‘Homegrown’ Talent Shining Bright

At first, Angie Hicks wanted to be an actuary. Then she interviewed for an internship with venture capitalist Bill Oesterle, and the rest is history.

Hicks, a Fort Wayne native, credits that internship as the stepping stone that led to her success at Angie’s List. She so impressed Oesterle as an intern that he asked her to join him in co-founding Angie’s List in 1995. Today, the company serves more than three million paid households, delivering an e-commerce marketplace as well as reliable consumer reviews covering everything from home improvement to health care.

Hicks’ keynote was the perfect message for the nearly 400 attendees at the 10th annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon with the theme “Homegrown: Cultivating Local Talent,” celebrating local young professionals and the career opportunities available to them right here in Indiana.

“Don’t overthink doors that open for you,” Hicks urged the more than 30 Intern of the Year nominees. “Internships are a great time to explore different types of jobs.”

We at Indiana INTERNnet look forward to the IMPACT Awards Luncheon every year because it’s our opportunity to celebrate the significance of internships and spotlight accomplishments. An added bonus is that several of the intern nominees this year were hired full-time by their employer following their internship, like Scott Bachman with Baldwin & Lyons, Inc. (B&L).

On his first day at B&L, Bachman noted in his work plan – “I am ready to jump into new and ongoing projects in order to learn as much as possible.”

This declaration was put to the test when, six weeks into his internship, he was tapped to fill in for a manager on a number of projects until a replacement could be hired. One project was a strategic company initiative with a budget exceeding $1 million.

Thanks to Bachman’s work, the project didn’t miss a beat, and he ensured the transition to a new project manager was seamless. As a result, he saved B&L an estimated $10,000 in potential temporary consultant fees. He was hired as a full-time project coordinator following the completion of his internship.

More and more employers are realizing the value of internships as well. Eleven organizations were nominated for Employer of the Year at the IMPACT Awards for offering meaningful learning experiences in their workplaces. As a result, they are benefiting immensely from the talent of local interns.

One example is the netlogx, LLC internship program, which provides a balance of practical work experience, networking opportunities and professional development activities – with mentoring at the center of it all.

Interns take part in the netlogx Mentor Program designed to provide information, encouragement and support to help them succeed. Interns are immediately integrated into the work environment, working side-by-side with seasoned employees on a variety of tasks and owning at least one project.

“My time at netlogx helped me grow both in my professional career and my development as a human being,” recognizes Joe Harrison, 2015 summer intern. “I was awarded opportunities that helped further myself along the path to success and that have taught the importance of being a kind and personable individual on top of being intellectual and professional. These are skills that I will cherish moving forward in my career.”

If your company is looking to start an internship program, or if you’re looking for assistance with improving an existing one, Indiana INTERNnet exists to help. We provide a web site to facilitate student-employer matches at no cost and we also have instructional resources to help you build a standout internship program. You can also apply for EARN Indiana funds and see if your internship is eligible.

If your organization has an internship program and would like to assist us in learning more about experiential learning in Indiana, please take a few moments to complete our 2016 survey. Those who complete it are eligible for a drawing in which winners of 20 $50 Visa gift cards will be chosen. Those will be awarded on March 15, 2016.

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