Brittany Ulman is a senior Creative Writing student at Ball State University with minors in Professional Writing & Emerging Media and Spanish. Currently, she is the marketing intern for International Floral Distributors (IFD). She will write press releases for the company and its Flower Trend Forecast, as well as work on projects to enhance distributor services for IFD’s vendor partners.
College does involve tumultuous moments, but there are also those that bring tremendous elation. In the end, the unexpected moments are some of the best learning experiences because they can show a new route or way of thinking that forever leaves its mark. So far, my internship at IFD in Richmond has been a uniquely unexpected learning experience – but a great one nonetheless.
Throughout the last stretch of the fall semester and for nearly the entire spring semester, I researched numerous websites for the internship best suited for me. When I came across IFD’s internship on www.IndianaIntern.net, I did not expect to find an internship that pertained to the career I intended to explore—editing and publishing. The internship initially appeared to be something that deviated from my career aspirations, so I decided to move on.
However, as the semester progressed and I applied to a host of internships around the Miami Valley in Ohio and the Muncie/Richmond area in Indiana, I kept returning to IFD. Even though the internship initially seemed like it did not fit with my career goals, I decided to once again examine the listing on www.IndianaIntern.net.
Upon returning to the internship’s description, I noticed the listing mentioned the internship would involve marketing. In the previous summer, I held two marketing internships that showed me the marketing field was a viable, post-graduation option.
In just a matter of weeks, I went through several emails and phone interviews with IFD’s Executive Director, Jeff Lanman. In these interactions, Lanman enthusiastically clarified IFD’s expectations, giving me more reason to desire the job.
Once these interactions temporarily stopped for the intern selection process to conclude, I gave my best effort to avoid worrying about whether I would receive the internship. Finally, after much nervous anticipation, I was blessed with the opportunity to be IFD’s marketing intern for the summer of 2016.
Now that I am a part of the IFD team, I have learned that my expectations of the business and its internship were not as accurate as I had initially thought. Sure, I have edited several documents, worked on individual projects, and collaborated with some of IFD’s team members, but I never expected this internship to catapult me into an industry with which I had very little previous experience.
At first, this fast-paced and seemingly foreign world was a tad jarring, but I quickly adapted to my surroundings and have grown to enjoy the work. Already, I have written two press releases for IFD – one pertaining to their filling the internship, and the other acting as a teaser to IFD’s Flower Trend Forecast reveal in early October. These beginning tasks involved coordinating with IFD’s Trend Forecaster, Michael J. Skaff, as well as researching the forecasted trends for myself.
Furthermore, I was also in charge of creating the graphics that would accompany the article in its publications. Once I completed each of these works, I was then assigned the responsibility of sending them out via email and IFD’s Facebook account.
Another writing task I was given was to formulate the trend descriptions along with Skaff’s bio for IFD’s 2017 Flower Trend Forecast magazine. This task involved perusing the trends Skaff had come up with and using that material to craft descriptions that fully explicated what consumers would find in IFD’s forecast. I found this project to be especially interesting because it allowed me to utilize the skills I adopted in my creative writing classes at Ball State. Not to mention, I would also have a physical copy of a document that I helped to create, even if that contribution was just a small aspect of a much larger work.
I have also been able to sit in on one of IFD’s committee meetings via conference call. Despite not fully understanding their conversation, the entire experience was a valuable learning experience. Never before had I been so primarily involved in the inner workings of a business, and the whole concept was exhilarating in and of itself. Finally, I will also be (remotely) working alongside Catalina Correa as we work to enhance distributor services for IFD’s vendor partners.
There is no doubt in my mind that IFD will continue to surprise me while providing me beneficial experience and knowledge of a field I am now considering as a potential prospect for a post-graduate career. With the amount of insight I have already gained in just a matter of weeks, it is amazing to consider everything IFD will have to offer me in the remaining summer months.
Check in for more blog posts from Brittany throughout her internship!