When I first came to redpepper, I didn’t know what to expect. I had just finished my first internship with another company, and I still had no idea what I was doing. Marketing made sense to me; it was easy enough to understand the basics. I had no idea how much there was to learn, though. They teach us stuff in school, of course: what segmenting a market means and the process through which consumers come to decisions. But seeing people in action who have not only made this their livelihood, but also their passion, put everything in perspective. The people here understand what needs to be done. They take immense pride in being such a successful company (like any company would), but the culture is why people stay. This place holds a family. One that is diverse and full of life. One that I was lucky enough to enjoy for a few months.
I showed up in Nashville two days before I started. I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t know anyone in the city. I decided, though, despite my normal shyness, to really put myself out there. The other interns and I were immediate friends. We went out to enjoy lunch at the Farmers’ Market, we ate breakfast together, and we went out for drinks. Under threat of getting my car towed on more than one occasion due to bad parking decisions on my part, we had fun. It would have been worth it even if I had been towed. There was always help, support, laughter, smart-ass comments, and ping pong. Some of these people became better friends in two months than friends I’ve had for years. I don’t like seeing everyone go their separate ways. If it were up to me, we would all stay and work together. That being said, I wouldn’t change this experience for the world.
The work connections I’ve made will not only help me in the future, but have also helped me grow as a person here and now. Nate and Ann have allowed me immense freedom to learn what I needed to learn however I needed to learn it, whether it be hands-on experience or through a birds-eye view. The respect interns are shown is unlike any other place I’ve ever been. We are truly members of the team who can, and are expected to contribute useful pieces of work. The amount of freedom allotted to individuals is both liberating and daunting. Get your work done on time and thoroughly, and you’re good to go play ping pong or darts; let your work suffer for ping pong or darts, and you will be held responsible. You are considered an independent adult, so you will be expected to act like one (for the most part).
I have great experience and understanding, now. I have friends from all around the country: ones now at Iowa, Louisiana, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Union, and a few more. I have professionals here in Nashville who not only know my name, but are also my mentors and my friends. I know so much more about this awesome city. I am sad to go, but I’m incredibly happy to have been a part of the 2015 summer internship program at redpepper.
Regan Ward, Strategy Intern