Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

Mary Free Bed marketing internship reflection – Shannon Hicks

It wasn’t until the middle of my internship that I truly understood what the marketing team at Mary Free Bed does. Of course, their job, on paper, is to develop relationships with community members and advertise the successes of the company. But, they do so much more than that. The marketing team helps past and present patients to examine and appreciate their own unique story. Through videos by Eric, pictures by Tony, and writing by Betsy, the team shares inspiration to people who need their hope and freedom restored. Thanks to social media posts and our website content, people allow themselves to embrace the possibility of miracles, or marycles. And, the marketing team assumes those responsibilities with a heavy, grateful mindset focused on the people whom Mary Free Bed serves.

With a background in non-profit work, I understand the ease at which it is possible to forget the larger cause that one is working towards. But, at Mary Free Bed, I didn’t see that as an obstacle. Everyone at Mary Free Bed is focused on the mission of restoring hope and freedom to people. And, it’s easy to stay motivated when you walk alongside these patients everyday and see the progress that the Mary free Bed staff has helped them achieve.

I feel grateful to have worked alongside those patients, as well as the staff, at Mary Free Bed, all while growing as a marketing professional. As an intern, I was able to reach over 16,900 people with my Facebook posts. On twitter, I wrote to an audience of 2,577. And, on Instagram, I had the opportunity to inspire and educate over 1,798 people. I went into the Grand Rapids community and promoted Mary Free Bed, while improving my communication skills that I’ve been refining in school for the past few years. The Thrive Gala was a particular highlight of my time at Mary Free Bed, as I was part of a team that helped raise thousands of dollars for children with cerebral palsy.

In addition to those major accomplishments during my time at Mary Free Bed, I also learned some basics of videography and editing from an award-winning videographer professional. I wrote articles celebrating Mary Free Bed staff and programs, which were published online. I even wrote my first ever news pitch to national news outlets, asking them to share the success of a Mary Free Bed patient who overcame a life-threatening injury. I began to see the many different aspects of marketing, and the staff mentored me in each area.

While I’m sad to see my internship at Mary Free Bed come to a close, I feel confident that I will be successful as I begin working full-time after graduation in May. Thanks to those at Mary Free Bed, I have gained a deeper understanding of business, marketing, and compassion.

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Mary Free Bed Marketing Internship Reflection – Karlee Tykosky

The basic expectation of an internship is to apply your education, enhance your education and prepare you for graduation from your education.  After completing my internship with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, I can say these expectations were easily exceeded.

My very first day at the hospital, I was blown away by the work environment and employee culture. I was a complete stranger to so many, but every person I encountered that day never failed to welcome me with a warm smile or simple greeting. I knew within hours that this was going to be a life-changing experience—and oh my, it was.

I reflect back on everything I accomplished this summer and it’s impossible to fit it all on paper, but I guess I’ll start with the marketing team… It’s hard not to brag about working in the same room with these incredibly talented, kind-hearted and successful people. There aren’t words even big enough to describe how much I learned from them.

I would have to say, however, the most important thing I learned from this team is that good marketing focuses on the big picture, but great marketing depends on the small details.

For instance: changing ‘discharge’ to ‘graduation’ communicates a warmer vibe; adding that one hashtag may gain us a new follower; an up-close, unique angle makes a photo more eye-catching; embedding that link will direct them straight to the registration page (the small, but mighty list goes on).

I not only enhanced my digital marketing skills, but gained hands-on experiences out in the community as well. I would have never guessed to be doing social on the finish line at the Fifth Third River Bank Run or help judge the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant. I met incredible people and progressed as a professional in public relations all while doing remarkably meaningful work.

Working as an intern at Mary Free Bed allowed me to enhance my marketing mind, but also helped shape my character as well. With new experiences comes new challenges and boy, did I doubt myself. I had never attended a press conference or ribbon-cutting before, let alone live stream these events on social media. Everybody could probably see me sweating, but being thrown into the fire surprisingly helped burn away my doubt.

Of course, I failed at times (okay, a lot of times), but that failure would have never allowed me to seek success. I made connections, strengthened my portfolio and gained the confidence I needed to move forward in my career.

Thank you, Mary. You’ll always have a special place in my heart.

Welcome to Mary Free Bed Marketing Gabrielle Vernon!

The expectation of something special         

Working with non-profit organizations is something that I have always been passionate about ever since my experience at a feeding center. Having the ability to communicate a message to an audience that isn’t familiar with an organization or company is very fulfilling to me. My way to communicate a message comes through a sector of advertisement called film and video.

February of 2017, was the first time that I’ve ever heard of Mary Free Bed, a client of mine was telling me a success story that one of his family members had at the rehabilitation hospital. After researching a little more about the non-profit rehabilitation hospital, I found that the atmosphere was friendly, warm and inviting. Definitely different from any hospital that came into my mind. Mary Free Bed is a place that doesn’t evoke nerves and instead provides a comforting environment for patients, staff, and volunteers.

Gabrielle VernonI found out that a marketing internship is offered to college students. Being a Grand Valley State University student, I fit the ‘student’ status criteria. However, I didn’t major in marketing, advertising, or public relations, and that made me very nervous to even apply. It would be a little over 6 months later that I would work up the nerve to just submit an application.

Early August 2017

I lean back in my chair and let out a huge breath of air. I’ve finally submitted the application for the marketing internship through Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.

I remember feeling relieved that I could possibly be one step closer to working with such an amazing organization that really cared about helping people. Of course, there was always that voice in my head filling my mind with self-doubt because my major focused on a different sector of advertising and marketing. But I knew Mary Free Bed was the one place that I wanted to intern at, I had to have faith that I could be a part of the organization and start to make a difference.

It didn’t take them long to give me a call back to set up an interview. Nervousness and excitement were an understatement. This was my shot and I had to shoot it. After completing the interview, I realized that the marketing department wasn’t just a team, they were a family. They had each other backs and tackled challenges as one. Since I could remember, I’ve loved working with teams and brainstorming ideas that gave everyone an opportunity to contribute.

Early September 2017

I do a little dance after hanging up with human resources because I was just offered the Marketing Internship.

My expectation for this internship is that it’ll be a special experience in my life that will shape more of my future jobs to come. I get to be a part of the family and contribute innovative ideas to help promote the advancement of Mary Free Bed. I expect to learn quite a lot in these next three months. I want the ability to provide excellent communication, enhance my writing and social skills, and contribute to video ideas. I want to be able to understand marketing, advertising, and public relations much more and provide my skill set that I have learned throughout college.

I am so thrilled to be an added player on the Mary Free Bed team and I know that this experience will lead me down a road to success and personal achievements.

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.