What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the word intern? Many associate interns with constant coffee runs, stapling papers and organizing filing cabinets. How exhilarating. Luckily, this was far from my reality as the Marketing & Events Assistant for Fortius Sport & Health. Although lasting only nine weeks, my first co-op was an invaluable experience as I dabbled the world of social media marketing, blog writing, events management and much more!
Interns can be athletes too
Established in 2013, Fortius Sport & Health is an integrated athlete development centre located in Burnaby. This sports mecca encompasses everything under one roof. Their fitness & training centre, FIFA-standard pitch, double-gymnasium, human performance lab, sport science and medicine institute, 50-room lodge and chef-inspired bistro are accessible to athletes of all ages and abilities. It’s simple: If you are committed to a sporting, recreational or active lifestyle goal, you’re an athlete.
This mission is what initially drew me to Fortius as I have always been committed to leading an active lifestyle through both sport and play. Being an athlete is inclusive of anyone who has a body and is motivated to reach their goals. I was able to draw inspiration from this unique definition as an intern. I came in to work every day ready to take on my goals no matter how big or small they were.
Working out at work
One of the striking things that I noticed about Fortius’ office culture was the organization’s commitment to employee wellbeing. I remember seeing my colleagues come through the doors in the mornings with workout bags and water bottles. As soon as lunch time rolled around the corner, many of them would be on their way to the Training Centre or Pitch to get a workout in.
Soon after my first few days, I got involved with the weekly staff workouts. Every Tuesday I regained balance and core control with Pilates Mat Classes and on Wednesdays and Fridays I sweated up a storm in StaffSTRONG (small group training sessions). On the days that I exercised at work, I found that I was much more productive and refreshed. I also built relationships with colleagues outside of my department all the while reaping the physical benefits of exercise.
Channeling confidence as a writer
One of my goals at the beginning of this co-op was to improve my promotional writing skills and thankfully there were no shortage of opportunities to guide me in the ‘write’ path.
As the Marketing & Events Assistant, one of my responsibilities was to research and write blog posts for our monthly newsletter. For the month of June, we did a feature on the athletes from Rowing Canada that enjoyed a week-long stay at the Lodge. This was an exciting piece for me to write because I helped bring it to life, from the interviewing process to the actual creative direction and writing of the article. Titled A sit down with Rowing Canada, I decided to use the direct quotes from our interview with the athletes to master the art of subtle and organic promotion.
As I continued to take on more pieces with constructive feedback from my supervisor, I found myself getting more comfortable with adding a personal flare to my writing. I kept things simple and transparent for our readers and made sure to always tie the articles back to the services offered by Fortius. It was a very rewarding experience taking ownership of these blog pieces and seeing them published online. By taking on these opportunities, I recognized that writing, is in fact, one of my strengths.
Redefining social media presence
Think running an organization’s social media account is as easy as 1, 2, ‘tweet’? Think again. You must make sure that your messaging is consistent, the content is engaging and that a call to action is included, all the while keeping in mind the best practices of the different social media platforms. Whether it was drafting up social posts for the day or live tweeting an event, I learned that there was no such thing as aimless posts on a business’ social media page. By helping to manage the Fortius social media accounts, I am glad to have discovered a passion for working behind the scenes.
BD, not Beedie
During my time at Fortius, I was also an active member of the Business Development (BD) team. Every Thursday I looked forward to our BD meetings. It was refreshing to know what each of my teammates had been working on during the week as well as the challenges and highlights they experienced. We truly encompassed the clichés of teamwork. We offered each other support in times of need and celebrated our successes together.
Time really does fly when you’re having fun. In the blink of an eye, my nine weeks at Fortius Sport & Health came to an end. I felt fulfilled at the end of my placement as I reflected on the direct impact that I made on the growing company. I could have easily chosen to hide behind my introversion, but instead I took control of the opportunities that were given to me and oh, was it worth it!
Ashleen Bandesha is a business student concentrating in Marketing and Operations Management. Prior to completing her co-op term with Fortius Sport & Health, she was involved with the SFU Student Marketing Association as a Business Development Project Member and Marketing Coordinator.