Tag Archive: internship


an exciting announcement

The proposal that Lindsay and I did was approved!  And now, for the big news:  Beleza is going on eBay!  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking pictures, writing product descriptions and setting up shop on eBay.  We won’t just list items, but will make a dedicaded storefront within the eBay community.  This will help with branding and will allow users to view all of our products at once.  So, if someone searches for agate necklace, they may just find our little fair trade store and all of the wonderful things we have to offer.  Lindsey learned some new skills about cost-benefit analysis and how to write a business report.  This kind of skill development is why our internship is so useful – we get to create!  If you manage a store on eBay, I would love to learn from your experiences.  We will all keep you posted as progress begins…

eBay logo

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january is for jumping back in

After a hiatus for break, the interns are back on track.  We have restructured a little bit to make our work more efficient.  We all meet at the same time now instead of having separate meeting times.  As PDail gets ready to co-lead a relief trip to Haiti, the interns have a big surprise for everyone.  I can’t tell you what it is yet, but be looking out for some exciting new things.  We’ve come up with some excellent goals to improve the amount of online traffic we receive.  Selling our handmade crafts and jewelry can be difficult online, but we have some cool solutions in the works.

In other news, I will be investigating how fair trade and microcredit loans are interrelated in my senior research for International Studies.  I am excited to be able to apply things I have learned in my degrees towards my work with Beleza.  The Caldwell Fellows and I just invested in a microcredit loan to help a farmer in Ecuador buy more farming equipment.  He is producing oranges, cassava, corn and cacao.  We used kiva.org as the broker for the loan.

Josè Narciso Quinatoa Arias

Meet Josè Narciso Quinatoa Arias, the borrower.

developing new skills

Today, the web team is going to meet to learn how to use dreamweaver.  Adobe offers free training materials on their website, so Tracy and the other interns are going to learn how to use some of the features.    I am excited that this internship is going to teach them new skills while they are helping a worthy cause.

In other news, the non-profit focus group has had a couple of meetings now and they are reading over the non-profit laws and doing some basic research.  The interns are really enthusiastic.  I and they have a lot to learn before we can proceed with making any concrete plans.

In other news, we are still high in the search results when you run a google search for “fair trade.”  This is really really exciting!  We thought it was temporary but it has stayed.  I think this blog has a lot to do with it.  Another search term we want to optimize is “fair trade store,” because if people are going shopping then they might search for this instead of just searching fair trade.

We have some very talented students.  I am delighted that so many freshman and sophomores have stepped up to the plate.  My e-mail is also flooded with requests from others who want to participate, but I can’t coordinate that many people all at once!  (I also have a managerial job with a staff of 15, so right now I’m leading 27 people…)

The institute for non-profits has put posters all over campus about the myths of working for a non-profit.  It’s nice to see this publicity.  Hopefully we can begin a partnership with them soon.  Our non-profits team leader, Kenneth, knows some of the people there and is pursuing the minor.  I’m excited to see this relationship grow.

i gantt keep track of it all!

A couple of years ago I learned some project management skills in a business class.  Although I have given the interns near complete autonomy, I suggested (but did not require) that they use Gantt charts to keep track of their projects.  Since there will be many interns working on each project, they will be able to access a google doc that will serve as a log for tasks completed for each project.  A Gantt chart is a graphical way to show all of the tasks that need to be completed for a project and when each task should be started and finished.  It’s a neat tool for us visual people; plus it automatically updates whenever you change dates or add tasks.  You can even zoom in and out to view time by hours, days, weeks, months and years.

Gantt Chart

Gantt Chart for making an informational pamphlet about the store

so many resources

Today, I made a presentation at the National Outreach Scholarship Conference downtown for some volunteer work with Cultural Correspondents while I was abroad in Spain.  After my presentation, I had the chance to attend two sessions relevant to our work at Beleza.  The first session was about building nonprofit infrastructure capacity within the university.  There were two speakers from the NC State Institute for Nonprofits and one from Habitat for Humanity.  I had the chance to meet Dr. Mary Tscirhart, who is going to meet with one of the professors from the non-profits minor at State to see how they can help with the focus group.  Later, I went to a session on economic development, partially becuase it was of personal interest.  A speaker from Penn State University, New Kensington campus also started a 501(c)3 non-profit to better the New Kensington community.  I had the chance to speak with him about how involved the process was, and one of his recommendations was to search for an attorney who would be interested in providing pro-bono services.  I am looking for someone who is interested in helping our cause but can find ways to let the interns participate.  If anyone has contacts, let us know!

situational leadership

I met with some of the interns on Friday.  They will be introducing themselves on the blog soon.  Today, I used the skill called Situational Leadership to help guide the interns in to their first shift.  Although there is a team leader, she does not yet know everything that needs to be done with the site.  Part of the situational leadership model is that when a new group is forming, there is lots of enthusiasm but low skills and knowledge amongst the team members.  Therefore, the leader needs to use a directing style of leadership to eliminate confusion.

Because this is an internship, the interns will be creating their own projects but today I sent them a long e-mail detailing what they should do for their first shift.  I’m also going to stop by halfway through to check on them.  As they become a more solid team, I will be able to back off and only occasionally have to delegate tasks; the team will run itself.  Most of my work for this internship is going to be at the front end.  Once things become more established I think we are going to see the synergistic effects of teamwork!

I learned about situational leadership through the National Youth Leadership Training Program, The Shelton Leadership Center, The Caldwell Fellows and LeaderShape.  Here’s a good graphic that explains it:

Situational Leadership

Situational Leadership

non-profit or not?

When PDail started the store 6 years ago, an attorney advised him that becoming a non-profit entity would be too much of a headache and hold him back. There is a Nonprofit Studies program at NC State. My goal is to create a non-profit focus group. These interns will do research to see if becoming non-profit is feasable, list advantages and disadvantages, and make a presentation to the owner. If the owner decides it will be in the best interest of the store to become non-profit, the interns will devise a plan and carry out the conversion of the store. I’m currently in contact with a faculty member from NC State to see if the students can get course credit.