Last week, I attended NYC Interns Hash It Up, The Finale at Meetup HQ, sponsored by and Zaarly, in partnership with NY Creative Interns. As a final goodbye, the teams decided to go all out by inviting some special guest speakers:
- Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Blip.tv, shared some of the lessons she learned from working at places like MTV, WNBC and the White House. A few things that stuck with me were to:
- Trust your instincts and follow through with them, even if there is risk involved!
- Value and keep track of interesting people you meet- Dina met a stranger at a supermarket who, indirectly, ended up getting her the job at MTV.
- Focus on your product but make time to attend meetups- like this one!
- Help people and don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Jaime Hoerbelt, Managing Editor at NY Creative Interns, also suggested getting involved early, even if you don’t feel ready. Taking the first leap is a crucial part of one’s growth.
- Christina Cacioppo, an analyst at Union Square Ventures, emphasized two things:
- Make decisions: most people find this to be a very difficult feat. If you can learn to make decisions, even if they are not always right, and carry them out, then you are more likely to achieve your goals.
- Figure out what you want to do, and do it. It may not always be wise to jump into something before doing your research, so make sure to do your homework, plan out your agenda, and just go for it. Asking for help along the way is beneficial and encouraged, but don’t go straight to the high connections before you are ready to show something worth showing.
- Don’t be shy, be assertive: I went to the first Hashable event not knowing one person in the room, but as I introduced myself to one stranger after the next, the connections started to snowball. The friendships and relationships I have developed this summer would not have been possible without the common factor that NY Creative Interns has highlighted: being an intern in NYC.
- Pay attention to your surroundings: While you may feel safe sticking to the people you know, try to find new people that catch your eye, and connect with them. For example, I found it hard to forget John Exley rocking the red pants at the first meetup, or Tina Yip’s contagiously friendly personality. Take the time to notice who your neighbors are and just say hello. These events are worth making an appearance to if you can find at least one person you’d like to keep in touch with.
- Sell yourself: at the end of the day, people want to know why they should bother talking to you in the first place. Some ways to present yourself well without sounding like a braggart are to be friendly, take the time to explain what you’re trying to accomplish, and engage in a conversation. Having 2 memorable conversations in an evening are better than having 10 forgettable ones. If you’re passionate, focused and determined to do what you do, it will come across to your audience.
The #NYCinterns taught me these lessons and made my lens a bit more focused than it was in the beginning of the summer. My main takeaway is to keep building these connections. I realize now that every person I meet can play a significant role in my life, whether I accept that now or in another five years. If you link each of your relationships to its source, you may be surprised to find out how everyone is connected; think of it as your social-networking tree. And I don’t think there’s an App for that… yet.
To see all the great photos from the event (and if you were there, tag yourself!), click here.
Shira Palka studies at NYU and is the VP of Communications for its PRSSA Chapter. She is currently interning at M Booth. You can find her on Twitter @Shira04.