A Talk with the Next Generation of Leaders
About This Episode
Today’s college graduates represent the first generation of young professionals entering into the workforce during a global pandemic. With a challenging economy and uncertain job market that presents twists and turns for these graduates, resiliency is key. Host Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek is joined by a group of Skillsoft interns on this week’s episode to discuss finding strength in what you learn from others and succeeding in a virtual workplace.
The views expressed by guests are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Skillsoft.
Michelle BB 00:00:07 Welcome to the edge, a Skilsaw podcast for learners and leaders alike. In every episode, we engage in candid thought provoking conversations on the topic of learning and growth in the workplace. And if we do today, well, you're actually going to see us and not just hear us today. We're going to talk about resiliency and finding strength in not just what you learn, but what you learn from others. And we're going to do this through the eyes of interns. And these interns represent the first generations of college students who are preparing to enter the pandemic era workforce. Now I'm sure you know this, but I'll go ahead and remind us an internship is a professional learning experience that offers an opportunity for students to get hands on experience in their preferred field of study. Um, they explore, they learn new skills. They meet and work with experts in their field, and they identify potential career paths for the future, and maybe even get a job upon graduation.
Michelle BB 00:01:09 Now, for those of us, who've had internships. And I have, we know when you step outside of that lecture hall and into the realm of, on the job experience, you are unlocking an entirely new dimension of learning. You are learning on the job and the internship, or perhaps co-op for some of you is for many times the first time you are in a classic or perhaps not. So classic now office setting, the first time you're interacting with coworkers who viewed you as not just a college student, but a coworker too. And in the right organization, those coworkers would take an interest in your success and they are generously sharing their time offering opportunities to be involved in interesting projects. And maybe just maybe imparting upon us a few memorable nuggets of advice that we, that you will carry with you into your future careers. But as with just about everything this year has been so vastly different for today's college interns, the people, the relationships, the experiences are still part of the narrative, no doubt, but that story is taking place virtually through a screen, just like we're doing today.
Michelle BB 00:02:20 And in the backdrop, we have a challenging economy and we know that some internships have fallen through nearly a quarter of employers took back internship offers in light of the pandemic, according to a recent report by the national association of colleges and employers. And if you do land an internship, the job market presents twists turns obstacles, and certainly no promises. So what do you do? This is where resiliency comes into the picture. Today's interns. You can make it, I want to let you know you can, but you still need that coworker, that boss, that mentor who's willing to share their time and knowledge. So as I earlier, our future leaders and the ones we have on today's podcast will find strength in what they learn from others. So today I am so excited to have with me on the edge podcast, a shining example of said future leaders.
Michelle BB 00:03:15 They are our own interns on the Skillsoft marketing team, a talented, brilliant group who are here to talk to us about learning growth and yes, resilience in unprecedented time. So joining me today on the edge are my cohost Bethel leash on the we, one of our communications interns here at Skillsoft and our guests, Amanda Peppa, Basillio, who's part of our digital marketing team, Joanna Wilson and Samantha Searles, who both work in corporate communications. So Beth, Amanda Giana, and Samantha, thank you so much for joining me on the edge today. It's a pleasure to have you, so I want to start by having each of you share just a little bit about yourselves and your background. Um, I think maybe if you shared a little bit about where you attend school, um, why maybe Skillsoft and then a little bit about your role, it would help our listeners quite a bit understand what it was that attracted you and, and maybe what's keeping you here. So let's start with Beth, Beth, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Beth 00:04:18 Thank you so much, Michelle, for having on the podcast today. Um, I am a senior communications studies major at Emerson college with minors in public relations and marketing communications. I started at Skillsoft, um, in April. And what really drew me to Skillsoft was that there was a learning company I'm really interested in education. I actually work as a diversity outreach intern for the admissions office at Emerson college. So working in this environment has been really great for me. I've learned so, so much on the job and using resources that Skillsoft has, um, and things that I do as a communications intern at Skillsoft, I collaborate with others to produce the edge. Um, I upload materials on the website and I've helped drafted press releases, all great experiences.
Michelle BB 00:05:11 That's wonderful. And so you've been able to engage in not just sort of the research or the behind the scenes, but really being at the fore of some of the communications projects that we have going on. Yes, absolutely. Yes. That's wonderful. Amanda, I want to turn to you because you're in a very different department within marketing, and I think it'd be helpful for people to know kind of, you know, where you go to school, but more importantly, what you're doing for skills.
Amanda 00:05:36 Yeah, definitely. Well, first I wanted to say thank you so much for having me on this podcast. I've been one of the people that have listened like almost every single week, so to be on it now is really, really exciting. But, um, I started at Skillsoft in may and I'm a senior, uh, communications major with a double minor in entrepreneurship and business with focus in at Stonehill college. I'm from Western Massachusetts, and kind of what drew me to Skillsoft at first was I love the, like meaning behind the organization. It's not just like an online learning company. Like they really are driven with everything to help people like unleash their potential and like try to figure out what learning mechanisms are best for them and really just do great. Um, so basically my role kind of as a digital marketing intern is help with contribute to the promotion of the different virtual events that have been occurring since my time here.
Amanda 00:06:34 And I help format the posts on the website for the blog page. I was able to be myself and other interns all were able to launch, uh, our intern blog page called achieving our greatness, which was really fun to do this summer. I helped implement a chat bot known as skills on the site, which is a look from drift. I have been helping a lot with the technology and development aspect of the company as well, but that market, um, and yeah, that's just like a few things that I've done, but it's been great so far.
Michelle BB 00:07:06 That's wonderful to hear and, you know, what's really interesting. And what I think is exciting is, you know, you are getting to work with some of the technologies that are even newer for marketing, right? So to be able to work with an AI conversational tool, like skills, um, is, is really tremendous. And I think those are some great. Um, do I say skills again? Uh, some great tools that you'll be able to take with you going forward. Um, Ciana your U R R O G. You have been here the longest. Yes. So why don't you tell people a little bit about what you're doing?
Gianna 00:07:41 Yes. Um, so thank you again, Michelle, for having us, um, this is such an exciting opportunity. Um, so yeah, so I, um, started at Skillsoft in March kind of right at the start of this wild pandemic ride that we're on. Um, so that was interesting for sure. Um, but I am a senior at Simmons university in Boston. I'm graduating in may and I am double majoring in PR marketing communications and English literature. Um, so at Skillsoft I am a corporate communications intern, so I work on a ton of different projects. Um, and since March, I can't even count how many things I've worked on, which is pretty awesome to say. Um, so some of the stuff that I do most often includes, um, analyst relations, um, submitting award applications, writing press releases and blog posts. Um, and one of my more exciting, uh, things that I take on is I run the internal employee advocacy platform. So that's pretty exciting for me. Um, and then the other huge thing that I did was taking on the scrum master role for one of our diamond teams. So a lot of fun stuff.
Michelle BB 00:08:53 Yeah. So I just, I want to just there for one moment, because I don't think people understand necessarily what that means to be a scrum master because Giana has, has had to become steeped fully steeped in agile methodologies and in marketing. And I mean, talk about being way outside your comfort zone as a communications professional, but I think you would all agree that one of the things that we encourage here is that ability to step outside your comfort zone, to try something new, especially where we have a gap, we are a small, a smaller organization. And so the opportunity to gain new and exciting skills, particularly in areas that are so in need right now, I think will help tremendously. So, John, I want to thank you first and foremost for saying, sure. I'll give it a go, but then also actually doing a tremendous job as a scrum master. So congratulations there now, Samantha, you joined us most recently. And so I would love for you to give people a little bit of your background where you're going to school, because I think, I think what you're doing is a little bit different than some of the other, um, folks we have here. And I, and I think just, you know, what really intrigued you about maybe this?
Samantha 00:10:06 Sure. Um, well, again, thanks so much for having us. Um, so yeah, I'm Sam Searles. Um, I am a senior graduating in may from Suffolk university in Boston. I am a journalism major with a broadcast concentration. Um, but previously I did my first two years, my freshman and sophomore year at UNH at Manchester and I was communications arts major. So I have a little bit of, of marketing communication knowledge, um, that I am, uh, different as you mentioned. Um, but, uh, one of the things that I really liked about Skillsoft was that, um, I was still, you know, finding different places to fit. I think, uh, what you mentioned before Michelle with, um, there being like a bunch of different needs, um, has been super evident to me. And so there's always something to do. It's, it's sometimes very different for what I'm used to, but that's okay. Cause I feel like it's a very safe learning environment. Um, so I've just been really grateful to, uh, you know, have really good teammates and interns. I can talk to you and be like, I'm not a marketing person. I don't understand what this is. Please explain it to me. Like I'm five, but not patronizing though. Um, so yeah, that's been really, really good.
Michelle BB 00:11:20 You know, I love something that you just said, and I want everybody to understand and recognize this. It is important to provide a safe learning environment, particularly for those who are new to the workforce or to a particular role. And so, um, Sam, I'm so glad that's what you're getting and that's what you feel. Um, because that's so critical that first experience is going to shape how you go forward. It's going to shape the rest of your professional career. I mean, I remember my very first job and you know, everything you do now you'll take with you. So I'm so glad to hear that. Um, and I encourage all who are listening. Remember that, that first experience and the ability to provide that safe learning environment is absolutely critical. Um, I want to move on and I, and we're going to mix things up a little bit, um, because I am really curious to hear about your experiences as interns, but during a pandemic, I can only imagine, right. We all, we all trust me. We all had to adapt very quickly, but gosh, what must've been going through your minds, your semester transitions online college campuses are evacuated plans get canceled, and then of course your Skillsoft insured internship begins and you never even make it into an office. So how did that story play out for you and how did you adapt? And let's start with Amanda this time.
Amanda 00:12:54 Yeah. So I will never forget it was during my spring break. So middle of March, we all of a sudden started seeing the cases rising rapidly with COVID. And I actually had an interview in the Boston office with the director of the digital marketing team. So I remember taking the train in and I was so nervous because I obviously had my interview and then I was nervous that I had my hand sanitizer ready because we didn't know that like severity really like COVID yet. So I did make it into the Boston office, but it was at the start where we didn't shake hands. We just did like an elbow touch to try to obviously keep distance and like keep us safe, just us space. And then almost immediately like, uh, I think at the end of that week was when I got the email from my college campus saying we weren't going back.
Amanda 00:13:46 I also know that Skillsoft went completely remote then too. So it was almost like all at once. It was like a switch of a, like a light switch just going off. Like everybody just went home and was quarantining. But I was so nervous at that time too, because I had only had that one interview. So I didn't know like what to expect with like the difference of March in may with where that would lead the internship. And I mean, obviously I was relieved. I had some virtual online meetings with the director, Alison of the, um, interns and it was a great like meeting and everything, but it was definitely challenging at first to see like being in person, like getting to go to the Boston office once and then completely switching to online. And then ultimately it's still not being able to have met like a lot of people like myself and the interns we've been talking since may and we haven't met in person, which is so crazy too.
Michelle BB 00:14:40 It's crazy. It's crazy to think about that. And you know, I think if there's only, if there's one piece of, if there's one good element out of those, it's that you're not alone. We all learning at the same time too. So this wasn't just an internship challenge. This was an entire corporate challenge. And so, um, I think for you again, I kind of go back to everything should be viewed as a learning experience. Oh my gosh. Was this an amazing learning experience for us? Um, you know, Giana, let's go back to you next, because again, you started a little bit sooner, uh, maybe had a little bit more under your belt, but I'd be interested to see, you know, that, that shift once we knew that the pandemic was going to disrupt business as usual, how did that change the way that you approached your internship or, or the role that you had to play here?
Gianna 00:15:33 Yeah, so, um, my experience was similar to Amanda's, but I, um, started a bit earlier, so I was more right in the start of everything going crazy. Um, so I was on spring break when, um, my school announced that we weren't going back in person. Um, at first they extended our spring break by a week, but I think that was kind of just to give them a little bit more wiggle room to decide what they were going to do. Um, so when I found out I packed up my apartment pretty much and went home. Um, but I, before spring break kind of interview with Skillsoft, um, in the Boston office. So I got to go to the office, um, meet my, uh, manager and have a formal interview before, you know, we had our handshake and it wasn't, it was too early to know that things were going to just be completely derailed.
Gianna 00:16:26 Um, so I got home from my spring break, a little trip that I did. Um, and I found out that I, uh, was offered the position. So I of course accepted. And, um, I actually went back to the Boston office to meet with my manager again, to get my laptop. And I was there for three hours. We went through a lot of the different things on my laptop, how to use them, um, some different onboarding stuff. And then that was it. And I didn't go back. And we were actually the literal last people in the Boston office, um, since March. So it was definitely crazy. Um, but I'm glad that I was able to get there and to actually meet my manager in person, even though it was only for a couple hours. Um, so I definitely started off a little bit differently, but at the end of the day, my first real shift was at home in New Hampshire, on my couch, in the kitchen. Like, you know, it was, it was not anything sort of traditional for your internship experience.
Michelle BB 00:17:30 And it, you know, it's interesting because Beth and Samantha, Sam, you guys, I've never been to one of our offices, have you? Oh, wow. So, so Beth, let's, let's come back to you because I think that your experience will then be a little bit different. And Sam, I know yours is vastly different, so let's go back to you, Beth, in terms of, you know, you get the position and you're in the pandemic, what was most concerning to you? And then what, what did you figure out was easy to do or easier than you thought, you know, even being in this virtual environment?
Beth 00:18:10 I actually like to backtrack, um, at the beginning of the pandemic, I was approached by a recruiter about Skillsoft and the position being open. Um, at the time I was very unsure because again, most companies were canceling their internships. So I met with this recruiter, we had an online interview and next thing I know things were progressing very quickly. And then I had a second interview with my manager and I had gotten the position without even really thinking that I would have gotten the internship. Um, and the next thing I know I was back home in New Jersey, uh, after leaving my restaurant job, leaving my college campus, everything left behind and managing online schedule for school and Skillsoft at the same time. And it was very hard to adapt because my schedule changed drastically. Um, as we know, the restaurant industry has been really hit hard by the pandemic and before I was hostessing. So I was working at nights and doing classes in the morning, everything shifted as soon as things went online. So as soon as school online in the afternoons and then doing my internships in the morning. So that was kind of different for me.
Michelle BB 00:19:31 And that, you know, I imagine that a lot of our worlds sort of got appended because now we're having to adjust not only when and how we work, but also the type of work we do, particularly, as you said, you were working in the service industry and then that went completely dark for a period of time. Um, Sam, I want to turn to you because as you mentioned before, your newest intern, um, you, you came in, we we've known a lot. We, we recognized by the way, for those of you listening, we've just announced that we're not planning to send people back to the office until the April timeframe at the earliest. Um, you know, hopefully there is a vaccine ahead of that and hopefully we will be able, maybe we'll be able to move that up a little bit, but even still, um, it, it's not going to be any time soon. So for you, uh, how did your fellow interns kind of smooth the transition for you? What really helped you make this transition in a way that has allowed you to really be productive from the outset?
Beth 00:20:36 Yeah, so, um, I think coming in late September, uh, I was, you know, when I was approached by, uh, by the recruiter, I was like,
Samantha 00:20:48 Uh, this is a great opportunity. However, I have no idea how I'm going to make this work because I will be hybrid. Um, so that means, you know, it's not just, you know, being in classes in Boston, it's driving from Southern New Hampshire to Boston. So my hours are going to be wack if y'all are okay with that, then that's fine. Um, but I have no idea how it's going to work. And so it took a while for me to, I even said, Hey, give me a couple of weeks to figure out my schedule. And, um, and that was, that was really good for me. Um, I think the other interns have been awesome in that. Like we, you know, we just had like a coffee break on Friday and we were just talking about how some professors are understanding and some aren't. And we were just, you know, um, being able to commiserate with each other and laugh about how crazy this whole situation is.
Samantha 00:21:35 I mean, we're all like, you know, 21, 22, like this is not how we expected our young adulthood to go. Do you know how excited I was to be of drinking age in Boston for St. Patrick's day and then just have that be doped right out of, you know, existence. Um, you know, obviously I was going to party responsibly, I'm a theater kid, so we were all just gonna, you know, be crazy and stuff. But, um, I think the other interns have been really helpful in just being like, yeah, like this is not normal and it's okay to, you know, talk about how not normal it is in book posts and just conversations. And, um, so that's been really helpful. And also, you know, with the whole onboarding thing, um, during academic and not seeing anyone they've been helpful where I've been like, wait, which, which person is this? Because I have never seen any of these people. I'm bad with names as it is. And remembering who everyone is very hard. So it's, it's easier to say, Hey Beth, um, this person who we talked to the other day, remind me who he is, what he does, and then I'm going to make a little note. That'll be good.
Michelle BB 00:22:48 Oh, that's great. I'm so glad you guys have each other to be really candid and you know, Sam, you you've raised something that I realized, cause I've got a 17 year old daughter, she's a senior in high school. So I know how important the milestones are, the ones that were missing. Right. I have heard about that. There's no homecoming. I've heard getting an sat is impossible. I have heard that this year is going to be the worst of my life because I'm a senior. And so I think the, but your point is one that's well taken because for so many people, particularly young people who are either entering the workforce for the first time or are graduating or so much those milestones, which are so important in our lives. And that we remember are going to be felt and seen differently this year. And so the question is how do we make them as special as possible knowing that it's going to be different?
Michelle BB 00:23:47 And so, so thank you for highlighting that because I think it's an important thing for us to remember, because even as organizations, these are things maybe, maybe not the drinking, but the other, the other milestones, I think we can acknowledge in some way, um, to make it as meaningful and special for you as possible. Um, so, you know, actually what I want to do, because this is about you and not about me. So I'm going to ask a question and then I'm going to ask Beth to take over for a little bit. Beth has been a rock star on this podcast, and I'm so excited that she's here with us, Beth, you're graduating in December. Um, I know that you've learned quite a bit here, whether it's new skills, um, some valuable lessons when building relationships, why don't you tell us a little bit about what you've learned from this internship and then I'd like you to go ahead and take over and maybe ask that of the rest of our guests.
Beth 00:24:46 Absolutely. I'd love to, um, some of the biggest things I've learned from my internship at Skillsoft is having the ability to operationalize processes. Um, that's the number one thing that I learned for this podcast, um, kind of jumping in onto the project and managing several key, moving parts, being able to be like, okay, this will get done at this time. And having a process listed out for each episode has been immensely helpful and you can apply that to any project. Um, and for me it's been really cool as a communication studies major to witness a rebranding of a company from the backend and see the, like the different things that Skillsoft went through to kind of emerge has a different, you know, company, the new voice and a new look and a different perspective. So that's been incredible. Um, but that's my experience and it differs for all of us, from the challenges we face, the opportunities we cover and love to know from the group.
Beth 00:25:48 What are some of the most important things each of you have learned as interns at Skillsoft? And I'll start with you, Amanda, if you don't mind. Yeah, of course. So I have learned so much throughout my time at Skillsoft. It's been like probably one of the best experiences, but I think biggest, like two components is first time management and also kind of like building relationships and like kind of how important that is and different during a pandemic of not being able to actually meet each other and just kind of taking the little moments that you can at like the start of the meeting or the end, just to almost get to know somebody or even just ask like how they're doing or like how their weekend was. Um, with time management, being the digital marketing aspect of the company. I never realized how like foreign advanced these different like campaigns and like events are being planned out. Like I remember the summer, we were planning stuff for December, which I was shocked about. So
Samantha 00:26:44 It's just kind of managing like what tasks you need to prioritize and how to just stay organized with, I been helping run the organic social as well. So trying to keep everything in, like with the different name and conventions and learning about what is going to take me longer, what's going to not take as long and kind of also I think, asking for help when you need it, because that was definitely something in the beginning that was not, I feel like everybody doesn't always want to have to ask for help, but it's so important. And then you, I learned so much more just from asking, which I think has been, helped me get to the point I am of like how I can manage the different tasks and kind of do I think like a decent job at Samantha. I'd also love to hear from you.
Samantha 00:27:31 I know you've been here for over a month or so. So what are some of the things that you've learned? Um, I think, yeah, kind of what Amanda said with, with time management, like I said before, like figuring out when I'm going to get my work done, um, between renting a space on campus and being here and going to Panera and whatever else. Um, that's been really huge, I think too, um, I've never worked in it and the other internship I had, uh, it was very loosey goosey, I guess, the structure. And that was fine because, you know, I was, uh, I interned at NHPR and so we were just putting together stories. It'd be like, Oh, whoever wants to, you know, come in and help me edit this piece, you know, come in and whatever. And, um, within Skillsoft, the organization's structure is just, um, more clear about who groups are and who's doing what.
Samantha 00:28:31 And so, um, getting used to that organizational structure was, was good for me. Um, you know, something new I hadn't experienced before. So learning to work within a bunch of different small teams, um, and reporting to a singular manager and things like that. Uh, I definitely different. Um, and then, uh, again, not being afraid to ask questions because I'm definitely one of those people who's like, I will figure it out and I don't need anybody else. Um, and so being not afraid to ask questions, it's been good for me. Thank you so much. Yeah. I completely hear you out Samantha and Gianna since you've been here the longest, I'm pretty sure that you have so many things that you've learned during your time.
Gianna 00:29:13 Yeah, definitely. Um, I've learned so many just soft skills, like time management. Um, but I think I've learned a lot more hard skills too, um, that I didn't even know existed or that I didn't think that I'd be interested in. Um, so right off the top of my head agile framework and a methodology is definitely one of the biggest things that I've learned. And along with that, um, how to be a scrum master, like we kinda mentioned earlier, um, those were things that I didn't even know existed before I came to Skillsoft. And now I kind of have that in my back pocket, which is really awesome. Um, the other thing that I think is huge that I have learned here too, is data analysis. Um, I've done a lot of different projects analyzing some survey data and stuff like that. Um, and then I put it right into Excel, made pivot tables, um, Beth and I did some work with that. Um, and that's stuff that I originally thought that I would absolutely hate, but I actually found that it was really interesting and it was so cool to put this data into these visual, visual tables and see what we can pull from them. Um, so those are definitely the biggest things that I've taken away at Skillsoft so far.
Michelle BB 00:30:25 Wonderful. I, I, you know, I think that this is so interesting for me to listen to your experiences because there are things frankly, that I take for granted and it's amazing. I mean, we've been spending so much time just getting to know each other. Um, I wanna, I want to skip to a question and then if we have time we're going to come back to, to maybe one or two that, um, I know I would love to ask, but my gosh, our time is, is running short already. Now you are all amazing storytellers and it's very clear that you are in marketing and communications. And, um, you know, I think that it's exciting to see how you've been able to navigate these uncertain times. But I imagine too, that there have been people in your work life and in your personal life who have made a tangible and valuable impression on you.
Michelle BB 00:31:19 So what I want to know is do you have a mentor or a role model that you look up for you that you look up to for guidance? And I'd love to hear him by the way, this is not necessarily professional. There could be somebody outside of the organization. I'd love to know what advice was imparted to you that maybe shifted your perspective, inspired you to grow, or just helped you through a challenging period of time. And so, um, I'm gonna move, I'm gonna switch things up just a little bit. Um, Sam, why don't we start with you?
Samantha 00:31:52 I think the biggest help for, um, for just, you know, how to have a good work ethic while being remote has been my dad actually, um, he's worked from home for the last, I think eight or nine years. Um, so his office is right next to my bedroom. He's a consultant. Yeah. Uh, he's a consultant for, um, a company that does customs brokerage. So you know, all this data for stuff coming in and going out and all that. Um, and he's always managed to, um, I feel like he's definitely the person who's always there for his coworkers that is just super, you know, eager to share whatever. Um, I, you know, would be in my room when I would hear him doing trainings with different people. Um, and so to see him be so willing share
Beth 00:32:40 What he knows with anybody who comes to ask, I think is a really big thing. And I want to learn as much as I can so I can eventually be that person. Um, because right now I feel like I'm very much on the, on the learning side, but eventually I want to be able to, um, help the next intern or, um, you know, just people in life as, as time goes on. So I think that's the biggest one for me.
Michelle BB 00:33:01 I love that, you know, because it is about paying it forward, right? When you are a mentee, ultimately you're going to learn some great skills that you are going to be able to use as you mentor others. And by the way, there's nothing that says that you can't be mentoring that next generation, even as we speak, um, Beth, let's turn to you. I'd love for you to answer that question as well. What, you know, who in, who in your life is, has kind of shaped who you are and, and, and your work ethic.
Beth 00:33:30 We've been partnered with, um, mentors at Skillsoft, but I've also had mentors outside of Skillsoft. And I think the most important thing that my mentors across the board have imparted on me is knowing my value and my worth and being able to speak up. Um, I know that when I first started applying to internships or when I was going into college, I was very unsure of myself. I was always unsure of myself since the very beginning. I was a little girl. Um, but having my mentors kind of be like you are so, so smart, more so capable. Why don't you believe that you qualify for this position? And I didn't have the answer for them. Like exactly. You don't have an answer. You are so, so important. So why don't you step up, use your voice and let other people know what's going on. I'm like, okay, I'll do that. So that's been really instrumental in helping me build my confidence in the workplace. And, um, just throughout my time at, um, school staff, I had such a great mentor, helped me with day-to-day problems. Um, being able to communicate appropriately and effectively in a workplace has been huge and learning that stuff. So that's what I've learned from my mentors.
Michelle BB 00:34:42 Great Giana. How about you?
Gianna 00:34:44 Yeah, so I, um, like everyone else, I have a few mentors outside of the organization. Um, one of my, I guess you could call them a mentor. One of my professors at Simmons. He is like my favorite man ever. He, he just, um, anytime you doubt yourself, you send him an email, he'll reply in 10 minutes being like, you're ridiculous. You need to stop. Um, so throughout college, like trying to apply to internships, um, I always update him. I always tell him exactly what's going on. Like, Oh, I have this, I have a second interview. Like, and he'll be like, don't worry, you'll crush it. So having him in my back pocket, um, especially while I've been away at school is just, it's, it's almost like he's like a grandpa. That's like, Oh, he's got your back at school. And it's, it's comforting to have him for sure for that.
Gianna 00:35:33 Um, but like best said, we were, um, assigned mentors, which was one of the best things I think Skillsoft could have done for us. Um, because like everyone has said, we didn't know anyone. We hadn't met anyone in person. And while it was a little nerve wracking to just be in this one-on-one meeting with this absolute stranger at first, um, my mentor quickly became a very, um, good friend in the team. Um, and I ended up always kind of coming into our meetings like, Oh my gosh, I have so much on my plate. Like, how do I balance this? And I have school and all of this. And she, um, always was just like, you know what? Your time is valuable. You block your time on your calendar, you figure it out. If you can't do something, you tell people. Um, so it was just little things like that, that, um, if I was in a panic or I wasn't sure she was always right there to help me. Um, and even if I was taking on something new that I didn't know, she was like, well, let's schedule time, I'll walk you through it. Um, so having that mentor as well was just huge for me for this experience.
Michelle BB 00:36:41 And by the way, Giana that doesn't change. Um, you know, even as you get older or I'll say more mature, um, in your career and you have an opportunity to do more that mentor, I have a mentor, um, that mentor is still critical. I just talked to her a month ago because I was unsure of something and I needed, like you said, I needed that reassurance. I needed the reminder, which we should meet. We should all be really, really, really confident, but we know that we're not always in the moment. And so I think that this, this idea of having a mentor throughout your career, please always go find, go seek out somebody who's going to add value because you will always, always benefit from it. Amanda, tell us about your mentor experience.
Amanda 00:37:29 So I think that ultimately I get like I've gotten my work ethic and kind of that stuff from my parents and being my outside kind of mentors with everything. But at Skillsoft I was assigned a mentor. And then throughout my time, I think that there's been people that have really kind of like stepped up to help me, or like to give me guidance in different situations. My manager right now, um, the Cole, she has Nicole Longo. She's one of the digital campaign managers. She's been somebody that I've always been able to turn to, like for advice or help with projects and really helped, especially in the beginning navigate helped me navigate what we were doing and like how I could learn from it. And I think one of the best parts too was she's always let me kind of take, if there was something I was interested in, she always encouraged me to like, go for it.
Amanda 00:38:19 For example, I was really interested in coding and kind of understanding that, but I'm a marketing major. I have no idea about coding or anything, but she was like, you just take like do research, try to learn it. Like she would sit down with me and like go over everything. So I think, uh, being able to have somebody that is always encouraging to try something else, even if you don't have, like, I didn't have a lot of experience in it and now I can sit down and like kind of understand different code on the website. So that's something I really appreciated. Cause if she didn't encourage me to go for it, I probably wouldn't have
Michelle BB 00:38:55 Well, and I'm glad she did. And just remember we have Percipio courses on coding. If you want to go a little bit deeper. Um, Beth, I know that there's one final question. Before I ask my famous question that I ask all podcasts guests. I know that there was one final question that you wanted to ask of your fellow intern. So why don't you take it away?
Beth 00:39:14 Thank you, Michelle. Um, so I think we all had in our answers, the importance of having a mentor in terms of that person helping determine your value and reaching your full potential. I know that my mentor has definitely helped me build my confidence. Um, and I really struggled imposter syndrome at the beginning of my internship. And I think imposter syndrome is something that a lot of people wrestle with daily, for those who may not be familiar with the term imposter syndrome is defined as a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments, and has a persistent, internalized fear as being exposed as a fraud. And often it couldn't be further from the truth. So it, regardless of accomplishments and seniority, I think we all struggle with imposter syndrome. So I'll raise the question for the group. Can you please share your thoughts and experiences dealing with imposter syndrome and what it was that your ways of quieting that inner doubt?
Amanda 00:40:08 I think that coming to Skillsoft, especially I like in with the pandemic, there was definitely a lot of doubt and like nerves in the beginning because like obviously nobody in the world knew what to expect, but I also didn't want to, I wanted to like be starting my career and learn a lot. And I was nervous about like the pandemic and what that would mean because obviously nobody really had any idea, but I having a mentor that really encouraged me to like take my best shot at every single project and always like, kind of the reminder and meeting with people like on a weekly basis that would just like encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and definitely try to have a conversation or like meet with people that you wouldn't expect really help take away. That kind of doubt for me throughout my kind of internship experience, obviously it's the doubt is still there.
Amanda 00:41:02 I think everybody gets it, but I think the people at Skillsoft have been really great, like helping get through that. And one of my favorite things that Skillsoft does is we have a thankful Thursday, so I've, and we kind of, everybody will say in our team's channel like, Oh, this week I'm thankful for like this person because of like all this work they did on the project. And I think just one seeing a company that actually like appreciates what everybody's doing and just taking the time once a week to say it has like helped me see too, that they're at
Beth 00:41:34 This organization. Like they don't want anybody to ever have doubt and always encourages you to do the best that you can. I'm so sorry. So I'm not sure if we want to ask the imposter syndrome question or the resiliency question, I'm not sure which two questions kind of leave something bigger for audience. And I realized like
Michelle BB 00:41:54 That's okay. I think we can combine them. I think it's a great opportunity because when we really think about imposter syndrome and I think this is a really great discussion, Beth, when we think about imposter syndrome, um, and I hate to say this, I think that this is something that women feel, um, more notably than men. It just, I think it just is. And, and, um, you know, I wonder if, if in thinking about how to become more resilient, we can start to overcome things like imposter syndrome, which by the way, again, it doesn't matter where you are in your career, you are always going to feel that sense of am I good enough? Do I know enough? Can I actually do this? And will people respond to me? Right. That's part of what imposter syndrome is. Um, but it's about having that resilience in being able to say, yes, I can.
Michelle BB 00:42:44 And if I can't, I'm going to go learn it. I'm going to try my hardest, but I'm also going to be really, I'm going to let people know this is where I am. This is what I'm capable of doing so that I don't feel like that imposter, but instead I am very confident. Number one in who I am. And number two, that if I don't know what I'm doing right now, I will get there. Right. And so I think that's one of the ways in which we can combat it. John, I don't know if you have any tips, but bet that might be a really great way for us to sort of handle, you know, let's combine both. So do we want to move to Giana?
Gianna 00:43:18 Um, kind of like you mentioned, um, I struggled with it. Uh, when the internship started, I kind of struggle with it whenever I have a new role or I'm taking on new responsibilities or working with new people. Um, but I have kind of developed some tactics that I find help me personally. Um, so one thing that I always do is I take notes all the time, um, to make sure that I'm absorbing everything I possibly can. And I'm also constantly trying to learn and improve so I can find if I ever feel doubtful, I can go back and, um, show myself like you don't have to be doubtful. Like you have all of the things that you need to be successful. So when I became a scrum master, I went right to Percipio. I took like four different courses, earned some badges and I felt confident.
Gianna 00:44:08 Um, and I kind of went overboard with Percipio. I have like 40 something badges. I like, I love it. Oh yeah. It's, I've like completed so many different aspire journeys. It's just fun to me. Like I, I love learning. And so now if I ever feel doubtful, I go back to my Percipio badges. I listen to feedback on reason projects. I look at my notes. I, um, so I have all of these things built up for myself that if I have a new assignment or I'm working with new people, like I have this stuff I can refer back to and know that I have every right to be there. I have every right to be doing this project. And I was asked for a reason to be doing that.
Samantha 00:44:51 Yeah. And I think that's great that you've used learning resources as a way to come back here on imposter syndrome and building that resiliency and like, well, I learned it so now I can practice it and I am qualified because of that. That's a great way process right there. And Samantha, um, love to hear, how do you deal with imposter syndrome on a daily basis? And, you know, you have a journalistic background and now you're in a corporate marketing like around like how do you deal? Uh, so yeah, I think that's, that's, that's the source of my, um, that's the source of my imposter syndrome here for sure, because I'm very much like this is not what I'm going to school for, what's going on, you know, and I, I could, and I think I did, especially the first couple of weeks really get frozen up by that.
Samantha 00:45:39 And it really affected my productivity, um, and things like that. And at, at this point what's helping me, um, is just, you know, being really, really open and being like, listen, I have no idea what I'm doing in this particular instance. And, but I really, really want to. Um, and so I'm just going to have to push through any feelings of uncomfortableness and recognize that, you know, I wouldn't be here. If the recruiter hadn't reached out to me, like somebody saw something, I don't know exactly what it is. Um, but there's a reason that I'm here right now. And so, um, that's definitely been, been good for me, I think to what was outside that, that women definitely struggle with it more, um, there's this whole patriarchal system. I think that, that we have is just conditioned women to always feel like we have to be fighting for it. Um, for whatever successes we have, but then also like underplay it when we have successes too. And so I think Giana like writing down, like stuff that you've accomplished is so cool. And like, I definitely want to start doing that, um, because I know I don't celebrate my victories enough. And so, um, that's a really great idea and I just learned something from you. So
Michelle BB 00:46:57 I think that's wonderful. And you know, I have learned something from listening to all of you. First of all, I don't think we could have, um, picked a more amazing intern class than the one that we have. And I'm so grateful that all of you have joined us. You bring different skills, you bring, uh, different backgrounds, you bring different perspectives and we need that here. Right? We don't grow as an organization if we're not constantly cultivating and finding new talent and then helping you get the skills you need, and then also finding opportunities for you in this organization. Sam, I think you and I have talked about the fact that we actually have an entire content production team, probably something that's a little closer to what you know how to do. And so yes, you might want to stay in marketing, but you may also want to take a look at what we're doing in content production and the same thing.
Michelle BB 00:47:51 Um, Amanda, your, uh, interest in coding, there may be an opportunity for you to take a, do a stint in product development. And I think all of this is absolutely fantastic. And Deanna, I'm so proud of you for the number of digital badges, Petula homolysis. If you didn't just hear that this was the biggest commercial for digital badging, I couldn't be more proud. And Beth for co-hosting this and taking such ownership of this podcast, we're going to go into our final question, which is we're going to, we're going to make it an express round. Okay. Cause, cause we are running short of time, but it is my favorite question or it's actually a three part question that I love to ask. Um, and this conversation has just been tremendous. Okay. So pandemic, we have looked at things differently. Maybe we have been, um, a little more patient, maybe not, uh, we've shifted our perspective.
Michelle BB 00:48:48 Maybe we've taken up a new hobby. I have, as I mentioned, I drive up to Franklin, New Hampshire to go get donuts once a week. Crazy. Um, but I've asked several of my guests, this question and the responses have been fascinating. And so now I'm going to hear from you, we are going to start with my cohost best Beth. This is a three parter. What have you started doing since the onset of the pandemic? What have you stopped doing and are so grateful you don't have to do anymore. And then as we continue to move forward in this pandemic era, what is something that you are going to take with you when all of this is maybe reached a, a different or defining point after we've evolved? So it starts stop and continue, Beth, let's start with you.
Beth 00:49:28 I'm still ready. I love this question. When I started doing this during the pandemic was making dinner for myself. I love cooking. I never had the time before. So when I make dinner, it is my me time for that hour. Uh, what I stopped doing, um, is I guess, talking to people that I didn't really have a real connection with time is short and friendships are really important. So if you're going to spend an hour or two talking to someone, talk to someone that you really care about, you know, not just a five minute, you know, Oh, I guess I'll say hi to them because so-and-so's friend with them, be friends with who you really care about. Stop, wasting time chit-chatting with acquaintances and something that I hope to continue after. You know, we reach a certain level of this pandemic and are beyond the new normal is I'm going to really start taking care of my physical and, um, my physical health and my mental as well.
Amanda 00:50:28 I think during this pandemic, a lot of people have been able to reflect and see that they haven't been taking care of themselves as much as they should have. So hopefully I'll be able to, you know, start running, um, taking time to talk to the therapist and getting really in tune with my health, which is super important. I love that. I love that. Take care of yourself. I think it is absolutely critical. Giana. Your turn start, stop, continue.
Gianna 00:50:52 Um, so I started doing yoga a lot more and it is huge for me. Um, it helps with literally every aspect of my life. It's actually a harder workout than a lot of people think. Um, it also helps with anxiety, um, breathing. It's just overall fantastic and I love it. Um, and I've also, um, moved home from Boston. So I went from three, uh, roommates, my age to two roommates, my parents. Um, so I have spent a lot more time with them and, um, I think this is kind of a two-parter with the stop and start. Um, I've stopped thinking it's like lame to stay in with your parents and I love doing it now. Um, so I definitely post pandemic. Um, I'm going to take that with me. Like I love making dinner for them when they get home from work and we have a meal and we have a glass of wine and we watch TV together. Like it's the cheesiest thing, but I have such a greater appreciation for it now than I ever did before. Especially since, um, once I graduate, it may not be like that anymore. So it's definitely a nice thing to have right before I graduated to have that reminder in my head going forward.
Amanda 00:52:05 I love that. And as a mom, who's got a senior who's going to be going off to college. I could feel that I hope she feels the same way. Giana, give her a lesson or to Amanda, Amanda start, stop, continue. All right. So I, one of the biggest things I kind of stopped doing during the pandemic, which I was so glad I did, I stop spending as much time on my social media. Cause I would always be one of those people that would just like scroll through Instagram or other platforms just for like probably hours. And I stopped doing that as much. Um, I, what I started doing instead was running more. Um, and I appreciated more of the time that I got to spend with my family being just quarantined with them. And I also started reading more like I, at the time I spent on social media, I replaced with doing other like positive things that kind of like you were saying bath, like it's good for your mental health, like your physical health. And what I'm going to continue is I have had a new appreciation for going on long walks. So especially when I came back to school, I'm in an apartment with my friends. We spend more time like going, like once a day, we'll go out for a walk all together and leave our phones and just, that's something we never have done in the last for like three years since we've been together. So you definitely get gotten closer and like you appreciate the time more. So I'll definitely continue do that. That's great.
Michelle BB 00:53:26 I really liked that this idea of, you know, maybe getting outside more too, which I think is so important. Sam, how about you?
Samantha 00:53:34 Okay. I'll be as quick as I can. Um, so I started, I co-founded a black lives matter chapter during the pandemic, which is something I would not have done at all. Had I still been in Boston cause this chapter's in New Hampshire. And so that was, you know, a major thing, um, to do like that just, yeah, wouldn't have happened without the pandemic. Um, I stopped having such bad sleeping habits. Um, that was something that, you know, I was in a micro apartment, um, by myself without a roommate, which meant I could stay as long as I wanted and, and watch as much TV as I wanted. And, and it didn't really matter cause I could plan, you know, getting enough sleep. So I wouldn't be a zombie during my classes, but then I would come back and nap and it was just not a good structure now.
Samantha 00:54:21 It's like I have to be dead, actively trying to go to sleep by 1130. Um, and I, you know, I have white noise on my Google home and it's, it's, it's great. Um, so I feel like that's been so much better for my mental health and um, just my physical health in general. Um, during this whole thing, um, something I want to continue doing, um, after the pandemic, um, my best friends from high school live 15 minutes away from me. Um, but one of them is a nurse, so we were being super, super careful. Um, what with COVID? So we started doing a thing where, um, two or three times a month, we'd meet up at a park and we'd sit in a triangle like six feet apart and just talk, um, which is something we haven't been able to do for a while, since I was away and everybody was working and, and we're just varying different schedules. And so our schedules are still hard. Um, but that's something that we did. We really made an effort because we knew there was going to be no other way we can hang out. Um, and so being able to do that with them has been really, really awesome. Um, and definitely a way to keep building our friendships since we've been friends since like eighth grade.
Michelle BB 00:55:30 I love that. Okay. So here's a fun fact. I don't even know if Sam knows this, but, but maybe she does. This is a fun fact. So, um, Sam founded co-founded the black lives matter movement in Nashua, New Hampshire. And I went to a black lives matter vigil that was set up after George Floyd was killed. And I happened to be sitting there listening and I heard this woman get up and speak and she was so poised and so remarkable. And I took down her name at that moment. And I said, I don't know who she is. I don't know what she does, but I need to learn more about her. And so I said, Bree, our recruiter, could you reach out to this woman and just find out because I have just, I was so impressed, not only with the vigil itself, which was set up. So it was just an amazing experience, especially in Nashua New Hampshire, but to hear Samantha speak, um, blew me away. And so I'm so grateful that she joined us and I'm so grateful I had that opportunity, but this is just a lesson to you all. You never know who's listening and you never know how you're going to find your next internship. So Sam, I don't even know if you knew that
Samantha 00:56:47 I agreed mentioned that you, she was like, our CEO came to something and so you speak, but I never knew which one it was. So I've been wondering this whole time. Well,
Michelle BB 00:57:00 I have to tell you, um, this has been such an incredible conversation. I'm so grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for joining Skillsoft. Thank you for being our interns and to our listeners. Thank you for tuning in to this. In every episode, as we unleash our edge together and on behalf of the entire Skillsoft team, we encourage you to keep learning, keep growing. And if you have an intern on your team, virtual or otherwise, reach out, share your time and experience and who knows one day that intern could be the future leader to whom you turn for advice and guidance. I am Michelle BB. This is the edge
About Our Guest
Bethelly Jean-Louis is a senior Communication Studies major with a double minor in Marketing Communications and Public Relations at Emerson College. She is originally from South Jersey. She serves as the Vice President of Emerson’s chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. At Skillsoft, she is a Communications Intern. She spearheads The Edge podcast, booking guests and managing much of the logistics of getting each episode from conceptualization to publication.
About Our Guest
Amanda Papavasiliou is a senior at Stonehill College where she studies Communication with a double minor in Entrepreneurship and Business with a focus in Marketing. She is a Boston native. At Skillsoft, she is a Digital Marketing Intern and works on the Tech and Dev Diamond Team and helped implement a chatbot, named Skillz.
About Our Guest
Samantha Searles is a senior at Suffolk University majoring in Journalism with a Broadcast Concentration. Samantha is also a professional actress. She lives in New Hampshire. At Skillsoft, she is newest Communications Intern. She is on the Compliance Diamond Team, manages PR measurement, maintains the website, and drafts copy for The Edge’s website and will eventually take on more work on the podcast.
About Our Guest
Gianna Wilson is a senior at Simmons University studying PR/Marketing and English Literature. She is a New Hampshire native. Gianna is also a Communications Intern at Skillsoft, where her projects include data analysis of various survey results, drafting press releases, participating in the SumTotal Diamond Team, and taking over the employee advocacy social media program.
About Our Host
As Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle leads a global marketing organization, focused on transforming today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. Since joining the company, she has been responsible for Skillsoft’s global marketing strategy, which includes generating awareness, driving preference, and building affinity for Skillsoft. Additionally – and perhaps most importantly – Michelle serves as the company's brand evangelist, helping to build a vibrant community of passionate learners.
With more than 25 years of marketing, branding, and strategy experience, Michelle has made it her personal mission to support the advancement of women in business. Prior to Skillsoft, she served as Chief Marketing Officer of IBM Watson, where she was instrumental in developing the first “Women Leaders in AI” program, which honors women who put AI to work across industries and around the globe. She also served as the global head of marketing for The Weather Company, an IBM Business, helping companies understand how to anticipate, plan for, and ultimately make better decisions – with greater confidence – in the face of weather.
Michelle is a prolific speaker on a range of topics, including the war for talent, digital transformation, and marketing in a post-pandemic world. She covers these topics and more as the host of Skillsoft's podcast, The Edge, now in its second season. She has authored countless papers covering a range of business and marketing topics, was at the center of Skillsoft’s leadership role in DEI through free “Leadercamps,” and has taught two Percipio courses on the Pink Pandemic and Public Speaking.
Michelle is also a founding member of CMO Huddles, a group dedicated to bringing together and empowering highly effective B2B CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. Michelle holds a Master’s degree from Simmons University and sits on the pro side of the Oxford comma debate.