(3) My Learnings At SuitUp

This internship packed a punch in under 300 hours. I simultaneously learned about the not-for-profit space, what it means to work on a small team, and honestly just how to be an effective employee. In my time I also had an impact on SuitUp as well. I know my perspective and skillset were an asset to the team, especially in tricky and busy times.

As for my growth, I learned that social justice work is complicated and takes constant reflection. SuitUp taught me to navigate this complicated space by forming strong relationships with my team and the external partners we work with. With these relationships, I was able to have hard conversations and make tough calls regarding COVID, fundraising asks, and staying mission-driven. For example, making the choice to delay our fundraising initiatives to not come across to our youth and corporate partners as deaf to the ongoing pandemic. Or thinking about ways to showcase BIPOC and minority-owned companies at our gala in a way that is equitable and not forced.

It was in making choices like these that I learned when you can have discussions that weigh each choice with people that you trust and value, it is simple to stay mission-aligned. This perspective and frame of mind will come with me in all of my social justice work and made every smaller decision easy in comparison. This experience will carry over into my hands-on social justice work both in classrooms and in communities. I certainly have learned to be a stronger facilitator thanks to the SuitUp programs I participated in. I will also be a stronger advocate and coordinator of social justice-minded programming from the backend. This experience has solidified for me something I have always known: that social justice work is far more than hands-on service. As my time ends, I am immensely grateful for this team as they helped me learn and see everything I have mentioned above.

On the topic of things I am grateful for, SuitUp and my mentors at the organization recently helped us interns make a list of our accomplishments in our internship. This was geared towards resumes and LinkedIn, but for me, it helped me realize all I have done. I will include this list below as well as some artifacts of my work.

  • Codified strategy for post-COVID era in-person fundraising gala. Created strategy, ticketing processes, marketing campaigns, pandemic protocols, etc. which will ensure $110,000+ raised to serve over 4,500 students in the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Executed a new outreach strategy that engaged 2,000 companies, resulting in $10,000+ silent auction items for the SuitUp Annual Gala.
  • Led team of SuitUp board members (eight corporate executives from companies like Morgan Stanley, UBS, KKR, Fox Corp) to execute strategy, marketing, and design for SuitUp’s annual Gala.
  • Facilitated SuitUp entrepreneurship programming with full-time staff to serve over 600 Title I students across 11 states to increase their college and career readiness.
  • Worked heavily in Excel to build multiple databases, systems, financial models, etc. that will assist the organization in efficient outreach for fundraising events in years to come.

Looking at this list and through my portfolio, I can see now the impact I had. Through my support, as well as with help from the whole intern staff, we are leaving SuitUp ready both to reach financial goals but more importantly ready to fundraise ethically and mission-aligned. A huge thank you to my team at SuitUp and of course the folks at Hiatt and WOW for making this a possibility for me.

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