Nathalie joins the team

Natty for colleagues and friends,

All began as a simple internship, the Intern Horror Story is typically met with sympathetic nods and diverted eyes aimed to the floor when the topic comes up in conversation. We’ve all heard scenarios of determined students eager to get their foot in the door of the industry of their dreams, clinging to the idea that a few months of hard labor will make their resume a golden ticket to social mobility.

Set aside that most interns are overworked, underpaid, and end up having panic attacks when they can’t meet the unrealistic needs of their boss. In some cases, internships end up being scams for naïve students who don’t realise they are part of a Ponzi scheme, where “interns” end up working as unpaid door-to-door salespeople. A little hard work didn’t kill anybody, right?

Happily, my intern experience has been more the “dream” internship. I believe success is the intersecting point of ambition and talent.

At RGW, my intern experience has shown me that creativity can go a long way, and when you surround yourself with driven and motivated individuals, success isn’t just the result of long term progress, but rather, everyday habits.

Being able to work as the “middleman” between the media and our clients has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the day-to-day intern experience.

I’ve always had a fascination with the media- how it influences behavior, shapes society, and can be used as a tool to revolutionise how people view their lives.

My second week as an intern, I was asked to pitch various local social networks I was sitting in my office chair trying not to smile when a reporter replied to a request.

These people want to talk to me?

was one of the first revelations I had.

It took me a few days to grapple with the idea that my work can move the dial for our clients to see tangible results. This experience can almost be described as therapeutic, as it’s allowed me instant gratification (or instant rejection).

I also learned that there is no such thing as a “fool proof method” and sometimes taking chances can result in rewarding outcomes.

As a natural researcher, this internship has allowed me to become a pattern-seeker, a theme ambassador, and a nerd for all facts.

I’ve had the opportunity to research topics- such as the intricate project management system- in depth to the point where I can speak to the day to day occurrences in the world and the local community.

More importantly, I’ve taken ownership for the clients we represent and have begun to see that ownership is the same thing as accountability.

At the end of the day, in the world of IT and digital design, there is no time for “excuses”, but there will always be time for a good storyteller.

The story I will tell doesn’t reside in coffee runs or monotonous trips to the copy machine, but instead, a portfolio full of anecdotes that reflect the spirit of teamwork and creativity.

Now, I’m an experienced project manager, and still get a lot of pride from every project I deliver.

I’m currently delivering the simple management of projects, which means lots of video conferences to customers around the world to see how the project delivery is developing.

There really is no typical day as a project manager, your tasks and time can vary day on day dependant on what a project needs.

But I often find myself on the train journey to work, trying to manage my email inbox. I suspect that’s the bane of most people’s lives. But it means, when I get to the office, I can hit the ground running.

I like to start the week with a review of my diary, and a team catch up, so we’re clear about what we’re trying to achieve in the week, what the priorities are, and keep an eye on any potential issues that might come up.

Later in the morning, I might hold a progress meeting with members of the supply-chain organisations delivering my project (e.g. design consultants, contractors, etc.) to get an update on progress and planned progress for the week ahead.

We’ll need to resolve any issues that are brought up and carry out the many contract management duties typically required on a construction project.

I’m a stickler for running a good meeting. I’ve experienced so many bad ones in the past to know how frustrating they can be.

For me, it’s important to have a clear agenda, so everyone understands the purpose of the meeting. And to show leadership skills; to know when to direct the meeting, and when to get input for those who don’t naturally speak up. Emotional intelligence is critical, and you can positively affect the whole dynamic of a meeting.

I then may attend a series of meetings with senior management and key internal stakeholders, such as the project sponsor, to update them on the status of the project and escalate issues I cannot resolve.

Or I might have to prioritise holding an ad hoc workshop to resolve a pressing/high priority problem (and no matter how well managed your project is, all projects are likely to encounter an unexpected problem at some stage).

For this, I’ll get my team and our supply-chain delivery teams to work together collaboratively to develop solutions and eventually agree on one to resolve the issue.

In the afternoon, I’m likely to make a site visit to one of the many construction sites involved in my projects to check progress of the works.

It always feels good to get out of the office, and see what’s happening on the ground.

I’ll be looking to make sure the quality of the works is being maintained as well as do a safety and environmental inspection to check the works are being undertaken safely and sustainably.

My day ends with a train journey home where I catch up on the plethora of emails that I’ve been sent through the day.

I get so much out of my job that it feels good to keep on top of things.

There’s nothing like the feeling of successfully delivering a project that’s going to make people’s lives better, and that’s always a great motivation.