I use the hashtag #AspireAndInspire (I might have even coined it) because I believe that we should give back; not only after we’ve “made it” but while we’re taking on the pursuit of happiness, success, or whatever our pursuit may be. I do this by organizing internship programs for college students. I tend to focus on two fields: Marketing (grassroots marketing, social media marketing, PR, event planning, experiential marketing/tours, and promotions) and Music Business (artist support team, music copyright law, music contracts, royalties and publishing, and music commerce & business models).
I launched my first official internship program in 2009 as the head of marketing & music at Shiekh Shoes (although I would say that it may have begun in 2006 when I organized street teams for nightlife marketing and events and rented meeting rooms to teach concepts in that particular field).
My slogan for my internships has remained “This is not a photo copy and coffee internship program!“ My interns work…and they work hard. But I do not believe in “busy work”. You know, the kind of mindless tasks that interns are given that have no real big picture?
My internship programs are part hands-on experience and part lecture. I lecture once or twice a week and often provide a syllabus for the session. My interns learn industry terms and jargon, concepts and theory and apply what they’ve learned in my lectures directly to the work they’re doing that week. Sometimes I make them take notes and email those notes to me to make sure they are capturing what I’m teaching.
They are forced to make important decisions that have real world reward and consequences. They participate in meetings with third-party business colleagues and clients and sometimes they travel out of town (they tend to like the travelling). By the end of the session (usually one college quarter), most of my interns feel they’ve learned a great deal of information and many ask to do another session (I’ve had about 5 interns complete 2 or more sessions). I’ve been told a few times that they’ve learned more in my session then they’ve learned in a comparable class in college. I’m flattered!
Over the last 5 years I’ve had the pleasure of training over 2 dozen college interns who’ve since gone on to start careers in the workforce after graduating with Bachelor degrees (most of them studied International Marketing, Business, and Communications…and recently I’ve had Music Business majors). They work at tech firms such as Google and the corporate offices of retail chains such as Target. The music majors are leaning towards production or music business as a music company (record label or publisher).
Several of my former interns are now hiring their own interns and have reached out to me for advice. I’ve visited and spoke to current interns of an internship program I had started several years ago, which is now run by my former intern who I had hired full-time at the same company (after he dominated 3 back-to-back internship sessions over the course of a year).
Yesterday, I had lunch with one of my most recent former interns who reached out to me to offer him advice and guidance in his new marketing role with a social media tech start-up based out of Miami. He participated in my Music Business & Marketing internship program at ChazBo Music:
It’s Brandon! I was an intern for you at ChazBo Music in the Fall. I’m emailing you because when I look back at my time at ChazBo Music I really learned a lot from you, as you were a great teacher. I’m now coming up with a great new idea for a startup [he goes on to include details that I've omitted]. I’ve been wondering where do I start? How do I go about it? And the first person I thought of was you. I really wanted to see if you had any ideas, pointers, or if you could help me layout a plan of implementation. You were a great teacher to me, I learned a lot, and I’m sure if you could give me any advice about this it would help me a lot, I would really appreciate it. I would love if we could discuss your ideas over the phone, or maybe I could stop by the office.
Hope all is well,
Another one of my stellar former interns who completed my Marketing, Social Media & Events in Retail Industry internship program at Shiekh Shoes has gone on to land a solid job in the workforce:
I just wanted to take the time to say thank you. The short amount of time I spent with you at Shiekh Shoes as an intern, taught me much in business, marketing and event plannning.
At my current job I was asked to plan/execute the company holiday party for all of our clients, sales execs, and upper management with about 200+ guests and the greatest reward was having the president of the company tell me that he was very pleased with everything and also stated that it was much better than last year’s.
Thank you so much for everything you taught me, it has really brought me a long way and has opened the doors to other opportunities as well.
Best of luck and may you continue to be blessed in everything you do.
She recently sent me an email asking for words of advice on her own internship program:
Just hired my first two interns and they start tomorrow. I only hope that I can be as great of a mentor to them as you were to me. Any words of advice?
I was happy to hear that another of my former interns now have interns of their own and thought of me when seeking advice:
How exciting! My #1 advice is to remember that they must take something away from your internship for it to have been successful. It’s so easy to give interns mundane “busy work”…it’s harder to give them something they can learn from. You don’t have to have a syllabus and do lectures and all that craziness I like to do; just make sure they are grasping what they are doing and why they are doing it. Ask yourself, “how does this task relate to their field of study and do they understand the implications of their task/project in the real world?”
Good luck! – Dae
Internship programs, if done right, can be rewarding for both the intern and the supervisor. I’m not a traditional teacher in a classroom, but I do feel like I’m teaching these college students something valuable. And from their feedback, it seems they think so as well!
I had the pleasure of meeting Quincy Jones. This man is a legend. It was great chatting it up with him!
“Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. (born March 14, 1933) is an American record producer, conductor, arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter. His career spans five decades in the entertainment industry and a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991.” – Wikipedia
Often I start the day by posting on Twitter/Facebook the following hashtags: #RiseAndProgress #AspireAndInspire #StartupJunkie. The first (#RiseAndProgress) represents starting the day with a fresh pursuit of moving forward either on a specific project or in life or career in general. The second (#AspireAndInspire) represents my personal aspirations towards a material goal or enlightenment while giving back. I try to “give back” by creating internships for college students where I can share my experience and knowledge on special topics in music and marketing. And the last, but not least (#StartupJunkie) represents my entrepreneurial spirit.
Happy New Year!!!! This is a quick blog to say that my New Year Resolution is to post more blogs! I’ll start by taking some of my blog-like Facebook status updates from 2012 (the ones relevant to the theme of my blog) and posting them here. Thanks for reading!
Dream big my friends.
After months of development, I’m happy to announce that my music tech startup, ChazBo Music (Beta) and our website is now live!
ChazBo Music is a FREE cloud-based music video digital signage solution for businesses and a music video distribution and promotion platform for artists and record labels.
A more official press release will go out in the next few hours with more details including our launch partners and first customer.
Visit http://www.chazbomusic.com for more information.
Today is the beginning of a new era in my life. An era when things begin to build as a result of years of laying the foundation. I’ll call it the “era of results.” The result of years of hard work, of failures and setbacks, of pushing forward, of going for “it”. The result of accumulated education (both street smarts and book smarts) applied to real situations with real consequences and real rewards. As much of a cliche as it is to say “never give up”, “take risks”, and “be aggressively ambitious,” this is what I’ve told myself since I first decided in my youth that I wanted to do something great with my life. Great people don’t stumble upon greatness; they sacrifice for it and dedicate themselves to the idea of greatness. Often they get off track; whether misguided, misinformed, or simply too spread thin trying to be great at several things at once. I’ve been all. But eventually these folks who actively pursue greatness will reach their “era of results” (or die leaving a legacy of profound ambition…the latter sucks, but contributes to awesome inspirational slogans).
Today I closed a deal representing 7-figures with the first customer of my new music tech startup, ChazBo Music. It’s funny because just 4 months ago this company was my employer from where I was laid off. I could have been pissed (well, I was) and I could have ranted and attempted to publicly bash them and completely write them off in my book, but I believe that you shouldn’t burn bridges (even when a business relationship ends not in your favor).
A unique and ironic series of events has led to going from being laid-off to signing a 7-figure deal in 4 months. Today, I enter the Era of Results.