Holy Cross, That’s One Heck of an Intern!

August 10, 2007

In May, Fortune ran an article about the proper care and feeding of so-called Generation Y employees. Bruce Tulgan, the founder of “leading generational-research firm” RainmakerThinking is quoted saying that “this is the most high-maintenance workforce in the history of the world.” Hyperbole aside, it seems that someone forgot to tell that to the students and graduates of the College of the Holy Cross.

For the past few years, our agency has participated in an internship program offered by Holy Cross that has worked out remarkably well for us. Not only do we get top-notch students with a keen interest in learning rather than just fulfilling their academic requirements, Holy Cross covers the cost as long as we have a graduate on staff. That perk is just one of many benefits for employing Senior Associate Anthony, aka “Mr. Fire Hazard” (the ever-growing pile of discarded newspapers and magazines on the floor surrounding his desk must be seen to be believed). I also hear he can get us a good deal on Boar’s Head mortadella, but that’s another story for another blog.

The Holy Cross interns we’ve had here have been truly outstanding. Without exception, they have been extremely hard-working, eager to impress, and quick to embrace any challenge. We’ve been extremely impressed with their writing and analytical abilities, as well as their level of intellectual curiosity and engagement. They always showed up for work on time, often well before they were expected. It’s become abundantly clear to us that Holy Cross students are a cut above.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. For some additional insight into Holy Cross, I highly recommend Diane Brady’s story in BusinessWeek last March on the lasting influence a compassionate and visionary Jesuit priest named Fr. John Brooks has had on several prominent African-Americans who attended Holy Cross during the Age of Aquarius. One of the people Brady profiles is Stan Grayson of M.R. Beal & Co, who is both a client and a valued friend.

When Brian Giapponi, our Holy Cross intern this summer, first showed up two months ago, he walked into an office of people with extremely high expectations of him. He can thank the performance of the Holy Cross juniors and seniors who previously sat in his cubicle for that welcoming gift. Simply put, he rose to the challenge of their “beat that, newbie” legacies head on and upped the ante for next summer’s intern in the process.

Brian had spent the 2006-2007 academic year studying in Scotland (needless to say, he and Jackie quickly bonded over recollections of haggis, Edinburgh’s architecture, and the stunning vistas of the Scottish countryside). Less than a week after stepping off the plane, he showed up at our office, eager to learn about public relations. He immediately established himself as a valuable member of the S&A team.

Brian is wickedly smart, doggedly determined, extremely gracious, and the true embodiment of a team player – just like his mentor Anthony, who along with Meghann, our director of client services, immediately recognized Brian’s talent via his communications with our office while he was still overseas.

Brian gave us his all � and then some. He frequently showed up early and stayed an hour or two beyond quitting time to finish up work that could have waited until the morning. A Master Googler, he was also a quick study on the myriad PR-specific research services we subscribe to, always delivering on research requests with speed and precision. He is a good sport and took the occasional ribbing well. He was always smiling, always happy to lend a hand, always eager to learn something new.

Today is Brian’s last day with us as he will be heading back to Holy Cross in a few weeks for his senior year. It is our great hope that he has been bitten deep enough by the PR bug to rejoin us after graduation. Regardless of the career path he chooses, he will be incredibly successful and any employer would be lucky to have him.

Brian, you’ve done Holy Cross proud and we will miss you.