formats

DSC_3139Three hips for progress! I just got the proof of the upcoming issue, and I must say it looks fabulous! The new designer, Sarah, is doing a great job. I can’t wait to see it in print.

Also this week – The HPU Marketing Team paid me a visit! Nora, Chad and Darrell came to Enventys Thursday morning for an interview and some shots of my Inventors Digest experience. (The tour was free.) Although a bit awkward being behind camera and under lights for the first time, I have to say it was a really cool experience! I am excited to see the results… except for the footage of me walking down a hall and up a flight of stairs. Not so much.

This office is always so exciting! This week, the hit SHOWTIME series “Homeland” is filming in downtown Charlotte. Our front desk girl/ tour guide/ walking advertisement Kara took it upon herself to go downtown and invite the show’s producers to come look at the building as a possible filming site (she wears many hats.) Believe it or not, they actually took her up on it! Two producers from the show are currently touring the building with Kara, and possibly scoping out locations to film. Every company needs that go-getter that’s not afraid to put their self out there. After all, she is the sole reason that we are partnered with Hitachi and have all the latest gadgets all over the office. We’ll see if they decide to film here – you will know if you see 18,974,658 photos on the blog of me trying desperately to get a “selfie” with Clare Danes in the background.

I am sad to report that the frozen yogurt machine is back to tart, also known as sour cream. Blugh. Good thing the Coke Freestyle machine never runs out of vanilla root beer!

 
formats

6.19 AmyLast week when there was a lot going on in Communications, I was tasked with writing a press release about a Super Science Saturday event focused on Helicopters. I communicated directly with the education department to gather information about the event and drafted the press release before sending it on to the Media Relations Specialist. She did her edits and then it had to go to the Castle (all-Smithsonian administration) for their approval. It was cool being able to try my hand at a press release that would be released to the media.

The release can be read here: Super Science Saturday

It was picked up by the Associated Press who wrote an article on. That AP article, in turn, was picked up by a bunch of different news organizations including WTOP, Yahoo! News and strangely enough a paper in Ottawa, Canada. It was also picked up by the Washington Post which can be read here: Washington Post Article

 
formats

6.19 AmyA few days ago, I was the only one in the Communications office for a few hours, because most of my co-workers were at a meeting at the Italian Embassy. As I was working, the phone rang. I usually don’t answer this number because it rings through to all of the other phones in the office as well and one person in particular usually answers that number.

But I was the only one there, so I of course I answered it, “Communications.”

It was a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor. “I’m hoping you can help me, I’m working on an article about the Curiosity rover and I’d really like to speak with someone about NASA’s benefits from the Curiosity mission.”

This is usually the point at which I say “I’m going to transfer you to the head of media relations” and then it’s out of my hands. But like I said, I was alone in the office. As I was trying to figure out what I should do: if I should take a message, email the appropriate person who handled media requests or just transfer him to her voicemail when he said “my deadline is 4pm.” It was a little before 2 at this point and I knew they wouldn’t be back for at least an hour. So I took his information and told him I’d try to get someone to give him a call. But where to start? I’d never done this before and I honestly didn’t even know what the protocol was.

So I spent the next 10 minutes running around the museum asking different people who was the expert in NASA and the Curiosity and sent from one Space History intern to a Space History curator who sent me to a CEPS scientist who sent me to the next office over to another CEPS scientist. Luckily, he was willing to give the reporter a call.

It was a bit of a whirlwind half hour or so but it was fun problem-solving and conquering this on my own. And luckily, when my co-worker got back she told me that I had handled it correctly.

 
formats

8.8 WawaLogoToday marks the 5th year anniversary of the AIN (Associates in Need) program at Wawa. This program was designed to help associates and their families in times of need. Whether it is a missed mortgage payment or even outstanding funeral costs, the program serves as financial support funded through the associates’ paychecks. When you begin working at Wawa, there is an option to have a payroll deduction which goes directly to this fund and with that, the Internal Care department has money set aside for when a Wawa family is struggling. In the five years since the establishment of the program, thousands of Wawa families have been able to receive some type of financial support. I believe that this is the best benefit that the company has to offer. It represents their belief that the whole company is one big family and that everyone works together here. In today’s culture, it is almost impossible to go through life without any type of financial setback. With the AIN program, it allows associates to not have to worry as much when they hit a speed bump in life.

What we all need to ask ourselves when applying for jobs is: What do we want to get out of working for any company? Is it competitive pay? A month long of paid vacation? Company cars? Even though you are interviewing for a position within their company, it is still important to go into each interview with an idea of what benefits are most attractive to you. Sometimes working for a smaller company with lower employee numbers could potentially be very beneficial. Of course we would all love to work at Goldman Sachs, Apple and PricewaterhouseCoopers but if those companies do not provide great employee benefits, then is it really worth working for them? Programs like AIN prove that some companies really do care about their employees and value stewardship rather than how much money they can put in their pockets.

 
formats

DSC_2578For my final blog post, the letter I wrote to future NASCAR Digital Media interns pretty much sums up my entire experience. Without further ado:

Future NASCAR Digital Media Intern,

First off, congratulations on landing this internship; it’s a pretty big deal! Expect a lot of LinkedIn Activity stemming from your new position. Also, welcome to the coolest floor in the building. You’re sure to learn a lot and grow professionally in the span of just one summer. The ten weeks spent in this position definitely went by so fast! This entire floor is very casual. You don’t have to wear dress pants every day if you don’t want to, but you do have to wear fun pants on Fancy Pants Friday. Don’t let me down. (And if you’re a male, this floor has the strongly-rooted tradition of Tie Tuesday.) You’ll get cool points for having the fanciest scooter on the floor, so pimp that ride.

On a day-to-day level, it was very easy to fall into a productive routine. I worked mainly with changes and releases to the NASCAR.com platform under Lindsay Jones and Devon Fox. I spent a lot of time in Zendesk and Confluence Wiki (I’m a black belt Wiki ninja) and ensuring that the process was running smoothly. One of my biggest projects involved defining and documenting the Change Management Communication Plan, which included creating the plans for monthly, quarterly, and yearly reports. I also created the Vanity URL Master List and organized DNS records.

As far as the Diversity Program goes, it’s great. Orientation was definitely my favorite part. The Lunch and Learns are the perfect opportunity to bond with fellow interns, pick the brains of NASCAR leaders, and enjoy some free food. Come prepared with a question or two and actively engage in conversations to make the most of it. I set up a Facebook group with all of the interns; it was an excellent place to share LinkedIn profiles, Twitter handles, Instagram feeds, phone numbers, Orientation pictures, blogs, articles, and good news. Try to set one up if there isn’t already one in place!

My favorite question for successful people is “What is the best advice you have ever received or given?” Within NASCAR, about 90% of the time I got network, network, network, which is fine and dandy and a little vague, but here’s what I got in the other 10%:

• If you connect with a professional, send them a physical thank you card. – Brittany Meyer

• Beware of what you post on social media sites. – Diane Wooten

• Have lunch with new people. – Marvin Aylor

• It’s not your job to answer emails. Don’t let email derail your productivity. – Lindsay Jones

• The world is changing. Change with it. It’s important to provide value. – Marc Jenkins

• “Be patient.” Sometimes what you want to do may not be what you need to do. Make the right decisions, take opportunities, and absorb all the information you can. – Mike Helton

Enjoy your internship with NASCAR Digital Media!
Best,
Melia Sigmon