Being an Intern with HDMSP in Downtown Allentown

Date: Aug 06, 2015

As an Exercise Science student, people are always shocked to hear that I intern with the Allentown Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton District Main Street Program. In the middle of my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to begin serving as Philanthropy Chair for my sorority and learned that event coordination was something I loved. To explore this passion, I sought out a business-related internship that would give me great experience and expose me to a multitude of people. I’m very happy to say that my time with the Chamber has far exceeded my expectations.

Over the summer in my position, I mainly helped manage the Hamilton District Main Street Program’s social media and keep their website up to date. I perused Twitter, Facebook and newspapers seeking to help promote any relevant downtown activity.  I sifted through other organizations’ events to include them on our busy calendar and composed articles on local topics and events. I updated our website whenever a new business joined AMP. I also met many dedicated and friendly board members. Unlike most internships that comprise one large project over the course of the summer, I was able to accomplish a variety of tasks giving me a well-rounded understanding of the Chamber’s role as it pertains to downtown.

I reveled in the many chances the Chamber presented me to attend and experience events. I thoroughly loved every minute of the Hamilton District’s Blues, Brews and Barbecue festival as I aided in the execution on the day of the festival gaining practice in problem-solving, customer service and project management. I witnessed the first year the festival grew to another block and how the team worked together and adjusted to handle the growth. I also participated in other Chamber events, including golf tournaments, luncheons, networking events, and more.

I had the opportunity to participate in the first Allentown Internship Initiative, hosted by City Center and Air Products. Through the program I enjoyed listening to Scott Fainor, CEO of National Penn Bancshares, encourage us to go where others won’t, step outside our comfort zone and be able to deliver/sell ourselves well. We also heard Trifecta CEO, Doug Pelletier, explain his philosophy that if you treat people well, good business will follow and it appears his theory definitely works for his growing company. I met around 40 other interns from 15 different companies and non-profit organizations in similar situations, learning about downtown and exploring options for their future. I was able to start relationships with a few and hopefully will continue these upon returning to Allentown after I graduate.

I can honestly say my favorite part of this internship has been working alongside my supervisors, Miriam Huertas, Liz Regan and Betsy Kohl. They welcomed me warmly, eager to include and teach me their wealth of knowledge. Each has a unique personality adding their own flair to the wonderful dynamics of the group. I’m thankful for their guidance and acceptance during this wonderful once-in-a-lifetime internship opportunity.

I look forward to finishing my senior year and returning to Allentown upon graduation to put my newly learned skills to work. Thank you to everyone who helped make this internship one I will never forget.

Ashley Lorah

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