Taking Care of Business: An Intern Blog

Hello! My name is Supriya Anand and I am a Special Projects Intern at the Plano Chamber of Commerce for the summer of 2017. As an incoming senior at Plano West High School, I was granted this opportunity through the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program. I want to thank Cigna for sponsoring my participation in this unique program.  I will be writing an Intern blog throughout this summer to share my experiences and thoughts while in this unique position.

When I’m not interning at the Plano Chamber, you can find me working on my latest creative writing project, listening to David Bowie, The Cure, or other 80’s pop music icons, and bending a soccer ball like Beckham.

Fun Fact: I recently created a documentary revolving around individualism and the American dream within a local Plano theater, Rover Dramawerks, who are also Plano Chamber members.

I am currently interested in pursuing either Neuroscience or Management Information Systems after high school. I also want to learn more about the logistics behind starting and growing a business, in order to apply the knowledge towards opening my own company in the future.

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In March, I decided to research how I could get involved with a small business this summer and stumbled upon the Plano Mayor’s Internship Program online. Started in 2014 by Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, the Plano Mayor’s Internship Program provides sophomores and juniors in Plano high schools the opportunity of a summer internship with the purpose of building skills for the future workforce. Over 60 non-profits, small businesses, and large companies in the Plano area such as Minnie’s Food Bank, Ericsson, and Toyota of Plano participate in the program. Over 350 students applied, and only around 100 students were accepted… including me!

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(From Left to Right) Paul Littlejohn of Capital One, Garrett Shipman of Alliance Data, and Mayor Harry LaRosiliere stand in front of the 300+ prospective interns, ready for Summer 2017!

Ecstatic would be an understatement of how I felt when I found out I had gained the opportunity to work in the Plano Chamber of Commerce. What makes an internship at the Chamber unique compared to other internships is that it would expose me to various industries of different sizes in Plano instead of one business. While I know that Plano’s business landscape is diverse and booming, I want to learn how local businesses became successful and what was required to maintain that success. I can apply the information I will learn from attending Chamber events, shadowing various employees, and meeting various Plano business executives towards determining what role I would like to take on in the future business world.

Now that I had the internship, there was something else I had to address: clothes. I had never really worried about what to wear in the past, but this internship required me to step my daily attire of “blue jeans and a shirt” up a notch. Would I need to wear a dress every day? With high heels? I decided to push my indecisive thoughts away and settled on black dress pants with a long-sleeved crème blouse for my first day. The outfit ended up being just right for the Plano Chamber, and I was relieved that I was off to a good start.

On June 12th at 8:25 a.m., I made my way up the winding staircase to the second floor of the Legacy Building for my first day at the Plano Chamber of Commerce. I was nervous because this was the first time I would be working in a professional environment, but elated nonetheless.

The first section of the day consisted of meeting with Jamee Jolly, the CEO and President of the Commerce. She led the new Member Services and Business Center Coordinator, Judy Webster, Plano ISD extern, Alice Michael, and I through orientation and a tour. What caught my attention during the tour was how modern the front desk, business center, and meeting rooms were. I was unsure of what to expect of the Chamber’s environment, and I was definitely impressed. At the end of the tour, I was introduced to my very own cubicle! Overall, I felt extremely comfortable in the Chamber’s work environment.

(From left to right) Alice Michael, Judy Webster, and Supriya Anand ready to take on business at the Plano Chamber!
(From left to right) Alice Michael, Judy Webster, and Supriya Anand ready to take on business at the Plano Chamber!

The rest of the day consisted of lunch at Lita’s La Mexicana Restaurant, training, and introductions to the staff. I learned more about everyone’s area of expertise, such as: Membership Retention, Project Management, and Communications. I noticed that each area required strong computer skills, so I was pleased to know that I could apply what I already knew with various Microsoft programs in the internship and learn more about other programs that are used in a professional environment.

On the second day of the internship, I had the exciting opportunity to have lunch with the past three Special Projects Interns at the Chamber, Karolina Pazdrazdis (2014),  Nick Hughes (2015), and Maria Martinez (2016).  While the past interns came from different backgrounds and ended up at universities all over the country, all of them exhibited passion and drive. The past interns offered me valuable advice on the internship, my senior year of high school, and college.

After two spring rolls and a bowl of fried rice, I learned that it was important to create a LinkedIn profile in order to connect with other Chamber members, to maintain a journal about what I learn and accomplish, and to get ready to become independent once college starts. In addition, I learned that the Chamber had moved to a more centrally located building in August 2016, so I was the first intern at the new location. In general, I found the lunch informative and reassuring that I was in for an exciting summer. I’m looking forward to next year’s Intern lunch and am already brainstorming of advice to give to the 2018 Intern.

All of the Plano Chamber Interns reunited!
All of the Plano Chamber Interns reunited!

Overall, the first few days of the internship were quite enlightening. I learned how interconnected Plano’s businesses were, even beyond their own field. I attended staff meetings and witnessed collaboration channeled towards projects that were outside of my personal realm, a school classroom. Business etiquette is one skill I’m taking in as I go and hope to improve by the end of the summer. I’ve already experienced so much, and am ready to learn from and engage with Plano Chamber Members this summer.

Another day at the office at my cubicle! This day I was analyzing the previous Plano Community Guides so I could brainstorm some ideas for the 2018 Guide.
Another day at the office at my cubicle! This particular day I was analyzing the previous Plano Community Guides so I could brainstorm some ideas for the 2018 Guide.

Thank you to the Plano Mayor’s Internship Program and a sponsorship by Cigna for granting me the opportunity to become a Special Projects Intern at the Plano Chamber of Commerce. I’m excited for what this summer has in store for me!