I had the fantastic opportunity to work at the Orange County Business Council (OCBC) this fall semester. OCBC is the leading voice of business on important issues locally, regionally and nationally. The organization works to enhance Orange County’s economic development and prosperity to preserve a high quality of life among all of its residents. The company serves pro-business interests so that the region’s economy will continue to expand. This requires the company to develop strategic partnerships and innovative programs, which pertains precisely to what I have learned while majoring in strategic and corporate communication.
I worked under Byron de Arakal, who is head of the Communication department, along with Sabra Ritters who is the Vice President of Marketing and Events at OCBC. I had the opportunity to partake in setting up events such as workforce development meetings, to ensure employers had steady talent ready to meet the demands of a 21st-century global economy. OCBC works with community partners to identify the county’s educational attainment needs, which includes advocating for a greater focus on S.T.E.A.M. disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).
Another event I was able to assist in involved our “Election Day Luncheon.” This lunch was an afternoon full of political humor and fun that OCBC hosts after every election day. The event consisted of food, and derivative spinoffs of pop-culture humor aimed playfully at local politicians and figures such as President Trump and Hillary Clinton. This event was completely unexpected, and at first pretty uncomfortable. I was not sure if anyone was going to be offended with the punditry, pontification, and prognostication thrown at both parties. However, everyone laughed and took the sarcastic comments directed toward their specific party fairly well. This type of event made me realize how grateful I was for the corporate culture of OCBC. I was blessed to work in a place where people at that specific luncheon truly wanted the best for Orange County, despite the preconceived notions and outcomes they might have longed for in an election.
In regard to applying specific curriculum from required SCC classes, I found that Research Methods (SCC 295) and Microeconomics (ECON 200) were the most helpful when completing tasks at OCBC. The research methods course emphasizes learning how to find foundational statistics for social, behavioral, and organizational sciences. I found that this focus was relevant when writing for the OCBC Indicator Newsletter because it forced me to apply statistical analyses in assessing the effectiveness of message campaigns put out by local businesses and schools. Moreover, I would not have been able to write and advocate for statewide infrastructure or a growing workforce if I had not taken microeconomics. It was critical to be able to comprehensively understand the effects of supply and demand, pricing in competitive and non-competitive markets, public choice, and environmental economics. Lastly, I found that taking an English class while practicing journalism at work was incredibly convenient as well. When writing press releases or any material for the newsletter, I was forced to practice news gathering and concise writing. These types of skills stand as a point of emphasis throughout the English Theory and Practice of Journalism course (ENG 215). My writing skills coincided with writing acceptable news headlines, feature stories, editorials, and critical reviews for OCBC.
Altogether, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities Orange County Business Council provided. Coming into this position, I felt unsure as to where my career was going and lacked confidence about what I was capable of bringing to such a prestigious organization. However, I am proud to say I have not only expanded my resume, but also feel more adequately prepared for any work environment, and can confidently produce on pivotal research that effects measurable outcomes for any organization. This internship has given me a better understanding of my skill set and where my career may take me, but most importantly, I have come to learn that I am not alone. This job has taught me that almost everybody is in a similar position. Very few college students know what they want to do, and it is something that is just not worth worrying about. It is a matter of taking that first step in just merely calling and talking with someone about what their organization is about, and if that interests you, look into interviewing with them. You never know until you try.