Sheer grit, self-belief, and just enough self-awareness to know I’ll always have something more to learn have led me on an amazing journey. I sought out my first internship with the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce because I realized, despite how much I thought I could change the world, I knew nothing about the realities of professional life. So, I proudly compiled a resume with my then recently acquired endearing characteristics like how I was teaching myself how to play guitar, the fact I now read books, and I was active in local politics, and I gave it a shot.
The internship gave me a foundation for a variety of skills to blossom. These include:
Event planning: In my first internship I worked on car shows, weddings, small networking events, and a music festival. These experiences gave me the credibility to work on a bigger event in my next internship, the Frankfort Fall Festival, which involves over 300 artisans and attracts over 250,000 visitors. I’ve gone on to plan a school supply drive, networking events, an economic development summit, and many others.
Marketing: I’ve worked on multiple social media marketing campaigns, participated in rebranding initiatives, and engaged in the marketing efforts for organizations and events. I also am skilled in brochure, flyer, and infographic development. I tend to use Canva, but I have and could use Publisher. My efforts as the event organizer for the Mukwonago Economic Development Summit increased the previous year’s attendance from around 65 to around 180, and in the year that I managed their social media, I doubled their Facebook page likes from around 220 to about 560.
Project management: In my role as the Economic Development Intern for the Village of Mukwonago, I oversaw multiple projects, including website redesign, project tracking, policy development, and ordinance updates.
Community and economic development: I’ve acquired an understanding of the authentic relationship building necessary to achieve effective community development. Most recently, organizations I’ve worked with include multiple regional development agencies such as Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Walworth County Economic Development Alliance, Waukesha County Workforce Development Center, and Waukesha Business Alliance. I’ve also worked on the implementation of tax increment financing (TIF) districts, downtown redevelopment, and business retention and expansion efforts.
Innovation and process analysis: I have experience analyzing processes and have conducted several presentations on performance measurement and management. My work has led to the implementation of a new application method that uses a checklist for new development proposals. Also, I improved stakeholder collaboration and have participated in strategic planning efforts on several occasions.
Community outreach and engagement: I have interviewed business owners for community initiatives, participated in community education events, distributed online polls, prepared and administered community surveys, planned open houses, and led efforts to improve communication via video.
Leadership: I’ve come a long way from being an 18-year-old naive revolutionary. My leadership approach is grounded in values, reason, and empathy. I seek to bridge gaps in communication through honesty to achieve an environment of mutual understanding, build teams predicated on respect and a desire for compromise, and empower others by demonstrating my belief in their abilities and appreciation. Furthermore, I strive to cultivate a sense of team by emphasizing the necessity of collaboration and thinking beyond ourselves.
I currently chiefly serve as a leader as president of the city management student chapter at Northern Illinois University.
Accomplishments: My outstanding academic performance first earned me induction into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society during community college. At Northern Illinois University, I was recognized as a student of distinction, earning both University Lower Divison Honors and Political Science Departmental Honors.
My awards have been a divisional scholarship in the humanities for exceptional performance and leadership, a transfer scholarship to Northern Illinois University for good grades, and one of three graduate assistantships by their Master of Public Administration department for being one of the most competitive applicants.