My mile-high internship in corporate communications

By Claire Norton

Year In School: Senior

Major: Public Relations

Internship: Corporate Communications Intern, CoBank

Ever wonder what it would be like as an intern at a national cooperative bank? I’m Claire Norton, and this summer I am the Corporate Communications Intern at CoBank’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado. As Corporate Communications Intern, I compile daily news clippings, write articles for the CoBank Intranet splash page, generate content for various CoBank channels and/or materials and much more.

As a part of my summer-long internship, I have been assigned to complete an intern project, alongside the other 24 CoBank interns from across the country. As a part of this project, I am to research, produce and present a project revolving the topic of social media recruiting. This summer-long project will culminate in early August, when I will have the opportunity to present my findings to the CoBank Management Executive Committee (MEC).

While simultaneously producing content, compiling daily news reports and working on my intern project, I’ve been many opportunities by CoBank to travel and experience the various events and programs it hosts throughout the summer.

In late June, I was given the opportunity to travel to the CoBank Colorado Open’s David Duval Kid Clinic. As a young public relations professional, I thought it was valuable to see the interaction and connection between CoBank (sponsor of the Colorado Open golf championships) the media, celebrity figures and photographer/videographer contractors.

Following the CoBank Colorado Open event, I traveled with CoBank’s events team to set up, run and coordinate the annual Energy Directors Conference, gaining hands-on experience that relates directly to my event management minor. During this event, my roles included assisting the events team in setting up the registration area, registering guests/customers, arranging signage and running microphones to attendees who had questions for guest speakers. Through this conference, I learned how crisis communication can come into play and what elements help an event run seamlessly.

As part of her internship, Claire Norton helped at CoBank’s Energy Directors Conference Reception, which took place in the pool area at The Broadmoor Hotel, located in Colorado Springs, Colo.
As a corporate communications intern, Claire Norton enjoys a view of the Rocky Mountain horizon from the 10th floor at CoBank’s Denver headquarters.

Interning at a national cooperative, business-to-business bank requires open-mindedness and a willingness to learn. So far in my internship, I have learned incredible amounts about CoBank’s role within small, rural communities, its impact on nonprofit organizations and its duties as major sponsors for various events. I expected to solely learn about credit, customer transactions and loans, but CoBank has taught me to be an open-minded learner and has reinforced the concept of saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity given.

In addition to the materials I’ve produced and the opportunities I have been given, I have also learned what a strong company culture looks and feels like. Because CoBank is a mission-based organization, they value certain characteristics and put forth effort to execute and illustrate those in their business transactions and professional relationships. Having worked at a company that feels compelled to give back to communities, I now know what to look for when searching for my next job or internship.

So far in my internship, I’m grateful for the incredible learning experiences I’ve had at CoBank. Each day I continue to develop my writing, relationship building and communication skills, while having the chance to attend and participate in new, invaluable experiences that will allow me to become a more educated, well-rounded PR practitioner in the future. I enjoy working alongside passionate professionals who know their purpose within CoBank and live out its mission and values every day. (The amazing view of the Rocky Mountains from my cubicle doesn’t hurt either.)