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Welcome to the Mary Free Bed Marketing Dept. Sarah Pontbriand!

Sarah_PontbriandAs I begin my internship at Mary Free Bed, I am very excited to take as much opportunity as I can! I am headed into my senior year at Grand Valley State University and after having a couple internships in the past, I was determined to find another that would be new, challenging, and something that interests me. Non-profit organizations and the health care industry have always been intriguing to me and I am thrilled to be at Mary Free Bed!

I first heard about the marketing internship at Mary Free Bed from my friend and classmate, Lauren who was the previous marketing intern. We spend a lot of time together as students in campus organizations such as GVSU’s student-run Public Relations firm, GrandPR, and the University’s chapter of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) in which we are both actively involved in. Lauren talked highly of her internship at Mary Free Bed, about how awesome the marketing team is, and let us know that they were looking to hire a new intern. I knew a little bit about Mary Free Bed at the time because Ben, New Media and Communications Specialist at Mary Free Bed, spoke to students on the health care Public Relations panel at our 2017 PRSSA Regional Conference right here in Grand Rapids. Hearing about how rewarding, yet different than any other the industry is had sparked my interest early on.

When I initially think about Mary Free Bed, things that come to mind are nurses, doctors, patients, and rehabilitation. Though all of those things are a big part of it, learning about “behind the scenes” of an organization is my favorite part. Even going to new employee orientation, I had the opportunity to see the values of Mary Free Bed, the standards for different employees, and some of the efforts that go into the reputation of the hospital. Getting to experience more of what goes into an organization and hospital like Mary Free Bed is something that is not easily understood from the surface, but makes a gigantic difference to the impression it leaves on its visitors.

For the duration of this internship, I have high expectations for myself. I hope to gain insight on the marketing aspect of the health care industry, discover more of what I would like to do, and build relationships with colleagues and the community. I am determined to apply the skills that I have learned throughout years in the classroom and my experiences as well as learn many more things that I can apply in the future.

I am a PR geek! I love getting the community engaged, putting together campaigns and processes to do so, and keeping up with social media having target markets in mind. All of those things come with a lot more enjoyment when it is for something that I am passionate about. The sense of community and care for patients that Mary Free Bed carries with it is so exciting and I am PUMPED to be a part of it! Restoring hope and freedom will never get old.

 

Welcome to Mary Free Bed Lauren Staff!

LaurenStaff.jpgThrough my first three years studying advertising and public relations at Grand Valley I was dead set on finding internships and a career at a public relations firm where I would work with various clients every day. This summer, when I visited a patient at Mary Free Bed it hit me that I want to work somewhere that puts hope and faith in individuals the way Mary Free Bed does, and where truly meaningful relationships are built. While visiting this patient I got to see the way Mary Free Bed changes individuals’ lives and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

Today is my first day, and after meeting everyone and walking around the campus for almost two hours it was made clear that I am going to get a valuable experience out of this internship. After only the first day I can tell that all the employees stand strong behind Mary Free Bed’s mission, and feel passionate about the work they do. Over the next three months I want to strengthen my writing skills, learn more about health care, and gain the passion that Mary Free Bed employees have. But what I am most looking forward to, is building relationships with co-workers, other interns, and patients.

During my interview, Betsy (Media Relations/Writer) told me that the best days are the ones that she gets to go into the hospital and interact with patients and their families. Ben  (New Media/Community) told me stories about patients that he has been able to create relationships with that last even after that individual left Mary Free Bed. In marketing storytelling goes a long way, and the patient stories that are told by Mary Free Bed are truly amazing. It’s because of these strong relationships that Mary Free Bed is able to be communicate with everyone in an authentic, hopeful, and emotional way. Just by watching the patient story videos that are posted on Facebook, it is evident that Mary Free Bed gives patients an undeniable level of hope that anyone would be proud to say they helped provide…I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!

Whenever I try to give a succinct explanation of what public relations professionals do to a friend or family member, it always end up as someone thinking all I do is “play” on social media all day. Yes, social media is a huge part of marketing and PR, but I know that there is much more to it than just that. In an internship or job it’s so easy to get lost in the busy work and day to day tasks, but I think this internship will show me that the work I enjoy doing can actually make a difference in the world and in individuals’ lives. I know these next three and a half months are going to fly by but that they are also going to be full of amazing, unique, and fulfilling experiences. WOOO!

Welcome to Mary Free Bed Marketing Andrea Pratt!

ap_photoI have to say, before I actually started my internship at Mary Free Bed I would have had a simple answer to this question. I might have said: “I want to contribute to the health of my community,” or “I want experience in my field so that I can get a job when I graduate.” Though both of those thing are very true, my brief experience at MFB so far has showed me that what I will get out of this internship will be so much more.

I sat through a nine hour employee orientation on Monday. Every moment was not filled with excitement and enlightenment, but it gave me an intimate look at the power and authenticity behind MFB’s mission statement: “Restoring hope and freedom through rehabilitation.” I knew that Mary Free Bed is a very well respected rehab hospital, and a leader in the field of rehabilitation, but to hear the overwhelming support behind its mission was moving.

I heard CEO Kent Riddle talk about his first experience with MFB, when his wife was treated for a traumatic brain injury after an awful car accident. He was so inspired and uplifted by the kindness of the staff and the quality of the care, that he knew he had to get involved. I also saw the excitement in all of the other new employees. A few of them even said that working at Mary Free Bed has been their end goal ever since they started school.

The videos of patient stories moved me most of all. As a Health Communications student with a minor in Advertising and Public Relations, I know the power of stories. Being able to work with stories such as these, and help create more of them, is my dream. Through this internship, I know that I will not only get practical experience in so many areas (which is great, because I haven’t yet narrowed down what area within marketing and PR that I would like to focus on), but I will be able to work towards a mission that I completely support.

So, yes, I do want to contribute to the health of my community, and I do want experience in my field so I can get a job, but mostly I want to be a part of the team (even just for one semester) that helps show people that they should. #AskForMary

Welcome to Mary Free Bed Jackson Ozark!

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Jackson and his girlfriend Sanda

We have a new summer of 2016 intern at the Mary Free Bed marketing department. I like to ask my interns for a few words at the beginning of each semester as to what they would like to learn, experience and see. Jackson’s new intern blog follows below.

What do I want out of my Mary Free Bed marketing internship?
By Jackson Ozark, 2016 graduate Grand Valley State University

After four years of college and multiple internships I still can’t tell you what my dream job is. I have tried pushing myself to choose, whether that be a copywriter, journalist or even a food blogger. Nothing has ever stood out and hit the sweet spot. The only thing I know that I love to do is create powerful content through writing and design.

However I also have one major point that a company must hit in order for me to back it 110% and truly get the best possible work out of me. I need to love what the company stands for. When my graduation loomed I didn’t take the normal college senior route, attending job fair after job fair and taking any position I could that was even a stretch to fit in with my Advertising and Public Relations degree.

When Mary Free Bed came onto my radar it stood out for this reason. I knew that this wasn’t like other companies where I would be expected to work with words in order to get more customers because well, Mary Free Bed doesn’t really have traditional customers. Every patient here is treated like they should be, a person. These patients along with their nurses and doctors go on a special journey together to get people back in tip top shape, making their dreams into reality.

PR has always been in my mind as a career path since I took a mandatory college course on it and ended up loving the brainstorming of ideas and branching together of tactics to make a company shine. When I began my last internship in the summer of 2015 I realized how much more I learn in a real world experience rather than a classroom. I knew that even though I would be finishing school this year that the learning was never going to end. I know that this opportunity will open my mind to so many new channels I never knew existed prior.

While in this position I am certain that I will be able to enhance my writing skills along with becoming a better all-around person. I know that with this position I have found a company that will back my personal values and give me an opportunity to shine as a valued employee and not a glorified coffee delivery boy.

The Ghost Inside drummer asked for Mary…and is ready for the future!

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One of the most amazing stories to come out of Mary Free Bed in my three years at the rehabilitation hospital…and there are a TON of wonderful stories every day. The band The Ghost Inside was involved in a horrible bus accident in the Fall of 2015, each band member has had their own challenges and rehabilitation to face since. This video kicks off a new series as we follow Andrew Tkaczyk and his progress to drumming at a rock show once again.

Welcome to Mary Free Bed Nicole Coughlin!

Nicole Coughlin

I would like to give a warm welcome to Nicole Coughlin, new marketing intern at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Back in my own college days, I had several internships (Anderson University PR office, Butler University SID office, Indianapolis Indians SID office, the list goes on) and I truly love to have an intern to both teach and learn from. I like to ask my interns for a few words at the beginning of each semester as to what they would like to learn, experience and see. Nicole’s new intern blog follows below.

What do I want out of my Mary Free Bed marketing internship?
By Nicole Coughlin, Cornerstone University

Public relations is not a career you can practice just thinking about in theory, it’s active, you need to be able to have a goal and work towards it. In school we make campaigns and get all excited about them just to give it to a professor and walk away from it. It’s sad. I am ready to create something and then do it.

I want a chance to get my hands dirty and really learn what public relations is truly about. Create things that will be seen by the public, influence perception, and cause action. I want to see in real time how people react to social media posts, instead of hypothetical numbers. I am excited to take the things that I have been practicing in school, like blogs and social media posts, videography and finding target markets, and see how what I know holds up in the real world. I want to see how the different marketing appeals actually play out in real world situations as opposed to looking at other companies examples and thinking backwards through the process. I want to work on the preparation of a campaign and then actually be able to see it through.

I am also excited to dabble in things I haven’t had the opportunity to yet. The idea of being able to work on a website, something that is so necessary to a company, is exciting and nerve racking all at the same time, but in a good way. I am also excited to work with designing posts and images like on the T.V screens throughout the building. Right now I just want to be able to work on as much as possible.

I saw this internship online and was so impressed with all of the areas that I would get to help with. Even just within the description it talked about having a chance to write blog posts, help with different social media sites, get to work with the website a little bit, and more that I can’t even remember off the top of my head now. It seemed like a challenge that I was ready to take on.

I want to learn these things but I am most ready to learn all the things that I don’t even know are an option to learn at this point. Even just the ins and outs of what happens like seeing how an idea goes from someone mentioning a story to completing it and finding where the most effective way to share that I’ve heard from all around that you learn more in an internship then ever possible in school. I am just ready to take the next step towards reality in this way.

 

Beautiful parking garage art from Kendall College art and design students

Another aspect of why I love my job as the community liason for Mary Free Bed. Many thanks to the Kendall College of Art and Design students for helping make this a reality in our new hospital.

Farewell to #j560

More nice thoughts on social media, PR and communications from a graduate student.

Keep Calm and Travel On

This semester has been a busy one. When I first opened the syllabus for the Managing Online Public Relations class, I became worried about the amount of social media posts we would be required to do each week. It almost seemed unmanageable. Prior to this course, I was a social media user but not an active one. In fact, my personal social media usage was almost non-existent. J560 really pushed me to get back into the social media game. Even more than that, it taught me to be mindful of the content I post and how I can engage with friends and followers. I found that when I posted a really relevant article about social media or PR I would get a lot of interactions through retweets, comments and favorites. This opened me up to the idea that social media can do a lot for you if you know how…

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