For Leapheart, '15, Internship in Midland Changes Hometown View

Jamaris Leapheart, '15January 16, 2014

Jamaris Leapheart, '15, is majoring in business and organizations and minoring in communication studies, with a concentration in the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management. She is the daughter of Theophilus and DeLois Leapheart of Midland and a graduate of H.H. Dow High School. Leapheart recently completed a fall-semester internship at her hometown Chamber of Commerce and describes her experience below.

There is no such thing as a "typical day" at the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce. During my internship here, I have done data entry, solicitation for a charity fundraiser, given presentations to schools about community service, made and sent thank-you cards, folded programs, and made name badges and gift bags.

Working in a field that requires awesome communication skills, I've learned you must know how and when to switch from formal to informal and charming. There is a time and a place for every demeanor, and through this internship I have gained a stronger understanding of this. I couldn’t have gained this solely on campus because the atmosphere is so relaxed and casual and there is less pressure put on you.

Since Midland is my hometown, I've already known a lot of the establishments that are a part of the Chamber. I have especially enjoyed meeting and networking with the business owners and leaders and seeing how strong and interdependent our community is. I enjoy seeing partnerships grow and being a part of the team that hosts events for networking.

My most exciting experience was doing direct solicitation to businesses, to ask for giveaways for a charity event. I had to get 150 different giveaways and it was no easy task. But as time went on, I became more comfortable stopping in on people, talking to management and receiving a donation. It really helped me develop my communication skills and learn how to read people.

This internship has taught me that there will not always be a teacher or tutor to walk you through what your audience wants. It has taught me to be more independent while problem-solving. Since the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce works with over 1,000 chamber members, it has also given me a bigger sense of pride in my community. I say this because I am consistently seeing new businesses and partnerships form over the events my organization puts on. It has made me more appreciative of my surroundings.