A Whirlwind Fall Internship at Maryland Nonprofits

December 12, 2018 | Blog, Leadership: Volunteers

Guest Post by Ashley Illenye, Marketing Intern, Fall 2018

Before my first day at Maryland Nonprofits as a Marketing Intern, I found myself worrying more than I am proud to admit. With no prior marketing experience, I wondered how I would be able to make my mark at an established organization. Shortly after I arrived, I met my co-intern, Sarah, got an office tour from Rachel, and Heather, the company’s fearless CEO, greeted me warmly. On that day, I also began to work with Allison and Lydia, whose intelligence and leadership would guide me through my fall internship, and to whom I owe more thanks and gratitude than I could ever express. 

As if I wasn't nervous enough, I spilled a pitcher of water all over the lunch table, nearly ruining all the Domino’s Pizza. When everyone laughed it off allowed me to shake the embarrassment I tried desperately to hide, I knew that I was in an office of extremely special individuals. Sarah and I got a minute to settle down from lunch before we were thrown right into annual conference preparations.

Gearing up for the conference almost seemed like it was an entirely different internship. Sarah and I spent weeks setting up spreadsheets, creating and populating the app, and drafting materials for the event. When the event finally came, we drove an hour at 5 a.m. for a 10-hour long day. Twice. Despite the complete exhaustion I felt from those first four weeks, I left with one overwhelming feeling. It was completely worth it, and I would do every step of the process over again. 

Unfortunately for me, but amazing for Sarah, my friend moved on from Maryland Nonprofits shortly after the conference to pursue a full-time career in marketing. Our nook in the corner of the intern area was a little quieter. Every Thursday at noon when we would usually take our weekly lunch date, I felt a little sad. More than that, however, I was hopeful about the amazing places that she proved this internship could lead. 

Lydia recently mentioned to me that some interns don't have the opportunity to participate in a big project. I have had the privilege to not only be a part of the annual conference but also of launching Maryland Nonprofits' brand-new website. It was in the process of creating the website that I experienced firsthand how incredibly hard-working and relentless Allison and Lydia were about launching the new face of the organization. They took on an incredibly hard project and got the job done flawlessly. 

Learning from Allison and Lydia has been one of the best experiences I have had. Allison once said that one day, she wanted to be as intelligent and as graceful in the workplace as Wendy Wolff (who greets me with a stunning smile and friendly hello every morning, which makes my day). Well, when I am a marketing professional, I want to be just like Allison and Lydia. They took a chance on me in a career in which I had no prior qualifications. They taught me more about creativity, an effective office work ethic, and leadership than I have learned anywhere else. Most importantly, they were amazing mentors that have launched me into a career in marketing. To them, I say thank you for this opportunity, and I will never forget all that you have done for me.

A-Z resource on nonprofit best practices

Advocating for the interests of families and youth

Promoting a thriving and effective nonprofit sector

Nonpartisan initiative promoting investment in MD’s communities