Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

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.

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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 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.

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.

#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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