By: Colleen Veeley
Account Supervisor, Cardinal Health and Up ‘Til Dawn accounts
This summer, I’m working as a public relations intern at Cardinal Health, a fortune 19 healthcare services company in Dublin, Ohio. Coming into the internship, I had little corporate public relations experience and zero healthcare exposure. I had the pre-internship jitters, but I feel at home already and am not ready for the summer to be over!
I’ve learned essential skills that simply cannot be taught in the classroom. I’ve observed how my manager responds to issues. She prepares herself when she knows a reporter might be calling to request a statement, analyzes all the possible questions and makes sure she is ready with the answers. I have been given a large responsibility to oversee issues, track media hits, and compile information, which is then sent to the top company executives.
I love that I am not in a “typical” intern role. I don’t get anyone coffee, copy papers, etc. I write press releases, pitch the releases, and compile coverage reports. I know that my work is meaningful and something that all public relations professionals do as part of their job description.
My favorite project this summer has been leading efforts for the Cardinal Health College Relations Facebook page. I’ve surveyed this summer’s intern class at Cardinal Health and held a focus group to try to improve the page in effective ways. I’m currently compiling a summary of the results so next steps can be established.
I’ve also learned so much about social media. Cardinal Health uses a system called CoTweet, which some of you have probably heard of. It allows Cardinal Health to see all company Twitter pages from one site, place specific people “On deck” so they will be notified when the company has been Tweeted, and plan out times and dates of future tweets. I’ve developed my skills as a leader by overseeing intern efforts of making a “Day in the life of an intern” video and several testimonial videos, which will be released on the college relations page shortly.
There are over 70 interns at the Dublin headquarters and I have met and know almost every single one of them. Every level of leaders within the company has expressed the program’s importance. All interns join a committee at the beginning of the summer. I am on the social committee and we have a social event once a week to get together outside of work. Some interns plan tours to Cardinal Health’s distribution centers, some connect with company executives and set up a speaker series where all interns are free to ask questions and advice.
It is essential to have an internship before entering the work place full time (scary!!). I would not trade this experience for anything and I recommend that every Scripps J School student go above the 200 hour internship requirement. It will help you eliminate what you don’t want to do and give you a good idea on a field where you know you could be happy and successful.
I hope everyone has an amazing summer and I can’t wait to get back to Athens! Go Bobcats!