Alexandra DeVilling Forges Connections at Chicago Internship

Advertising senior Alexandra DeVilling relocated to the windy city of Chicago, IL this summer for a public relations internship amidst the Bean, deep dish pizza and midwest sport fanatics. She interned for Henson Consulting which was recently rebranded to Agency H5, a fully integrated communications agency. After months of researching summer internships, she became inspired by Henson Consulting’s core values and the work they were producing with national retail clients. DeVilling worked with clients on a daily basis ranging from Pampered Chef to the Dairy Farmers of America at the boutique PR agency.

Working on the consumer side of the agency, Devilling reported to account managers to achieve her daily tasks and agency projects. Crafting media pitches and constructing media lists allowed her to expand her portfolio. She conducted extensive research on client’s new products, studying what media and consumers were saying about them. She also pitched stories to local and national journalists to increase media attention for the agency’s clients. Henson Consulting featured an online blog, HC Trends of the Week, where interns had the opportunity to publish weekly online postings. DeVilling featured food and tourist hotspots and upcoming events in the city.

Overcoming Challenges

DeVilling overcame the fear of moving to a new city and the many challenges that came with it. To make the city feel smaller, she did her research before relocating and reached out to her peers that were also in the city.

“It is important to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone,” DeVilling said. “For me, moving to a new city was a challenge. It takes a lot of readjusting, but it makes you a better person for it, in and out of the workplace.”

DeVilling managed to balance the workload of five clients at one time. On a given day, she would write multiple media pitches, research assignments and blog posts. She would run errands for client projects and assist in event planning. Through organization and time management, DeVilling completed all her projects in a timely manner.

“Working in a fast-paced environment can be overwhelming at times, especially if it is your first time in an agency environment,” DeVilling said. “It took time to improve my time management skills, but I learned the importance of asking questions.”

Importance of Work Culture

As an intern or employee, the work environment can make or break your experience at a company. It is important to investigate a company’s culture and their values while applying. DeVilling researched the agency’s website before applying and discovered how their core values aligned with hers. The  environment at Agency H5 became the highlight of her internship.

“Each day when I walked into the office, every person embodied kindness, creativity, integrity and passion,” DeVilling said. “The environment allowed me to feel comfortable to ask questions, which allowed me to grow as an employee.”

DeVilling forged connections with her mentors and peers at the agency, while building relationships with different journalists from Forbes, Bon Appetit, Food Network Magazine, and Women’s Day. She now has the essential connections in the industry as she applies for full-time positions after her graduation in May.

By Brooke Segal