INTERN’S NOTEBOOK: Sammy Thom

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All of our trusty interns at Ballet Fantastique’s summer soiree this past July!

When I first walked in the door for my interview at Ballet Fantastique, I met a man with orange pants, a big smile and no shoes. He politely led me upstairs after I removed my own sandals and I sat at a wooden table to wait for my other interviewer. When she appeared she shook my hand, nearly bursting with enthusiasm and kindness, also missing her shoes. I felt instantly comfortable in the studio, channeling my previous years of dance and feeling inspired by the amount of passion in the room. I knew it was where I was supposed to be.

Working with Andrew, Hannah, Donna, my fellow interns and the rest of the BFan family has been one of the best experiences of my undergraduate career thus far. I have had previous internship experience that was disorganized, confusing, frustrating and misleading, but Ballet Fantastique has always found a way to keep me busy and motivated. As an intern, I have a lot of different responsibilities, ranging from bi-weekly office hours doing administrative work, hitting the pavement and getting some face time with current and potential donors, to updating BFan followers on all social media platforms. Lately I have been primarily responsible for renewing corporate trade agreements for fabulous groups and services that supported BFan last season and have agreed to donate again, as well as negotiating advertising placements in our season programs.

My favorite part of being an intern with BFan is that there are never dull moments and always something new to learn. I had never generated a newsletter before, managed an email subscriber list, created a marketing plan, called persistently about a donation request or spoken comfortably with movers and shakers in the community before my experience with BFan. Planning events has been something new for me as well, such as the golf tournament, car wash, summer soiree and our upcoming fall gala.

The hardest part about being an intern has been learning to do something I’ve never done before without a template or set guidelines, taking ownership of that project, and standing by the finished project. Nonprofit work is difficult because you are surrounded by people who aren’t responsible for just one job, but several different tasks all at once. You have to learn how to multi-task, be flexible and willing to do things you may have never thought you’d be asked to do, or heck, even be in charge of. You just have to keep pushing to make yourself better and put out your best work.

I am currently a student at the University of Oregon set to graduate this December, majoring in Public Relations and Journalism. After graduation and my time with BFan ends, I aspire to move to California and make my way into the marketing world to do promotions for film. Until then, I can’t wait for you all to see what we have planned for this fall! I can’t wait!

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