Finding My Own Act
After almost two months at Vaudeville Ventures, I’ve been involved on a variety of projects, externally and internally. Because of the flexible nature of the organization, I have been able to jump into different client projects as I am needed. Because of this, I’ve been able to work with a number of people and be exposed to different work. I am formally on two projects. One client is FiscalNote/CQ Roll Call and the many different smaller projects that are tied to Vaudeville’s work with the company, including a video strategy project.
Aside from taking notes during meetings, I’ve been able to experience the inside of the development of a video and podcast franchise and creating a video strategy for the company. Because of this specific project, I’ve been assigned to research the video landscape of popular sites, like the New York Times, CNN, Vox, Politico, and more. I’ve created extensive excel documents with information about what they’re are doing in terms of video production and what style/type of content they’re producing. While my research isn’t what I’d call groundbreaking, it takes some of the research and busywork away from the strategist on the project. Because I’ve researched extensively and synthesized a lot of the information, it makes it much easier for him to present his recommendations for strategy to clients. Moreover, the work the client is doing is particularly interesting for me because Roll Call is a news source for government and political professionals. My other major in addition to Leadership is American Studies, so I’ve always found politics and the news interesting, so this project works well for me.
The other project doesn’t have clients per se because the project creating a startup. Before interning at Vaudeville, I had no idea Vaudeville even did that kind of work, but I’m so lucky to have been put on this project because of the exposure I’m getting. It would have been daunting to do my internship at a startup company itself, but in this context, I’ve been able to witness the development of a startup without actually working at one. I have been able to sit in on meetings with advisors, presentations of the deck to potential investors, and do research that has helped the team make decisions at different stages of the project. It has been so valuable to see these meetings, for instance during a Zoom call with potential investors, hearing the kinds of questions they asked about the business. I was able to think to myself, “what would I have responded in that situation?” and compare it to the answer that the team gave the investors. Before working on the project, I had no idea really how much hustling was required in starting a business even when the people starting the business are three people with decades of experience. It is countless emails and asking for connections from former colleagues and plans, hundreds of edits of the pitch deck presentation, and many disagreements, and it has taught me a lot about the gritty work that it takes to start a business and to be a leader in starting that business. Because disagreements often come up, I am called on to offer up my opinion on some matters, and I think that it has been valuable for them to get an outsiders’ opinion at times. Because the team is three older men, one female project manager and me, the project manager and I provide a balance to the room. Although the business is not targeted to my demographic, I think my different age/life experience offers some diversity to some of the decisions they make during the process.
It seems obvious, but a lot of the opportunities I’ve gotten in working on side projects has been because I always say yes when someone asks if I can do a small research task for them. Because I always have said yes and worked diligently when assigned a task, I’ve been a go-to intern to join new projects. When one project manager asked if any of the interns had any experience with running a business social media account or wanted to learn about it, I said yes, not because I had experience, but because I was interested in doing something new. Now I have a few meetings a week with Victoria, that project manager, because she’s starting Vaudeville’s instagram account. We’ve thought of instagram “franchises” (more like topics to post about), worked with the design team to create templates to use, conducted interviews with employees so we can feature them on the page for one of the “franchises” that features employees’ interests and side projects out of work. This experience has taught me things I never would have learned at Vaudeville if I wouldn’t had said yes. As someone who isn’t dead set on one career path, it has been great to be part of as many projects (and side projects) as possible to get as much experience and exposure as possible while I can, and Vaudeville is the perfect place to do that.