By Hannah Thornton, WE Microsoft Team Intern
It’s 7:30PM in Spain, May 6, 2013, and I’m sweating profusely. My backpack bumps furiously against my sticky back as I race through the tiny streets of Seville. I check the time on my dual-face watch, one set to Seattle, the other to Spain; ten minutes to spare. I reach the enormous wooden door to my homestay and jam my clammy hand into the pocket of my shorts. Empty. Where a large silver key should have been, I found lint and a 10 cent euro.
The much anticipated day had come, my Waggener Edstrom summer internship interview. Between bullfights and nights at discotecas I had prepared, studied and planned everything for this moment. I could envision my prized notebook, full of scribbles and potential interview answers carefully thought out and worded. I saw it in my mind, laying on the bed just two flights up, two flights I couldn’t reach.
I sent a dozen frantic texts in English and Spanish to my roommate and host mother, all the while hoping one of them might pop up around the corner, key in hand. Shoving the phone back in my empty pocket, I leaned back against the cool concrete wall and took a breath. What to do? I looked around, a rather bedraggled but harmless looking Spanish man in a faded and mis-buttoned plaid shirt sat on a stoop next door. It was the only place around to sit, and I needed to collect my thoughts. He looked increasingly more uncomfortable as I approached, until I was about two feet away he plucked his bottle of Cruz Campo off the ground and trudged away. The stoop now open, I gingerly pushed what might have been his cardboard home aside and plopped down beside it. Six minutes to spare.
I swung off my now damp backpack and jerked it open in front of me. I had come from my clase de gastronomía, a tasting class where we sampled different Spanish ham, wine, and sweets each week. My backpack held a water bottle, the calendar of a gym I was considering joining, and a tiny fold up umbrella. Now looking back I have no clue why it made the trip to class. The calendar was the only piece of paper, and I dug around until I located a dying pen. I folded the paper and used my knee as a table. Wracking my brain for every tidbit of wisdom in the notebook, I wrote furiously.
Sevillanos, a people who find no shame in staring at a spectacle, craned their necks to look at me as they walked by, the silly American girl sitting on a homeless man’s perch. I wrote everything my fried brain could think of in the dripping heat; strengths, weaknesses, strengths disguised as weaknesses, why PR? Why Waggener Edstrom?
I clicked back my pen and checked the time. 30 seconds. I brought the phone out of my pocket and held it in my hand. My eyes flicked over my crazed notes. And the phone rang.
Months later I find myself sitting in a plush arm chair at my desk in Bellevue, Washington. My stoop-side interview must have done the trick, and after studying for four months in Seville I began my internship with Waggener Edstrom. As a Spanish major, journalism and statistics double minor, my PR knowledge was admittedly limited, but my desire to learn and love of a good challenge were in full force.
I have learned so much during my eight weeks with Waggener Edstrom. Whether it was a spontaneous trip to FedEx to seed Microsoft products, sitting in on a brand strategy meeting, or routing a particularly tricky media request, I learned that Waggener Edstrom means passion. Passion is reflected in every aspect of the business and the people who make it the world class agency it is.