My Summer Internship at Enterprise Ohio
By: Johnese Sherron, State and Local Policy Intern, Summer 2016
This summer has been one of the most beneficial of my life. In the past, my summers consisted of working a part time job and catching up on the sleep I had lost during the college school year. However, this one was different. That spring, I decided to do more with my summer than just working a part time job. I decided to get an internship. I began my search using my school’s database trying to find something I was qualified for—a search that came up short. I then expanded my search to companies I knew of in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and eventually stumbled upon an opening for a State and Local Policy Intern for Enterprise Community Partners. I had never heard anything about Enterprise, but I seemed to fit the job description, so I applied. After a few weeks of waiting, I had a phone interview with State and Local Policy Director Emily Lundgard. She told me there were many candidates, but I patiently waited for news. The following week, I finally received the news that I had been selected for the position. I was so excited and could not wait to start this internship.
When my first day finally arrived, I was very excited and nervous. I had no idea what to expect or what I was supposed to do, but I was greeted by a smiling face when I got to the office. She introduced herself as Emily Lundgard, my supervisor. She gave me a quick tour around the office and then showed me the cubicle I would be working in all summer. Emily had organized many internal meetings for me so that I could become acclimated. With every meeting, I learned more and more about Enterprise. Coming into this internship, I only knew the bare minimum – that Enterprise was connected to affordable housing – based on a quick Google search.
Settling in to a Community
As the weeks went by, I continued to discover all the projects Enterprise was involved in. I started off just doing simple research, writing memos and reading information on Enterprise and its projects. I got more involved in Enterprise’s work and had the privilege of accompanying Emily to many of the meetings she attended. It was a way not only to expose me to some of the work and projects, but also to allow me to meet people who work in and around the public policy community, including people from the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and CDCs and other non-profit organizations in and around Cuyahoga County. These meetings were very beneficial to me because I was able to see what type of work Enterprise really does.
Throughout my internship, I performed an array of tasks. I helped plan and orchestrate Enterprise Ohio’s first Policy Briefing; worked on projects such as workforce housing and fair housing; helped plan and conduct a State and Local budget training; drafted an RFP and an advocacy letter regarding an Ohio House Bill concerning proposed changes to unemployment compensation and more. I loved the variety because it allowed me to experience everything and gain hands on experience. There was never a dull moment here at the Enterprise Ohio office.
Plans for the Future
Enterprise has left a lasting impact on me. In May 2017, I will graduate with a BA in Political Science from Xavier University. Before this internship, I planned to go on to law school and become an attorney. Now I have decided to pursue my Master of Social Work and Nonprofit Management.
I have always had a passion for advocating for people, social change, policy and social justice. I was searching for an arena where all these things could come together, and Enterprise opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. Through my internship at Enterprise, I have discovered a whole new world of intersectionality. Enterprise has shown me this big, beautiful web. Like a spider web, there are separate strands that connect to create something bigger.
Connecting to Something Bigger
Enterprise’s mission and focus is on ending housing insecurity, but they often interact and work with people and organizations from different sectors, such as health, transportation, jobs and economic opportunity, community development and education. Each of these sectors has a connection to the other. Without stable and secure housing, one could have poor health. Without good health, one could be unable to work. Without a job, one may be unable to pay for secure housing. There is a lot of intersectionality between each sector. I find this fascinating because although there are many different sectors, these organizations can collaborate because they are serving the same population.
The Experience of a Lifetime
Interning for the Enterprise Ohio office has been of the greatest experience of my life. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity to work for an amazing company under a fantastic supervisor. I would like to thank everyone in the Enterprise Ohio office for being of assistance to me, even with their busy schedules. I would also like to especially thank my supervisor, Emily Lundgard, for selecting me for this opportunity. She has truly been a pleasure to work for. Not many people can say that they genuinely love their job, but I can tell that she does. She has a passion for what she does, and this inspired and motivated me. I loved my internship and looked forward to coming into the office every day. Enterprise Community Partners will always have a special place in my life. Now when anyone asks me how my summer was, I can tell them that this was the best summer ever!