college

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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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.