Personal development is an active, ongoing process. It’s about altering your mindset by increasing self awareness, investing in yourself and embracing, and overcoming challenges. Although personal development may seem daunting, it happens in a number of ways, and can have a direct impact on your professional development as well. For each person, personal development is different. It may be taking a leap of faith by submitting an application to your dream job, or it could be as simple as making your bed every morning. Improving yourself, and welcoming a growth mindset, is a commitment and doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, in order to achieve a growth mindset, you must actively move with intention.

As I finish my final semester as a Chapman student, I find myself reflecting upon the decisions which brought me to this point. I started as a business administration major and soon switched over to strategic and corporate communication, minoring in image-text interface. I joined the Chapman women’s basketball team and learned the importance of perseverance, hard work, and dedication. I took interterm classes and stacked my class schedule during the fall and spring semesters so I could graduate early. Each of these decisions came with pros and cons, and each of these decisions ended with wins and losses — but all of these decisions, I’d like to think, I made with intention.

In June, I began a marketing internship at Torch, a leadership and development company headquartered in San Francisco. Yet prior to receiving this opportunity, I spent multiple months searching for remote internships and submitting applications through Indeed, LinkedIn, and Handshake. After all of these efforts ended in no response or rejection, I felt pretty defeated. I stopped applying and decided that even if I didn’t have an internship, it was good I had the experience of submitting a resume, interviewing, and accepting rejection. Soon after, an opportunity at Torch arose. Although I hadn’t originally applied there, I’d like to think that it was by moving with intention that I was able to network, connect and secure this opportunity.

Along the way, it was the relationships I had with family members, coaches, mentors, and teachers who provided me with the direction I needed to succeed and attain this internship. Torch believes in these relationships and the power of them to drive personal development. The startup was founded in 2017 and has been built by executive coaches, psychologists, and entrepreneurs. With an emphasis on the importance of relationships, Torch combines coaching, mentoring and peer learning with behavioral science in order to assist companies with leadership development. As a marketing intern, it was imperative for me to have a firm grasp of Torch’s values so that each project I worked on exemplified these characteristics and accurately portrayed the company.

As a summer intern, my position was fairly general. Torch doesn’t have an established internship program, so when I joined the team there wasn’t a specific path I had to follow or a checklist of action items I had to complete. It was up to me and the marketing team to decide my role, where I fit in, and how I could make a positive impact on the team and my own professional development.

Being able to work across roles with each member of the team was my favorite part of the internship. I collaborated closely with all seven members of my team ranging from a communications designer to the marketing operations manager, and reported to our chief marketing officer. This small team of seven is incredibly gifted, intelligent, and supportive. Each of them brought me into their world of marketing and gave me the opportunity to explore their area of expertise. Most notably, I worked in Salesforce and Marketo, conducted messaging and positioning testing, helped create a social media strategy from scratch, looked into customer journeys, conducted competitor research, held calls for conference and event opportunities, and created sponsored content advertisements. Besides getting an immense breadth of experience from the flexibility of my role, this also allowed me to foster relationships with my co-workers. This even extended beyond the Zoom computer screen when I attended a work retreat in Santa Rosa, California, and got to meet the team in person.

My most important takeaway from this internship is the importance of applying yourself and speaking up. It was due to my team’s continued patience, guidance, and support that a working environment which made me feel like a valued member of the team was fostered. Although I don’t have the years of experience that some of my colleagues do, I confidently put myself forward, spoke up during calls, and moved with intention each step of the way. I am incredibly grateful for my teammates and Torch for practicing what they preach. It’s the power of relationships like these and the experiences I’ve had within this internship that have allowed me to develop professionally. I’m happy to say my time with Torch isn’t over. I have recently accepted a position following my graduation this December as Torch’s Content and Communications Specialist and I am extremely excited to continue our incredible work building conscious and effective leaders.