Through the Eyes of an Intern

September 19, 2017 Emily Lundy

Emily joins her new Marketing team Do-Gooder friends sorting donations at the Women in Need Society

What a summer at Benevity taught me about corporate culture and the importance of being earnestly myself 

An internship offers the opportunity to expand your understanding of a professional environment, extend your network and spice up your resume. Earning an internship at Benevity this past summer offered me all of these things, while allowing me to work on my personal development as well.

Despite only having worked at Benevity for a few months, I’m not the same woman I was when I walked in. A lot of the personal and professional growth I experienced this summer comes from the importance that Benevity places on passion, purpose and the culture that binds us. Even outside of work hours, Benevity-ites (what we call ourselves!) support and champion social causes close to our hearts and work towards becoming our best selves. 

When you work for an organization that has a great corporate culture, you love going to work every day.

It wasn’t until I interned at Benevity that the importance of company culture really struck me. When you work for an organization that has a great corporate culture, you love going to work every day. Sure, I was only there for a few months so you might argue that the honeymoon never ended, but not once did I find myself longing for the weekend. And, for a student during her summer break, that speaks volumes!

In speaking with my peers and comparing our summer employment, we quickly realized that their workplaces didn’t place the same importance on their culture as Benevity does, if at all. I realized after my orientation week here that I hit the summer jackpot. Benevity is a social enterprise whose people actively work towards making the world a better place by helping some of the world’s most iconic brands engage their people in giving back. At Benevity, they call this “Goodness” and it can include everything from making donations to your favourite charity, volunteering with a local cause, and helping companies make grants to their community partners using user-centred software. Benevity-ites live and breathe Goodness, treating clients as friends and learning new things every step of the way. Perhaps the truest testament to this is Benevity’s enormous participation in their own Goodness program. 88% of Benevity-ites either donated, volunteered or both last year alone—a huge majority!

When I look at the successful examples of corporate culture I witnessed during my internship, they seem to come down to a few key factors: communication, humility and team appreciation. I’m a believer in the idea that communication is essential in all areas, but a lack of communication in the workplace can be especially detrimental. If you’re not all on the same page, inefficiencies and tensions are bound to arise. And workplace problems can quickly become personal problems.

 

A very cheese-centric Benevebuddy meeting hatches the idea for this blog post

Communication

We’re lucky to have open communication at Benevity, and it’s very intentional that we do. When you feel like you can talk to your team lead about something funny that happened to you on the weekend, you’re more likely to feel comfortable asking them for help or admitting to a mistake. It creates a mutual trust and enables you to speak up about things as they arise. And if we don’t talk about our problems, we can’t fix them.

Humility

At Benevity, power divisions don’t really exist. Bryan de Lottinville, our CEO, can be found grabbing a coffee across the street at Rosso with everybody else, sometimes even treating a few lucky Benevity-ites behind him to their java. Not only that, but when our client Microsoft came for a visit, he cleaned up the dirty dishes from their lunch himself!    

Team Appreciation

It’s not often a CEO will take the time out of their busy day to have lunch with the interns, but Bryan did. Because he and everyone else who works here hold themselves in equal regard, everyone feels as though they are key contributors to the company. When people consider themselves to be important to the mission, they’re more likely to work harder and actually enjoy what they’re doing. Individual successes feel greater as well, and teammates feel proud of their work. It makes non-work-related activities more fun too. 

Benevity’s culture taught me to be myself, unapologetically.

Speaking of non-work-related activities, appreciating your team personally is a fundamental part of a good workplace culture. Here at Benevity, we take time to do things like volunteer together, celebrate birthdays at our favourite coffee shop and grab drinks at the end of the week—as a team. Getting to know your team outside of work is rewarding for both you and them. Not only does it build relationships that you’ll treasure, it allows you to recognize each other’s talents and quirks so that you can work together more efficiently.

Thanks to my summer at Benevity, I’ve learned to be more comfortable with who I am—that it’s better to be honest and deliver a difficult truth than to deceive people into thinking you’re someone you’re not.

So, how does this translate into personal development? Simply put: Benevity’s culture taught me to be myself, unapologetically. When you’re comfortable with who you are, it makes it easier to collaborate with others for more impactful results.

Thanks to my summer at Benevity, I’ve learned to be more comfortable with who I am—that it’s better to be honest and deliver a difficult truth than to deceive people into thinking you’re someone you’re not. You’ll be happier, your communication will be strengthened, humility will come naturally, and your relationships will be even more valuable. If all of Benevity’s people are having even close to as positive an experience as I did, it’s no wonder they continue to do so well…by doing good!

More about Benevity's culture and career opportunities

About the Author

Emily Lundy

Emily has a wealth of talents and interests, which made her a perfect fit and a valuable asset as Benevity's Marketing intern this summer. She has previous experience with the YMCA and has been involved with We Charities (formerly Free the Children) for years. As a political science student at the University of Calgary, it’s no surprise that a lot of her time is spent studying or practicing politics but she is sure to leave room in her busy schedule for theatre and music as well as her one true love: cheese in all of its forms (including dad puns).

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