Virtual internships are on the rise! We thought it would be informative (and fun!) to interview one of our Melibees so that you can get a sense of what this virutal teamwork is like. Lisa Zenno gives us the 411 (slang for “information) in this new interview!
Melibee: Tell us about your typical day!
Lisa: I wake up every morning at 5:30AM and head to work as an Enrollment Processor at a commercial arts college. During the day, I surround myself with students pursuing degrees in the creative field. On my way to work, on my way home, and on my off-time, I get to lead my fellow creative bees or as we call the interns “Melibees” at Melibee Global. I work with a team of 23 volunteers (10 Melibees + 13 Street Team members) focusing on operational management and designing monthly professional development opportunities. I utilize my organizational communication skills to maintain the Melibee Global culture, motivate the hive to reach project deadlines, and try to find easy to use online tools that would benefit all parties involved.
I have an important role as the lead bee to manage our hive, but time to time, I try to partake my role as a Melibee dabbling into subhives that interest me like the Pre-Departure, Diversity, Speakers campaign, MelibeeU workshops, as well as the marketing initiatives.
Melibee: How do you overcome the difficulties of doing everything online and not in person?
Lisa: As a millennial, I don’t see doing everything online as a difficulty per se, but there is one aspect of this job that I think would be tremendously easier if we were all in one location, and that is setting up meeting times. Time zones and availability can be challenging since this is a volunteer-based internship, and we try to cater to everyone’s “best” available times. Why have a meeting if no one can show up ‘live’….right?
Melibee: What are the unexpected perks to doing an online internship?
Lisa: The beauty of an online internship is that everything you do can be applied to an on-ground internship. I’ve only met two of the Melibees in person (both past interns), yet, I feel like I ‘know’ and understand all the Melibees that I work with. We all share the same passion and yet, we each bring something different to the table.
During the day, I work full time with a staff of 30+ members, but I feel more ‘connected’ and team-oriented with the Melibee hive.
Melibee: Why do you think that is?
Lisa: Probably because we all work together through the whole process virtually synchronized. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I consider all of the Melibees to be great friends. We each hold a professional job outside of Melibee, but we have fun and we are very casual, laid back to say the least. I don’t mean to say we are not professional at Melibee, but let’s just say we know when to be serious and when to crack a joke.
Melibee: The unexpected downsides?
Lisa: Moments of jealousy (!!!) when you see/hear that other interns have met one another (in person) and you have yet to meet them.
Melibee: What has been your favorite aspect of the internship?
Lisa: The Rhizomatic Education we have. We all act as soundboards for new ideas and feed off of each others’ reflections and dialogues. With the help of doodle, google drive, Asana, Linkedin,Twitter and Facebook, we maintain an everlasting passion for international education, and it’s fulfilling to be a part of a team that evolves daily.
Melibee: Besides Rhizomatic Education, what else makes your position at Melibee different?
Lisa: Much of my past internships were led by advisers/coordinators who I still look up to. Missy (Melibee’s founder) and those coordinators share the same mentoring skill of allowing the internship be however you want it to be shaped. Of course there are rules and guidelines you need to follow, but instead of you fitting into the internship, the internship tries to fit your interests and your skills. Melibee allows me to polish my skills of organizational development, and gives me opportunities to plan and implement programs as well. Missy does an amazing job mentoring each one of us Melibees, catering to what we want to pursue. Her one-on-one mentoring is priceless, as she coaches you to think about not only the whys but the hows and the what’s nexts. It’s definitely a nonstop learning environment in this hive-never a dull moment, which I love!
Melibee: Do you think this kind of thing is for everyone?
Lisa: Not necessarily, but I would encourage everyone to at least try it. The way I see it, virtual internships are just like taking online classes. Everyone has different learning and communication styles, so some people excel at the self-disciplined environment where as others would rather have the face-to-face interaction. The skills you learn in a virtual internship are transferable to any other type of work you may do in the future. You might learn a thing or two about yourself going through an online internship that you would’ve never experienced in an off-ground internship. Besides, what’s there to lose if you’re passionate about the company you’d like to intern for, at the comfort of your choosing?
Melibee: If Melibee Global were a cocktail, what would it taste like?
Lisa: The Bee’s Knees of course!
About Lisa: R/Lisa is the TCK lead bee of Melibee Global. She is practicing her leadership skills and leading the team in professional development at the hive-and is enjoying it so much that she is keen to incorporate it into her full time gig too. She is open to opportunities to learn and grow in this area. She also welcomes anyone who’d like to connect on-ground or virtually.”