PLEN is an organization that will always be special to me. It saw me grow from a young naive college student trying to figure out what she wants to do into a working woman pursuing her goals and employed at her dream organization. When I was first introduced to PLEN as a sophomore in college, I had no idea how much influence it would have on me today as a recent college graduate. When I accepted my position as the summer development intern, I had three goals that I set for myself to accomplish before the end of summer: increase my knowledge on what it means to run a non-profit organization, increase my professional skills and to use the lessons and connections that PLEN has taught me to find a full time job. I can say with great certainty that I have successfully accomplished my three goals by the end of this summer.
One of my most valuable takeaways from this experience is learning the entire behind the scenes work of what it takes to run a successful nonprofit. I like to think of nonprofits like well-oiled machines in that it takes many moving parts to successfully run one. One of the great things about PLEN is that they have such dedicated employees that care so passionately about the organization and want to see it grow. From my short time in the office, I have seen Sarah, Sam and Hayley work tremendously hard in planning upcoming seminars, planning local DC events for alumnae and for keeping the board members involved in every step of the way. Not many organizations can say they have as strong as workers as PLEN. Through Sam’s guidance, I learned so much about the development and fundraising side of a nonprofit. Many people do not realize all of the hard work that goes on to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
The professional skills that I learned along the way have also really helped prepare me for the transition into the working world. PLEN taught me the importance of networking, and I was able to apply the skills I learned to our happy hour alumnae event in DC this summer. I was able to connect with women who I had met before, but also had the chance to meet some new and amazing women. These happy hour events allow alumnae from all over DC to meet and talk about work and life and connections. During this event, I was able to meet women from all different backgrounds and working in so many different fields. I am most excited about these in the future and hopefully meeting some more interesting women.
My third and final goal for the summer was to use the lessons and skills that PLEN has taught me to find a full time job. I am so happy that during my last week of my internship, I was offered a full time job at Share Our Strength, an organization that is working to end childhood hunger. During the summer, the PLEN staff sat with me during my multiple in person interviews and was so supportive along the way. It was so nice to have a team rallying behind me to help me. I am so beyond happy to have ended up where I am today and continue to use skills PLEN taught me every day at work.
I am still amazed at how fast this summer went by. I remember my first day and walking into the office so excited for what would be in store for the next three months. I can confidently say that I have learned more during my internship with PLEN than with any other internship I have had. I am so grateful for PLEN for taking me under their wing and letting me grow into the person I am today. As I said before, PLEN is a special organization and I am so honored to be a small part of the process. Thank you for everything, PLEN!
Sophie Alphas is a summer Development Intern with PLEN this summer, where her responsibilities include assisting with fundraising and development. Sophie attended the PLEN Women, Law and Legal Advocacy as a sophomore in the fall of 2014. She is from Weston, Massachusetts and recently graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology and a minor in European Studies with an overall focus in Gender Systems.