InternBR, presented by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., is a BRAC initiative that began in the summer of 2016. Providing area interns with professional development training and local employers with a talent pipeline, the program creates a deeper connection between millennial talent and the Baton Rouge Area. After a successful first year, resulting in many employers hiring their interns for full-time positions, BRAC had to keep the program going.
This year, BRAC will graduate 24 InternBR participants from 12 different companies on July 28. Through the six-week program, the participants received training on professional communication, behavior preferences, leadership styles, personal branding and more.
To fully understand the impact of the program, we spoke with an employer, an intern and the program organizer to see all perspectives on InternBR.
Broadening Experiences for Interns
After hearing positive feedback from their 2016 intern participants, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. decided to sponsor this year’s program and have all their interns apply to participate. Arthur J. Gallagher’s Area Vice President and Director of Sales Amanda Hamilton explained that, “the focus on professional development/etiquette, civic service and the opportunity to network with future business leaders,” was a huge benefit of the program they wanted to provide their interns. Through a combination of the company’s internship curriculum and InternBR, Hamilton says their interns are confident, innovative and prepared to enter the workforce.
So what’s her advice for Baton Rouge Area employers? “Invest in this program! The result will be well-rounded young professionals excited to work for a company who takes the time to broaden their experiences in the community.”
Preparing for Life Post-College
Will Montag, a business management senior at LSU, began his sales and marketing internship at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. two months ago. The internships at Arthur J. Gallagher only last nine weeks, but are jam-packed with job shadowing, competitions, travel and professional development – part of their curriculum being InternBR.
Montag is already putting his learnings to practice. After a session in which participants received their Emergenetics profiles showing their individual thinking and behavioral preferences, Montag learned from his profile that he may have a behavioral tendency to “dominate conversations.” Taking the feedback, Montag decided to practice his listening skills. Through his practice, he said he’s made stronger connections with other interns. The importance of active listening is just a one of the soft skills taught during the program. Montag and his class also enjoyed lessons on professional communication, networking, and presentation skills. All which Montag said are “necessary to make the transition from college to career.”
Showcasing what Baton Rouge has to Offer
Melissa Thompson, BRAC’s Director of Talent Development and InternBR organizer, has two goals for InternBR: provide professional development programming and help the area interns discover why Baton Rouge is a great community to launch a career and enjoy life. Paired with the weekly professional development trainings, Thompson included social and service events and a Civic Initiatives Update from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to the programming. These events showcased the many offerings of Baton Rouge from community organizations and forward-thinking individuals to up-and-coming projects in the area.
The lessons and events are integral parts of the program, but for Thompson the most fulfilling part of the program is just getting to know the interns. She says, “If anyone has doubts about our future, come spend time with the InternBR participants. They are so bright and motivated with a constant drive to make their community better.”