By Kate Gilbert
Interning with AWM has been an incredible and eye opening experience for me! I am a rising Junior at James Madison University and this is my second summer as an intern for Alliance for Women in Media, and I am happy to say that this organization has helped me to learn a lot about myself and the future career path I hope to take.
Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. All of my previous employment and extra-curricular activities revolved around children. It wasn't until last summer when I began this internship that I realized I may have more interest in the non-profit/business world than I originally thought. While some of the work including database entry and prospect research could be tedious and time consuming, I found it useful in learning more about AWM as an association. Working closely with the staff allowed me to form relationships where I feel comfortable to ask for and provide constructive criticism and ask questions. The office work was interesting to me, but what really grabbed my attention were the events and conferences.
Last summer I remember hearing all about the Gracie Awards. While I reviewed lists and helped with editing of statue plaques or other small tasks, I heard all the hype about this incredible event, full of celebrities and women who really do make a difference in media of all forms. When the staff all returned from the event I listened to stories of what happened and what people wore, and I was mesmerized. I couldn't stop thinking about what an incredible event that must be. Having all of those powerful and outspoken women in one room would have to be inspiring!
This summer, to my surprise I was invited to attend the Gracies with the rest of the staff. I was ecstatic, to say the least! I immediately told everyone I was going to LA, bought a dress, and booked my flight. I couldn't wait! When my semester ended and I returned to the office I helped with the preparations for the Gracies and again reviewed checklists and spellings of names for the trophies, and prepared boxes and supplies to be shipped out to LA.
Being at the Gracies was an absolute blast. I loved see all the workings and behind the scenes of the production company and the staging and preparations that go into such a large event. I helped attach plaques to trophies, organize the picture room, stuffed programs and the sponsor bags, and provided an extra set of hands wherever necessary. It was awesome to see how all those small tasks I preformed while in the office and on site all came together and helped to make the Gracies the show that it was.
During the show I had the privilege of guiding the award winners and presenters to the back room to get their pictures taken and receive their personalized award and then I walked them back through the maze behind the stage and directed them back to their seats. It was an incredible experience to be able to walk and talk briefly with some of the women from TV and Radio who I have looked up to since I was young.
Overall, interning with AWM has been a fantastic and eye-opening experience. And as for my career path change, I am now looking at getting into non-profit management and events when I graduate!
Kate Gilbert is a rising Junior at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.