I’ve officially worked at Ivanka Trump for 10 days and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to properly describe what a blessing those 10 days have been for me. The night before day one, I was sitting in a New York City diner with Judah, crying into chocolate chip pancakes and trying to figure out a way he wouldn’t have to leave because I didn’t know if I could remember how to be brave without him.
I am not often scared by things. My parents raised me to believe that I could do literally anything I wanted and that “no” did not exist. It’s those teachings that have allowed me to go so far—it’s what got me the internship in the first place. But for some reason, my third summer in the city was freaking me out before it even began. I didn’t want to find out that I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun happening somewhere else. I had all these crazy ideas in my head before I even gave the summer a chance.
The thing I kept forgetting about at the time was that I already had everything I needed to succeed and thrive for the summer—God-given abilities, my faith, support from people both in and out of the city, and a serious love for learning (I mean, hello, I’m also taking 12 credits right now).
Now that I’ve pushed past all that fear (Judah told me so when he said that even though I’d be nervous, once I got to work, I’d feel so happy and forget about everything else), I’m able to focus on all the good this internship has provided me thus far. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an incredible summer and I don’t want to take any of it for granted. Plus, people have been asking me for updates and I haven’t been able to provide thorough enough responses, so without further ado, here’s 10 things I’ve learned in 10 days as an editorial and social media intern for Ivanka Trump:
I work with some seriously brilliant women.
This has to be the first point because my mind is genuinely blown every single day by the people I work with. I’ve been following the careers of a lot of the women who work at Ivanka Trump for a while now (#fangirl), so coming in, I was definitely aware of just how lucky I was to be learning from such a team. These women think quickly, intelligently, carefully, and gracefully. They create incredible work and it has been a privilege to take part in it.
Sometimes, your best tool is just common sense.
This really hit home when I was writing a piece for the website and the editorial director pointed out that my word choice for something could have been better. Our brand is supposed to be chic and naturally, the word “burst” doesn’t imply any amount of chicness. After hearing her say that, it was such a “duh” moment, but I was just focused on writing something down to check the piece off on my to-do list. If I’d taken a second to think it out and use my common sense, I wouldn’t have had to take a minute and edit it.
It’s truly a team effort.
Everyone can do something, but no one can do everything. Even if you’d like to consider yourself an independent worker, it’s impossible to because what you do pushes other people forward in their own tasks, just as other people have helped you in yours. No matter what I’m doing, I can do it with the satisfaction that I’m helping someone else succeed. When I’m helping someone else succeed, I’m helping the entire brand succeed, and nothing feels better than that.
A work-life balance can be achieved.
Confession: I don’t know what it means to lead a balanced life. I like to throw myself into the things that I’m doing and then freak out when suddenly, I don’t have time for everything I need to get done. It sort of shocked me when I offered to get work done at home after hours and my manager told me no way, but wow, what a blessing it is. When I go home, I have nothing else to focus on but my schoolwork, catching up with friends, and relaxing.
Let actions speak for the words.
We have a lot of buzz phrases here at Ivanka—Women Who Work, dream and do, design a life you love, etc. They’re an awesome guidepost, but even better than those words have been the actions of those who work here. Everyone here truly lives out the mission and in turn, that helps me live out the mission as well. Slowly but surely, I’m learning how to become a more gracious, motivated, and passionate person through their examples.
The best work is in the details.
Ivanka pays great attention to detail, and as a result, we do too. I’ve seen time and again that what separates a good piece from a great piece, or a good brand from a great brand, is the details. Is the imagery consistent throughout the website? Do we continue to work with the same types of people? Was every single word of that tweet on brand? All of these things matter. We don’t just throw things together here, we refine, and as a result, we are a great brand.
It’s honestly, seriously, actually okay to be wrong.
Y’all, nothing gives me more anxiety than making a mistake, so you can imagine that red edit marks to my writing and accidentally publishing a tweet instead of scheduling it keeps me up at all hours of the night. But here’s the thing about making mistakes—we grant so much grace to others and we need to grant it to ourselves as well. This is a human operation and as such, human mistakes are made. By everyone. It’s okay.
Be actively listening to your demographic.
Feedback is taken pretty seriously here, and we’re lucky because we get a lot of it. It can be easy to have tunnel vision and just continue to put out the work you want in hopes that people will respond well, but that can sometimes do more harm than good. Your vision is the base of what you do but it’s the variables like feedback that truly build your brand.
Don’t just ask questions about work (although you should, and I myself have been forced to get better about it because I’m stubborn and want to do things on my own); ask questions about life. Engage with the people you work with, learn about them just as much as you learn from them. It makes things fun and on a professional level, those relationships will help you in the long run no matter where you go.
You should love the people you work with.
I believe so strongly in the power of company culture and that the tone is set by the people you hire. I actually was able to talk to Ivanka (for like, three minutes—I’m not that special) about how great it is to work here because the people are so genuine and make the hours go by fast. Creating an environment full of supportive, strong women is a priority for her, just as being one of them is a priority for me. I think it’s important that if you are able to, to pay attention to not just the work you’re doing but the people you’re doing it with. You spend too much time at the office to be unhappy.
All of this in 10 days. What a blessing this summer has been and will continue to be.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10