Insights from an Intern

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
– William Butler Yeats

By Scott Solomon, W@F 2013 Marketing Intern

Find a job. That was my goal heading into this summer.

The words job hunt seem to spread fear and trepidation in most college grads these days. I was no different – young, unsure, and unemployed. Looking back, my internship with Women@TheFrontier was exactly what I needed. It forced me out of my comfort zone and eventually gave me the confidence I sorely lacked. It was an opportunity. Thankfully, I took it.

I met Susan while I was working at Hypepotamus, a non-profit startup dedicated to the betterment of the Atlanta startup community and supporting young entrepreneurs like me. I was fortunate enough to turn a 3-day volunteer opportunity with Hypepotamus into a 40-hour a week full-time job.

I just kept showing up and doing what I could to make the organization better. I made enough of an impact and worked hard everyday until eventually they hired me. It was a trial-by-fire startup situation, but it was a blast and a tremendous learning experience. It also put me in the position to work with Women@TheFrontier.

Which brings me back to meeting Susan and to the beginning of my internship with Women@TheFrontier. It started when I overheard Susan mention Ray Kurzweil’s name. As a nerd and futurist, the fact that she knew Ray was just too cool and I had to say something. So, we spoke about her involvement with Singularity University and soon began speaking about her new project – Women@TheFrontier. Ten minutes later, I was hooked. The concept seemed so simple, yet no one was doing it. No one was providing a voice for the women whose lives have been devoted to the advancement of science, technology and entrepreneurship. Why? History always remembers the men who have made this world the place it is today, but what about the other side of the coin? It was fun talking to Susan about Women@TheFrontier and hearing the passion behind her words. It felt special. It was inspiring. It was amazing to see and hear just how many women on the cutting-edge slip through the cracks unnoticed.

That was one of the first things I discovered from this experience. I began to learn, appreciate, and understand women game-changers in a way that I wouldn’t have without working at Women@TheFrontier.

I learned about the importance and impact that attitude can have on a team- how passion can fuel and motivate. It was fascinating to see what our small team of mostly interns was able to accomplish in such a short time. The best part, it never felt like work, it felt like we were making a difference.

That’s what you get when you work for a startup. The people involved have devoted their lives and careers to the company. Almost everyone is a go-getter and a game-changer in their own way. The people who work for startups operate on a different schedule and there just isn’t time for hesitation. If you don’t do what needs to get done, it simply won’t get done.

Women@TheFrontier gave me confidence in my ability to make an impact, regardless of what I was doing. I did things that were out of my comfort zone, made mistakes, and met some amazing people. Both Women@TheFrontier and Hypepotamus gave me the insight I needed to start looking for the right job for me. I found that job, but it would have never been possible without a startup internship and elbow grease. I learned more than I would have ever imagined in only a couple of months. It was fun and exhausting, but without a doubt, an amazing and fulfilling experience.

With start-ups, you’re closer to the action, closer to the failures and triumphs, but when it’s all said and done, you just end up closer to the people. And frankly, that’s why startups rock!

Image courtesy of Idea go/