The hallmark of a good workplace is the ability to grow – in more ways than just your personal and professional skills to bulk up your LinkedIn profile. Growth and learning is one of our top cultural beliefs at Pulse, and I personally have experienced that in my (almost) three years working here! When I first started working for a small marketing company in my hometown (Murrieta, CA) as an intern, I had no idea where I would be in less than a year. Along the way, I learned so much more about marketing, leadership, and storytelling than I ever thought I would. The biggest lesson that I gained from that growth experience? Leadership can be learned!
Intern!! Gasp!!!!! What a scary word these days. A lot of times, the word “intern” can come with a super negative connotation; low or no pay, grunt work, and never being taken seriously no matter how good your ideas are. At least, that is what every intern I had ever met told me. But I quickly realized that that was not the case for an intern at Pulse! When I first started, I was fresh out of school and had no experience in marketing, so they graciously started me off easy. I was paying bills, grabbing coffee for clients, and helping with brainstorming at creative meetings. But when our Creative Writer moved on to a new venture, every member of the team stepped up to contribute to our tasks and keep projects flowing smoothly; even me – the plucky little intern! Luckily, from the well-rounded on-boarding training I received from the leadership roles/heads of departments at that time, I had a fantastic understanding of what creative writing should look like, not only from a writing perspective but from the perspectives of sales people and designers too. I flourished with my new writing tasks, and soon I started to get more and more until suddenly I had a new title: Creative Writer! With it came a whole new ballgame – new responsibilities, new tasks, new hours and pay, and most importantly new growth opportunities. When you work for a company who cares, your growth opportunities will never be “capped” or cut off. I went from paying bills and taking care of the occasional writing task, to managing content for multiple clients at a time, developing unique brand voices, and curating unique content on a daily basis. I was able to enter the position without fear, and with excitement, because I had been set up in an environment where I was allowed to learn, grow, and fail!
The contributing factors for how I was able to seamlessly transition from intern to Creative Writer was two-fold! First off, the company culture. When I was an intern at Pulse, I was taken seriously, valued, and considered a true member of the team. I truly think people would be surprised by our intern retention rate, and how many of our full-time team members started as interns and worked their way up. Pulse’s cultural beliefs and constructive feedback was both comforting and empowering, and made me feel like I could do and was capable of doing more as a member of the team. So many of the cultural beliefs at the time created an overall culture of inclusivity and importance. I felt needed – like I had a place at the company even as an intern, and like I was valued! The second was modeled leadership – because YES, leadership can be learned. Pulse is one of the most incredible examples of leadership being made rather than born. Some of Pulse’s own leaders started off in entry-level positions, and after being led by example were able to demonstrate leadership capable enough to join the leadership team. I strongly believe that the best way to create leaders is by demonstrating equitable and effective leadership while giving your team room to try something and fail, and try and fail again. A good leader notices a problem and steps in to fix it, while a great leader allows her team to use the problem as a learning experience so they are well equipped for any other issue that may arise. These are all lessons that I was able to observe and practice, both as an intern and once I had settled into my full-time position. Pulse is setting every single one of their team members up for success – and most importantly, to excel as a leader in their field. And that is what sets us apart from the average marketing agency! No matter where our team members end up, the ultimate goal is to nurture them into the leaders they have the potential to be.
Now that I am in a committed position as a full-time creative writer, I recognize that the title “intern” at Pulse is simply that — a title, and a stepping stone. Being an “intern” at Pulse is not a position of lower-status, it’s the very first step in the process of growing into a position that I know I can eventually tackle. The biggest lesson I learned at Pulse overall is that leaders are created and not born! Even the quietest wallflower can blossom into a well-spoken and confident leader with the right amount of nurturing and room enough to grow and fail.