More Than I Imagined: Lessons from my Rhudy & Co. Internship

I have spent the last three months as the summer intern for Rhudy & Co. As I reflect on a summer well-spent with the Rhudy team, I am realizing the numerous ways I have become better prepared for my final year at James Madison University. Further, I am recognizing the importance of interning as a college student to gain skills for life, business, and this crazy thing we call “the real world.”

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I would like to preface this blog post by saying that classes, professors, exams, and studying are wonderful tools. College teaches you the fundamentals while doing the best it can to prepare you for your chosen career. However, books and theory can only do so much. I’m here to share with you the unique lessons that internships teach college students. 

1.     Build relationships within your field

Make connections. Network. Form relationships.

These are all phrases that are reiterated to young professionals. What they don’t tell you, is that it can sometimes be hard to go out and connect on your own.

By interning for a company or firm, you make different connections weekly and sometimes even daily. The relationships you form can teach you countless skills, help you to collaborate, and increase your chances of finding a career after college.

You never know where a short conversation can lead you. 

My personal experience at Rhudy & Co. has encouraged me to talk to anyone I meet, both in and out of the office. You never know where a short conversation can lead you. 

2.     Learn how to accomplish tasks on a real world timeline

It isn’t uncommon for a project to be assigned and due the same day. Sometimes, you have to work as efficiently as possible to meet a client’s needs. By getting first-hand experience, you learn the importance of doing your best work at your best speed. This skill is beneficial to both schoolwork and a job post-graduation. 

3.     Figure out where you belong and what you like

It is almost impossible to figure out exactly what you want in a career until you experience, learn, and discover what you have a passion for and where you succeed. By interning, you can learn where in your field you fit in and what specific jobs are the best for you.

I quickly learned at Rhudy & Co. that the field of strategic communications is something that interests me. While just studying in school, I wasn’t always sure where I saw myself in the communications field. Now, I’ve learned what area I enjoy, which will give me a leg-up when I enter the real world.  

4.     Good people make for good business

If you trust and respect your colleagues, business will be better.

The people you work with make a difference. Working with good, honest, and kind-hearted individuals make it easier to connect and build relationships. If you trust and respect your colleagues, business will be better.

By far, this is the biggest lesson I learned while interning with Rhudy & Co. My team members were just as eager to teach as I was to learn. Without these outstanding people, I would never know what to look for in a future career. It’s not always just about the job, but those surrounding you in that job. 

Kristen Livingston is a senior at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., studying creative advertising. As a native Richmonder, she misses her daily walks to Stella’s for quinoa shakers in Rhudy & Co.’s work neighborhood of Scott’s Addition.


Meet Frank Wyatt: Our Favorite Nonagenarian #RVA Innovator

Frank Wyatt is a 91-year-old businessman and Rhudy & Co.’s inspirational landlord. Mr. Wyatt began his journey in the business world at age 11, as a newspaper carrier. Growing up with a business-minded father, Mr. Wyatt gained his entrepreneurial spirit and his passion for hard work. From the automobile industry, to the farm, to finding a passion for commercial real estate, Mr. Wyatt has done it all. 

Rhudy & Co. loves finding inspiration, especially in our own neighborhood. We sat down with Mr. Wyatt to hear his eight-decade journey in the business world and to learn how he ended up as the owner of the Curles Neck Dairy building, here in Scott’s Addition. Enjoy this interview and be inspired by one of our favorite, RVA neighbors.

Do you know an RVA innovator we should highlight? 
Send us a Facebook message with the details.

 

Top 3 Things I’ve Learned Interning at Rhudy & Co.

In January, I became Rhudy & Co.’s first official intern. Even though it was only a month, I’ve spent time learning the ins and outs of strategic communication and have truly fallen in love.

The Team
From my first day I was given a position where people spent time valuing my input. The world of strategic communications is very hands on, and it often takes many minds working together to make our mission flourish. Creating innovative ways to go about business strategy, video production, content, and design work does not happen without the ability to listen and the intention to make a positive impact.   

I believe that a large part of why Rhudy & Co. is successful is the relationship that we have with each other. When clients come to us with a challenge, it truly feels that we work together as a family to meet the challenge.

The team is a family, the work is rewarding, and the story of my experience with Rhudy & Co. is unlike any other.

The Story
I chose communication as my major because it is broad, even though I’ve known specifically what I’ve wanted to pursue for 12 years. I promised myself that I would branch out and try something that would still provide me with graduating credits, but would be different from the field of Meteorology where I hope to land.  

I believe that Rhudy & Co. has undergone some of that same process.  When they opened their firm in 2003, they were the traditional public relations firm focusing on tactical execution with much less strategy than we use today.

In the business now, we have several meetings with different clients and amongst ourselves where we focus on strategy and the tactical execution comes later. In order to maintain a company of our kind, it was important to evolve along with the birth of social media platforms and the growing strength of technology.  

This culture is comforting for a 20-year-old college student, and potentially for others, as many often fall into a rut of believing we must have all of the answers today. However just like Rhudy & Co., the world will change, we will move accordingly, and it will all work out for the best.  

The Work
I’ve heard people say, “I’m majoring in communication because it’s easy.” For some time, I thought that it was a safe choice, because I knew I’d never be presented with tough mathematical problems and no one would ever look to me in desperation in the same way that one may look to a doctor.  

Our job is literally to create ideas that don’t yet exist.  

I was wrong in my thinking.  It turns out that we have fun, we’re easy going, our environment is beautiful, but our industry is in fact rich with hard work.

Sure, classes may feel straightforward, but in real-world application, I’ve seen some of the most brilliant minds work together on really tough projects. We may be presented with an issue where managers and employees miscommunicate, or we need a new way to inspire members of a company.

If you’ve ever tried to think of a new color or taste, that’s how difficult this work is. The most amazing part of it all is watching the company come together in high spirits and make the impossible possible.  


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Dominga Murray, a sophomore at Hollins University, is majoring in communication and hopes to one day be a meteorologist.  The oldest of three children and the proud mother of two cats, Dominga’s greatest accomplishment is serving as the founder and director of a nonprofit called Helping Hands. This June, she’ll compete for Miss Virginia.