internship

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.