I’d like to start this blog by thanking you for an internship filled with endless laughs, enlightening conversation, fierce Nerf bullet battles, dogs running rampant in the office, and of course, everything I’ve learned about how a business operates. My title as “Marketing Intern” certainly did not encompass everything I was given the opportunity to witness and contribute to over the course of my fourteen weeks as a Zipster.
However, what I’d like to thank you most for is what I learned outside of business. Zipnosis, you truly demonstrated that your job means far more than just your work itself. I now understand that the people you work with and your company’s culture are equally as important as your position and responsibilities. When you have supportive coworkers and an empowering culture, you can achieve far more than what was otherwise possible.
This was apparent immediately after I started at Zipnosis. After I sat down at my computer on my first Monday of the summer, I came across an email from our CEO, Jon Pearce. I learned that he writes these emails every Monday, called “Monday Musings”. In his first installment since my arrival, Jon wrote about “supernova” leaders who inspire others, which he aims to be – you can’t deem yourself a “supernova” leader – and “black hole” leaders that prioritize themselves. As a high school basketball coach and soon-to-be Peer Career Coach at the Carlson School of Management, I too aspire to be a “supernova” leader. I was so touched by his words that I referenced them in my introduction to the company later that morning.
In mid-July, ZipGolf 2019 was held at Meadowbrook Golf Course in Hopkins, MN, which amounted to nine holes of a whole lot of fun (pun intended). After getting down by as many as three strokes, my team rallied to win the tournament, even with one less player than the other four teams. While winning the tournament was my goal going in, I also realized the benefit of these events for organizations. When you get to know people outside of the office, it fosters a tighter bond with both your coworkers and the organization in its entirety, enhancing your commitment and the quality of your work.
I mentioned culture earlier. Zipnosis lives and breathes by its acronym, “BRAVE”, which stands for Bold, Resilient, Accountable, Vulnerable, and Enthusiastic. In a vlog with Zipnosis investor Guy Turner, Jon Pearce explains why culture fit is more essential when hiring talent at a start-up than purely hiring the talent with the most experience. He argues that culture holds an organization together as it grows, and after spending a summer at Zipnosis, I wholeheartedly agree with Jon’s theory. Almost every organization has a “culture” defined by a few values, but does every organization buy into that culture? Does every employee even know what their employer’s values are? Probably not.
According to Deloitte, only 28% of executives understand their company’s culture. Yikes. If 28% of executives don’t even understand their business’s culture, how can other employees comprehend it? No wonder Gallup notes that only 13% of employees are “highly engaged,” while 26% are “actively disengaged.” How can you be invested in your organization if you don’t know what they stand for? And if a more than a quarter of your employees are “actively disengaged,” what quality of work are they producing?
This summer, I also had the privilege to work with two other interns, Zack Browne, a Dartmouth College swimmer who hails from Virginia, and Maddie Kaye, a fellow Carlson student from outside of Minneapolis. Despite our differences, we have been inseparable since Maddie joined Zipnosis in early July. Now, more than ever before, I believe that people are brought into your life for a reason. Maddie and Zack, you gave me new perspectives on life, work, and school, were a reliable source I could lean on if I was having a tough day, meticulously edited my work (which definitely made it better), and I could always count on you for a genuine laugh. And unlike in my previous internship experiences, I had ample opportunity to collaborate with both Maddie and Zack on blogs, abstracts, applications, and research.
Looking back on my internship, it was far more rewarding to work on a project with my fellow interns and see its impact on the organization than if I did it myself. Why? Because we bought into Zipnosis, and we did it together. It’s never all about you alone. BRAVE people know this.
So stay BRAVE, Zipsters. The sky’s the limit if you do. And who knows?
You might even find a supernova up there.