NextGroup Logo in white

Blog Post

Celebrating NextGroup’s 5th Anniversary: 5 Insights from My Internship Journey by Caroline Butter

In honor of NextGroup’s 5th anniversary, I’d like to share five invaluable lessons I’ve learned during my year as a marketing and communications intern at NextGroup. 

As a student, much of my time is spent contemplating my future. It seems that every conversation I have eventually turns to questions about my career plans. The uncertainty can be daunting and overwhelming.

In response to this, I’ve seized every opportunity to learn and explore. I’ve ventured into fields such as marketing, education, finance and consulting, driven by a hunger for knowledge and experience. I’ve spent time networking with anyone willing to discuss life and career advice. 

Along this journey, I’ve picked up hard skills from my education and pre-professional experiences. However, the most valuable lessons have come from observing the people and environment around me. I am excited to share these insights, hoping that they resonate with NextGroup’s audience of talented and inspiring women actively working to take control of their futures.

1. The Power of a Strong Company Culture

When I started at NextGroup last spring, I was apprehensive about integrating into a remote work environment. To me, people are the most important part of any workplace, so I was unsure how I would interact and connect with my colleagues. However, my nerves were quickly alleviated. The bright culture at NextGroup shines through in every interaction, fostering a sense of belonging and community even from a distance. Whether it was a virtual Holiday card with the team’s faces edited onto a pan of cookies or a quick, fun email exchange, my fellow team members have gone above and beyond to foster a warm, welcoming, and collaborative environment. This experience has taught me that a strong company culture transcends physical boundaries, and personality does not need to be kept out of the workplace. 

2. Learning Through Observation

This internship was my first chance to observe seasoned professionals in action. My colleagues at NextGroup are decisive and quick thinkers. Watching how they handle tasks, make decisions, solve problems, and interact with clients has provided me with practical insights that can’t be gleaned from textbooks alone. Further, the women at NextGroup have become strong role models and mentors for me. They wear many hats as entrepreneurs, founders, leaders, and family members, showing me what it means to be successful in more ways than one.

3. Trust yourself

Impostor syndrome is real. There have been many times I felt underqualified, thinking “Why would a company hire me?”, or “Everyone else is better at this than me.” These thoughts can spiral into unproductive patterns that hinder both personal and professional growth. Over the past year, I’ve practiced approaching these emotions differently. I’ve learned that people want to help, and they recognize that everyone has to start from somewhere. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Each individual has unique strengths that they bring to a team, so comparing oneself to others isn’t valuable. With confidence, hard-work, adaptability, and willingness to learn, you can do anything put in front of you.

4. Value of mentorship

Weekly coaching calls, quick coffee chats, and meaningful conversations stemming from questions of curiosity have inspired some of my most memorable interactions this last year. I am incredibly grateful to have formed close relationships with people who are invested in my future and success. I am grateful for the support and encouragement every step of the way. I recognize how these people have inspired and impacted me, and I look forward to giving back to others when the opportunity arises for me in the future. 

5. Say yes! Everything is an opportunity

One of the most transformative lessons I’ve learned during my internship at NextGroup is the power of saying “yes.” Throughout my time here, I’ve been encouraged to try new things and step outside of my comfort zone. Whether it was taking on a project I had little experience with or volunteering for a task that seemed daunting at first, saying yes has opened doors to numerous learning opportunities. If you don’t know how to do something, add the word “yet” to the end of your sentence and approach the task with a willingness to learn. Adopting this mindset has helped me develop a versatile skill set. Every task, no matter how small, can be a stepping stone to greater opportunities if you approach it with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.