And just like that, a full year has gone by at Imperative Impact. It feels like yesterday I was meeting the team and taking stock of what this new internship would have in store.
I joined Imperative Impact as an intern, for a four-month work placement required as part of my undergraduate degree in Public Relations from the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College. Looking to build on my Ottawa government experience, I took a leap of faith and moved to Toronto for my placement. Leaving behind my family and friends in a city I knew like the back of my hand was difficult, to say the least, but one of the best decisions I have made.
When I first thought about what I wanted out of my placement, an agency did not cross my mind. I did not think I was ‘agency material’, but better suited for in-house public relations and communications. As a fresh graduate, I was hoping for an internship at a larger organization, such as a bank, or a telecommunications company. Wow, was I wrong.
My internship with Imperative Impact, which grew into a permanent position, has taught me more than I’d ever learn with a standard larger organization. I can confidently say that every day I learn something new, am challenged professionally, and supported by awesome colleagues.
In this blog I’ve shed light on what I learned during my first year at Imperative Impact and provided some words of wisdom for those who are preparing to jump into the communications industry. Summing it up into four points … (because who doesn’t love listicles),
1. HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE
Firstly, I have learned how to juggle multiple clients, priorities, and projects. When something needs to get done, there is a go-getter attitude to make sure it's executed quickly and competently alongside other active projects. Levels of approval tied up with red tape are non-existent in a small agency setting, and all that matters at the end of the day is doing great work for your client. This creates an extremely refreshing work environment, and an energy that is wonderfully contagious.
2. LEARNING IS A CONSTANT
As mentioned, I can honestly say that I do learn something new every day. Working for a boutique agency means I get to wear a lot of different hats. As a recent graduate, it can be daunting to pick a specialty in your field. How am I supposed to know what I like and don’t like if I have not tried it? That is the equivalent of asking someone what their favourite pizza is when they have never even tried the toppings. I have had the chance to dive into project management, writing, media relations, social media, and community management. I find this to be critical for my career development, as I widen my skills while learning where my true interests lie.
3. IT’S OK TO QUESTION EVERYTHING YOU DO
Imposter syndrome is a very real thing. In fact, 49 per cent of millennials said their biggest worry at work was not being "good enough" or finding out that you don't have the ability to perform in their role. When you are surrounded by colleagues who seem settled in their groove, it can sometimes feel like you are one step behind. What I have learned is to trust my gut instinct, ask questions, never make assumptions, and nine times out of ten, I make the right call. The times I do goof... well hey I think that’s called learning?
4. WORK FOR A CAUSE YOU BELIEVE IN
Working at Imperative Impact has made me pause from time to time for personal reflection. Our tagline speaks for itself - ‘Tell your story. Make an Impact. Change the World.’ I now know that wherever I work in the future, I need the work to be meaningful, and have a positive impact on people. My colleague, Hannah Cowan, summed it up into words perfectly, I want my work to have tangible value for people who are most in need. There is so much that needs to be done in the world, and I now know that I will be a part of it.