My internship journey

Everyone in the office calls me Mo, short for Motlotlo. I am currently an intern at FleishmanHillard South Africa. I work with the Corporate and Africa Comms team, headed by Trevor Chueu alongside Thembi Tlale and Janie Norton.

I first heard of FleishmanHillard in 2016, during my second year at university, while I was browsing the internet for internship opportunities.

When a recommended list of communications agencies popped up, I came across FleishmanHillard and as I clicked on the internship tab I found out that their intake period was closed. This was certainly discouraging for me because the year’s internship offering at FleishmanHillard seemed to be out of my reach.

When an opportunity presents itself

That changed when FleishmanHillard invited 10 University of Johannesburg students to join a workshop. I was fortunate to be one of the students to be afforded this opportunity. At the workshop, we were required to write a test and go through a panel interview.

A few weeks later I received a call, informing me that I had been selected and would be starting on the 21st of June 2017.

Officially a Fleishmonster

On the first day of my internship I was welcomed by Angela Maciel, Training and Development Manager at FleishmanHillard. I was taken on an office tour and finally to my desk – I mean my own desk. It was a dream come true, and all I ever wanted for a year – at this point I was really ready for this new challenge.

This journey of mine

As the ancient proverb says “You never stop learning” and I have learnt tremendously from my immediate team, our Managing Director, Sharon Piehl and colleagues that I spend my lunch break with (Bongani, Komane, Preshan and Tsholo) as well as everyone at the agency.

Here are my three key learnings:

 

1. Attention to detail

“Every detail is important”, those are the words I heard from Thembi a number of times until I mastered the art of attention to detail. Thembi’s advice made me ask a lot of questions like: Why is good better, when best is possible?

In university, I used to do work to get a mark, and now, I have to do work to impress a client so that in return they are impressed with FleishmanHillard because essentially, I am an ambassador.

I learnt on my own that the quality of work you do reflects on the agency, and to be part of a quality agency, I have to deliver quality work.

2. Read as much as you can

I was never much of a reader but through spending time in daily dairy sessions where we read the newspapers, I have improved my knowledge on what is happening in and around South Africa, the general communications landscape and the world at large. I can now identify potential stories to pitch to our varied clients. I now have a hunger to read more and more. As a result, I have downloaded books on my phone, instead of listening to music.

3. “Have an opinion.”

Sharon, our MD once said this during a weekly status meeting and it immediately hit home. At the time I was going through a lot and I just wanted to keep to myself. I was not really involved in much around the agency and I was just floating around. The moment she said those words I was inspired to always have something to say or do. I thought about her words and suddenly I knew what I would be doing with my career, exactly how I would grow and how I was planning to make an impact. It’s true, everyone has an opinion, but as FleishmanHillard employees and communicators, it is our duty to have opinions that will resonate with our clients; we are in the business of opinions and counsel – and at FleishmanHillard they are valued, no matter how different your viewpoint.

What the future holds

There is still so much more I am looking forward to learning. I want to learn and grab as much knowledge as I can, including how to;

  • Approach clients
  • Pitch to media
  • To attract new business
  • Deal with a client on a one-on-one situation
  • Learn more about contracts and
  • Client billing

I look forward to growing and maturing in this agency. When I look at the individuals around me and the agency at large, there are great people who I can learn a lot from, people capable of influence. The journey ahead is still long, it has a lot in store for me and I am looking forward to it!