“This year, over 1,000 artists, performers, and entertainers used our stage to tell their story. This year, we were able to use your support to continue to tell ours.” This year, the opportunity to intern at the Florida Theatre in the heart of downtown Jacksonville has been an incredible chapter in my story.
The previous quote is from the first draft of the biggest project that I have had the opportunity to work on at the Florida Theatre since I began my development internship there this past May. The project was given to me by my internship supervisor and the Director of Development for the Florida Theatre, Holly Hammond, and is a ‘thank you’ postcard that will go out to 1,500 of our highest donors with a brief explanation of how their investment was used this past year. I am in the middle of working with the theatre’s graphic designer to finalize the look and language of the postcard and I believe that our donors will love seeing their direct impact.
It is already evident that this internship with the theatre will have a great impact on my future. I have made numerous professional connections and I continue to learn more about development, communication, marketing, membership management, and many other aspects of business management every day. This month I used what experience and knowledge I have gained at the theatre to land a second internship with Jacksonville’s one and only Downtown Vision, Inc. Downtown Vision is a self proclaimed “glorified home owners association” for Jacksonville and since the theatre is in the downtown district, there are a lot of overlapping topics in both of these offices.
One thing I absolutely loved about this month of interning was the fact that I was able to be more involved with our Director of Marketing, Kathryn Wills. Together, Kathryn and I composed and edited numerous press releases, advertisements, and other messages that came from the Florida Theatre. I was able to practice APA writing and also effectively collaborate with Kathryn to produce excellent professional work for the theatre.
128 East Forsyth (that’s the address for the Florida Theatre) has been the setting to so many interesting stories in the past. It was constructed and opened in 1928 and this fun fact is the premise of our next big event at the theatre: a prohibition themed dinner party that will entertain potential donors with the goal of persuading them to be one of our Friends. The Florida Theatre refers to donors and members as Friends and I absolutely love this title because it ensures that the constituents feel personally involved in our business, which I believe is a key factor to great public relations.
I am only slightly unsatisfied at the use of my time at the theatre. Though there are a lot of hours spent working on projects, there are also a lot of hours spent doing ‘office-y’ tasks such as organizing, cleaning, mailing letters, and filing. I am okay with doing these tasks while Holly Hammond, my supervisor, is very busy, but I will ask her in the very near future if I could possibly shadow her around during all of her normal business so that even though I may not have a direct hand in the project she is working on, I might see everything that someone in her position could possibly encounter. I may ask our Director of Marketing the same thing, so that I might be a more well-rounded converged communications student.
Each day that I ride the elevators down from the theatre’s 3rd floor to leave the office and go home, I evaluate what I gained from that days tasks; whether I learned something new, experienced something funny, or simply helped to make the theatre a better place. I guess I’d like to think that my position as ‘Amy the Intern’ is adding to the theatre’s story just as much as it is adding to mine.