Sard Verbinnen & Company (SVC) is a strategic communications and public relations firm. SVC works with public and private sector clients on long term positioning and during crises. SVC specializes in public affairs, corporate positioning, media relations, investor relations, M&A communications, litigation support, crisis communications, and consulting and execution support in other unique situations. At Sard Verbinnen & Company, I worked as a summer intern from June to August. I worked with clients facing state-level litigation, the Public Affairs Team, and tech giants facing massive mergers. On the many teams which I worked, I experienced the stressful nature of the industry and the around the clock time-requirement. For our client-facing state-level litigation, I had to research data on toxicology in products to see if there was misinformation disseminating about the nature of our client’s products. In working with the Public Affairs team, I researched NGOs that would be most suitable for our client and created an excel chart naming the relevance and partnership opportunities available. Outside of direct client-facing work, I was part of an internship program that involved group projects and a final presentation. My final presentation was on the environmental and social government of Amazon and how best they could strategically communicate their prerogatives and methodology. At the end of my internship, I presented to the entire firm and its executives. I chose my experience at SVC to work with a variety of industries, to have client-facing interactions, and to enhance my presentation skills. The experience unveiled a sector that I had little knowledge of previously and allowed me to use many lessons I had learned in prior I&E classes. I was able to create powerful slide decks, use my excel knowledge learned through the Keystone, and group presentational skills.
I generated several innovative ideas during my time at SVC. First and foremost, I had to address the complex problems that our clients were facing in a timely manner. With our client, who was facing state-level litigation, I had to help our team curate a data-based argument to indicate the safety of their products. Given the controversy surrounding the content of their products, it was imperative that we found and compared their ingredients to everyday natural products such as sweet potatoes and spinach (that contained a higher level of heavy metals than in their products themselves). We came up with the idea to promote their product side by side with sweet potatoes to help comfort concerned customers and maintain customer relations and retainment. I also had to design a presentation that would help Amazon better promote their ESG initiatives. To address a problem that has been facing Amazon ever since their massive expansion and success, I had to design a strategy and pitch my recommendation to the firm (as shown in greater detail within the attached artifact).
I missed a critical client call during my internship at SVC. During a follow-up call, I was asked to restate what I learned from the call I missed. This failure, on my part, taught me about accountability and organizational skills. I failed to write the meeting down on my phone and got distracted by other work throughout the day. While I should have prioritized the meeting, instead, I prioritized my individual project and in turn, let down my team and supervisors. I learned that the truth is better than making excuses. While I could have fabricated what I had learned from the call based on previous client interactions and prior discussions with my manager, I instead confessed to my disorganization and failure to attend on time. While I may have disappointed my supervisor, I believe I demonstrated transparency that allowed for our relationship to remain positive and my position on the team to continue.
From my experience at SVC, I learned about the time-intensive nature of working a challenging job. I learned how to organize myself better and how to better interact with supervisors and team members. Further, I learned about the strategic communications industry and the intense and high-stakes nature of public relations. I also learned more about client relationships and learning how to interact with coworkers in a way that I believe will benefit me during my consulting career down the road.
My artifact from SVC is my final slide deck for my internship presentation. During my internship, I needed to help create and pitch a strategic communication plan for a firm. I presented this 30-minute presentation to the entire company, including national and international offices, both founders, and high-level executives. My project was environmental, social governance for Amazon, and a tech giants navigation through corporate citizenship. Amazon ESG Final Presentation