In this new "upside down" world, The Garden decided to launch its first ever paid summer internship program. With a slight twist. Everyone's #WFH.
Let’s rewind a moment to mid-March when we made the call to close The Garden office. We thought that it might mean a few weeks of chaos until the world returned to normal, and looking back, I smile at how naively optimistic we were.
It quickly became clear that remote work was going to be a long-term situation. Like many others, we were anxious trying to figure out our next steps as a business, and also overwhelmed by the stories of challenges, tragedies and disappointments in our communities and around the world. We were especially sad to see scores of students and new graduates—until then so bright eyed and excited about their futures—now facing cancelled internships, rescinded job offers and the bleak reality of zero career prospects.
In response, we decided to start an internship program. This was a first for The Garden. Our team has always been comprised of mostly senior talent, and in the past, we thought that our office would be too fast-paced to make a good learning environment for industry newbies. But with the ‘new normal’ taking its toll on all of us, we decided that if we could help out a young person even a little bit by creating a summer internship program, it would be worthwhile.
We sent the word out, inviting industry hopefuls to apply online, share their work, and tell us (in 200 words or less) why they were THE candidate for us. Our plan across 5 categories (design, strategy, art direction, photography and copywriting) was to select the 10 most promising applicants and give all 50 of them a one-on-one virtual portfolio review and advice session. From there, we planned to offer the one person that truly stood out a “Stay at Home” Internship with The Garden.
But things didn’t go quite according to plan. We were inundated with applications from a huge number of incredibly talented, passionate and unique individuals. And we were stunned by the quality of their work. So much so that after countless amazing conversations and virtual meetings we couldn’t stop at just one internship spot—we ended up creating four.
It’s early days, but we are already reaping the benefits. This cohort has brought a fresh energy and optimism to our Google Hangouts. They ask great questions. They’ve brought new perspectives, fun ideas and demonstrated to us the ‘outsider’ advantage.
In turn, we are trying to expose them to all different types of projects, and have them sit in on all types of calls, presentations, workshops and working sessions. It’s hard to say where all of this will go and even harder to determine who is benefiting the most.
But, in the meantime, we’re excited for you to meet the fabulous quartet of graduates who have formed our first ever group of interns at The Garden. Follow along on our social channels this week as they introduce themselves and share their experiences of interning from home.