By Alex Braun
Adrienne Weil is an MBA candidate with an emphasis on marketing and socially responsible business at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She has worked on Georgetown’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative, interned at Nestle and worked as a health care consultant for the Advisory Board Company. She also has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brown University.
Today, Adrienne spoke to us about how she approached social media guru Lynn Miller, CEO of green marketing firm 4GreenPs, about an internship. Adrienne’s story is great example of how to create your own opportunities in a field you’re really passionate about.
Q: How did you meet Lynn Miller?
A: I approached Lynn from 4GreenPs at the 2010 Green Festival in Washington, DC, where she was leading a panel discussion on “New Social Media: Turning It Into More Business!” with clients FreshFarm Markets and Mom Made Foods. I approached her after the panel, and we scheduled a call for the next week to discuss working together.
Q: How is internet marketing different for green enterprises than for any other business?
A: The basic principles are the same, but internet marketing for green enterprises is a specialized niche. So, it’s very helpful to know all the players because there’s a huge range – from NGOs to activists to multinational corporations to the all-important consumer. The green world is followed very closely, so one needs to be careful about promoting too much and veering into “greenwashing” or understating one’s successes as “greenblushing.”
Q: What’s the biggest takeaway you’ve experienced so far during this collaboration?
A: Entrepreneurs have to switch on a dime (e.g. to take advantage of a new business opportunity) and also have the foresight to see trends ahead of time and identify what people will need or want. You’ve really got to have the passion and guts to run your own business. It sounds exciting and glamorous to business school students who “dream of running their business” (and for some, it is!), but one also has to have the self-awareness to see if that’s really what one wants to do.
Q: What sort of work would you like to pursue in the future, and do you think this experience will help?
A: My primary interest is in the intersection of marketing and social responsibility in the food industry. Having worked in health care before, there is such an opportunity for preventative health care, much of which is related to diet. Anti-obesity and anti-hunger initiatives are very important to me. Lynn is so well-connected across the corporate and non-profit worlds and has been kind enough to introduce me to appropriate colleagues. I learned about inbound marketing at Hubspot through Lynn and earned a professional certification in it. I am positive that my experience working with Lynn will serve me well in the future.
Q: If college and graduate students are interested in working with a small business like Lynn’s, what should their approach look like?
A: My advice is the following: 1) Pinpoint what you can bring to the business and what you’d like to gain from the experience, 2) identify whether you’d like to work with a small business from the ground up or work with one that is more established (your work will likely be quite different), and 3) request all the things you’d want at a larger organization – specific duties, deadlines, constructive feedback, etc. Be thoughtful, do your research and follow through on your commitments!