Candid Conversations: The Intern Queen Shares Her Best Career Advice

Featured on Forbes.com for ForbesWomen. Written by Elana Lyn Gross, Contributor

When Lauren Berger was an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida, she interned at 15 companies. "Each internship taught me so much about myself both personally and professionally. When it came to finding these internships and learning how to make the most of them – I could never find any information," she says. In 2008, just two years after graduation, Berger used $5,000 of her personal savings to start the company she wished she had when she was in college.

Intern Queen has a job board, career advice articles and college ambassadors who write for the blog and represent the company on campus. It's free for students, but companies pay to post internships and to work with Intern Queen's campus marketing agency. Berger has written three books, including her most recent book Get It Together: Ditch the Chaos, Do the Work, and Design your Success.

Elana Lyn Gross: What was the pitching and writing process like for Get It Together? What advice would you give to other people who want to write a nonfiction book?

Lauren Berger: Get It Together was my third book, so the pitching process was slightly easier than it was with my first book. That being said, the basics are the same. I pitch the idea to my book agent who I’ve been working with for years. She’s a great sounding board and not afraid to tell me how it is, and I take a stab at putting together a proposal. I send it to the book agent, we get it to a good place, send it around to publishing houses and then ideally the offers start to come to the table. This book actually took years to write and to get to the place where I was happy with it. I worked on it on and off for about three years.

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Gross: What are the top three key takeaways you'd like people to have after reading Get It Together?

Berger: You don’t have to feel so busy all of the time. And better yet – it’s okay not to be busy at all. In fact, I challenge you to tell someone that you aren’t busy or just mention nothing about “being busy” the next time you see someone.

Part of getting it together is dealing with rejection and failure. I have a whole chapter dedicated to this topic – it’s one of my favorites.

You have to prioritize yourself – no one else will. There are ways to redefine your goals and routine. There are ways to do better work, achieve more and feel better at work and at home, but it’s up to you to activate those strategies.

Gross: What are the most important characteristics someone needs to have to be successful in your role?

Berger: Honestly? Embrace rejection, love rejection and expect rejection. It’s tough out there. Be resilient.

Gross: You have thousands of Intern Queen members. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who hope to create an offline and online community?

Berger: Be consistent, have a voice and don’t write content just to write content. Focus on quality over quantity. Build personal one-on-one relationships the best that you can. Word of mouth will always be your best and strongest marketing tool.

Gross: What's the biggest lesson you learned at work, and how did you learn it?

Berger: It’s hard to pick one lesson – I learn so many each day. One lesson is that no matter how big your team is, no one will care as much as you do. At the end of the day, it still falls on you to push your business up the mountain.

Gross: What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?

Berger: I wish I would have known that rejection doesn’t mean never, it just means not right now. Things change, people get promoted and people come around. Hang in there!

Gross: What is the best advice you've ever received?

Berger:  You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. Just ask. What’s the worst that can happen?

Gross: What is your business advice for other young professional women?

Berger: Collaborate, introduce yourself, fail hard and know when to pivot.

Rave Reviews: Soon Yu's best-selling book "Iconic Advantage"

Innovation expert Soon Yu has released his first book Iconic Advantage to rave reviews and on the Amazon best-seller list. Adam Grant says "This book explains why some brands are built to last and others seem doomed to perish. It’s a framework that every marketer can put into play right away."

In Iconic Advantage, Soon takes a look at some of the world’s largest brands to uncover the secrets of creating iconic properties and maximizing the value they create. Further, he reveals to readers the universal principles of iconicity—creating noticing power, enhancing staying power and driving scaling power—to immediately unlock iconic value in their existing products and stack the odds in their favor in developing new properties.

Check out more on the book and get your copy here on Amazon!

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Candid Conversations: Amanda Slavin

With a degree in education and a love for community-building, Amanda Slavin uses her knowledge and experiences for unconventional educational opportunities. As the curator of the founder of CatalystCreativ and Life is Beautiful Festival's IDEAS Series, Amanda knows how to cultivate learning experiences that both excite and inform through engaging speakers. As a speaker herself, Amanda understands the importance of sharing new ideas and engaging with audiences beyond her onstage appearances.

OA: What are you Outspoken about?

AS: I am outspoken about quite a few things! Mainly, I am outspoken about the fact that the advertising industry is shifting, and companies need to embrace and understand true engagement to connect with today’s consumer in an authentic way.  When it comes to internal shifts within the work place, I am outspoken about how work places and culture need to embrace femininity in order to thrive. 

OA: How has your recent work transformed the focus of your content when delivering a speech?

AS: I have always given talks about millennial trends and how that is impacting advertising, but it is much deeper than that regarding today’s consumer, in which we have segmented into millennials and the millennial minded (those who share similar values but are not the same age demographic as millennials).

The more work we do with brands, and test out the methodology of engagement I created during my Masters Year, the more we (at my company CatalystCreativ) see it truly working, and the more I want to share that knowledge with the world.  Since CatalystCreativ focuses on internal and external transformation in companies, I also have become more passionate about speaking about the importance of a feminine workplace and how by embracing femininity, work places can shift to be a space of vulnerability, creativity, and connection to develop more engaging experiences for employees and consumers.   

OA: How do speaking events help your growth?

AS: I have a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, and as a teacher, I absolutely love speaking to audiences.  It helps shape me because it allows for me to develop relationships with people I may not meet otherwise.  It also allows me to learn from audience members and what interests colleagues/potential clients based on their reactions and feedback.

OA: What would you like to see happen more often at events to engage with the audience?

AS: I would really love to see more openness around interactive talks and workshops.  My company CatalystCreativ has created a proprietary internal brand workshop called the Brand Acupuncturist Workshop.  This dives deep with brands to identify “pain points” and come up with solutions that optimize teams and develop creative campaigns, and these workshops provide opportunities for audience members to connect deeply with the facilitator, rather than sitting there passively.

OA: What has been one of the most fulfilling audience experiences at a speaking event and why?

AS: I absolutely loved speaking at The BizBash Event Conference about the work CatalystCreativ has done in regards to impactful experience and millennial trends, the audience was extremely engaged and so many people came up to me after and told me how much they learned from the presentation. 

OA: How can people become more involved with your work, whether that’s CatalystCreativ or your personal interests?

AS: CatalystCreativ has so much to offer when it comes to unique value propositions.  We would love to explore how to work with more brands starting with our internal service offerings and parlaying those offerings into external creative activations.  In terms of my personal interests, I absolutely love to write and facilitate workshops, moderate panels, and participate in conferences even in smaller ways than keynotes, as it allows for me to meet new people and share new ideas.

OA: If you could hear someone give a speech alive or dead, who would it be and why?

AS: Lin-Manuel Miranda.  After seeing him in Hamilton, and reading about him and his story, I am blown away by what he has been able to build for himself, his family, and how he has gone from a teacher in a classroom, to a teacher to the world. 

Rave Reviews: Soon Yu at priMED

“Soon Yu recently spoke at our corporate Sales and Marketing retreat. His energy, enthusiasm, and love of business (and life) was contagious.  Soon immediately had the teams full focus and attention, something that is quite a feat with our team of opinioned and strong personalities.  He proceeded to take us through a fresh and innovative ideation session around our business, strengths, and signature moments which included a breakthrough ideation process. His ability to help our team take a step back from the day to day stress of a growing company and focus on the higher level value that we provide to our customers was refreshing and extremely insightful. I would highly recommend Soon to any business looking for a charismatic, energetic speaker who will energize your team while helping to bring clarity to the key differentiators that help to drive corporate success.”

- priMED Medical Products - January 2017

Rave Reviews: Lauren Berger at PRSSA National Conference

"Lauren energized nearly 1,000 students at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) 2016 National Conference in Indianapolis. When asked about Lauren's session via a survey, attendees raved about her inspiring story and enthusiastic delivery. They also noted that they walked away with tangible advice to apply during their internship and job searches. It takes an impactful speaker to own a room with no visual aids and Lauren did just that — all eyes and ears were on her. Lauren genuinely answered audience questions and made herself available to everyone in the room after the session and via email. Besides being an engaging speaker, Lauren is truly dedicated to helping people pursuing internships and jobs."
 
- PRSSA National Conference - October 2016