Internships & Dreams

All the young ladies I work with and meet have a DREAM. I love this! Dreams lead to purpose and fulfillment. To top it off, dreamers that are filled will passion and have a relentless attitude are unstoppable!  Lately, I’ve noticed a separation between young dreamers and their dreams. They seem to think dreams come into fruition at a certain age. This is false. “Once I get into college, I’ll start pursing it,” “I’m too young, no one will take me seriously,” “ I don’t know where to start,”… and the list goes on.

Breaking misconceptions… when you have a dream, every day counts. There is a passion and vision that fuels each dream, go after it and begin when you’re young.  Youth, can absolutely be your competitive edge. One of the Petals-N-Belles mentee’s is an aspiring television personality; she is on her way to studying broadcast journalism at a great university.  When I started working with her, I asked her to complete a few assignments. One assignment was to research 3 television personalities and provide their childhood/family background, educational background, philanthropic endeavors and career path from their first internships to their most current venture.

When I received her completed assignment, through her research I learned Ryan Seacrest began his career at age 16, by getting an internship at an Atlanta based radio station. This information shocked her, she learned she was right on time and it wasn’t too early to begin going after her dreams. I was thrilled, and happy she found valuable information. The hardest part is to take the information we find and apply it.  Do something small and take the first step. Begin by researching people that are in your prospective field and create a wish list of mentors. READ articles on the industry you would love to work in. The point is START NOW!

Internships are a great way to get experience, build relationships and begin living your dream. Below is a great article on how to “Make the Most of Your Internship” via WetFeet an online platform that “provides insightful profiles of companies, careers, and industries to guide job seekers toward finding the right career, the right industry, the right company, and the right job for them.”

Enjoy : )  

Passionate Advocate

Damali Elliott

Founder & President




“One-hundred percent of the people I hire have had internships,” says Michelle Goza, a campus recruiter for The Gap. “It’s foolish not to pursue the opportunity.”

As companies realize that successful internships benefit both the employer and the employee, the diversity of internships is growing: from mentor-led programs to unpaid volunteering to well-paying gigs. Follow these steps to make your internship a success.
Think in advance about what you want from your experience. As Dave Bracken notes in Define Your Internship Goals, “You’ll sound more informed and focused if you can describe to potential employers exactly what kind of experience you want.”
Assess your motives—taking into account your strengths, weaknesses, affinities, and expectations. Think about the way you work best: Do you value flexibility? Creativity? Coworker interaction? Do you want to learn a specific skill or just beef-up your resume? Are you willing to work for free or next-to-nothing or do you need a cash incentive?
Use the temporary nature of the arrangement to your advantage. An internship is a great way to see if your major can become your career, or if your plans are realistic or idealized. It can also be a time to try something completely new.
Agree on a detailed job description and performance expectations. “The candidate should evaluate whether [the company’s] project will meet her needs,” advises Lowell Beatty, 3Com’s college-relations specialist. “Ask plenty of questions upfront. ‘Will I be evaluated? Can I make a final presentation?’”
Make sure your expectations are clear. As former Bear Stearns intern Annette Rodriguez notes, “Sure [an internship] looks good on your resume, and it could lead to [a job], but you do it for you.”
Try to settle upon a wage or stipend—even a small salary will make you take the job more seriously. If money is out of the question, look into the possibility of school credit. Avoid taking another part-time job just to make money—it will only distract you from your internship experience.
Be responsible. Show up on time, work hard, and limit the amount of time you spend socializing. Doing so will go a long way toward proving your integrity and worth.
Take initiative. If you’re bored, tell someone. If there’s a project that interests you, volunteer to help. If a coworker is attending a seminar, ask to go along. If you’re not finding enough guidance, request a mentor or supervisor—someone you can shadow or work with directly.
Be self-sufficient. Says Thomas Reynolds, an analyst at Lehman Brothers,“[Our intern] impressed me because we would give him a project and he would do it correctly without hassling us too much. [It's not] that we weren’t open to questions, but he learned quickly that big firms have big resources, so he got answers himself.”
Observe the company culture. Is there a lot of gossiping going on? Do employees look stressed? Do people work together or separately? A company’s atmosphere can reflect the industry as a whole, and give you clues about whether it’s right for you.
Learn about the business. Get to know your company from the outside—its history, standing in the market, goals, clients, competitors. Reading the newspaper every day is an easy way to get a feel for the trends and current events that affect your job.
Network. Don’t hesitate to interact with coworkers whenever possible Ask them how they got their jobs, what they do, and about the pros and cons of the industry. Arrange for informational interviews to discuss jobs at the company that interest you.
If you’d like to work at the company after graduation, make sure you stay in touch with your contacts. Send them emails with updates on relevant courses or your future plans. Even if you decide on a different career direction, you will still have an excellent source of references.
Keep a copy of any reports, articles, or presentations you worked on and create a portfolio. When you go to job interviews, make sure that you highlight your internship experience—it will set you apart from applicants with no on-the-job experience.

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About Damali

Through determination to make a mark in the lives of others, Damali Elliott has sought to bring her vision of helping, guiding and nurturing young women to life. Blessed with exceptional family & friends, she is firmly committed to creating a similar supportive environment through Petals-N-Belles.
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2 Responses to Internships & Dreams

  1. Lauren Freeman says:

    It is interesting that you published this post at the moment I am currently looking for internships for my students. This summer the middle school students involved in Hands On My Education’s Summer Society are required to research their prospective field of interest, the African-Americans who have become successful in said field and then begin drawing their “road-map” to success; high school students are required to intern in their field of interest. The idea each young person should espouse is that it is never too early to begin your career.

    Kudos to this article!

  2. Damali says:

    Thank you Lauren, we are in full agreement with you and support the work you are doing with your students! Please keep us posted on your student’s progress, we would love to hear more. Let’s stay connected, please e-mail [email protected]. Thank you for visiting our site, your support is empowering!

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