School/year: Hope College / SeniorPosition Title
: Asset Protection Intern
Organization Name: Meijer
What brought you to the Holland/Zeeland area? I originally came to the area because I found the perfect fit at Hope College but since I have found many reasons to stay. There is a culture here that embodies the growth of the individual and the path to success. In this area, there is a small town feel with big town opportunities and an endless number of business leaders that want to help you get there. This community is not one that wants to see someone succeed at the expense of others but rather it is one that wants to see everyone succeed in a way that moves the entire community forward.
How did you discover Holland Young Professionals (HYP)? In my previous internship with Lakeshore Advantage, I had the chance to work closely with Holland Young Professionals as well as attend many of their events. This opportunity brought me the chance to meet and know many of the young professionals in the area and helped me to become more connected.
Outside of HYP, are you involved in any organizations locally or nationally? Outside of school, I have worked for the Tulip Time Operations for three years. In school, I also worked as a Resident Assistant for two years and coordinated events for my living community.
What would you consider to be your greatest achievement(s) in your internships in the Holland/Zeeland area? In each of my internships, I have achieved personal and professional goals that I have set for myself, however, I would consider receiving the Holland Young Professionals “Development Matters” award as my greatest achievement. It was an honor to be recognized by the Holland Young Professionals as someone who shows great potential for future leadership in our community.
How would you define leadership? How can interns and early career professionals become stronger and more effective leaders? When an organization reaches a crest in their progression, there needs to be someone that is able to take the reins and guide the team into whatever may be coming next. This may be a point of maturity for a company. It also may come at a point of crisis where the company or organization meets failure face-to-face. The leader must stand up and guide the team through the darkness. There are many ways that a leader becomes recognized as such but there are only a few things a leader must do; empower, motivate and support.
When I look at a leader, I see these traits lived out in their everyday. Empowerment, motivation and support are recognizable through not only the actions of the leaders but through how closely the team follows. When it comes time to grab the reins, a leader can only make changes if he or she has a team that will follow behind. I fully believe that with the proper execution of these three behaviors, leadership will be recognized. When defining leadership, it often becomes a conversation about someone that has the ability to make decisions. Instead, leadership should be a conversation about someone who allows those around them to make rational decisions, create passionate objectives and an environment that fosters growth and support of the individual through it all.
What are two ways interns can make the most of a summer internship? The first thing an intern needs to do is make connections. This may sound simple and I’m sure we’ve all heard it before but it is critical. Connections lead to relationships and relationships lead to knowledge and opportunity. It doesn’t matter whether it is fellow interns or organization leadership, connections are critical.
The second way to make the most of an internship is to take the “final” version of each of your projects and make it one step better. This may seem unrealistic but I’ve learned that with the proper time and concentration on any single project, there is always room to make it a little better. Never over commit or under perform. Each project has an expectation and this will make sure you never fall short of it.