Life as a redpepper Intern: As Told by Leslie Knope
When you walk through the doors on the first day of a new internship, it can be a little daunting. For me, embarking on the redpepper adventure meant moving to a new city where I knew next to no one, working for my first ever agency, and quite frankly, having no idea what to expect. But I remembered that I wouldn’t be given the incredible rp opportunity if I didn’t at least know partially what I was doing, so I gave myself a little pep talk before I walked in the door.
On my first day as a production services intern, I met my mentors Katie B and Sarah P. I didn’t know much about what I wanted to do with my life, let alone anything about project management, but let me tell ya, I was so excited to get to learn from these two. Long story short, they’re amazing. Sarah wears dresses with ice cream cones on them (incredible, I know), has the most iconic cackle you’ve ever heard and can make every stressful meeting seem a bit less hectic. Katie is the glue that keeps everyone in line and can somehow manage 29 projects and 87 Slack message requests simultaneously with ease. (Speaking of Slack, we did an incredible campaign for them full of rainbows and unicorns and all kinds of good stuff. You should check it out here.) In other words, basically from day one I knew I was in good hands.
As an intern, you get out of your experience what you put into it. Which means you’ve gotta be a go-getter and take initiative if you want to maximize your growth. This also means that even though it can be awkward throwing yourself out there, it’s to your benefit to introduce yourself to colleagues in other departments and make friendly connections across the agency. redpepper is unique in the sense that it provides the opportunity for you to access anyone, even the CEO, on a daily basis. Quick tip: go to coffee and questions. Seriously. All of them, if you can. Essentially, coffee and questions is time that redpepper so graciously sets aside for you to sit down and chat one-on-one with people from every different department, learn about what they do, and ask all the crazy questions you want. If you’re anything like me, you’re clueless about what agency positions suit you best, and this helps to provide some insight. And believe me, the people here are so smart and talented at so many things that everyone has something valuable for you to learn. Don’t be afraid to Slack someone a question, ask to sit in on a meeting, a client call or ask to work on part of a new project. The agency is busy, but these people are here to encourage and support your growth--take advantage of them (in a nice way, of course).
In your first couple of weeks as an intern, you’ll witness just how much the culture serves as the engine that powers redpepper. Sure, the space is fun... who wouldn’t love an office with ping pong, a golfing green, its own coffee brand, unlimited amounts of said coffee, a basketball hoop and dogs roaming galore? But culture isn’t just about the space, contrary to what some might think. Culture at redpepper is a unique mixture of tangibles and intangibles that is embodied by each individual from the top down, as well as every piece of work that leaves the office. I can’t really describe to you exactly what the culture is like, you gotta be there, but just know it’s real... and it’s epic. The best part of all is that it’s always evolving, and as an intern you get the opportunity to add a li'l spice of your own to the redpepper culture. Pretty darn cool if I do say so myself.
Perhaps the most exciting (and rewarding) part of being a fall intern is getting the chance to participate in CreateAthon. In a nutshell, CreateAthon is a day each year where redpepper shuts down client work and dedicates 24 sleepless and coffee-ful (yet wonderful) hours to creating free marketing services for nonprofits. If I’m being real, seeing CreateAthon on the rp website was a big reason I applied for this internship in the first place. Over the last couple of months I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the process of choosing the organizations we work with this year, and hold your britches, kids, because we’ve got some good ones. (Oh, and it’s finally happening next week!) BRING ON CREATEATHON.
Summing up my experience as a redpepper intern is hard for two reasons: one, because it’s not over yet, and two, because it really is that great. What you learn from this place and the incredible humans that make it up are things you can take with you wherever you go. You might think that interning post-grad is weird, unproductive, or maybe even invaluable. But I’m here to tell you that taking a detour with redpepper has been the most worthwhile journey for my future I could’ve imagined, and I’ve still got quite a ways to go.
End note: If this blog doesn’t make you want to work at redpepper, then:
Riley Collins, Production Services Intern, Melbourne Beach, FL