A Time of Growth

11 Nov

When I began my Institutional Support internship at American Ballet Theatre, I had no idea what to expect. I had at first been unsure whether this internship was right for me, having little experience in development or ballet, but accepted based on my interest in the company and how much I liked my interviewer, Ebonie, the Associate Director of Institutional Support and Special Campaigns. More than halfway through the internship, I can now say that accepting the position was one of the best choices I have ever made.

From the moment I started at ABT, I felt like part of the development team. On my second day, Ebonie asked me to begin working on three grant proposals, including one for $250,000. I was shocked that she had entrusted me with such a significant task. It has been so refreshing to receive actual responsibility as an intern, since I know this is not always the case. My internship at ABT has allowed me to connect with people across the organization and extended my learning beyond just institutional support. I worked special events, spoken one-on-one with a Marketing Manager, and learn from ABT staff and board members at our weekly intern meetings.

I have learned so much from my participation in this internship, from how to write grants and acknowledgement letters, to how to do prospect research, and the importance of always being prepared to take advantage of networking opportunities, especially in the development field. I attended an ABT at School performance, expecting the event to be casual given that it was being held at a school. Consequently, I wore jeans and a jean jacket (also known as a Canadian tuxedo). I was surprised to see that the ABT staff in attendance were dressed in business clothing. After the performance, my supervisor introduced me to a number of people involved with the outreach program and I was invited to lunch. Partially mortified by my clothing choice and disappointed that I had made plans for after the event, I turned down the offer. This was a significant teaching moment, as I learned the importance of maintaining professionalism and leaving time for unexpected networking on any occasion. I am grateful I experienced this as an intern, as this lesson will be exceptionally useful as I begin my professional career.

Overall, my experience at ABT has been wonderful. I look forward to going into work twice a week, knowing that I will always learn something new and make meaningful contributions to my department. I am incredibly thankful to Ebonie, the development department, and everyone involved in the internship program for giving me such a wonderful experience. ABT has turned this theatre kid into a ballet fan, and I guarantee I will be attending a lot more ballet from here on in.

Liza Hersh

Institutional Support Intern

Fall 2019

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