To conclude the summer internship program, each intern will write about one particular topic or discovery they made while working at Nine13sports. For this one, Myles Chandler, a Master’s student in the Consumer Science and Consumer Behavior program at Purdue University, has tackled the blog:
I am the odd duckling of the 2015 summer interns. I am not interested in pursuing nonprofit work. I am not interested in pursuing entrepreneurship. I am not interested in pursuing sport management. But I tell you what, this internship sure made me wish that I was.
At the beginning of my internship, I had the idea that nonprofit work was kind of boring and slow. I thought that we would toe the line. That isn’t Nine13sport’s way of doing things. The easiest way to put it is that things get done with Tom Hanley. Tom is not the type of boss that leads from behind. One hour, he is discussing corporate partnership opportunities with donors, and the next hour he has his soldering kit out to fix our bike trainer hardware. One hour, he is changing the flat on the Nine13 rig, and the next he is tying a kid’s shoelace before they get on the bike. This guy has poured his talents, connections, vigor, and life into Nine13sports. When Tom asks you to do something, he is trusting you with his child. That level of trust made me a stakeholder in Nine13sport’s success. Not only did I never want to let Tom down, but I knew that my work in the office and on site with kids was making Indianapolis a better place. I want to stress that middle and last part. Other jobs and internships have had me focus on one aspect of the business; development type work in an office, or on the ground working with kids. Nine13’s structure is so flat, I was able to see how the entire organization works. “See” is a bad descriptor. I was able to contribute to every level of Nine13’s operation; grant writing, corporate relations, event planning, social media, AND working with kids.
I signed up for the internship because I wanted to work with bikes, kids, and have fun. I am leaving this internship with an immense appreciation for social entrepreneurship, Nine13sports, and how forward thinking Indianapolis is. So like I said, I am not pursuing the industry that Nine13sports is in, but I wish I was. Nine13sports is doing some amazing things in Indianapolis and around the country.
Additionally, the skill that I improved the most at Nine13sports isn’t really a skill. I learned about the importance of making meaningful connections. Knowing the right people can make all the difference in the world when you need to get something done. Joshua Poertner (former Zipp technical director and owner of SILCA) said it best when he advised me to focus on authentic connections — not the social media connection crap like Facebook and LinkedIn. I made this mistake of focusing on my school work when I was an undergraduate student at Marian. I should have gone out to unique events, met professionals, and gotten my name out there. Luckily, second chances are a thing, and I am a graduate student still in school.