Throwback Thursday: These four PBP employees were once interns here

As our summer internships only have a few weeks left, I thought it would be interesting to get some insight from four past PBP interns that continued working at PBP full-time once their internships ended.

 

2013 Interns featuring Mike and Pat

Summer 2013 Interns featuring Mike and Pat

(From l-r): Chris, Kal, Emily, Ashley, Julia, Meredith, Ed, and Alex.

Summer 2014 Interns featuring Ashley and Julia

 

ashley head shotAshley Zawistowski was an Editorial intern last summer and continued working in the Editorial department full-time in August. Prior to her professional life, she was a competitive gymnast where she accidentally found out she has four extra bones in her body! After getting X-rays for her various gymnast injuries, she was told that she has one extra vertebra, two extra ribs and an extra bone in her foot.

julia head shotJulia Scavicchio was also an Editorial intern last summer and began her career at PBP soon after her internship was over. Unlike Ashley, Julia switched departments and now works in the Media division using her writing skills as a Digital Content Specialist. During her time in college, she developed her leadership skills as a Varsity Coxswain.

 

4Mike Elisio is a Product Marketer who interned with PBP during the 2013 summer in the Executive Education department. He began his full-time position in June of last year after his graduation from Gettysburg College. Mike once used the Heimlich on his friend’s brother when he was choking. (If I ever start choking while eating my lunch, I now know who to run to!)

patPat Schober is another past Editorial intern who now works in Editorial full-time. He was an intern during the 2013 summer with Mike and started his Editorial job in January of 2014. He continues writing in his free time and has written a couple of novels. However, he ran out of steam on both of them, so neither of the novels has made it to a second draft.

 

Post-intern & Post-hired Reflections

I was able to get answers from Ashley, Julia, Mike and Pat on four questions that may help us current interns and any future PBP interns. Read below to find out what they enjoyed about their internships and how it prepared them for their job now, as well as why they decided to work at PBP full-time. They also gave advice for the current and future PBP interns!

 

1) What was your favorite part about your internship?

Ashley: “I enjoyed learning about the different newsletters and having the opportunity to work on several before my internship ended. I also loved the intern group I got to know and work with throughout the summer!”

Julia: My favorite part of the internship was learning about all the different publications. The experience greatly influenced my writing style.”

Mike: Working hands-on preparing presentation materials for the sales team.”

Pat: My favorite part of the internship was all the stuff I learned. Getting moved from publication to publication every few weeks exposed me to areas of business I would otherwise know nothing about.”

 

2) Why did you decide to work at PBP full time?

Ashley: “Having a job fresh out of college isn’t something every recent grad can say, so I wasn’t about to let this job offer go! I really enjoyed my experience as an intern, so that played a big role in my decision to stick around full-time.”

Julia: The position offered to me by Media opened the door to a career path. My research and writing is unique to any other publication on the web, and I’ve developed an expertise thanks to this opportunity. The work is challenging, but I derive a lot value from being a Digital Content Specialist.”

Mike: I liked the atmosphere and it was close enough to commute.”

Pat: I like the people here and the challenges that come with writing business newsletters.”

 

3) How did your internship prepare you for your job now?

Ashley: Editorial interns really do exactly what new-hires in the department do, so the transition was seamless. The only real difference was that once I was hired I was assigned to one specific pub, rather than rotating. Other than that, learning about PBP’s style and the different features in each newsletter helped ensure I was prepared.”

Julia: Editorial provides awesome training, and Media is quickly expanding. The two combined has helped me maximize my potential.”

Mike: It gave me a better sense of what the environment is like in the professional world.”

Pat: Well, it taught me the PBP style, so it was a relatively easy transition going from intern to employee. Plus, a couple publications I worked on as an intern I ended up working on as a full-time. And when I got here, I already knew all my co-workers, so that was nice!”

 

4) Do you have any advice for this year’s interns or future PBP interns?

Ashley: “My biggest piece of advice is to ask for more work! When you have downtime, don’t be afraid to say so. At the end of the day, this internship is what you make it. Challenge yourself by asking if there are other tasks you can learn or other aspects of employees’ daily routines you can take part in.”

Julia: Enjoy the summer and keep up with your LinkedIn profile.”

Mike: Actively look for things to do and help with. It’s more engaging and you won’t get bored. Plus it helps set you apart from other candidates for full-time positions.”

Pat: Get involved as much as you can, and ask a lot of questions. PBP has a lot of great talent, and you can learn a lot from the people around you.”

Giving Back

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It’s been a while since our last Traditions class update, but we can assure you it was worth the wait.

I bet you’d be surprised to know that PBP partners with 26 non-profits to sponsor 30 projects. One of them being a safe home for orphans and immigrant children in Israel, and another being a Nitrogen-Hydrogen Alternative Energy Reaction Research Laboratory. Yeah, we were surprised too… but even more so, we were very inspired.

This week we learned all about PBP’s philanthropy efforts. They do a ton of work for many different groups of people.

The company supports victims of substance abuse, Junior Achievers and local organizations such as the Walnut Street Theater, the Wharton Esherick Museum and much more. They also sponsor stem cell, cancer and energy research.

One of their big initiatives is helping students. PBP founded The Franklin Institute’s STEM scholar program, which is a cohort program of 15 talented high-schoolers in under-served communities. These students get to do research projects with The Franklin Institute staff.

At the collegiate level, PBP sponsors the Life After College Success Program at Franklin and Marshall. Also, PBP created an international internship program in social entrepreneurship. Selected students from UCONN, Duke, Columbia and Notre Dame travel to Guatemala for the summer and teach local entrepreneurs business tools.

One of the biggest ways employees can get involved in PBP’s philanthropic mission is by volunteering at PBP’s adopted inner-city school, Cook-Wissahickon Elementary. Employees act as student-mentors and spend time with their students twice a month – either at the office or at the school. PBP also created before and after-school programs with games, crafts, homework help and snacks for the students. They’ve taken children on trips and sponsored speakers, career days and other events.

Giving back means something different to everyone, and there are many reasons why people choose to give. Some people are passionate about a cause, some feel inspired when they give and others want to make a difference. Also, there are many things people can give: time, money, talent.

We were asked to think about all of these things and what giving back really means to us. We challenged ourselves and discussed how we’re going to give back in our futures.

And now we’re challenging you: how will you give back?

Settling in at PBP

pbp interns

This week concludes our sixth week of our internship at Progressive Business Publications, officially half way through!  Although it has been 6 weeks, it feels like it was yesterday that we had our first day. Boy does time fly when you are having fun! The first few days came with a combination of nervousness and feelings of excitement but now all the anxiety has worn off. Between finally finding our way around the building without a map and learning to prioritize our daily tasks, we have all adapted quickly and are now very comfortable at PBP.

Unlike others, for us the purpose of adapting as interns is not just to survive but to learn, grow, and contribute. Here are a few quotes from us interns on some things we have learned, accomplished or enjoyed from our first 6 weeks here at PBP!

Christina- “I’ve learned a lot of different skills in the publication product marketing department, from writing headlines to understanding HTML for email marketing . I have also really enjoyed the intern “Traditions” class where I have learned more about myself, specifically my strengths, as well as hearing from other PBP employees and their advice to us interns.”

Kevin– “I have met so many great people who immediately made me feel part of the PBP family. Through my 6 weeks in the AC division I have learned so much about direct marketing that I don’t think I could have learned in a classroom setting. Jess allowed me to take over the Managers Are Heroes twitter and I have really enjoyed driving new customers to view our amazing content.”

Caroline– “I have enjoyed forming friendships with everyone in AC and creating content for the women’s leadership group.”

Jake– “I’ve been assigned to interview managers from the different Business Units to understand how reports are being used throughout the company. It’s been very interesting to meet people from all parts of the company and try to piece together the way PBP operates.”

Paige– “This internship has been a great opportunity to absorb information from attending meetings and executing projects. I am enjoying this internship. The structure of the program is great. Traditions has been interesting to learn about the company and learn more from employees here at PBP.”

Eugena– “At the PBP Media Division, I’ve been learning about SEO and putting the theory into practice. This is a crucial aspect of digital marketing and is fascinating to be educated in. It’s given me a new perspective on how much goes on in the background of Google, a function that all of us mindlessly utilize every day.”

Anthony– “I have enjoyed learning all of the different writing styles for my publications. I have worked on and successfully written articles that were published online for Administrative Professional Update and Facility Managers Alert. I enjoy how friendly and helpful everyone is and how there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions.”

Amanda– “I’ve loved the editors I’ve had the chance to work with, and I’ve learned a ton about the different topics I’m writing about. I’ve refined my writing style and even got the chance to write stories that are now published!”

Thank you so much to everyone for making all of us feel so welcome and at home. If you have not met us yet we would love to meet you so if you see us around, give us a wave!

Leadership: Off the water and in the office

F&M medalsAnyone who’s participated on a sports team knows that leadership influences a win, and wins come in different ways. In my own experience, I’ve been on soccer and softball teams throughout my childhood, but nothing quite matched the dynamic of Franklin and Marshall College’s rowing team.

We had our victories, our relapses, our challenges and battles. We grew together as a young program, and our coach, Rob Weber, taught us an essential lesson I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life: lateral leadership.

To those unfamiliar with the sport, on the water coxswains give commands, but on land we function like a bee hive. Rigging and derigging, loading the trailers with slings and bow numbers, sorting through nuts and bolts both metric and standard, carrying boats back and forth — Hands on, up over heads — and UP! The calls I used as a coxswain won’t soon be forgotten.

rowing trailer

Our men and women’s team captains were essential, there’s no doubting that. But the responsibilities for a team of 60+ that breaks up into 4s and 8s can’t always be managed by just two people, and so our coach tried showing us a new way of thinking in terms of leadership.

 

Lateral Leadership:

  • When you see a task that needs to be handled, a responsibility that opens itself, it is your role as a team member to see that it is taken care of. This could mean taking direct control. This could mean bringing it to another’s attention. But what this doesn’t mean is letting it go untouched.
  • When you do take control, and own up to the responsibility that’s presented itself, be ready for conflict. Be ready to discuss openly your role on the team, and others’ roles who could also take charge. All in all, from the resolution of this conflict will come the proper division, and respect for everyone’s capabilities. All it takes is communication, trust, and willingness to open up.

Easier said than done? I’ve asked employees, managers, and our CEO of PBP for their take on leadership as well to try and find what it really takes to be a leader.

Ed Satell, CEO: Don’t be cynical. Focus on the positive by maximizing the values in yourself and others. It takes time to be a leader — you need to be a follower first. Ego is a good thing, but don’t let it shadow the wants and needs of others. You have to be able to take the rotten tomatoes when people throw them. But most of all: Be authentic. At the same time, accept the superficiality in people, it can be a good thing, but know when to focus on the real. Make an environment to address real thoughts.

Nicole Riegel, Executive EducationA leader needs to build credibility and trust with his/her team so that the team will become followers for his/her vision.  Due to credibility and trust the team is willing to take some risks and the leader is allowed a few mistakes. A leader should maximizes people’s strengths for the greater good.

Curt Brown, Editorial: A good leader needs to have a clear vision who leads by example rather than by dictating others.

Tim Walls, PGI/PBC: Set priorities by looking at the big picture rather than getting caught up in the day to day. Know your long term goals, and stay on task.

Cheryl Jordan, Product Marketing: A good leader needs to be a good listener who pays attention to people’s individual needs.

Dannie Evans, Media: You yourself as a leader need passion. Saturate yourself in it, and let it drip onto your employees. Have that passion translate into something everyone can take on as their own.

Jess White, Editorial: True leaders motivate and inspire others to do their best work. They listen to everyone’s ideas, and they’re open to trying different suggestions to improve things for the group as a whole. 

There were many others who gave insight into leadership for me, and it’s clear PBP is a place full of potential for the future of this business and beyond. I thank Rob Weber, Ed Satell, and PBP’s Traditions program most of all for these lessons on forming a constructive team.

 

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9 Ways to Make Networking Work for You

Many people become anxious and uncomfortable at the thought of networking.   Pitching yourself to a group of strangers is daunting, at best.

These 9 simple guidelines can help you overcome your apprehension and then you can start looking forward to your next networking event!networking-image

  1. Dress up, but be subtle. It’s common advice to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  That being said, there is a difference between being classy and being flashy. You don’t want to be the person wearing neon yellow in a sea of black suits.  You can’t go wrong with black, navy, grey, or beige.  Just remember, the focal point should be what you’re saying, not what you’re wearing.
  1. Stay away from complimenting others’ outfits or appearances.  You may want to “break the ice” immediately by complimenting someone’s great style or accessory choices, but avoid doing this or you could spend the entire time talking about fashion instead of making a more valuable connection.
  1. Put effort into your nametag. A lot of research has been done on what your handwriting says about you.  In fact, a whole new term has been dedicated to the subject (“graphology”).  According to Visual.ly, your handwriting can reveal over 5,000 personality traits!  For example, if you connect your letters (like I do), “you are logical, systematic, and make decisions carefully.”  While you don’t need to memorize the entire webpage or change your writing, just make sure you write your name legibly – your penmanship says a lot about you.
  1. Do your research. See if the list of event attendees is available ahead of time.  It’s extremely easy to research people online – maybe someone else at the event went to your alma mater or shares your enthusiasm for online Scrabble.  This can be a great conversation starter and can help you prepare questions ahead of time.
  1. Prepare your “Elevator Pitch.” This is generally a 30-90 second statement in which you identify who you are, what you have to offer, and what you are looking for. You can pitch yourself, an idea or both.  Check out this video for an example.
  1. Offer help.  It’s often tempting to talk about yourself the entire time, but networking is a two-way street.  Ask questions, and see if there is anything you can do for the other person, even if that means connecting him or her with someone else in your network.

Keith-Ferrazzi-Quote-about-Networking-OkDork

  1. Remember names. This can be overwhelming, especially when you’re meeting a lot of new people all at once.  Try this: for example, when Ashley introduces herself , say “hi Ashley,” and as you are shaking her hand, picture the word “Ashley” in red letters on her forehead.  Trust me, it works! (Whatever you do, please don’t do this!)
  1. Stay positive.  Whether you’re attending a networking event in search of a job or for some other reason, be cognizant of what you say.  Like your mother probably used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”  Word travels quickly, so never speak poorly about a person or company.
  1. Follow up.  After the event is over, connect with the people you spoke to.  You can reach out in any number of ways, from e-mail to LinkedIn.  Start off by reintroducing yourself, and then touch on something you spoke about at the event.  Finally, make sure to suggest a way to keep in touch by asking a question, offering help or advice, introducing a third party, or even asking permission to send that person a link to your blog.  You never know where a relationship will lead.

Now that you have the know-how to succeed, get out there and start networking!

Still don’t know how to begin a conversation?  Talk about PBP’s interns and our great blog!

Remember to follow us on Twitter.

From Fiesta to Formula Sheets: Adjusting to the Workplace Post Study Abroad

The thrill of studying abroad is hard to beat. Being in a foreign environment constantly keeps the brain active—it has been five months of exploring; taking in culture, language, and delicious food—and you miss it so much that it is sometimes hard to focus (this article explains it pretty well).

All of the positive changes that coincide with living in a different country also come with some negative side effects (which are often unexpected because, well, who reads the fine print?). Thus, there is no doubt that your new found travel bug is making you itch to escape your cubicle.

Here are some simple tips to keep you active and enthusiastic about your work while trying to adjust back to the United States frame of mind.

PicMonkey Collage

Be creative! Design your space in a way that makes you excited to go to work.

1) The first and most important thing to do in avoiding PTSAD (Post Traumatic Study Abroad Disorder) is to find adventure no matter where you are. Revamp the ordinary. Remodel bland. Make yourself known. Maybe decorate your desk, or pack yourself exotic foods for lunch, or add fun themes to Casual Fridays.

Personally, I added an exercise ball to my workspace. Rather than being stationary in a regular office chair all day, the exercise ball keeps me moving and my blood pumping, keeping my brain active and ready for the workload that lies ahead.Get creative with how you want your workspace to look; considering the amount of time you spend in the office every day, it really becomes your second home. On the right are some examples of extraordinary cubicle décor if you are looking for some inspiration.

2) It’s all about attitude.Keeping a positive attitude shows that you appreciate the great opportunities of right now, rather than dwelling on the things you had in the past overseas. Sometimes, all it takes is a smile.When we smile, the muscle memory of this action triggers receptors in our brains that stimulate a feeling of happiness. This phenomenon falls under the facial feedback hypothesis, and was tested by Strack, Martin, and Stepper in 1988.

They created a study testing two groups: one group was instructed to hold a pen in their mouths in a way that caused a frown, and the others held the pen in their mouths horizontally, forcing a smile. Then, both groups were asked to rate cartoons based on how funny they felt they were. The results show that the smiling group consistently found the cartoons to be funnier, indicating that the action of smiling in itself changed the way people perceived the stimuli. This idea can be easily applied to how we experience our work.

3) Use your new perspective to your advantage.Try to apply what you’ve learned to whatever it is that is giving you trouble in the office. The purpose of living abroad is to gain perspective, learn about yourself, and broaden your horizons, so you might as well put all of that newfound knowledge to good use. Make it a personal goal to prove to yourself (and your employer) that you have grown intellectually and extrovertly.  This could be applied to money conservation techniques, confidence in your presentations, extracurricular involvement, intra-office leadership skills, and more.

As Robert Tew once said, “Challenge yourself every day to do better and be better. Remember, growth starts with a decision to move beyond your present circumstances.” And as Hannah Montana once said, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.”

Making a Difference

7Hey, my name is Jon Erman. I’m a rising senior at Bucknell University, where I’m majoring in Business Management. Over the past few years, I’ve developed a particular interest in pursuing a career in marketing, as this field seems to lend itself to creative and analytical work – both of which appeal to me. Of course, this was mostly speculation. With little previous exposure to marketing in a real-world context, I sought a summer internship that would provide me with a stronger grasp of this area.

In March, I was browsing my school’s online internship database, where I noticed a posting for a “Summer Marketing Intern” with Progressive Business Publications. I was intrigued by the description, which touted the opportunity to perform meaningful work, not the menial tasks that are often associated with these positions. I felt that I would fit well in a company that promoted empowerment and hard work, so I decided to apply. I had never heard of the company; however, that didn’t matter to me. After a thorough interview process, it was clear that a Fortune 500 Company wasn’t the only path to a valuable learning experience for the summer. I accepted my offer and began my new role – working in our Gifts and Incentives division – with an open mind.

Thus far, I can certainly say that this internship has been exactly as advertised. Our CEO advocates taking risks and making mistakes as vehicles for growth, and this has manifested itself in a culture of autonomy here. Even as an intern, you are given guidance – not constant supervision. At the same time, I’ve had multiple opportunities to collaborate with others on projects, and my colleagues have been more than willing to answer my questions and provide feedback on my work.

Specifically, a lot of my time has been dedicated to re-tooling our e-commerce website. I began my summer extensively exploring our competitor sites’ pricing strategies, product selections, and website designs – producing numerous documents detailing my findings. With my newly-acquired knowledge, I’ve taken on a leadership role in creating a vastly improved version of our site. It feels great to know that my manager has enough trust in me to grant me such a huge responsibility. It’s also truly rewarding to know that my work will undoubtedly impact our organization well beyond my brief time here. This task has required a lot of effort, but – much like the rest of my experience with PBP – I’ve enjoyed every second of it, and have learned something new every step of the way!