A Q&A with Current and Former Sunwest Interns

February 10, 2019

Austin Martinez, Emily Wingate, Jordan Gundersen, Kristen Carter, Maggie Holley and Shaelyn Stone

Q: What is your favorite part about your internship?

JG: The best part about my internship is that there’s always something different to do. Sunwest has given me the chance to work with a large variety of clients, including nonprofit, beauty, real estate, and more. I can grow, learn, ask questions, and get involved in certain projects if I find that I have a passion in that area.

AM: Being able to collaborate with everyone in the office on whichever project I am tasked. I really feel that I am part of the team and being able to showcase what I do best and seeing the gratitude and heartfelt appreciation is awesome.

Q: What sets Sunwest apart from previous internship experiences?

MH: As a mid-size agency, our interns get to be so much more hands on than they would at a larger agency or organization. From day one, I had the opportunity to become truly engrained in account work and directly engage with clients. My ideas were valued and my work was recognized. It was exciting to see ideas come to life as initiatives that were actually implemented.

Another difference is the industry exposure. At previous internships, I specialized in only one industry. At Sunwest, I am exposed to each one of our verticals – real estate, consumer, nonprofit, and more – and understand the nuances between each. Every day is different. In a week, I could be writing a press release, pitching media, staffing a client event, calling elected officials, and/or participating in a brainstorm.

SS: I was shocked at the amount of feedback I was asked when I was an intern at Sunwest! Senior team members constantly asked for my feedback on their work and actually implemented the edits and ideas I provided. In agency internships, I think that level of input is rare. My experience was the furthest thing from menial tasks such as fetching coffee and making copies.

Q: What was your favorite project you worked on during your internship?

KC: In college, I was an intern through the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program (CSJP), which happens to be managed by Sunwest. CSJP was one of the first projects I started working on as a Sunwest intern. It was so neat being on the other side of the program and able to contribute a unique perspective and input from my experience as a CSJP intern.

SS: My favorite thing about public relations is pitching media, so my all-time favorite project as an intern was pitching an event called Drummathon for the nonprofit “Breast Cancer Can Stick It!” It was an all-day event at Klyde Warren Park benefitting breast cancer research and awareness, hosted by famous drummers. I got to draft the pitch and make follow-up calls to news desks, and I got such an adrenaline rush when a TV station said they wanted to schedule an interview with the nonprofit founder. I remember running up and down the halls of Sunwest’s office! After the interview was scheduled, I acted as the PR liaison by accompanying my client to the station and walking her through the interview. It was exactly the type of thing I envisioned myself doing when I first decided to study public relations in college, and it was such a thrill to see my first media pitching efforts pay off.

Q: What was your first day as an intern like?

JG: Exciting! I was in a new job with new things to do and learn, and I was ready to hit the ground running. Not to mention, I felt from the beginning that Sunwest’s culture is something that sets them apart. It is inviting and encouraging, allowing room for mistakes so I can learn from them and become a better professional.

AM: It was awesome, I felt like I was moving in! From the moment I walked in the door I started setting up my gear and immediately dove into filming and editing a video. I knew from day one that things were going to move at an excitingly fast pace.

Q: What is the most notable thing you learned during your internship?

MH: How to balance multiple clients, projects and competing requests all at once. Having a mentor to help guide me through that process was incredibly helpful. My mentor was a great resource to bounce ideas off of, help me learn how to prioritize work and grow in my professionalism in the workplace and with clients.

EW: The most notable thing I learned during my internship is client relations. Even as an intern, I got to attend client meetings, both in person and over the phone. Communication with clients is key and learning how to interact with and truly listen to them has helped give me a better understanding when strategizing and planning for future projects.

Q: How was the transition from intern to full-time employee?

EW: The transition from intern to Account Coordinator was completely seamless. I feel like the mentorship and experiences that I had during my internship prepared me for a full-time role and have continued throughout my time at Sunwest. The team is focused on really embedding interns into client teams so they have true ownership of projects and tasks.

KC: I agree: It was seamless! As an intern, I had already started playing a support role on multiple accounts. Transitioning to full time just meant getting to share with clients that I was here to stay!

Interested in the Sunwest Intern Experience?