Grand Rapids

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

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.

 

I found the Awesome Mitten – time for some new web videos and blogs – #MittenLove

Awesome_MittenHello there. For those of you who do not know, I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and had to leave the DoItIndy crew. I couldn’t be gone tooo long, I was ready. Here I go as a new blogger for the very cool group – Awesome Mitten. A lot like DoItIndy, but Michigan style. I love their hashtag – #MittenLove.

If you live in Grand Rapids or the West Michigan area and have something cool, please let me know. You might get some #MittenLove. Looking forward to exploring more of Michigan soon.

My first blog – Big Ben joins the Mitten Crew

Grand Rapids Skyline - from Experience GR website.
Grand Rapids Skyline – from Experience GR website.

The Year 2013 in Pictures – Indy, SlickLaroo and the Michigan Mitten

What a year 2013 was….BIG changes on all fronts. Life, work and much more has changed in 12 months. So…for all you Indy peeps and beyond, my third year in pictures list.

2012 Year in Pictures Blog
  |  2011 Year in Pictures Blog

The year started off well with the amazing New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball at Union Station

The year started off well with the amazing New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Union Station

Shooting a promo video for Red's Classic Barber Shop. I love that place - hot shaves, haircuts and man stuff.

Shooting a promo video for Red’s Classic Barber Shop. I love that place – hot shaves, haircuts and man stuff.

DoItIndy was a proud sponsor of the Norton Records benefit party with Cheetah Chrome and Deezen.

DoItIndy was a proud sponsor of the Norton Records benefit party with Cheetah Chrome and Deezen.

I proposed to my wife on live TV in early February 2013.

I proposed to my wife on live TV in early February 2013.

I love roller derby. DoItIndy was a proud sponsor of the Naptown Roller Girls for three years.

I love roller derby. DoItIndy was a proud sponsor of the Naptown Roller Girls for three years.

Slick Laroo and I dined at White Castle for Valentine's day 2013

Slick Laroo and I dined at White Castle for Valentine’s day 2013

The Burton's National Maple Syrup Festival is amazing.

The Burton’s National Maple Syrup Festival is amazing.

I love Mutt Strutt. This was my third year to walk in the fun on the most famous race track in the world. Posing at the Brickyard.

I love Mutt Strutt. This was my third year to walk in the fun on the most famous race track in the world. Posing at the Brickyard.

Yes. I do like beer, especially local craft beer. Here I am representing DoItIndy with my cousin Eric (Eat Urban). 30th Annual Brew Ha-Ha at the Phoenix Theatre.

Yes. I do like beer, especially local craft beer. Here I am representing DoItIndy with my cousin Eric (Eat Urban). 30th Annual Brew Ha-Ha at the Phoenix Theatre.

My final Saturday morning with Fox 59 and DoItIndy before moving to Grand Rapids. #BeUrban

My final Saturday morning with Fox 59 and DoItIndy before moving to Grand Rapids. #BeUrban

I got married to the wonderful Slick Laroo.

I got married to the wonderful Slick Laroo.

Slick and I went to the pumpkin patch in the Mitten.

Slick and I went to the Dunneback Farm pumpkin patch in the Mitten.

I started a very cool job at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. I work in new media and community relations.

I started a job at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. I work in new media and community relations.

I got to walk as a Mary Free Bed elf in the Grand Rapids Santa Parade.

I got to walk as a Mary Free Bed elf in the Grand Rapids Santa Parade.

Slick and I decided to become cat people. We adopted a kitty and named her Betty. Nala and Betty and best friends.

Slick and I decided to become cat people. We adopted a kitty and named her Betty. Nala and Betty are best friends.

#DontStopBelieving – 2013 Mary Free Bed Leg Lamp Holiday Campaign

What a campaign we had, it is truly amazing to hear how many people LOVED and recognized  the Mary Free Bed elves and “special” leg lamp. Below you will find a few videos and links to blogs from the communications and external relations staff that tell you a little more about what we did. Leg Lamp, Elves, Alumni (Patient) Stories and more.

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I dressed up as a Mary Free Bed elf with my good friend and co-worker Eric Miller for the Grand Rapids Santa Parade. CLICK HERE to see the Storify new media blog.

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