Going small, thinking big: My internship at an up-and-coming agency

Alexandra Kelly enjoys the view from Cocoa Creative Agency's 12th floor office in downtown Des Moines. Photo by Kelly

Name: Alexandra Kelly

Year in School: junior

Major: advertising

Position: creative associate, Cocoa Creative Agency

“Des Moines has advertising agencies?” is a common reply I would get when informing people of my summer internship.

I spent my whole summer interning with Cocoa Creative Agency, a small, self-starter creative advertising agency in downtown Des Moines. And when I say small, I mean small.

Day to day life consisted of my amazing boss, three other interns and myself working diligently in a box sized office on the 12th floor of the Bank of America Building. It may not sound glamorous but our little team got things done, even with the great view that could easily distract.

I am positive working at a smaller agency has given me so many opportunities I might not have received if I spent my summer working for a big name in a major city.

During my first day on the job, my boss, Terrence Thames, assigned various accounts and projects to the other interns and myself. The white board was filled with accounts and projects of all types: developing a TV series with IPTV, working on a Children’s Safety campaign, running social media accounts for a woman who makes luxury wreaths, rebranding his own agency and much more. I soon realized Terrence does it all and knows about everybody in the area.

The accounts I had for the summer were diverse and widened my skills exponentially. I ran the entire Drive Safe Cedar Valley account which included PSA style videos and social media platforms. I learned to edit video with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects while creating a commercial for the nonprofit organization.

Terrence later told me my commercial aired on TELEVISION with Mediacom across various channels like Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, NBC and CBS.

Would I have had my work air on TV at a large agency? Probably not.

Within a few weeks we were shooting video for the IPTV pilot episode, and I was considered the producer. I was exposed to the back end of television production/set up and learned so many helpful skills. I met professionals in every field who do amazing things and made lifelong connections that will help me later in my career.

Would I have been a producer for a pilot TV show at larger agency? Probably not.

Terrence has not only been a great boss but a great friend/role model. He taught all of us the importance of valuing yourself and the services you offer. I knew every day I came to work I would learn something new in the field, but also gain a piece of his wisdom. This was additionally important to me as I hope to open my own creative advertising agency in the future, a dream Terrence has fueled over the summer.

As I am writing this it’s my last day with Terrence and my coworkers who have become my family for the summer. I can’t fully put into words how amazing this experience has been for me and how sad I am to leave. I am so appreciative of Greenlee for making the internships a requirement and helping me really discover my passion. I started as a nervous intern but came out as a confident creative associate with the work to show for it.

Vote for this blog post in Round 2 of the 2018 Greenlee Summer Intern Blogging Competition. Voting opens at 11:59 p.m. CST on August 8 and closes at 11:59 p.m. CST on August 15. The author of the post that receives the most votes will receive the $50 Amazon gift card.