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September 21, 2023 | Posted by: Kayla Alford
A People-First Culture: My PHM Co-op Experience
Kayla Alford, Talent Program Associate
As a student at Drexel University, the six-month co-op internship is an important time in our tenure. The six months of work experience allow students to walk away from these professional experiences knowing what it’s like to work in the real world. After successfully completing two co-ops, I thought I had figured out what type of role I wanted to have after graduation. I knew I wanted to be in the talent space working in a position that would have a direct impact on those around me – and I thought that was all that mattered. I wasn’t prepared for the depth of the experience and what it would teach me.
When I interviewed for the Talent Programs Associate role at PHM, I immediately felt welcomed. My soon-to-be managers, Dennice Anderson and Madeline Parisi, spoke to me openly about expectations for the role as well as the environment at PHM. Most importantly, they wanted to get to know me as a person and make sure I felt like PHM was a good fit for me as much as they wanted to make sure I was a good fit for the role. After that conversation, I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to work for PHM. It immediately seemed like they cared about me, my experiences and what I would learn from my time here.
Going into my first day, I worried that only Dennice and Madeline would be this welcoming. I wasn’t sure if I misunderstood their enthusiasm in welcoming me and the other new co-ops to our respective teams and the entire agency. Luckily, I was proven wrong. Working at PHM has truly helped me see the importance of connectivity on a team. The Talent team welcomed me with open arms and were excited to help me succeed. Dennice, Madeline and I are always working to better understand each other on our weekly calls. Every Friday, we ask each other “What have you done this week that you’re proud of?” Answers can range from something within our work or something that made us smile outside the office.
Since starting in April, my team has shown how much they trust me by including me in discussions on many of our team’s key initiatives. Most notable among these initiatives is this year’s Career Month. The month-long initiative offers a range of career development opportunities for PHMers to support overall growth and enhance talent engagement. I have never seen anything like it, certainly not in my prior co-ops. It was rewarding to watch our team prioritize presenters and moderators of all backgrounds and strategically choose sessions that will be most impactful to our people. Having the opportunity to help put together Career Month was rewarding and I look forward to seeing each session come to fruition.
PHM has opened my eyes to a culture that is people-first and has shifted my priorities for my first role post-graduation. I doubt there’s anywhere else like PHM, but I know wherever I land, I want it to have this same collaborative atmosphere.
Connect with Kayla on LinkedIn.
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