the organization growing? Are you creating an opportunity? So, one of the questions I'll have just to kind of bring this to conclusion is what are you most excited about as far as Red Door's future? What opportunity are we creating here for obviously you individually as well as then the organization? 

Alyssa: Great question, Reid. And just even what Lexi was talking about just now, I just have to say that's such a great point with an internship's also a great time for you to understand if you like the company. It's not just, oh my gosh, I need to make sure that I'm doing everything right so that they hire me on because this is where I'm at right now. It's do I like what I'm doing here? And then you make a great point. Is there a role even open? That was something I went through in my internship. It got to the end, we were like, okay, we don't necessarily have a role yet, but we'd love to have you stay on for a little bit. So I extended for a month and I kept joking with my roommates back at home. Well, I might have a job in two weeks. We'll find out if I can pay rent next month. I really didn't know. And then obviously, spoiler alert, there was a job open. Here we are. But I just think that's a great point.  

In terms of where the company is going, there's so many different things that jump into my mind so it's hard to pinpoint kind of the one, but I think just even being back in the office in San Diego you start to see everyone come together. Lexi mentioned Red Door's culture is a huge part of why people work here. And I think that if you talk to everyone at Red Door, you would get really tired of the answer that the people is the best part, but it's what everyone's going to say. We love our coworkers, and it's so exciting to be back in the office. We have clients back in the office. So just even seeing that, feeling the energy when there's two client meetings going on, there's people making lunch, we have interns back in the office, and there's this energy building and it's palpable. You can feel it. So even just being around that, it just shows that we're back and better. And I just think there's so much to come. And just being back in the office really makes you feel it. 

Reid: Yeah. Lexi, and you started yours in the pandemic. So you started yours from home, but yeah. Tell me about now we are here. As we mentioned, we're back together. We're in the podcast studio together. Lexi, tell me a little bit about what the future holds. What do you see for Red Door? 

Lexi: I think for me, I love the fact that you said that people would get tired of the answer because it's so true. And everyone says the people, so I'm going to steer away from that. But that is my first choice. It is the people that I'm most excited to just see who we bring in and help grow this. I feel like we're truly a huge family, so I'm really excited to see who else we can add to it. But on the other side of that, I think what I'm most excited to see from Red Door is the personability that we're gaining back with clients with having in office and being back in person, because I know for me the clients that we've already met with in person, it has changed the relationship so much and for the better immensely, and it just creates kind of that humanistic aspect. We're not just agency and client. It really is like a partnership. 

Reid: Getting people back together and being able to convene with one another does change things quite a bit, so I'm glad we were able to convene here and get together and do this episode. And I'm excited for the next one. We've got our next episode, we've got the current interns. We're going to talk about their current experience and how things are going. So, Lexi, Alyssa, thank you for joining us on the Marketing Remix. And we'll have you on another episode to talk about something entirely different, I'm sure, soon. So thank you very much. 

Alyssa: Yeah. Thanks, Reid. 

Lexi: Thank you.