My summer internship with Heartful.ly

IMG_4273Back in April when I was on the job hunt for summer internships, if someone had told me I’d be working at the desk directly next to the CEO and Co-Founder of a startup, I’d have been in disbelief. If I had been further told that the startup was a trailblazer in the wedding industry, of all places, disbelief would have grown into shock. Nonetheless, when a friend connected me with Kate and Heartful.ly, it was hard to think of a more worthwhile way to spend my sophomore summer. Despite the surprise of where I’ve ended up, I can say with no reservations that my time interning for Heartful.ly has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career.

When I first met Kate–or Ms. Glantz, as I called her for three emails before she finally said “stop with that! Call me Kate”–I was immediately struck by her drive. She spoke about her vision forming from charity experiences of her own, how fast things had picked up, and her experience at Halcyon. She’ll never brag to you, but her insane track record spoke for herself as we sat near the community workspace she worked in for six months after being awarded the Halcyon Fellowship. Her company is dynamic and creative, yet also accessible and friendly. Family members of mine have already asked for links to the website to explore the business in its true capacity.

Flash forward to late May, and the ball is already rolling as I begin work for my nine week internship. From the get go, she set me up with an array of work in all of the fields I had told her I was interested in: research, marketing, and business development. She remained patient with me as I familiarized myself with platforms like MailChimp in the beginning, allowing me to take time to get comfortable, while keeping her expectations clear. Most importantly, she constantly made sure that I was engaged and enjoying what I was doing. When I told her I wanted to improve my HTML and CSS ability and work on some graphic design, she immediately gave me work based around that interest, allowing me to improve my skillset and do some long-term creative work for the company.

Outside of the office, Kate always made sure to include me in Heartful.ly opportunities around the city. She’s brought me to events with the Peace Corp and DC Tech Meetups, and has organized team-wide bonding (an euphemism for her kicking all of our butts in bowling at Pinstripes), making a company of four feel like a second family.

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I’ve heard of a lot of intern experiences out there, but few seem as open and free as mine with Heartful.ly, especially working directly with the CEO of a company. She constantly jokes about giving me stereotypical “intern” tasks, without realizing she’s actually giving me creative opportunities. I can say with absolute certainty that this internship has certainly been unconventional, exciting, and rewarding, just as many hope for startup experiences to be. Outside of the incubator, Heartful.ly is constantly changing and stretching out in different directions, leaving so much room for imagination and creativity to spark the next big step in the company’s development. Each day working with Heartful.ly is new, leaving me no opportunity to sit back in my seat and twiddle my thumbs, as it seems many interns nowadays do. Thanks for the great summer, Kate!

From Kate: Eric, you exceeded every expectation! I never treated you like an intern and you never acted like one. Your enthusiasm, flexibility, and lightening fast ability to pick up whatever I threw at you did not go unnoticed. You will be an incredible addition to whatever team is lucky to hire you next! Have the BEST TIME EVER during your study abroad in Spain. Eat all the tapas and drink all the wine!

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