Insider Insights: Reflections on the Hawthorne Intern Experience
Hawthorne Strategy Group started off the year with the addition of two new team members, Aslan Mutuwa and Lizzie Klingsporn, who joined us as our winter interns. Over the past few months, Aslan and Lizzie have sharpened their communications skills and grown as young professionals into invaluable members of the team. As their internship comes to a close, Aslan and Lizzie reflect back on their time at Hawthorne and share their experiences. Read below to learn more about their time at Hawthorne:
Aslan is a senior at Loyola University Chicago studying Advertising & Public Relations
Interning at Hawthorne has been something of a whirlwind, and I mean that in the best way. My other early and pre-career opportunities have juggled between old-school paper pushers who took their work through endless rounds of review and high-tech titans who saw employees as data points. The former was balanced by a close team who always wanted best for the new guy, and the latter by a robust support system and ample resources for learning – Hawthorne Strategy Group has managed to take the best of both with a team that is as tightly knit as it is endlessly innovative.
The intern experience at Hawthorne Strategy Group is full of so many different opportunities – in the same week that I shook hands with Chance the Rapper I penned a letter for a CEO, sent out a press release to an army of reporters, ran around downtown trying to find the printing company I’d negotiated with, and saw the press releases I’d sent published in CBS and Block Club Chicago. The opportunities here don’t merely allow for growth, they encourage it and make it thrive.
The team at Hawthorne couples hard work with a wide array of experiences. When I invited a reporter to a press conference, I could turn around and ask my colleague, a former journalist, what the best subject line would be, and when I wasn’t sure how to best draft an internal message for a client, I felt confident asking my supervisor, who happens to be a past honoree of Publicity Club Chicago’s 30 under 30, for support. At Hawthorne, you’re surrounded by a vast array of experiences that are eager to help you learn. There’s an accessibility to people here that I am hard pressed to imagine anywhere else – it's not often that one can sit on the same weekly call with both their CEO and VP.
What I’ve learned during my time here has been formative to my professional development and bolstered a burgeoning career with experiences that are far more profound than grabbing your boss’s coffee. Working with clients who do meaningful work like promoting racial equity, or who are taking steps towards sustainability on one of the nation’s largest scales, has made my contributions feel just as important to the world as they have been to me.
Lizzie is a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying Advertising, Public Relations and Marketing
Working with the Hawthorne Team and our clients has been incredibly rewarding and reassuring, especially as someone who once had no idea how I could transform my skillset into a career. It has strengthened my knowledge of public relations and provided me with opportunities to learn beyond the classroom.
I am currently a junior at Loyola University Chicago, majoring in Advertising & Public Relations and minoring in Marketing. As a full-time student, I balance nine course credits with a 30-hour work week, sometimes on the go from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. If I could change a thing, however, I wouldn’t. At this point in my college career, I finally sense all the pieces coming together in a full-circle effect. The lessons I learn in the classroom complement the projects I submit at work, and vice versa. While I’m learning different research methods in COMM363, I’m simultaneously researching potential clients. While I’m working on a group project about artificial intelligence in MARK310, I’m drafting a blog related to AI and its effects on the digital world.
At Hawthorne, I have the privilege of collaborating with clients who support mission-driven work and prioritize the needs of others. It’s easy to be passionate about my job when I’m doing work that benefits others. With these accounts, every day brings something new and exciting. That’s what I love about public relations—it’s timely and always evolving. Even if the next day brings the same tasks as the previous, I'm guaranteed to learn something new.
As an intern, Hawthorne graciously welcomed me onto its team, challenging me to navigate the world of public relations in a hands-on approach. I’m not just an assistant—I’m a team member. I join internal and client meetings, I create social media content, I draft letters, and I do lots and lots of research. I have the perfect balance between being at the front end of communications and navigating the background materials. Having a reliable, experienced team is essential in the workplace, and Hawthorne has offered me the resources and support needed for success. They're available for any questions I have, and I'm not afraid to take control of different projects on my own.
Throughout my time at Hawthorne, I have become more confident as both an intern and a student. I’m honored to be a part of an equally trustworthy and talented team.