This week Lysbeth and I were able to debrief Pasadena, do some class planning, and go over my internship evaluation. She gave me 5’s down the line for the internship evaluation with the one exception of a 4 in professional dress. We actually did not talk about that 4, but it is not surprising given our cultural and age differences. Professional appearance is something I really struggle with, not because I dress immodestly or poorly, but as a larger (yet not “large”) woman with limited funds I find it incredibly difficult to find clothes that work with my body type, are comfortable and movable for doing facilitation work, and are affordable. In addition, various symptoms of my multiple sclerosis are constantly on my mind when choosing clothes to wear. For example, in Pasadena where it was 95+ degrees, I had to be mindful of my heat intolerance, or knowing that my bladder can become an issue at any time I tend towards athletic fabrics that won’t show an accident and that I have multiple pairs of so I can easily change with little to-do. And don’t get me started on shoes! When you can feel your feet, it is really hard to wear anything cute, let alone anything with a heel.
Professional appearance aside, Lysbeth talked mainly about how impressed she was with my understanding of group process design, as well as my ability to jump into a completely different culture and get quickly up to speed to make sense of the case development I was doing. She mentioned that there would have been no way that she could have taken on the Pasadena contract without having help. This comment made me further think about the value of having a partner for consulting, it can be really difficult to take on solo contracting: it is either feast or famine, and when there is a feast it is hard to be both in the kitchen and playing host. We didn’t talk much about my role in assisting with the class, other than my focus on detail and organization being key for managing the many moving pieces of role plays. Finally, we talked about the use of cloud tools that I have introduced to increase efficiency, such as google documents and students signing up using WeJoinIn.
Although we completed it towards the end of my summer term, Lauren and I went over my mid-project evaluation/check-in this week–considering that this internship will be continuing possibly for the remainder of the school year, it might just be accurate as mid-internship. For ratings, she gave me 5s in all categories except a 4 in punctuality. This was mainly because of the mix-up in meeting start times for our team brainstorm, which she acknowledges was not my fault, nevertheless, punctuality is something I can admit to needing to work on (and care more about in general).
She originally also had given me a 4 in demonstrating understanding of organizational mission and goals, but after observing me complete an interview she changed that to a 5. She was impressed at how much I have managed to soak up in such a little time and what a seemingly comprehensive understanding I have of the complexities and inter-workings of personalities within this project. I honestly feel like I have only touched the tip of the iceberg, but in talking with Lauren, Steve, and Jim I do understand that I have been granted a very unique window into this project as the first person to really sit down and listen with completely open ears to each individual one at a time since probably the case assessment was done years ago.
Her final comment really touched me. She complimented me on how “brave” I have been to just go out and do these interviews with complete strangers and in far flung locations. I never think of myself as brave, I’m such an introvert in the classical social, mingling scenes, but this isn’t the first time I’ve been labeled as such. I suppose it is one of my greatest strengths I bring to a project. I have no fear of power, given appropriate circumstances, I have no problem talking to any big wig in any big fancy, metal screening building. I grew up an only child with more adults than kids for friends till I was half way through primary school. I forget that not everyone fears the playground, but relishes the opportunity to talk to the principal over lunch. I still need to figure out the playground (or the networking happy hour), but I can’t forget that I bring a different type of bravery to the table.
Had a mid-project, or really more like pre-project check-in with Mari and Sarah today. Since they as NPCC are basically contractors, they have less ability to direct the interns so wanted to check-in to see how things are going. Overall, aside from thinking we bought two wide of binders (ha!), things are going well and I am super excited for the upcoming Citizens Initiative Review. I’m still not exactly sure what my tasks will be during the event, but I will be ready to jump in to anything.