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Stronger Signals - Feedback and Connectivity at rp

Stronger Signals - Feedback and Connectivity at rp

Spend any time perusing this blog or the company website and it quickly becomes apparent that redpepper is not like other creative agencies. Clients are enthralled by our work and our innovative ideas have made waves throughout the internet. The quality of the people working here, both personally and professionally, is frightening. Companies would kill for a sliver of the creativity that oozes out of Wonderland. This is a special agency, as rare as lightning striking twice.

That’s why I struggled to enjoy my first few weeks here; I didn’t know if I could live up to the standards. redpepper has blended together such a high grade of output with a very particular crop of people, and it can be intimidating trying to find your place as a new intern.

I wasn’t happy with the quality of work I was producing for my team and I doubted almost every approach I made to helping out. I was stuck in my shell and I wasn’t open to meeting more of the agency then who was immediately around me. This was the darkest timeline.

I finally stepped up and did something about it. This is my advice on how I turned my experience around through honest feedback and communication.

The mindset

The first step was evaluating my own attitude towards improving myself. I wanted everything to be easy, but this was unrealistic and is not conducive towards active growth. No pain, no gain, right? From there I needed to get critique on the projects I was working on and see where I was excelling, where I was lagging, and what next steps I needed to take. While your mentors and other peppers will approach you with helpful feedback, the most complete refinement comes from taking the initiative and seeking out that advice for yourself. You’ve gotta want it! You own your own growth; nobody else will do it for you.

In addition, the mindset you have while receiving critique will completely alter your interpretation of it. There’s a huge difference between criticism and feedback, and the distinction comes through at redpepper every day. Criticism attacks the personal character of the individual and will only mention faults in the work:

“You never prepare the rooms right,” or “your report wasn’t very detailed, you aren’t putting enough time into this.”

While feedback evaluates the work with the intention of cultivating growth. Feedback is almost always accompanied by remedies for correcting a deficiency or tips to sharpening a skill.

“Here’s what I like about this setup, and next time you could try X to take it to the next level,” or “I was looking for information on X: if you could dig up more in that category, we would really be onto something.”

These are two examples that better communicate the same messages as before, but the intentions behind the techniques are distinct; redpepper is solely concerned with the latter.

Knowing your resources

Once I retuned my antenna on how I could improve, I went to those in the company I knew were a resource in helping to better understand expectations. I sat down with Tim, our CEO and fearless leader, to get his take on giving and receiving feedback.

“Feedback drives performance,” he opened with, eyes to the ground so as to craft his response. “It’s all about changing viewpoints, about perspective,” commenting on how outside eyes can elevate our output from good to great.

Become familiar with the people in the agency whose work you want to learn from. Read their articles, watch their videos, go to their meetings: spend every second you can familiarizing yourself with different people and their strengths and weaknesses. Develop that list and cultivate the relationships: when the time comes that you do need someone’s help, it’s easier to ask a friend than a stranger.

Framing

It’s only funny in retrospect that I approached Tim by asking if we “could chat for two minutes,” and our conversation ended up running upwards of fifteen. Toward the end, he actually gave me feedback on how I could have better framed my “ask” to be more realistic in terms of time, which got me thinking more about how to maximize the inputs we receive from others.

To get the most out of a coworker or mentor, you have to ask for the right kind of feedback. General inquiries such as “Read my report and tell me what you think” are open to all kinds of interpretation; you don’t want this, as it isn’t conducive to really improving you or the work. Instead, ask specific, targeted questions that dial into the weakest parts of your performance and own the responses. Approach different departments for those shifting perspectives and watch multiple interpretations work into one cohesive revision.

Onward and upward

After I realigned my head and received honest, tangible feedback from my resources, I spent time every day planning out what I wanted to get done and I didn’t let myself walk out the door until my list was checked off.

Since those first few weeks, my outlook on redpepper has changed completely. Once you take initiative to own your own growth, constantly seeking feedback and craving to be better everyday, the benefits will be overflowing. The agency will thank you for your commitment, your fellow interns will notice your hustle, and you will have invested into further growing.

Tim summed up our chat by reminding me that being mindful about the process helps every step: your attitude will shape what kind of feedback you want, your resources determine what you receive, and your framing influences how you act on all of it. When you put all three together, it’s as if lightning strikes twice.

Gabe Gonzales, rpMarketing Intern, Lubbock, TX

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How to Create an Idea, the rp Way.

How to Create an Idea, the rp Way.

“So, what makes your company culture unique?” If you’re a junior or senior in college, you’ve probably asked your prospective employers this question at the end of the interview. You also probably got some vague, unenthusiastic answer that left you feeling more confused than ever.

In my few short weeks at redpepper, however, I’ve found that the staff is anything but half-hearted about the culture they’ve created. I noticed this during my first few weeks as I experienced the learning curve that is the unique rp verbiage. Forbes writes that a culture should include tools that employees can use to motivate each other, and that “fun” should exist to inspire creativity, not lure talent. And one of our main tools at rp is our constantly evolving glossary of terms that guide the fun that we have every day. Part of this everyday fun-having is our informal problem-solving process, that we usually use without even thinking about it! In fact, I used it to solve the problem of writing this blog. In order to put our cultural jargon into context, I’m going to walk you through our Steps to Solving a Problem using our rp vernacular to guide the way.  

Step 1: Collecting Dots

A problem usually starts with collecting Dots, and sometimes, you don’t even know you are doing it. As I sat in on meetings, I started to find myself writing down terms that I didn’t know the definition of. As a result of feeling lost, a lightbulb went off in my brain and I began to form an idea.

Dots: There is nothing new under the sun. Only new combinations of things that already exist. Dots are pieces of information that can be collected through experience, learnings, or research. The more dots you put into your mind, the more mental reference points you will have to connect. Ideas come from the collision of dots.

When coming up with a creative idea to solve a problem for a project, the more dots you have in your head the better.
Inspiration: https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from

Step 2: Making Make Time

On Monday, I blocked off a chunk in my calendar dedicated to Make Time so I could sit down in our library and think. If I was feeling confused about some of our company jargon, then certainly others were feeling the same way. I wrote out a plan about what I envisioned for this post and how I wanted to show the reader all the unique words we use here every day.

Make Time: This is a meeting-free block of time for everyone to make, create, think, and get solid work done. Isolation is not required, but a clear calendar is — this means no team meetings, no dailies, no client calls, just empty space on our calendars. It's amazing what happens in the ~whitespace~. Keep this time sacred and use it effectively.

Step 3: Filling the Tank

Then, it was time for some Tank Filling. After talking to some SME’s (Subject Matter Experts), and doing some research I realized the importance of a consistent and cohesive company vernacular. I concluded that in order to walk like a pepper, you gotta talk like a pepper.  

Tank Filling: It’s our term for research. It’s the intentional act of “filling your tank” with dots you find in the world—and the more dots you have, the better. When it comes to creative problem solving, tank filling is our best friend.

Step 4: Bouncin’ Around

After I gathered some data, I decided to Bounce with Karen, another intern who described our rp glossary as intentional because, “we own those words, and we live them.” For me, that was some Pink/Gold.  

Bounce: A short informal huddle with 1-2 people to help you with your work. 5-15 mins max. Usually on one small aspect that you might be working on that day. "Hey, I am trying to get the right colors pulled together for this identity project, which of these two colors makes you think of 'energy' when you see it in this context?"  The idea here is to give the person you are bouncing with a very small frame in which to focus their feedback.

Pink/Gold: The most important information and insight that comes out of a conversation that you want to be sure gets carried forward.

Step 5: Zoning

I went into a Zone room, and put everything away, except for my pen and paper, and started to write all of this out. I had literally gone through the rp problem-solving process while coming up with the idea to write about our problem-solving process. ~inception~

Zoning: An intentional, dedicated 45-90 minute block of time for just you, the work, and nothing else—no phones, no people, no distractions. By directing your full attention to the problem at hand, your brain is free to peak perform and explore multiple angles, making connections and breakthroughs that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.

Step 6: Getting some perspective

Finally, it was time to pitch the final idea to Elizabeth for feedback. Thankfully, she was able to give me some IP, and help me clarify my ideas, and edit this piece to make it near perfect!

IP (integrated perspective): Gaining the perspective of others helps to eliminate personal bias and brings the proper expertise to a given situation. ‘What IP do we need to seek out to make sure we are answering this key question carefully?’

Step 7: Aligning with the Team

This blog post has developed into my intern project. I’m working on creating a working glossary for rp so that interns and new hires can come into rp and have something to reference when they need it. Each week I’m going to present a new word to the rp team in Alignment and hopefully create a way to make it stick. Ideally, I’ll get it integrated into Slack so that anyone can look up a word, like an online dictionary. One month into the internship, and I’m already Hustlin’ & Growin’!

Alignment: This is the one time a week we all gather to align on our goals, celebrate our successes, teach something valuable, learn something new, and leave ready to peak perform in the week ahead.

Slack: Our primary tool for online communication. It’s a sophisticated instant messenger with groups for different projects, clients, or interests, as well as direct messaging so you can chat with anyone in the agency.

Taylor Grow, Client Services Intern, Vanderbilt University '17

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Meetings suck. Mondays suck. Meetings on Mondays?

Meetings suck. Mondays suck. Meetings on Mondays?

However, one of my favorite traditions here at redpepper just happens to be our weekly, Monday meetings, better known as Alignment. Think of every tired, stereotypical element of the average work meeting, flip it 180 degrees, add that unique redpepper flavor (it’s killing me not to call it spice), and you’ve got Alignment. More than just a weekly recap of each other’s work, Alignments are a chance to share insights, practice vulnerability, make connections, and inspire growth in one other.

We always start off with 5&5, a rapid-fire rundown of five successes from last week and five things to look forward to this week. There’s a certain pep rally element to starting this way that’s perfect for driving organizational momentum. Every week I find myself thinking “wow, I’m surrounded by amazing folks” followed by “let’s crush this week.” And as you get going every week, you start to see the narrative of the work take shape. From landing a new client to sustaining that ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship, our 5&5’s serve as a constant reminder just how strong this whole team is.

We always have one or two outstanding “redbits,” our version of TED talks, where one of the countless inspirational figures we get to work with shares a deep-dive on a passion topic of theirs. From learning about the purpose and importance of laughter, to a riveting look at the numerous benefits of daily meditation practice, redbits have been my glimpse into areas of work and life that I would otherwise have been blind to. I keep a running list of ideas, theories, subjects, and books I want to check out, and I’d say lately 90% of the content on there comes from these redbits. Great for growth; terrible for my Netflix queue.

Each Alignment we also have a couple “Hey, What’s Up, Hello’s”, our time for sharing backgrounds with each other. It’s nice to learn more about your coworkers and round out their personality with some information about where they’re from and what they like. I think that’s one of the things that makes this team so special. Rather than just taking for granted the notion that we should all learn a little bit about each other, we push for it here. We normalize it. We make it an expected part of life at redpepper, and we’re all the better for it.

But more than all that, Alignment’s true power comes from, as the name might suggest, aligning all of our various teams, interests, and objectives with intent, consistency, and energy. It’s so easy to go through the motions day-to-day, barely acknowledging each other with a mumbled “hi-howareyou-i’mgood” while we rush to the next team meeting. Siloed work has its merits (perhaps an unpopular opinion best discussed another time), but Alignment offers us the chance to become a team greater than the sum of its parts. Learning about each other’s work and lives reminds us that we’re all in it together -- that you’re not just one person driving away at your individual work, but you’re an important part of the redpepper ecosystem, playing the role you’re meant to play day-in and day-out.

When a team you’ve barely seen all week shares the awesome fruits of their labor, you can’t help but smile, clap, and cheer. When someone gets up to share their redbit about what gets them stoked to get up in the morning, you can’t help but listen, nod, and take notes. And when, as Alignment draws to a close, you’re again reminded that you get to be part of an amazing, cross-functional team of experts each pulling more than their weight and driving success for the organization as a whole, you can’t help but enthusiastically add your voice to the group as we unanimously cheer our motto closing each and every Alignment: “Hustle and Grow!”

Alex Borowski, rpLab Intern, Nashville, TN.

 

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Qualities I Notice in Peppers

Qualities I Notice in Peppers

Well… I’m back! The name’s Sarah, former accounting intern (Spring 2016), but this time around I get to develop that into the Team and Culture Development internship. I get to jump in headfirst - forget about the initial easing into assignments to get the swing of things – and just start off kicking some booty, hustlin’, and growin’ some more (because I can never seem to get enough). Plus, it goes to show how great it is here at redpepper, considering I am back for a second round.

Now that I got that introduction out of the way, the other day I was reading an article (yes, I sometimes still read stuff longer than 140 characters) titled “’Only Connect…’ The Goals of a Liberal Education” by William Cronon. Like the tittle suggests, it lists qualities of a liberally educated individual, or “one that celebrates and nurtures human freedom.” While going through the list, I realized that every quality describes the people at redpepper, the company as a whole, and the core values that the culture is built around. So, I decided to share these qualities and reflect on what I’ve experienced during my time here, what I hope to improve on here, and even how I can incorporate these core values into my daily life. Okay, enough chitchat, but if you want to read the original article, you can do so here.

Listed qualities of a liberal arts education, (and of fellow peppers):

1. Listen and they hear.

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Yeah, yeah, whatever you say…just kidding. One aspect I’ve noticed is it is essential to listen to others and it’s apparent that this happens constantly at redpepper. They collaborate and listen to everyone for inputs, instructions, and encouragement. Plus, they have to listen to clients… because if they’re not happy, we’re not happy.

2. They read and they understand.

I won’t ramble on this one because it’s similar to listening. Reading and understanding is like listening and hearing for the eyes (so deep, I know).

3. They can talk with anyone.

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If you’ve been to an alignment meeting, or even popped in on any of the other meetings, you can see that people here know how to talk. I’ve been in meetings that were more impressive and engaging than most of my course lectures. I could only hope to grow into the type of presenter that I’ve seen and heard during my time here. It’s something I aspire to, but understand it takes practice so I don’t freeze up or start sweating beforehand.

4. They can write clearly and persuasively and movingly.

Part of marketing and advertising is delivering a message, or telling a story in a picture or short video. I’m no writer, and would always be up

5. They can solve a wide variety of puzzles and problems.

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From Lindsey G. in finance, to Jake in tech – everyone has a talent for problem solving and knows how to break situations into manageable pieces so they can kick butt and get stuff done.

6. They respect rigor not so much for its own sake but as a way of seeking truth.

One of the company’s values, “we actively support personal growth” shows this passion for continued learning and us interns show a passion for learning outside of the classroom as a result also.

7. They practice humility, tolerance, and self-criticism.

Everyone is open to each others’ perspectives, even if that means challenging their own perspective, because having a team is so much more fun and rewarding in the end. Oh what was that? Another company value fits here too? You’re right! “If we aren’t changing, we’re dying” gets the message across that being open allows us to learn, adapt, hustle, and grow.

8. They understand how to get things done in the world.

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Well, it is a business after all. At redpepper we have a value “we provide creativity with provable benefits,” which means all of the fun we have makes sense in the real world…it provides results. But “the world” for them doesn’t end in money, they also give back.

9. They nurture and empower the people around them.

Everyone is always encouraging one another and showing appreciation for the hard work that they do. The slack channel #appreciation-station is a great example of this. The value “we engage each others strengths and passions” fits right into this quality, just saying.

10. They follow “Only connect”

“More than anything else, being an educated person means being able to see connections that allow one to make sense of the world and act within it in creative ways” (Cronon). Again, a company value “we believe everyone is uniquely creative” fits so well. The vibe here is one that combines everyone’s unique and creative talents together to provide a greater sum of its parts (woah, did I just describe synergy? My strategic management professor would be proud).

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Overall, I have realized that it is not common to run across a company like redpepper, let a lone a company that provides such a learning environment for us interns. I’m glad to be back, and excited to strengthen a few of these qualities within myself in the meantime.

Sarah Raisian, San Jose, CA, Team and Culture Development intern

Source: Cronon, William . "'Only Connect...' The Goals of a Liberal Education.” The American Scholar Volume 67, No. 4, 1998. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

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The Secret to a Perfect redpepper Internship. It’s in the Beans

The Secret to a Perfect redpepper Internship.  It’s in the Beans

As a redpepper intern, it is practically a job qualification to be slightly addicted to coffee (Don’t fret, you non-coffee lovers. We’ll still love and accept you. We also have a wide array of tea selections.) For me, I am used to having a coffee i.v. inserted in my arm every Monday morning. So when I walked into redpepper’s doors on the very first day of my internship and discovered they had their own coffee brand, I knew I belonged. So how do you whip up the proverbial ‘Perfect Cup of Coffee’ and have the best internship experience, ever? Here’s my guide:

1.Select your perfect brew.

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It’s important to choose the perfect internship for YOU. A company’s culture is the number one thing to consider and is what I focused on primarily during my internship search. Naturally, after stumbling upon redpepper, a company who puts their culture first, I was hooked. You can never be happy in a situation that is not a good fit. So when you do find the best fit, it’s equivalent to taking that first heavenly sip of joe in the morning. It’s magical.

2. Wait patiently taking in ALL the sweet aromas as your perfect blend brews.
When first starting your internship, you may feel a little overwhelmed not knowing where to begin. This is when I advise just chill for a hot second. Look around and take a deep breath. Everyone at redpepper wants you to excel. Listen and learn from everyone you meet and very soon you’ll be doing some really cool stuff, like possibly listening to the Creative Director of Mattel dive into the background of the evolution of Barbie. (Yes. This totally happened.)

3. Add just a spoonful of sugar (and tons of yummy creamer.)
Mama always said “Honey attracts more bees than vinegar.” Well, she was right. redpepper is all about encouraging and pushing one another towards the end goals. So no bad attitudes. Instead offer a helping hand when not asked or better yet step out of your comfort zone and make a new friend. If you’re lucky that same friend will later turn around and lend a helping hand when you’ve overwhelmed yourself with an ambitious project. Interning is about building your own network of trusted peers who will always have your back.

4. Create a little Latte Art on top.
Now is your time to shine! Finally, the opportunity to put your personal stamp on the finished project and show off all those amazing skills and ideas which landed you the internship to begin with. So go on! Be creative, push yourself, and take some risks! redpepper’s famous motto “Hustle & Grow” totally rings true here.

5. Make a cup for someone else.
As in all aspects of life, the only thing better than receiving is giving. Whether that’s giving a Christmas present, brightening someone’s day with a cup of coffee, or sharing the wonderful knowledge and insights you have received from your internship experience. I had the distinct privilege of participating in redpepper’s Create-A-Thon. Chugging tons of coffee and endless hours of copy writing was totally worth it when presenting to such a deserving non-profit as Hospital Hospitality House. If you have a chance, check them out at:   

Now it’s time for this semester’s class to bid adieu. As we walk out those doors, we grab a hold of our perfected cup of joes and look over our shoulders smiling upon our experiences at redpepper; proud of the small mark we have left. Now it’s up to you, the newest class of baristas, to out-do our perfectly hand-crafted coffee concoctions and hopefully leave redpepper better than you found it.

Stormy Rains, 

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Culture isn’t nailed to the floor. Take it with you.

If redpepper has one thing going for it, it’s culture. It’s no secret that the quality of work going out the door is top notch and the office space is pretty rad, but the culture that floats around these parts is the glue that keeps it all together. It’s not just the icing on the cake; it is the cake.

It’s a growing trend for creative agencies, tech companies and startups to bellow from the rooftops about how much they value culture and how great theirs is. You could be forgiven for thinking all of these places seem like their own version of Disney World, expertly curated to meet all your modern work/leisure needs, but let’s get real here: a keg doesn’t equate to culture. A “games room” doesn’t give your company personality. Catered lunch doesn’t define your values. Sure, these are great perks, some of which we are lucky enough to have at redpepper, but these things alone do not — and never will—constitute company culture.

The secret to our positive company culture is in how we communicate, not just with the guy sitting at the next desk, but across the entire agency. Weekly Alignment is one of the cornerstones of redpepper life, and the key to communication throughout the company. Every Monday afternoon at 4:15, we all get together and highlight the accomplishments of the previous week, giving shoutouts to the folks responsible, and point to the work coming up in the week ahead. This might seem like no big deal, but if you’ve had your head buried in a single project for a whole week, it’s nice to know what everyone has been doing and what work is coming in the door. This defines redpepper’s culture by establishing a clear, welcoming, and open line of communication throughout the company, and keeps everyone on the same page. From the people who crunch the numbers to the creative team, a clear thread of transparency and trust running through the agency helps us maintain a positive working environment.

Slack is used by millions of teams worldwide, but how many of them have a channel called The Appreciation Station? Having a place where we can all give each other a shoutout for doing great work and good deeds is a massively positive force in the work place, especially when you get a shoutout and everyone starts reacting with the zap emoji. ⚡️⚡️⚡️ (Even the coldest of hearts must feel something after a couple of those.) redpepper’s positive and inclusive team environment is dependent upon giving credit where credit is due and being encouraging to one another. They say it’s the little things that count, and this is one of them. Giving someone a tiny tip of the cap can really have a massive impact on their self esteem, their work, and in the end, positive company culture. Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t about going around telling each other we’re great 24/7, but having an outlet where you can make someone’s or everyone’s day a big bit brighter with a quick sentence is pretty special.

redpepper has built one of the most creative, supportive and empowering teams I have ever been part of. It’s how these people shape the space around them that makes this company so special, not the beer on tap or the indoor putting green. Anyone can buy beer on tap, but very few companies can nurture true culture the way these folks do.

So, if you come to redpepper from the Vanderbilt intern program or you come as a recent graduate, come with eyes wide open and ears perked up. Maybe you’ll discover the advertising agency world isn’t for you, and that’s totally cool. If you take anything away from your time at redpepper, take away the culture. Take it to your next gig and the gig after that. With every opportunity you are given in your career, you have the chance to be an agent for change. I doubt many places beat to a similar drum as redpepper, so if you like what you hear, take that drum and make sure it gets heard wherever you go. People will thank you for it.

Blair McMillan, tech intern, Glasgow, Scotland. Find me on the socials @yourweepal

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5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Interning at redpepper

5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Interning at redpepper


This fall, I have been working as a lab and innovation services intern. Interning at redpepper has been nothing short of an amazing experience. Between awesome projects, createathon, and an awesome Halloween, it’s truly a unique, wild and exciting place to spend my fall semester. With Thanksgiving finally upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to give five reasons why I am thankful for the opportunity to intern at redpepper.

1. The freedom given to interns to explore!

redpepper allows you to jump outside your comfort zone and get experience in something you may not have ever done. Are you a design intern that wants to learn a little bit about account management? redpepper employees are happy to let you help out in different areas. I’ve been able to gain experience in more places than I ever imagined when I started at redpepper.

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2. Being encouraged to be creative

Feeling creative? Think you can create something that will help redpepper? Go for it! redpepper encourages creative outside the box projects and will give you the time, resources, and expertise for you to complete it. redpepper even has a cool science fair-like event where interns present a project they’ve been working on throughout the semester they have been working on. It’s a cool little way to make an impact at redpepper.

3. The dogs

Dogs! One of the first things you learn at redpepper is that besides the 34 or so happy employees to greet you each day, there is bound to be someone a little smaller and much furrier to greet you as well. Dogs and redpepper are like musicians and Nashville; they are everywhere and they are part of the experience itself! Need a break from some particularly stressful work? Play with one of the many puppies running around the office. Both of you will be happier from it!

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4.    The people.

The people at redpepper are some of the most intelligent, kindest, and welcoming people you will ever meet. Everyone wants to help you learn and grow! I would encourage any future interns to sit down one-on-one with as many of the awesome people as they can.  You will find that you can learn something from every person and every conversation you have. A quick lunch conversation with Justin, a UX designer at redpepper, quickly developed in a lesson on how to better frame a story when presenting. Each conversation contains morsels of valuable information if you listen intently. I promise that if they are working at redpepper, you know they are worth learning from!

5. The experience.

The experience itself is what truly makes a redpepper internship so special. Whether it’s gaining insightful experience from a project, participating in the crazy event known as CreateAthon, or just hanging out with one of your 12 other interns, one way or another, you will be glad you interned at redpepper. The learning experience is second to none, and your intern class quickly become some of you’re great friends.

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While these are some of things I was thankful for, every intern has a little bit of a different experience at redpepper. You are given tremendous freedom and with that comes responsibility to work hard and find areas where you want to learn. A redpepper internship is really about what you put into it. If you work hard, you’ll find that you came away with a special mix of experience and knowledge. That is why by the end of your semester, there is one mantra you won’t want to forget for the rest of your life: Hustle & Grow!

Michael Halperin, Lab & Innovation Services Intern, Jericho, NY

 

 

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A Hungry Intern’s Guide to Germantown:

A Hungry Intern’s Guide to Germantown:

I wish I could tell you that everyday after work, I go home and cook myself dinner and lunch for the next day. I also wish I could tell you that I never forget to bring that lunch with me to work, and it doesn’t sit in my fridge at home in a sad tupperware container while I smack myself on the forehead.

Alas, I am human. A hungry human, at that.

Luckily for we redpeppers, 305 Jefferson Street sits in Germantown, prime location for some of Nashville’s best eateries. Here’s a list of some of the best places to grab some grub while you’re on the job.

Get there on your feet:

Little Donkey - As a Texas native, I proudly consider myself a Mexican food snob. But I have fallen in love with this place. The guacamole = life changing. Their outdoor seating is fun for a quick lunch with your fellow interns, or you can pick it up and take it to go. (Have an intern happy hour here. They’ve got great cocktails, too.)

Source: Nashville Guru

Source: Nashville Guru

Juice Bar - This is my go-to when I want something quick and fresh. In addition to their juices and smoothies, they have healthy food options like acai bowls, spring rolls and kale salads. Great for a mid-afternoon energy boost!

Source: Nashville Guru

Source: Nashville Guru

Cochon Butcher - Bomb sandwiches. Brussel sprouts and mac n’ cheese on the side. Nuff said.

Source: Nashville Guru

Source: Nashville Guru

Red Bicycle - Crepes, tacos and sandwiches, oh my! Red Bicycle is a quaint cafe boasting cozy brunch vibes and a delicious array of breakfast tacos, paninis, salads and amazing sweet and savory crepes. Not to mention, great coffee. My personal favorite: the Mexi breakfast crepe.

Nashville Farmers’ Market - The Farmers’ Market is a great option for group trips because of the variety. Craving BBQ, Chinese, farm-to-table sandwiches, Indian or Jeni’s ice cream? Find it here! And you never know, the Grilled Cheeserie might be parked outside. It’s definitely walkable, but a farther trek than the above options.

Get there on wheels:

Germantown is just a bridge-across-the-Cumberland from East Nashville, one of the city’s trendiest and most thriving neighborhoods. Needless to say, it boasts some pretty good food, as well. If you have a car, these places are only a short drive away.

Burger Up - One of my all-time favorite restaurants, I frequent the 12th South location (probably too) often, so I was stoked to find out Burger Up had opened an East Nash location. Their menu is sourced locally and sustainably and it pays off. I couldn’t live without their kale salad, Woodstock burger or truffle fries (I may be eating them as I type this…). But don’t just take my word for it; recently they were voted Nashville’s best burger and fries.

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Turnip Truck - Nashville’s only full service, locally-owned food grocer, Turnip Truck is basically the Whole Foods of Whole Foods. Healthy and delicious lunch options are always stocked, and you can usually find another redpepper making a lunch run. Grab some groceries while you’re at it.

Five Points Pizza - Your search for that perfect slice of New York-style pizza is over. Order a couple pies for your intern brainstorm sessions (pizza makes you more creative, right?).

Source: Five Points Pizza

Source: Five Points Pizza

The Pharmacy - Pharmacy is one of the most notorious Nashville spots with its burgers, wursts and biergarten out back. It may be too hard to choose between the tater tots and sweet potato fries, so I suggest just getting both. The only downside: you can’t place a to go order over the phone. Maybe save this one for a special interns’ lunch, or go after work.

Not only do these restaurants have great food, but they also hold special memories from my redpepper internship. Our crazy cohort bonded at Little Donkey during our first weekly intern lunch and I’ve only become closer to these incredible, intelligent, quirky, creative individuals since. Whether piling into someone’s car to hit the Farmers’ Market or walking the few blocks to grab a juice, these experiences have served as opportunities to learn more about my fellow interns and more about myself, tiny and monumental moments of growth.

Hustle & Grow (& EAT).

Hannah Bush, Production Services Intern, Dallas, TX. 

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A Day in the Life of an Account Management Intern

A Day in the Life of an Account Management Intern

This fall, I am working as an intern with redpepper’s Account Management team and every day is a different adventure. From meeting with clients, to making slide decks and helping on the set of photo shoots, I’ve learned so much and kept very busy. I can never predict what any given day will have in store, but I can definitively say that redpepper has inspired my creativity and supported my growth. Here is a brief overview of a day in my life as an Account Management intern:

9:00am: I arrive in Wonderland and grab a fresh cup of coffee. People at redpepper take their coffee very seriously and there are always multiple brews available on the counter in Wonderland. After chatting with redpepper’s other interns, I sit down at a table and take a peek at my calendar for the day.

10:00am: I head downstairs to a Team Room for a meeting for one of the client accounts that I am working on. At redpepper, every client has its own Team Room dedicated to that client’s project. People post project work and write all over the whiteboard walls so that you are immediately immersed in the project when you step into the room.

11:00am: I enter a different Team Room for another client project. The team reviews the progress of the project and asks me to work on a slide deck for an upcoming client meeting!

12:00pm: I brought lunch today so I grab a seat at a table in Wonderland and eat with other redpepper interns. Sometimes, we all leave and go out to lunch together. We love Mexican from Little Donkey, crepes from Red Bicycle, and anything from the Farmer’s Market!

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12:30pm: I sit in one of the comfy chairs downstairs and work on a slide deck for a client meeting about an upcoming photo shoot. The slide deck includes mood boards, photo sketches made by the Creative Team, and descriptions of the photo concepts.

2:30pm: I pop over to the Content Studio to start sorting through the boxes of product sent to us for an upcoming photo shoot.

3:30pm: I head upstairs to Tudorland (one of the large meeting rooms) to meet with the other interns to plan our next intern cover photo. We all work together to create photo concepts, pitch our ideas, and ultimately take a group cover photo for the intern website. Since all of the interns are busy working on different things, I love that we all get to come together for the cover photo project!

4:00pm: I booked myself a zone room so I can make some headway on my intern project. Every intern at redpepper does a final intern project which is an awesome way to contribute to the growth of the agency.

redpepper is always bustling with activity. There really is no typical day in the life of a redpepper intern, but I learn something new every day and I always have fun! One of my biggest takeaways going forward is that I can grow so much just by saying “yes” to any opportunity, asking lots of questions, and immersing myself in any work that needs to be done. This makes every day an exciting and different adventure!

Sammy Shipp, Account Management Intern, Lake Forest, IL.

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The Breakdown of CreateAthon Hour by Hour

The Breakdown of CreateAthon Hour by Hour

While much of the nation prepares for Halloween weekend with candy shopping, costume designing, and well… sleeping, redpepper decides to do the opposite. Kickoff was last Friday at 9:00 am. For 24 hours straight, we kept our eyes open, minds sharp, and coffee brewing. Each year redpepper performs a 24-hour creative blitz to offer pro-bono marketing services to local non-profits, and we call this event CreateAthon. While we wish this were an opportunity everyone could experience, we know that’s not possible if you’re not a pepper! So, we’ve decided to walk you through our 24 hours as we experience them.

Morning 1

The coffee count clipboard hangs above 6 containers of coffee. Nearly 25 cups have been filled and checked off the clipboard within the first 15 minutes, totally explaining the high energy and noise level at 8:45 in the morning. Coffee paired with the excitement of the unexplored potential redpepper can act upon to impact 3 deserving non-profits creates an electric environment echoing around the shop. It’s kick-off: time for inspirational speeches and team bonding. To set the tone for the next 24 hours, our CEO Tim reminds us not to underestimate the impact we are about to make in a short period of time. It’s a ripple effect, where our work not only directly affects the non-profit, but also impacts those they help too. Tear moment #1. The Director of Production Services, Caroline, stands up to remind us why CreateAthon started. It’s about something greater than ourselves. It’s about sacrificing one night of sleep to affect the lives of people we don’t know. It’s about using our talents in exchange for something that money can’t compare to. Tear moment: #2. Wipe your eyes, fill your coffees to-go, and hit the road peppers, because it’s time to visit the sites! Our 3 clients are Hospital Hospitality House, Play Like a Girl, and Strick’s Gift. Hospital Hospitality House is located on Reidhurst Ave near Centennial Park. Play Like a Girl recently moved its headquarters to Nashville on Hillsboro Pike, and Strick’s Gift can be found on West End Ave.

Afternoon 1

As teams reconvene, agendas are set and individual subteams are created. Job titles become irrelevant because at CreateAthon, account service professionals become creatives and creatives strive to be tech gurus. It’s around this time that adrenaline replaces caffeine and peppers are all over Nashville gathering material. I’ll tell ya what, the afternoon was the fastest segment in time. You can hear a little bit of competition stirring between team rooms. “Oh, we’re so gonna win.” Rest assured, there is no competition between project teams but just equally passionate creatives who believe they’re producing their best work. The hours are a tad blurred together but this is around the time when the office wide wifi went out. “JAKE!!!!” is echoing off the walls. Jake is our tech genius, clearly. Several minutes later, we’re up and running. Back on the creative exploration.

Night

Ok, seriously the dinner anticipation is killing us. Families come into the shop to be part of the experience, and baby peppers say good-night to their moms and dads. At dinner there are two kinds of people: Those that eat 5 rolls and those who have none so they don’t crash later. There’s no in between. After dinner, the groups are back to their individual rooms until 10:00PM. At 10, everyone pauses their work to meet our CEO for a special event. We’re all handed a piece of paper to write down something we want to let go of. We crumble up the paper and file out of the door. As we exit, we are handed a miniature grey stick and are later told it’s a sparkler. It is the first time in awhile that most of us have stepped outside and are instantly shocked by the chilly weather. As we walk around the building, we look like a 10PM protest and land in a “No Trespassing” area. We light our sparklers and burn the worries we wrote down. Upon return to our creating, there is a newfound energy radiating around the shop.

While The Rest of the World Sleeps

Yeah… things get weird. What do you expect? Dance parties, juice shots of ginger infused goodness, glow sticks around people’s heads, a sushi bar, and uncontrollable giggling? Yup. All those things happen and we can’t explain it except for maybe the catalyst of the midnight mile we decided to do. Here are two things I noticed during this period of time: People were either silently working while simultaneously thinking really hard about tactics to prevent nodding off or playing tag around the office. I do have to say, this was the segment in time that the most creativity was sparked. Flowing ideas were simply put into action. Maybe it was the 3:00AM dance party that helped too?

Morning 2

The 3 pregnant women come back to the shop and bring some enthusiasm. They are the few who have had the rejuvenating sleep. It’s the final push to deliver the best results and deliverables for our nonprofits. The projects are coming to completion. Some teams are adding above and beyond work with their extra time, and others are fixing loose ends. At 9AM the clients arrive. “They’re here! They’re here! They’re here!” I’ll admit to crying just a tad at the very simple exclamation that the clients arrived. It’s the no sleep thing. Each client is corralled into their team rooms. You can hear the sporadic applause from each room. The clients are filled with absolute joy, as are we. I only have the experience with my team but I am confident speaking for the rest of the shop that there were probably tears, smiles, and wide eyes.

Afternoon 2

Did someone say party? Yeah we know, we haven’t slept in over 24 hours but bloody mary’s and mimosas, Hattie B’s, and live music is too tempting. You would think it would be difficult to continue the action, but in reality, we are all past the point of sleep deprivation and want to celebrate the work and nonprofits we had the privilege of helping. I learned a huge lesson after this 24 hour marathon of creativity and that is that today is always the day to do something extraordinary.   

Post-party it’s time for SLEEP. At least until next year.

Caroline Hall, Production Services Intern, Chester Springs, PA

 

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How Interning For redpepper Helps You Grow: The Halloween Edition

How Interning For redpepper Helps You Grow: The Halloween Edition

What is the scariest thing redpepper employees could dress up as for Halloween? The answer is corporate. For just a day the redpepper office was transformed into what was known as McMullen & McMullen Group LLC Inc. (Sounds intimidating doesn’t it?)

The day began with office messages from Human Resources informing everyone of the strict new schedule and rules for the day. Each person was required to take a new ID picture for a badge they had to wear around in order to attend alignment, our company wide meeting. Things like demerits would be given for being tardy, not properly dressed, or trying to change the status quo (Oh, the horror!)

As you walked around the office, redpeppers everywhere were rocking pant suits, ties, and some of the tightest hair buns you have ever seen- all with pencils woven through—in case you lost yours of course. It was the polar opposite of what a typical day at redpepper looks like except for how much fun everyone was having with it.

After all the jokes were done and set aside, it was easy to realize why this Halloween theme was so much fun for everyone at redpepper. For us interns not yet starting our professional careers, we got to see much more than people running around looking for who found a blazer with the highest shoulder pads, we got to really understand what’s so special about redpepper’s culture.

redpepper’s culture is one that circles around working hard, staying curious, and constantly growing. The people, the space, and even the office dogs all foster an environment for everyone who works there, intern or not, to grow as an individual every single day. After comparing redpepper to the strict parameters of how the corporate world can sometimes be this is a list of some of the ways interning for redpepper helps you constantly grow as an individual:

1. You learn that everyone has sharp corners.

Tim McMullen, redpepper’s CEO, talks about building a company of stars, where no one's sharp corners are filed down to fit a certain mold and the culture here strongly fosters this idea.

Sharp corners are the things that make you different and unique as an individual. At redpepper being different isn’t something that is looked down upon, but rather celebrated. Even as an intern you are encouraged to take those corners and develop them.

For redpepper shaving down everyone's sharp corners, what makes them different and unique, is one of scariest things that could happen to the company (after becoming corporate of course!)

2. Helps you understand that people work best in different ways, and that’s ok.

It’s actually more than ok! Interning at redpepper has helped me learn that working in different environments and spaces can help you produce your best work. redpepper gives you the opportunity to work in multiple functional spaces depending on the work you are doing in order for you to be your most productive self.

All the office spaces are intentional and easy to move to make sure that you can produce the best work possible- the space is just a tool to get you there. Whether you need to be head-down zoning in a private zone room or working with a group of people in a team room, there is a space for any type of work that needs to be done. The variety of locations also offer fresh perspectives when you need a change in scenery to recharge!

3. They WANT you to ask questions.

At redpepper you are encouraged to ask questions, which follows the idea of staying curious. Challenging the status quo is a norm and almost an expectation here. As an intern we are given the opportunity to learn about redpepper as a business through “Coffee and Questions” with employees and just by asking questions and being curious about the different teams we work with. We are also encouraged to not only ask questions about the business but about life. redpepper encourages us to develop ourselves personally and to do that we need to ask questions!

4. How much you hustle and GROW is truly up to you.

And if you want to grow from the internship experience (like you hopefully do) redpepper provides you all of the opportunities, you just need to take advantage of them! So take advantage of your time here—because if you do a good job and look for chances to be involved, you will learn more than you ever imagined and meet some amazing people along the way!

So although McMullen & McMullen Group LLC Inc. was only a Halloween trick, the idea of it all helped me see redpepper for more than just the amazing agency I have gotten to spend the last two and a half months working at. It helped me realize the importance of finding myself a place after graduation where values and culture are placed about the importance of your business suit. Working at redpepper has not only helped me grow as an individual but it has helped me set expectations for wherever I end up as I move towards the next chapter of my young professional life.

Alyssa McGruder, Marketing Intern, Gurnee, IL.

 

 

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The perfect Spotify playlist to Make it Through Create-a-Thon

The perfect Spotify playlist to Make it Through Create-a-Thon

Last week, we at redpepper kept our coffee mugs full all day and all night in a 24-hour creative sprint benefitting 3 nonprofits. In the week leading up to the event, Create-a-Thon veterans shared tips and tricks of the trade to help the rookies to survive the night. Jen pushed the importance of the midnight mile, Cat told us all to keep drinking water, and Matt informed us that 5 5-Hour Energies will indeed keep you awake for 25 hours.

The three non-profit teams cranked out some incredible work for their clients throughout the night. For my first go at Create-a-Thon, I was assigned to team Play Like a Girl, which uses the power of sports to help young girls unlock their potential in life and become confident young women. My team managed to make a video, website, logo, poster series, and social media campaign in the early hours of the night. It was an amazing experience to see the emotion on everyone’s faces in the final presentations the next morning, and showed me how significant Create-a-Thon really is.  

This being my first Create-a-thon, I had been mentally and physically preparing for how to stay awake and productive for the entire night (it’s like a reverse hibernation). I took matters into my own hands, and turned to what I know best; crafting the perfect Spotify playlist for my first all-nighter.

Here are the songs that will get you through the night:

To set the mood: Let’s Get it Started – Black Eyed Peas

Some may call this song a classic- it is the perfect way to get pumped up for the next 24 hours. Play this after Tim gives his kickoff speech that inspires us all and **drops mic**

To meet up with your team: U Can’t Touch this  - MC Hammer

The perfect song for when you head on over to your team room and get ready to crank out some amazing work. The other teams are going DOWN.

For Some Inspiration: Run the World (Girls) – Beyoncé

Play Like a Girl is all about empowering young girls through sports to be the amazing, confident, unique individuals that they are. Nothing epitomizes this more than Queen B.

To ease into the realization that you’ll be up for the next 24 hours: All day All Night - Moon Taxi

Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Although it would be great to listen to the Black Eyed Peas and Mr. Hammer all night, you want to settle into a rhythm and bring it down a notch. Our team kicked off an amazing brainstorm session right away, and started generating some awesome concept ideas.

For when you start your work: Another Night – Real McCoy

This is great background music to keep yourself motivated, but not distracted. You want to get started right away on your work! After our team came up with potential concepts, we brought in our client to get her input on the direction she wanted us to take (Team PLAG always goes the extra mile)

To get your creative juices flowing: Perpetuum Mobile – Penguin Café Orchestra

At this point, everyone took a break, chugged a glass of water (#hydrateordie), and took a step away from the projects for a minute to get a fresh view when we started again. The video team headed over to shoot footage of the girls playing in the club, and the web warriors tackled the site head-on.

Background music for photo shoots: Heavy Feet (Live) – Local Natives

It’s been a full work day, and we’re not even tired yet! Everyone is feeling great, the next 15 hours are going to be child’s play. The Strick’s Gift Team has transformed the content studio into a baby shower room and has started their shoot, and everyone is settling into the workload.

For the midnight mile: Eye of the Tiger OR Rocky Balboa Theme Song (Gonna Fly Now)

At this point in time, people either felt like they had more energy than ever before (spoiler: it’s all in your head), or took a last minute opt-out of the run. Molly amped us up to take a moonlit jog through Germantown, and we came back feeling the adrenaline rush kick in. (Didn’t hurt that there was a sushi bar waiting for us when we all came back.)

For when it is 3am: 3 am – Matchbox Twenty

This one is pretty self explanatory. Sing-a-long, obviously.  This is definitely the starting point of when the delirious thoughts and funny interactions begin.

For the grind between 3 and 4 am: Under Pressure- Queen, David Bowie

You’re tired, you still have lots to get done, and one of your team members just fell asleep standing up. Get motivated, get excited, and get it together! Teams are starting to feel the heat in the countdown until the clients arrive.

For the wakeup dance session at 4:30 am: Boogie Wonderland – Earth, Wind, and Fire

Get your head back in the game and take a dance break. Some retro workout videos are projected in Wonderland to give everyone some choreographed inspiration.

To brighten your spirits at 5 am: Mr. Brightside – The Killers

You’re in need of a pick-me-up, and honestly how could you feel sad after listening to this song?

For the final stretch in the last hour: Don’t Stop Believin – Journey

Take the message to heart. You’re in the home stretch, so keep up the great work!

When you really can’t believe you only have 30 min left: I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

So close, yet so far…

To Celebrate being done!: All Star – Smash Mouth

You did it! Head to the Bloody Mary bar, take a seat, and watch your team present the amazing work you just completed. Smash Mouth was right, you really are an all star. Go you.

To keep the party going: Good Day- Nappy Roots

How could it not be a good day? After the presentations, everyone heads outside for some live music, great BBQ, and continued festivities. Everyone has so much to celebrate!

For the double sunset club: Blame it on the Boogie – The Jacksons

It’s time to rally!! You’ve made it this far already, and the hard part is definitely already over. Get your sleep schedule back on track by avoiding those zzz’s for a few more hours. The strongest players head on up to the roof to watch the symbolic second sunset.

For when you finally go to bed and think about the amazing work you just did: Bright Side of the Road – Van Morrison

Life is good. You just helped those 3 non-profits more than you think, and are about to go to bed!! You’re pretty much a superhero! ….Now get some sleep. You deserve it.

My first Create-a-Thon was an incredible, crazy, and eye-opening 24 hours that reinforced how special redpepper is. Even throughout the problems that came up through the night and the sleep deprivation that hit in the early hours of the morning, everyone was so happy to be a part of this event.

https://open.spotify.com/user/12100235785/playlist/2tqbm43Z9eej7058aA1VWd

Elise Alverson, Account Management Intern, Mequon, Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

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What It Takes To Be A pepper: Advice By Interns For Interns

What It Takes To Be A pepper: Advice By Interns For Interns

Starting any new internship can be extremely daunting. We all have spent the night tossing and turning in bed before a first day on the job worrying ourselves about the seemingly unknown that lies ahead. Well, have no fear because the Fall 2016 redpepper interns have put together a sneak peak on what it takes to be the best pepper in all of Wonderland.  

It all begins when you walk through those rp glass double doors into the space. It is important to take note of all the opportunities the physical working space at redpepper has to offer:

  • You can collaborate with one another just by sitting around a coffee table in a bunch of comfy chairs.

  • Sparking creativity is made easy by drawing on the whiteboard walls in conference rooms, sticking post-its all over any and every wall, tinkering with gadgets in the lab, and meeting up with your squad in all of our team rooms.

  • If you need some individual brainstorming time, book one of our zone rooms, or keep your head down in your workstation during maker time.

  • Need a break from all that zoning? Hit up the ping pong table downstairs, the basketball hoop by the lab, or the putt-putt course around the corner from Wonderland.

  • There is a reason they call it Wonderland, our kitchen is stocked with an endless supply of coffee, beer on tap, wine and snacks.

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But beyond the great space, one of my favorite things about working here is how welcoming, friendly, motivated and enthusiastic the people who work here are. Just wait until you attend your first alignment meeting and you hear the clapping, cheering and banging on the tables from the crowd just because one of their peers is presenting on something they have been working on, or taught all the peppers something awesome in his/her redbit.

Supporting and appreciating one another is something that redpepper employees do best. With that said, I took the liberty to ask some of the current interns at redpepper to share a little about what they do and some advice about how to make the most of your time here.


Caroline, Production Services Intern:

On the job…

With departments focused on clients and others focused on work, I help support the team that focuses on redpepper. The operations of the company and its people are what we leverage to make things happen!

Advice to a future redpepper intern...

The internship is what you make of it. Employees are busy but never fail to make time to help and mentor you. Get involved in things you're passionate about to never stop learning!

Elise, Account Management Intern:

On the job...

Act as a liaison between cross-functional teams within the agency and clients.

Advice to a future redpepper intern...

Share what makes you different. redpepper gives you the chance to leverage what makes you "uniquely creative," so play up what makes you stand out in a crowd. Everyone here is so interesting, and it makes for such a fun and dynamic environment.

Alyssa, Business Development Intern:

On the job…

Help the business development team with research on potential clients for redpepper. Work on finding key insights and strategies to use as tools for getting smart on the potential clients and for presentations.

Advice to a future redpepper intern…

Be yourself—you won't fit in otherwise. redpepper is about personality, and that is what makes everyone here uniquely creative and valuable to the company.

Michael, Lab/Innovation Services Intern:

On the job…

I am working to help foster innovation at redpepper.

Advice to a future redpepper intern…

Schedule one-on-one discussions with full-time employees. They are all here for a reason and have interesting and smart information to share with you.

Hannah, Facilities and Events Intern:

On the job…

I help to coordinate and organize the space both for the agency and outside events clients and am working to bring together both pieces to create an even more successful organization.

Advice to a future redpepper intern…

Be yourself and be passionate.

Hannah, Production Services Intern:

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On the job…

Shadow Project Managers and work on a client team of fifteen people from various departments, facilitating client workshops and managing projects, traffic and production for the agency. Responsibilities include research, assisting with project planning, supporting project management and team motivation.

 

Advice to a future redpepper intern…

Let your personality shine through in your application and interview. The culture is unbelievable, but also taken seriously, so they're really looking for people who fit into it and will make it even better.

 

Hopefully by this time you now have a little more insight, so when that first day comes around you can rest easy.

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Julia Greenwald, Roslyn, New York, Operations Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An insider's guide into the redpepper spaces:

An insider's guide into the redpepper spaces:

As the space and events intern, I wear a unique lens that allows me to see into the creative design and setup of the redpepper office. I know exactly how many of each type of chair and table there are—mostly because I made the inventory list :) redpepper is unique in its functional design and set up. As a casual and collaborative company, you are anything but confined to a workstation. There are many different spaces to meet all of your moods and work needs, this being one of redpepper’s major differentiators. Personally, I like the opportunity the open working space affords you to meet people from every team and learn more about what’s happening across the multitude of projects redpeppers are working on.

 

Want to see what I am talking about? Here’s a sneak peak into the unique space that is redpepper.


1.The Library:

A small and semi-quiet work space filled with natural sunlight, redpepper awards, and some of the comfiest chairs in the office. Head to the library for a quick meeting or to lounge comfortably while getting some great work done.


2. Wonderland:

The central meeting point of redpepper. A beautiful cafe with an open kitchen that is a great spot for lunch, working, meetings, or hanging out. Wonderland is definitely the intern hang out. Every morning you can find the interns congregated around a few cafe tables and chairs. If you are looking for some awesome music to work to or to get your juices flowing by talking to other peppers this is the place to be.

3. The Putt Putt:

At redpepper we believe in brain breaks. When you just need to blow off some steam or take a break from your awesome work you want to head to the putt putt. That’s right redpepper has its own small golfing green. If you are looking to be close to but slightly removed from the action of wonderland head to the putt putt. You can find some comfy chairs, a little nook if you are hoping for your own space and of course a few holes and the dart board if you are in need of a brain break.


4. Tudorland, Threederland, Fjorderland:

Here at redpepper we are a creative group that enjoys doing things differently. There is no conference room 1, 2, 3 but rather uniquely named meeting locations. On the rare occasion that you are lucky enough to find one of the three conference rooms unoccupied feel free to post up and make it your own personal office space- until the next meeting of course. You can utilize any of the furniture in the rooms that is constantly being reworked and moved around. Our intern class loves to have our group meetings in one of these rooms and tends to sit around all together for hours after it ends brainstorming and hanging out in these versatile spaces.

5. The Lab:

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Head to the lab if you want to start creating and building. Located on the 1st floor and equipped with a high table and chairs you can sit and work or head to the lab counter with all the tools and gadgets you can imagine- maybe you can create the next doorjam (check out this vimeo- insert link). This is also the location of our intern photo shoot leading to the creation of our awesome cover photo you saw at the top of our interns website.


5. Round table:

Located right at the entrance of the agency you can find a round table ideally set for teams to work around and collaborate. If you like to be in the know and see who is coming and going this is the seat for you.


6. Zone rooms:

redpepper understands that while an open work environment fosters collaboration it can sometimes be distracting. That is why they created the concept of zone rooms- small rooms with doors that you can reserve for yourself when you need some serious concentration and self-directed work. Feel free to head into one of those rooms for some peace and quiet and you ensure nobody will bother you for the length of your “zone”.


7. Nook:

This is a largely overlooked space with comfy chairs right on the ground floor of the agency that has all types of feasibility. You have both a magnet and white board waiting to be used for brainstorming sessions and is a great place to collaborate with other interns and redpeppers or spend some time thinking.


8. Comfy chairs by the stairs:

This is a very popular spot with comfy sofa chairs just waiting to be used for all your needs. You are out in the middle of the agency to see and be seen and maybe even listen in on a new business or events space tour. Often times you can find the same interns from the morning wonderland group have made their way downstairs for a change of scenery and like to utilize this spot to meet or hang out together as they do their work.


9: Wherever you like!

There are few limitations at redpepper when it comes to how and where you work so come join the team and see for yourself!

redpepper is a unique company for many reasons but the vibrant, open, and engaging space is one of my favorite parts of working here. Different kinds of work requires different kind of focus and having a space that can foster all types of work ensures that anyone can thrive at redpepper if they continue to learn and grow.  

Hannah Roth,  Suffern, NY,  Facilities & Events

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From the workstation of a post-grad intern

From the workstation of a post-grad intern

Today: I’m sitting at my workstation at redpepper where I’m the video intern and work alongside some super impassioned, fun, and hardworking people. The road I took to get here was a little (a lot) less glamorous.

May 2016: Graduated from university

^me metaphorically (but it’s funny because those are actually columns at my school)

^me metaphorically (but it’s funny because those are actually columns at my school)

June-most of July 2016: Tried to answer one of life’s biggest questions: “what do I do now?” while lying on a couch-- watching old movies (TY monty python’s holy grail)

*my parents’ version* June-most of July 2016: Responsibly waking up early, applying for internships, jobs, and the like.

*my parents’ version* June-most of July 2016: Responsibly waking up early, applying for internships, jobs, and the like.

Both are true.

July 29, 2016: Moved to Nashville after talking with a creative agency located in Germantown.

August 1, 2016: First day at redpepper as the video intern.

5 v important things that shows why redpepper will be one of the best decisions for your career.

1. Peppers & Interns = friends

I moved to a new city with only knowing my aunt, uncle, and three little cousins. And I started a month earlier than the other interns. But, it was a really cool opportunity because I got to know just the peppers really well. I introduced myself to everyone whenever I walked past someone new. There were a few times I walked past a person because I got nervous, only to psych myself up and make them stop to turn around so I could say hi (sorry—¯\_(ツ)_/¯)  But, now, I chat about 90s hip hop, giant boomboxes, Cubs vs. Cards, and shoes.

Then, the interns came and I met 12 more wonderful people. We’re a loud, quirky, creative group that eats lunch all together on Wednesdays (we don’t wear pink), migrates from area to area at the same time, and waits for free food for so long that we form lines. Besides that, it’s our responsibility to work as a group for several projects like the intern blog cover photos. It’s a fine line to manage our personal responsibilities with our group tasks, but that has pushed us to gel and find our strengths to get it done.

^Proof we take food seriously.

^Proof we take food seriously.

Intern Class of Fall 2016

2. You will learn so much your head might just explode from all the knowledge and growth.

I came into this video internship with, what I thought, was a pretty good base of knowledge--I knew how to work a camera well, set up shots, hit the record button etc., and I was excited to learn more about videography. I can’t believe how much I’ve progressed in just two months.

How is it possible to learn so much, just halfway through an internship? Honestly, my brain can’t comprehend it. I’ll tell you it’s because of my mentors--shoutout 2 Carl & James. I consider myself lucky that I still have a few more months to learn from them. Don’t worry, you’ll have a version of them too. Seriously, the people here know what they’re doing.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, for feedback on projects, or to bounce new ideas off whomever. Bottom line: you will learn a little bit from everyone at redpepper, and your career will thank you.

^ this COULD be you. You WANT this to be you.

^ this COULD be you. You WANT this to be you.

3. The people (peppers) are invested in your growth. Cool, right?

I mean it. One of redpepper’s core values is “We actively support personal growth.” In the first couple of weeks, you create a growth plan with your mentor. A GROWTH PLAN!! It can be absolutely anything you dream of, and the people at redpepper will 100% support you in any way they can. It rocks.

Part of my growth plan is to understand what it takes to create a video from start to finish. In order to do so, I pitch and execute new content ideas on a regular basis. (this comes back later in reason #5.) From there, I bounce the ideas with more peppers to round out the piece. And voila, a new piece from start to finish with a pepper flavor!

Here’s a lil’ video I made:

4. The culture is centered on change, strengthening passions, and don’t forget a putt-putt green, ping pong table, beer on tap, dogs, and free coffee (all things that may make it impossible for you to want to work anywhere else.)

The space is amazing. They bring dogs to work (ICYMI there’s a golden retriever, Stella; a greyhound, Beans; a lab, Emma; and a puppy named Sawyer). There are “zone rooms” for when you need to put your nose to the grindstone and get it done, and then there’s spaces to help you unwind afterwards (maybe with a beer). It’s a great mix of work hard, play hard. I’m so productive!!!

But, culture just isn’t about space. It’s the brand motto, the core values, the extra pepper-ness,  and the drive to go the extra mile. It’s the people that push you to do better each day. It’s the people that trust you to do your job (which is wayyyy more than going on a coffee run). It’s the people who treat you like a friend, not just an intern.

5. You got to put in some hard work, take the initiative, and it’ll pay off.

You’ve come to learn and grow and what better way to do so than by doing!

You:

Me:

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Because it’s so dang true. If you work hard and show that initiative, you’ll be asked to help out on different projects. And on different projects, you’ll get more experience. It’s exciting to be a part of new things, so get a hold of the reins, take charge, grab the horns, break some eggs, and so on and so forth.

October 2016:  I’m halfway through this internship and I can tell you redpepper will be one of the best decisions for your career (and you).

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Katie Straughn, St. Louis, MO, Video Intern

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Behind the Scenes - The process of creating “hungry for talent”

Behind the Scenes - The process of creating “hungry for talent”

 

The assignment
The assignment was simple: create a cover photo that will broadcast to new talent that redpepper is hiring their next group of interns! Sure, super simple.

Well let’s throw in the fact that it needs to be witty, creative, and showcase the awesome space that the interns would have the chance to work in. We wanted it to be different than competitors’ hiring pages and previous intern photos. Maybe not so simple now, right?

The Brainstorm
Believe it or not, but when you put 12 interns (all of us are very strong personality types) in a room and tell them to brainstorm, it’s complete chaos. We were all bursting with the desire to make this intern photo the best so far. After a couple minutes of a loud stream of voices speaking at once, we simmered down and came to one agreement: we needed to show that as a redpepper intern, you’re encouraged to be your uniquely creative self within an innovative and passionate environment that fosters your growth and champions your voice.

We decided to then adjourn and come back together with different ideas that showcased this positioning.

The next day we were all surprised to find that we all had numerous ideas. This gave us the opportunity to work with a great batch of directions, and we were very confident that our top 3 would blow the socks off of the site.

Some of our top concept ideas included: Interns laying in the grass and growing (like flowers) in spring, a line of hires not dressed as professionals but as their uniquely creative selves, and a table of people eating and being hungry for talent.

The twist
Every intern photo before ours was a picture. That’s one thing that has remained the same. However, like one of our five values, if you aren’t changing, you’re dying. Our intern class wanted to create something that was innovative, stood out, and kept up with the trends of 2016. We decided to pitch the idea of our photo being a small video, similar to a GIF or Boomerang. (super trendy, right?)

The Chosen Concept

Hungry For Talent:
At redpepper, we constantly appreciate and celebrate unique talent. With our internship program, we are able to find the best in the business, and we’re always hungry for the next great mind.

Our concept vision
e wanted to showcase that redpepper employees are always improving, and the company is always looking for individuals who are constantly learning everything that they can. We also wanted to show how innovative redpepper is, so we wanted to play on the concept of the food being gadgets instead of real food. (Hungry for talent. Food = Gadgets. Get it?) We then dove into creating a mood board that helped our client (redpepper) better understand our vision. We merged that mood board with a sketch of how we were imagining it being shot.

Execution
For our image to work, we needed a list of materials:

  • Spaghetti (made out of headphones)

  • Ice cream (made out of a MacBook charger)

  • A Camera (yummy.)

  • A Pizza (made out of post-it notes)

  • A Popsicle (made out of a pink iphone)

  • Five hungry interns

After setting everything up, we made sure that everyone knew what their specific motion was. We then got to shooting! We had a lot of fun trying to get everyone’s motion perfect and completely intentional. We also didn’t want to draw away from the fact that the food was gadgets. There was a lot of laughter, bonding, and hope that the food would somehow turn into reality (we shot around lunchtime on empty stomachs—a rookie mistake).

After countless shots, editing, and narrowing down our top five to one, here is the final product -- makes you hungry for some post-it note pizza, right?

gif3 from blair on Vimeo.

What we learned
Think everything through

If we didn’t sit down and plan every single detail of the shoot and what we would need, it would have never gone as smoothly as it did. Before we walked into the room to shoot the photos, we already knew how we were going to make the food, what our “models” were going to wear, and who was in charge of what. Planning. Is. Everything.

Explain the reasoning for everything

When we presented our ideas to redpepper, we made sure to walk them through the rationale and brainstorming process of how we got to our 3 best ideas. Not only does this help your client understand what you’re pitching to them, but it also shows them that time and effort went into creating these ideas and there was a reason for everything you did.

Messaging is everything

Make sure you have a clear understanding of your brand and the message you are trying to convey. That understanding will guide you through the decisions you will have to make during a project. We definitely hit some road bumps along the way and used our messaging goals to move past them.

Don’t take opportunities like this for granted

All of us are so incredibly grateful that we were given so much creative freedom on this project. It allowed us to come up with something completely original and exciting. Be grateful of times that you’re able to stretch your creative legs and show a client what you really can do!

Do you want a chance to have the kind of opportunities that the Fall 2016 Intern class has had? Redpepper is now hiring for Spring 2017! Apply here.


Written by Rachel Giese, Nashville, TN. Design Intern

 

 

 

 

 

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Painting Outside the Lines: the process of creating our final intern cover photo

Painting Outside the Lines: the process of creating our final intern cover photo

The Assignment:
Our task? Create a cover photo that embodied the personal growth and creative encouragement we experienced over the course of our redpepper internship. The process? Brainstorm three solid concepts, and pitch them to the redpepper staff.

The Chosen Idea:
Concept options included: splatter paint, confetti, and orange fog. And the winner? Splatter paint! The most cumbersome choice of the three options to execute, but we were up for the challenge.

So why was splatter paint the chosen favorite? Because agency life is an inherently creative environment, and paint represents the freedom of expression we experienced at redpepper.  

Our Vision:
We pictured all the interns wearing blue jeans and white t-shirts, lined up in front of a white backdrop, actively being splattered with orange paint.

Here was some of our inspiration:

Materials we needed:

  • Loads of orange paint, of course

  • A giant white sheet that would cover an entire wall of the lab

  • Painter's plastic, to avoid leaving paint footprints  

  • 17 white t-shirts, to make the paint color POP

Execution:
Our primary concern was getting orange paint in places it shouldn’t be--on the lab (floors, walls, and equipment), and on the interns’ faces who were scheduled to present at a brainstorming session immediately following our shoot.

We took turns splattering our clothes, one by one, to to make as small of a mess as possible. Simultaneously, one of the design interns splattered paint on the backdrop behind us to enhance the overall splattering effect.

We smiled, we acted surprised, we fake laughed, and we even took a few shots jumping in the air for kicks.

 

What we learned:
Our final cover photo doesn’t hold many similarities to our initial inspiration, because we truly made this cover photo our own. The same sentiment holds true to our redpepper experience--our internship didn’t play out how we initially anticipated; in fact, it far surpassed our expectations. We were all able to make our internship at redpepper our own, because redpepper is a space where we were encouraged to paint outside the lines.

Here’s the photo we decided on-- we think we made quite a splash.

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Summing Up my rp Journey with Bachelorette Season 12 gifs:

Summing Up my rp Journey with Bachelorette Season 12 gifs:

 

1) First Day Nerves

I was simultaneously incredibly nervous and excited to begin my time as an rp marketing intern. I walked in the doors and was immediately surrounded by a multitude of highly-accomplished employees, a killer workspace, and tons of adorable pups.

2) Juggling Tasks  

Luckily, there were 17 other amazing humans in my intern class who were along for the ride with me. We all quickly bonded and started referring to ourselves as a “mini-agency” that existed within redpepper. This was because we were entrusted with a series of responsibilities, such as: presenting cover photo pitches, organizing photo shoots, and carrying out successful brainstorming sessions. Needless to say, we quickly enhanced our time management, organizational, and communication skills by balancing both our intern class and departmental responsibilities.

3) Work hard, Play hard

Don’t worry, we always made sure to take necessary putt-putt, ping pong, and darts breaks when needed. Not to mention, there were healthy snacks, tons of delicious coffee, and the occasional leftover catering spread from client meetings to fuel our brainpower. Plus, we had access to plenty of beer and wine to reward ourselves for all of our hard work.

4) Grow. Every. Dang. Day.

At redpepper, you grow—A LOT.  In fact, the core value “We actively support personal growth,” is one of the first things you see on display when you enter the space. Through personal growth charts, Coffee & Questions meetings with the different redpepper departments, and weekly company-wide meetings, redpepper ensured we were constantly learning and making the most of our time. We were even assigned “growth buddies” to keep us accountable for our growth objectives at the beginning of our internship session!

My growth goals were to constantly push myself to learn as much as I could in every situation by asking thoughtful questions, and by getting to know each employee at redpepper. I made sure to keep myself accountable by writing down one new thing I learned each day. At the end of my internship, I felt incredibly confident and knowledgeable about the company roles and culture.

5) Take Initiative

One of the most important things I learned through my time at rp is that you NEED to take initiative. Don’t be afraid to push your limit—some of our greatest insights come to us when we are right outside the boundary of our comfort zone. Ask your mentor for access to a new project, or to sit-in on meeting you saw on their calendar, without being afraid to hear the word “no.” Showing initiative will go a long way as a redpepper intern. Plus, you will want to take full advantage of the opportunities redpepper has to offer: networking with an incredible staff, observing the variant departmental work, conducting research for clients, sitting in on pivotal meetings, preparing rooms for pitches, and much more.

Taking initiative and expressing interest in the different areas at redpepper eventually allowed me to present my research at a Thistle Farms brainstorming session, work as a props manager at weeklong shoot for Cracker Barrel, and take multiple photos for the redpepper instagram.

6) Final note

Like anything, your redpepper internship is going to be what you put into it. My experience could not have been any better, and it definitely set the bar high for my subsequent career. I am beyond thankful for the relationships I’ve made, and the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the course of the summer. Although I’m sad my internship is coming to a close, I know I will carry these life-long lessons with me into my all of my future endeavors!

 

 

 

 

Alyssa Kalams, Nashville, TN, Marketing Intern

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5 Things Interning at redpepper Taught Me About Being an Adult

5 Things Interning at redpepper Taught Me About Being an Adult

1. You don’t have to have it all figured out right out of college.

My journey to Nashville was a spontaneous one. Less than an a month after graduating from Auburn University, I found myself sitting at my mom's house looking for jobs, internships, basically any opportunity I could find; The problem was they were all out of state. redpepper stood out the most. I felt like the atmosphere was perfectly conducive for endless creativity and professional growth. I immediately applied and three days later was told I had missed the deadline. So, back to my mom’s couch? Nah, not this time. I packed up my car, my dog, and some clothes and drove to Nashville. I rented out a room at a friend’s place, worked on my resume, found a part time job, and when it was time, applied again. Since you are reading this, I clearly got the position. However I didn’t know that would be the case at the time. In a way, I had nothing figured out when I came here. All I knew was I had to be responsible for getting out and working towards something rather sitting on the couch and waiting for something to come to me.

2. “You combine hard work, creativity, and self-determination, and things start to happen.” -Sophia Amoruso

Just because you’re done with school doesn’t mean your education is over. When I arrived at rp, I was immediately absorbed into projects. They started out small and became more in-depth and extensive over time. But time really had nothing to do with taking on larger assignment; Rather it was the result of being mentored and learning what it took to be a successful designer from those around you. At the start of your internship, you are assigned a mentor who is there to help and support you along your internship; but they aren’t your babysitter, they are your encouragement. They are there to teach, support, motivate, and sometimes play Pokemon Go with you on coffee breaks.

3. Live well, Do good.

Culture at redpepper is huge. I cannot prepare you for how often you will hear the phrase “Hustle & Grow” during your time here. But it sticks and that’s a good thing. The culture at redpepper promotes a healthy lifestyle, growth (obviously), hard work, hard play, and doing good by others. Non-profit organizations like Nashville Food Project & Rooftops are just two of the names that redpepper clients put their time and positive work into. Here, always holding yourself accountable for being an awesome human being is inevitable, and it works!

4. Dogs make everything better.

I really don’t need to explain this one, I’m simply lucky enough to intern at an office filled with pups.

5. You’re still young and that’s awesome.

My time at redpepper has taught me many things regarding the ins and outs of a successful marketing agency, but the most important lesson it has taught me is that I don’t have to have it all figured out yet. I am learning, I am hustling, and I am growing. But I’m only 23, and my life is ahead of me. My amazing time here has created a monumental stepping stone in the path of life. So, through all this summer’s teachings, this is my advice to you: work hard, open your mind, celebrate your accomplishments, learn from every opportunity, don't take everything so seriously, and when all else fails, try not to grow up so fast.   

Taylor Abate, Ormond Beach, Florida, Design Team

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redpepper - I choose you!

redpepper - I choose you!

Maybe you’ve heard of Pokémon Go, or maybe you’ve just seen an abnormally large amount of people on their phones walking aimlessly around parks. Either way, there’s no doubt the game has taken over the world. It’s my job as the marketing intern to stay on top of tech and trends and learn what makes the world tick – clearly, that means immersing myself in the Pokémon universe. Believe me, I’ve taken that responsibility very seriously.

As a further sign of how the game has infiltrated my life, I’m going to explain my redpepper experience through the lens of Pokémon. Haters, this is your last chance to leave.

It’s inherently social

Until a few weeks ago, asking your friend “Hey, wanna go to the park to catch Pokémon?” would have gotten you a lot of mockery. Now, it gets you a mix of mockery and excited nods. Hey, I’ll take it. Nonetheless, Pokémon Go is bringing people together. The game has succeeded in getting people out of the house, interacting, and building common ground. Yes, you can play the game alone. But it’s a lot more fun and a lot more rewarding when you have friends to support you and continue your improvement.

redpepper is the same way. Being a redpepper intern gives you an instant social network of people your age that are interested and invested in the same things as you are. redpepper is intentionally structured that way. The office is a social environment that is designed for interaction and collaboration. The internship program has projects like the intern website cover photos to bring interns together from all departments to create and implement their ideas. The benefits of this are not limited to collaborative projects; oftentimes, conversation with interns in other departments sparked new ideas for my own research. And hey, you make some great friends in the process.

It takes sweat

You have to put the work in. Some Pokémon will come to you, but if you live that way you’ll only catch the Pidgey and Rattatas. If you want Charizard or the legendary Mewtwo, you have to put in the effort. You have to explore and go far out of your way. You have to look in places that no one else will. Similarly, your experience at redpepper is what you make it. If you go out of your way to challenge yourself, take on big projects, and prove yourself to your department, you will be richly rewarded. This summer’s marketing interns came in during an awkward transition period. Just a couple weeks into the internship, our manager accepted a job with a startup in New York and it took several weeks for us to get adjusted to this change. We knew it was up to us to make sure we got the full experience out of our summer, so we had to put ourselves out there, have honest conversations with our new manager, and fully immerse ourselves in the shifting department to understand the new needs. This internship is for the go-getters and the self-starters, and if you’re not willing to go the (literal) extra mile, you’re only limiting yourself.

It takes repetition to evolve

For the non-Pokémon-Go-educated, every time you catch a Pokémon of a particular species, you’ll receive candy for that species which can be put toward its evolution. Evolution requires a different amount of candy for each species. It may be annoying stumbling upon the same Pokémon time after time, but eventually you can turn it into an even better version of itself. It relates to phrase I’ve heard around the office several times – practice doesn’t make perfect,  perfect practice makes perfect. By repeating tasks consistently and correctly, you can become the master of it. The first few weeks of this internship have a steep learning curve. You’re suddenly surrounded by terms like tankfilling, pink/gold, and zoning, and it can honestly be pretty overwhelming. But by allowing yourself to absorb new concepts and learning from those around you, you’ll not only understand these tasks but begin to lead them yourself.

The better you get the more opportunities you’ll be given

In Pokémon Go, you can’t just create your account and expect to be a Pokémon master and take down gyms on your first day. You’ll catch your fair share of low-powered Pokémon at the start. But as you progress and improve, you’ll find increasingly powerful ones to add to your collection. At redpepper, you have to work up to the big projects. It’s easy to come into the internship with expectations for the big assignments you’ll be given on day one, but in reality, you have to work up to the important tasks. You have to establish yourself as a competent, confident adult with a killer work ethic by tackling those smaller tasks. By the end of your time here, you’ll find yourself in charge of projects and presentations and you can be satisfied knowing that you earned that role.

To wrapidash it up, your internship will be a Poliwhirl-wind, so don’t be a Slowpoke. Make sure to Exeggcute your projects well and open your Meowth and say hello. Remember, hustle and grow - or in this case, hustle and evolve.

Liza Upton, Los Angeles, California, Marketing Intern

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